WD15EARS Controller Replacement Circuit Board Needed

Discussion in 'hardware' started by frank7, Jul 18, 2015.

  1. frank7

    frank7 Registered Member

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    Got a client here with an old WD Elements 1.5TB, lost the original power adapter, got a new one where the voltage can be adjusted, gave the external HDD alongside a laptop that needed repairs to some 2nd hand IT repair "show" and I am pretty sure they adjusted the new power adapter to the wrong voltage and fried the circuit board(CB) IMO.

    Here a few shots of the board and the HDD from inside the crappy plastic "WD Elements container", a WD 1.5 TB Caviar Green WD15EARS - 00MVWB0.

    http://postimg.org/gallery/3gisqxdj6/

    When the "Elements" was given to me I immediately smelled that scent from burned circuit board, opened up the lot and saw the dark brownish stains on it. I am pretty 99.9% sure the HDD itself it still intact, as well as the data on it.

    Soooo, my idea, instead of giving this to another "pro" shop and have the client pay 100s if not more $$$, simply get an old, used, possibly even dysfunctional WD15EARS and simply take the circuit board from there and use it on the HDD with the borked board.

    If you check the gallery linked above you will see that the board is not soldered to the HDD anywhere so I could really simply just switch boards and see if that helps.

    Here my questions:
    Does any of you have a CB that could fit this HDD? Checked a few places online and they still sell such HDDs and the shops where they show the back of the HDD the CB seems to be the identical to the one I am looking for, even for drives of 1TB or 500MB in size.
    edit 2: Could I just take a cheap 500 MB WD Caviar Green and use the CB from there at all? Or does it really have to be a 1.5 TB? Are the CBs for 500 MB and 1.5 TB different ones?

    In theory this should work, switching the CB, right? (no soldering needed so pretty easy to do IMO)

    Is there a place where I could possibly ONLY get a replacement CB instead of searching the web for a replacement drive?

    The lady that this HDD belongs to would be extremely happy to be able to have the data on the HDD, but like I said I am trying to save her cash by switching boards instead of having her give this to pro data-recovery services that will most possibly do what I am planning on doing and charge her many multiples of what a replacement board would cost.

    Thanks for any help with this.

    edit:
    Found this: http://www.onepcbsolution.com/529285191wd.html
    Am now wondering what is a ROM chip (yes sure a Read Only Memory chip, but what does it do with the HDD and why the need to swap it?), would a CB from an identical replacement HDD not have the same important numbers and CB and simply work, OR would I still have to swap the ROM chip even if I got an identical replacement HDD. They write "..alternatively, swapping the ROM chip on your own also ensures compatibility.."
     
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2015
  2. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    "In theory" if you can find the EXACT replacement controller board, this "should" work. That means not only must you get the same part number for the controller board, it must also have the exact same revision number to ensure it will work too.

    The problem is, WD has several factories around the world that make the same "model" drive. For popular drives, they may even outsource production to other factories to keep up with demand. And (1) every factory uses a different revision number and (2) revision changes are not implemented globally on the same time cycle.

    For example, as seen in your images, the basic part number "etched" in the board is 2060-771689-002, RevP2. But note the sticker says 2061-771689-102 04PD11. That, to continue the example, might mean the board was made in WD's Panang, Thailand factory and it has revision 2, and the firmware has gone through multiple updates.

    What often happens when you order the board by part number, is you get 2061-771689-102 but it might have a Revision number of 04SC03 showing it was made at their Singapore factory and it has a earlier revision number too. And when you put it on, it either does not work, shows the drive is empty, or perhaps unformatted. So you may restore functionality to the drive, but recovering any data may be impossible.

    So it becomes a crap shoot on several levels. You have to find the right part number, then the right revision number, and even then, you may only restore functionality to the drive, not be able to access any data (except maybe file segments in no particular order - depending on how fragmented the drive was).

    Why do you think this? Setting the correct voltage is pretty easy. The drive's enclosure will state the voltage and even have an image of the connector to show the polarity.

    I see nothing burned in those images. The brown discoloration looks like corrosion (tarnish) to me, or perhaps just discoloration of the resin sealants to keep moisture out.

