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Date: 10/10/22 19:23
Can external hard drives be repaired
Author: srman

I’m probably SOL on this issue but here goes. Back on August 29th a lightning strike hit near my house. Fried the TV, cable box and the computer. New TV and box and after several weeks of doing without a computer and a new mother drive it’s back. Now I had five external hard drives hooked up to the computer. I did have one in a remote location and fortunately it’s fine. However the others represent about thirty-five years of stuff. I’m not going to live forever and I’m more or less O.K. with about 10-12 years of digital images now history. It’s one external with years of negatives and slides that bothers me the most. Can they like the computer have something that can be replaced. Thanks for any response.

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Date: 10/10/22 19:27
Re: Can external hard drives be repaired
Author: dan

there are some expensive places that do it is all i have heard of, some charge  on the data they recover



Date: 10/11/22 04:40
Re: Can external hard drives be repaired
Author: trainjunkie

Most external drives have an external power supply, aka a "brick" or a "wall wart". Are you sure the power supply didn't just get fried, rather than the whole drive? I've had many external drives "die" only to discover it was the just power supply.



Date: 10/11/22 06:17
Re: Can external hard drives be repaired
Author: Frisco1522

I had a laptop HD go belly up and I hadn't backed it up.   I bought some sort of software and after a lot of cussing, etc, was able to recover all the files on it.  Programs, etc were toast.  Now I back up files to at least two other external HDs and a different computer.  Sometimes even DVDs also.  Once bitten...........



Date: 10/12/22 11:57
Re: Can external hard drives be repaired
Author: NDHolmes

There's a couple possibilities...

As trainjunkie pointed out, it might just be the power supply if it has an external wall wort that powers it.  That's nice and simple to try - just find one of equivalent specs (same voltage, max current, plug size and polarity, etc.) and try it.  Most of mine all seem to be 12V at an amp or so with a standard 5.5mm barrel plug on the end.

If that doesn't do it, there's the possibility it's the USB interface board that fried and not the drive itself.  Lots of these external drives are really just a normal hard drive and a USB interface board that plugs into it.  Sometimes you can just pop out the drive and either put it in the computer directly or into a new external case.  (On others, not so much - I've had some where the USB interface is integrated right on to a custom hard disk PCB.  In that case, you're mostly doomed without spending big bucks.)

 



Date: 10/12/22 13:54
Re: Can external hard drives be repaired
Author: TCnR

If the six drives are the same model, rotating the subassemblies through the one working drive would be an option. Takes some dexterity and knowledge, that may be an option for the Computer Tech as well. The data should still be onboard, more than likely just the power supplies are fried or close to it.



Date: 10/17/22 13:54
Re: Can external hard drives be repaired
Author: cchan006

srman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> It’s one external with years of
> negatives and slides that bothers me the most. Can
> they like the computer have something that can be
> replaced. Thanks for any response.

The photo data is probably still intact on the magnetic platter inside the disk drive. Before you pay someone to recover the data, there should be things you should be trying.

As trainjunkie mentioned above, power supply, or some of the electronic components might have fried due to the power surge. Do the smell test. Burnt components smell for quite some time, even after months. Once you sniff it out, you might be able identify the fried component, as they tend to leave burn marks on the circuit board, if you take it apart later.

Power supplies tend not to be serviceable, so you won't be able to see what's inside easily - just smell it.

Find out the specific interface of the disk drives. Parallel ATA (PATA or classic IDE)? Serial ATA (SATA which is newer)? You NEED to know this when you buy an external USB enclosure to see if the disk drive still works. Try to spend a litte extra and buy an enclosure that has both PATA and SATA connectors.

You can research this info online easily, or talk to your local 18 year old computer geek, who should know.
 
You are buying the enclosure to test the drives yourself. That means you have to take apart the external hard drives. It's not that difficult, but don't use brute force. 

FYI, technicians usually have a PATA or SATA cable or a cradle, where they hook up the drive directly to a PC or test device without the enclosure.

Since you aren't using Mac or Linux, you shouldn't run into problems with different types of file systems. Your hard drives should be FAT (FAT32) or NTFS. However, some external hard drives that can do both USB and networking (NAS) might have a network-based filesystem that won't be readable with a generic USB enclosure. I mention this ahead of time, in case you run into problems you might not be able to diagnose otherwise.

Before you worry about recovering the data, listen for the hard drives to power up and spin up when you hook it up as you test them on the external enclosure. Once that's confirmed, Windows will try to access the hard drives, and if all goes well, all your files will still be there.



Date: 10/17/22 14:17
Re: Can external hard drives be repaired
Author: cchan006

TCnR Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> If the six drives are the same model, rotating the
> subassemblies through the one working drive would
> be an option. Takes some dexterity and knowledge,
> that may be an option for the Computer Tech as
> well. The data should still be onboard, more than
> likely just the power supplies are fried or close
> to it.

Board swap is a nice option, but I've run into different brand drives (Seagate, Toshiba, Hitachi, Western Digital) even within the same brand, "same" capacity external drives. Sometimes, "identical" drives have different firmware and revisions, which may or may not complicate the troubleshooting.

Most PCs, hard disks, and accessories have fuses or components that act like fuses to save the rest of the circuit. I've resoldered a blown capacitor to save an old Mac before.

On a "parts only" laptop I bought last year, the surge not only burned a diode near the power connector (designed to be swappable), it was bad enough to burn up something else, which I couldn't easily identify - the laptop still got power from the "battery" I improvised, but it didn't work, just the power light came on. However, the hard disk still worked, and so did the LCD screen, the parts that I wanted out of the broken laptop.

So regardless or the severity of the surge, plenty of "parts" often survive on electronic devices.



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