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Guide: Open hard drive surgery - Identify the bodies
Written by Gizmo   
Sunday, 13 May 2007 21:00
Article Index
Guide: Open hard drive surgery
Identify the bodies
Expose the guts
Extract the vitals
It Lives!!!!
All Pages

Wait a minute!  As sheer luck would have it, I remembered that I had a Toshiba drive in my junk box that was a 2 1/2" drive.  It was an MK3021GAS, basically the baby brother of the 4025.  It was a 30 GB drive and a 2 MB cache, but other than that, it appeared to be the same drive.  The reason it was in my junk box was because the control board had died.  Being your basic tech pack-rat, I hate to throw anything away that might POSSIBLY, SOMEDAY, MAYBE have a use, so into my junk box it went.

The Victims




Right.  So first things first.  Do we have good electronics to work with?  If we don't, then all bets are off.  Best thing to do here is swap control boards between the two drives.  We can do this because they are from the same drive family, and we are counting on being able to use the electronics from the drive we are trying to rescue anyway.

Board View



The board swap is pretty straight-forward on this drive.  Everything mates together using either touch-contact pads or pressure-fit connectors, so removing some screws and a little careful prying is sufficient to to remove the board.  Note the gasket.  This is actually a heat conductive foam that acts as a thermal interface material for the components on the board, as well as an electrical insulator to prevent shorts.  Placement is not terribly critical during reassembly, just make sure it gets back on more-or-less in the same place.

Board Removed



Once I got the board swapped between the drives, I powered up the 30 GB drive with the 40 GB board.  The BIOS found the drive, indicated that there wasn't anything on it (naturally).  On a lark, I decided to see if I could format it.  Lo and behold, it took the format, although it began generating media errors as soon as I tried to store anything.  Oh well.  For this test, it was sufficient.  It proved that the contol board wasn't blown to smitherenes.

Ok, time to whip out the tools and open these babies up.  First thing is to get the covers off.  This proved easier said than done, as they were held on with #4 torx screws.  After calling every industrial and electronics supply store in the area, I finally got desperate and called Radio Shack.  They didn't have it, but the guy thought that Sears might.  Well, having nothing to lose, I figured 'What the heck?' and called Sears.  To my utter astonishment, they not only had the #4, they had a #5, #6, and #7, for the paltry price of $3 each.  A quick trip to the mall and I returned home, ready for surgery, torx drivers at hand.  Oh, did I mention that these things need to be demagnetized?  You do know that magnetic fields are a Bad Thing when dealling with magnetic media, right?  Fortunately I have one, but if you don't have one they can be found pretty cheaply.

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