Teardown: Western Digital Caviar 2000

In addition to the Seagate I took apart, I had two Western Digital 200G drives that I was using in my HighPoint RAID controller.  They’d been in service for over five years and were working the day I removed them for 1T drives.  It was later a frustrating moment when I wanted to use the drives in enclosures for scratch purposes—neither drive would spin up!  I’ve usually been able to repurpose old internal drives for external enclosures but not these.  I still have fewer enclosures than I need (and a brand new Samsung drive with no place to go for the moment.)  Above, you’re looking at the main mounting plate of the drive.  You can see the head arm, and its reflection on the drive platter, through an access hole that is normally covered by a sticker (“removal of stickers voids warranty”, goes the label on many drives.)

Here’s Western Digital’s controller board.  With the ubiquitous Samsung 32M cache memory.  The controller chip is in the center—it is a Marvell chip, hat tip to this semiconductor logo page.  The flash obscures the chip in the lower left, but it is also an ST Microelectronics SMOOTH motor controller.  The DIP-like contacts in the upper left couple to the head assembly through a bulkhead connector.  The lower-right contacts near the SMOOTH chip are for the platter motor.

The cover’s off.  This wasn’t as nice a picture as the Seagate—there’s already dust on it, and I only had it off for a minute when I snapped this image!  I will never do clean room work in my building, that is for damned certain.

I got the platters and the heads off.  You can see the other side of the bulkhead connector I pointed out previously.  Unlike the Seagate, Western Digital drives only need one Torx T2 driver to disassemble;  I had quite the collection of bits used in disassembling the former.

The heads.  I mashed one pair getting them off the platter but I still got a good picture:

Another picture of the heads:

It’s interesting that my Seagate has a full head arm but not all of the heads (it had 2 platters and was made for 4.)

Fortunately for my electronics, I have run out of things to tear down.  For now.

Teardown: Seagate Barracuda Drive

I had to clean house for an inspection and had several very dead hard drives around, none of which could be sent back for warranty, so I dismantled them.  Most drives are easily disassembled with miniature Torx bits which are readily available from many vendors. (here’s one such set.)

This Seagate Barracuda died in a “normal” way, its SMART data showing increasing reallocated sectors indicating slow-motion death.  Its controller board is quite small:


Almost all hard drives these days use the same Samsung 32 meg cache memory.  LSI is a familiar controller vendor and one of their chips is here.  The ST Microelectronics SMOOTH chip is apparently a motor driver—I’ve seen it in several drives.

The drive lost its warranty due to an external enclosure and a very badly designed SATA pigtail that broke the connector on the drive.  The enclosure had numerous other problems, ensuring that I will not use that make again anytime soon.

Next up, Western Digital, torn apart.

Followup to KVM RFI: Possible solution fell off?

I will probably find out otherwise when I make this post, but I may have resolved my KVM RFI problem.  In a previous post, I performed a teardown of my KVM and noted that the top of the unit was blank.  Normally there is a name plate on the unit:

I found this plate nearby—it had fallen off the KVM.  I stuck it back on.  (I wanted to re-glue it, but it would not come off the unit for me.)  The “IOGEAR” logo looks almost metallic.  I immediately wondered whether it had a shielding function.  The plate appears to be plexiglass with perhaps a metallic layer in-between where the logo is etched.

I have had both machines hooked up to the KVM for a day now and have not seen the interference that has driven me nuts for nearly three months.  I hope this is it.  Really.