SATA HDD attached to USB adapter emits smoke when tuned on

By Nishoe ยท 13 replies
Aug 6, 2007
  1. Hello,
    I have a SATA 250Gb Seagate HDD from my desktop. Since I am away from home I brought the HDD to use with my laptop. I bought a SATA to USB adapter and was unable to use it. I don't think enough power was being provided by the power supply that came in the adapter box. The head used to spin up and then spin down over and over again. The HDD would work for no more than 3 minutes and would spin down.
    Today, after about 3 months, I tried using the adapter and smoke came off the controller card as soon as I tuned on the power. I tried twice and the same repeated. Then I took the HDD to a friend's place and connected it to his pc as a SATA drive. The computer would not even power up unless I disconnected the drive.
    Is there a way to get my HDD working again? Since I am a student I don't think I can afford paying a company to recover my data although I have invaluable stuff in it.
    Thanks people.
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,742   +421

    Once an electronic device smokes you are pretty much screwed.

    You could buy that exact same drive and try swapping the PCB, provided you didn't blow up the motor or damage anything actually inside the drive that will work.
  3. Nishoe

    Nishoe TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I guess I'll have to do that. Do I need a clean room and all that to swap the PCB? What kind of an instrument would I need to unscrew the PCB? The screws look like a flower.
    I hope the inside is safe :blackeye:
  4. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    You don't need any kind of special environment for the PCB swap. Just make sure you don't break the cables going from the PCB to the inside of the drive. You need a Torx bit for the screws. Hex bits or flat screwdrivers can be used, but serious force is needed and you will damage the screw head and the tool.
  5. Nishoe

    Nishoe TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks ppl...
    will post the result when I get around doing it.
  6. mikescorpio81

    mikescorpio81 TS Rookie Posts: 293

    Your mates PC probably didn't boot due to his BIOS boot order.
  7. Nishoe

    Nishoe TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Hey mike...
    thanks for the opinion.
    but the pc simply did not power up in the first place. which means, the bios was not loaded at all.
    more ideas welcome.
  8. pc techguy

    pc techguy TS Rookie

    It sounds like either the sata cable or the hdd itself might have a crossed wire in it maybe thats why ur friends pc wouldnt work. try using a different sata cable and see if that helps if not the i would suggest doing what SGNX1275 posted earlier
  9. Nishoe

    Nishoe TS Rookie Topic Starter

    I am pretty sure that this is not the cause because I had used both the cable and the hardrive together on earlier occasions without the smoke and with proper access to the data on the HDD.
    Yea I am still waiting to get my hands on a HDD of the same serial number.
    Thanks pc techguy and others...
  10. Nodsu

    Nodsu TS Rookie Posts: 5,837   +6

    Well, maybe you plugged-unplugged-bent that cable one time too many.. Things do go bad over time, not just out of the factory.
  11. Nishoe

    Nishoe TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Nodsu, thanks.
    On that note, I checked with different sets of sata and power cables but the computer just won't turn on. Same happens with the usage of the USB adapter with the other set of cables.
    I am pretty sure the board is burned already. It smells like a burned resistor.
  12. Nishoe

    Nishoe TS Rookie Topic Starter

    For a PCB swap would I need a P/N and firmware match?
    I can find drives with an identical model number as mine but not the firmware.
  13. Samstoned

    Samstoned TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,018

    reload firmware from manufacturers website before removing from working drive
    buy the exact board from them
    even doing this does not always work
    newer drives are very much factory matched to platters ,pcb board controller and servo motor
    after assembly special machine writes data to platers for sync of servo motor

    chances it will work about 30%
  14. Nishoe

    Nishoe TS Rookie Topic Starter

    Thanks Samstoned
    30% is worth a try :p
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