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External hard drive adapter

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by cwhorn, Mar 12, 2015.

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  1. cwhorn

    cwhorn Thread Starter

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    Hello, I seem to have run into quite a problem. I have a WD external hard drive that uses a power adapter. The power adapter quit working, so I came across another one that had the same input, but a different output. Being in a hurry, I didn't look at the output. I simply plugged it in and the hard drive powered up. About five seconds later it powered off as if I had simply unplugged it. The output for the original adapter was 12V_ _ _ 1.5A. The one I tried using was 20V_ _ _2.0A. I have an identical second WD external hard drive I was running(which is why I tried to find another adapter since this second drive was in use), however I decided to unplug the second drive to use the adapter from it to test it on the drive that stopped working(since it was the right adpater and it was functioning). When I plugged it into the drive, I still got nothing. Could I have damaged the drive? If so, is this fixable? Thank you for your help.
     
  2. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Yup, you almost certainly did damage the drive. You might have got 'lucky' and only damaged the USB controller.

    Input voltage is always going to be the same, unless you travel oveseas; 230 volts is pretty standard for Europe and most countries for what comes out of the wall, and 120 volts is the standard for North America. The important numbers are the output and you really overvolted the drive. 12 volts vs 20 volts is a huge jump.

    You may be able to take apart the enclosure and connect the actual hard drive to another enclosure or internally to a desktop PC to access it again, but maybe not if it too got fried, Also WD sometimes uses proprietary circuit boards for some of their external drives so the USB may be part of the drive. They also sometimes use proprietary formats on some of their drives so if you remove it from the enclosure the file system is not readable unless you use the same enclosure.

    Hopefully you have a backup of the data if it's important.
     
  3. cwhorn

    cwhorn Thread Starter

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    Thanks for the quick reply. I actually took apart the functioning drive and removed the oasis desktop 1607P usb power supply and attached it to the non-functioning drive and it won't power up, but the light blinks. When it functioned normally, the light stayed on.
    The thing is, when the drive originally stopped functioning, there wasn't a noise and it didn't get hot. I don't know what is typical when this happens, but it seemed harmless, like nothing serious happened. Plus there was no visible damage, it still looked new. Like I said, it merely stopped as if it just shut down. If worse comes to worse, is there any way to salvage what is on the drive?
     
  4. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Plugging in a power adapter with nearly twice the voltage output is definitely not harmless to most electronics. And you don't need any noises and the drive doesn't need to get hot to get damaged.

    Sounds like the drive is fried I'm afraid. You could try to send the drive away to a professional data recovery company, they charge anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand dollars for recovery though.

    I assume by the desire to salvage data from the drive that you don't have a backup?
     
  5. cwhorn

    cwhorn Thread Starter

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    That's correct, I have no backup. Dumb, I know, but ironically, I just bought a new drive to back this one up. Couldn't this be solved by replacing the board? I guess I await the day when salvaging data is not such an impossible or expensive thing.
     
  6. cwhorn

    cwhorn Thread Starter

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    By the way, if I don't reply again today, it's late here and I've stressed enough over this for the moment. I gotta hit the hay. But I'll be back on tomorrow. Thanks again for your fast replies.
     
  7. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    On modern drives the circuit boards have a chip that stores unique data about each drive so replacing the circuit boards requires moving that chip or that info to the new board.
     
  8. cwhorn

    cwhorn Thread Starter

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    I found a replacement board and will see if it works. I see that I can switch out the BIOS, even though it's pretty tedious work with a soldering tool. After all that is done, I can only hope it works and that the hard disk itself was unaffected by my original mistake. What are the chances of the disk being unaffected? Will replacing the usb board and PCB board (as well as the BIOS, if necessary) likely resolve the problem? Or is it more likely that the disk was affected by using the wrong adapter?
     
  9. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    It's your gamble, it may or may not, only way to know is if you try it. No way of predicting how much damage was done, if the new controller will work, or if swapping the firmware chip will work.
     
  10. cwhorn

    cwhorn Thread Starter

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    One last thing- since I have an identical hard drive to the one I may have ruined, is it ok to try to attach the board from the good one to the ruined one just to test it or will that ruin the good board?
     
  11. Triple6

    Triple6 Moderator

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    Yes there is a small chance that it could ruin the board.
     
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