    You could certainly try this as a personal project, but frankly, I suspect it will be a futile effort and at best, you might restore functionality to the drive. And with a file recovery program like Recuva, you might recover a few files, but I sure would not get my hopes up, and especially not your client's.

    Depending on the value she places on the data contained on that drive, her best bet may be a professional data recovery service.

    20/20 hindsight - where's her backup?
     
  3. frank7

    frank7 Registered Member

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    Hello Bill and thank you for your very detailed and informative reply. This is highly appreciated on my part! Thank you.

    I sent a few emails to the three biggest part dealers and one told me that both the PCB and the USB board are burned from looking at the hi-res images. I must say I also clearly smelled that smell of burned PCB once I opened the external enclosure. So either you are right and it is just tactics to sell gear or indeed the smell came from burnt PCB. The dealer quickly gave me the link to the correct replacement board and offered to replace the BIOS chip needed to access the drive with the replacement PCB. Also for the drive to be able to be used as an extrnal "WD Elements" thing again the USB PCB would also have to be replaced they mentioned. I am basically taking their word on this due to little experience, hope I am not being abused.

    Will check with the dealer to see what the chances of this happening are. I was informed the drive worked correctly and without clicks or anything until it got back from that "IT repair shop".

    So it becomes a crap shoot on several levels. You have to find the right part number, then the right revision number, and even then, you may only restore functionality to the drive, not be able to access any data (except maybe file segments in no particular order - depending on how fragmented the drive was).

    hehe, it was on either 3v or 9v when I got it and I think the drive needs 12v. Could too little voltage also damage the PCB?

    Hmmm, why the smell then when I opened the external enclosure?

    After checking what the dealer of the PCB part has to say about this I will surly confront the client BEFORE doing any further work on the HDD.

    No backup done, this WAS supposed to be the backup she wanted to do. Also had issues with the OS and let those guys put a new OS on it. Why she did not get in touch with me first doing all this is a riddle to me, however I do not mind. Be sure I will also mention this to her before getting any parts.

    Bill, again, thank you for your great reply and so much info in it. This IS what makes me love come back to Wilder's again and again and again.

    Best Regards and Have a Great Day
    :)
     
  4. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    That burnt smell is certainly discerning but that can happen when the board just gets hot, then shuts down before actual damage. Typically, if something is "burnt" you can see a "component" that is burnt or severely discolored - or at least you see heat damage on the PCB surrounding the overheated component. I don't see any burnt component or burnt PCB surrounding a component. Do you?

    Note "burnt" damage only occurs when too much current flows through a circuit. More current mean more electrons are banging around creating friction, heat, and eventually burn.

    No.

    Do they offer any guarantee? If so, then great. If not, then you should be suspicious. And again, the guarantee would be the drive becomes usable, not that you will be able to recover all the data.

    Everyone needs multiple layers of backups. If this was to be the backup drive, she should still have the original source files. Backups are copies of files stored on your computer. If the backup is the only copy, that is not a backup.
     
  5. frank7

    frank7 Registered Member

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    OK, I will pass this on and see what she says.

    Yes, I do know what a Backup or a Copy or an Image is, however the client is not a regular computer user or knows much about computer at all. It seem she did not take any precautions and it seems to me the original source files are on that disk. I don't know. I also don't know what the reason was to give that drive to the IT repair people.

    You are right, I don't see much burning or burnt components at all as well. I will confront the dealer about this and ask them to circle the burnt parts on the pics I uploaded and return those to me. Let's see if different people see different things. Quite curious now, thank you for this valuable input again. Happy to make more pics or a video if it could be that I missed a side or angle on the PCB and USB board, though I think I got all the parts OK.

    Also about the guarantee all I got so far was that without trying there is nothing that can really be said about the drive. No guarantee that the drive will be usable in fact.

    Will keep this updated with further findings.

    Thank you Bill! By the way, you MVP Profile reads impressive, you surly know what you are talking about here.
     
  6. Bill_Bright

    Bill_Bright Registered Member

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    Thanks. I try. But my friends Bing Google help me a lot too - if nothing else but to confirm what I think I know. But mostly it is because I have learned from my many mistakes over the years! ;)
     
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