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Subject: Re: Dead drive, resurrection!!!

Re: Dead drive, resurrection!!!

From: Neon John <>
Date: Mon, 02 Aug 2004 17:36:34 -0400

Back in the days when the 20 megabyte drive was king, I used to do that all
the time. I moonlighted at a local computer junkyard. We mixed and matched
parts to make functional hard drives. Sometimes the'd not have all the
capacity of the original drive because a board that looked about the same but
wasn't was fitted but they worked.

I had a little homemade clean box I used to open the drive compartment.
Consisted of a table top sand blast cabinet, a HEPA filter element and a
muffin fan to blow the air through the HEPA element.

The procedure was fairly simple. Remove the electronics card and blow off all
the dust with an air hose while holding a thumb over the vent hole. This part
is very important. Then put the drive along with the needed tools in the box,
turn on the fan and get a cup of coffee while the air cleans up. Come back,
open the drive up and do the needed work.

I've swapped head assemblies, installed new bearings, even removed defective
platters from the stack and replaced them with platters taken from other,
defective drives. Back then at least, if the platters were the same color and
finish, they'd probably interchange.

I operated one of the very first commercial ISPs back then, The
unix host machine (33 mhz 386 with 12mb RAM) sat in my office's lobby in a 19"
rack. I'd taken a 20mb drive, removed the cover, made a plexiglass cover to
replace it and mounted it to the front of the shelves. I had it connected to
the machine as a /tmp drive. No big deal if it failed but it never did. I
arranged a light to shine on the drive to make it very visible. Amazing how
much time people would spend staring at that drive, especially when the system
was batching news to go out.

I guess I'm not surprised that a modern drive would survive an opening if the
air is fairly clean. I know that modern drives have built-in clean-up filters
so any contamination should be filtered if it doesn't hit a head first.


On Mon, 02 Aug 2004 15:39:04 +0100, BlueChip <> wrote:

>You took a drive apart, repaired it, got it back together AND IT STILL
>I am mighty impressed, I had always believed this to be impossible.
>I look forward to reading the results of the surface test :)
>>After getting the CF-IDE adapter working, I decided to find out what
>>caused the hitachi drive to fail (stoped spinning).
>>I had no way of checking the controller board, so went straight for the
>>platter and heads.
>>The head had not parked, and seemed to be stuck on the platter. After a
>>little persuasion, the heads landed home, and the platter was free..
>>I've now managed to get all my files back , error-free. I feel a full
>>format of the drive coming on, and a surface test... Just in case!
>>So, those with a similar fault, you may want to give it a go!!
>>You'll need a T5 Torx driver to get into the platter cavity.
>>Oh, remember to work in a dust-free environment, and blow out and small
>>particals you find with an "air-only" aerosol can or a hair-dryer set to
>>its cold setting, before closing the cover.
>>Good luck

John De Armond
Cleveland, Occupied TN
Received on 2004-08-02

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