05-14-2012 12:27 PM
My seagate maxtor external hdd (bararacuda model) stops working for no likely reason-it has been treated well-but I find out that if I move the usb cable at the drives mini-usb end gently, I can eventually get the pc to recognize the drive once again. Almost every time I connect it to the pc, it whirrs up and the light comes on, but in device manager it is labelled as unknown. Is it the circuit board that is most likely to be the main cause? The drive is around 4 years old and therefore out of warranty, but the drive has been completely backed up, so the data is safe.
Interestingly, the 5 pin mini-usb port on the actual circuit board does not feel loose whatsoever, but its this connection that determines whether the drive is recognized or not. I am posting this up just to find out what other people think was the likely cause of the drive not showing up as anything other than an unrecognized device, and as seagate are unlikely to ever send out replacement circuit boards to test my own hdd, if the drive is not damaged- if its possible to even use the drive out of its casing as an internal drive (if the drive itself is not part of the problem)? The drive itself only uses a 27 pin connector, connected to the small circuit board, which itself has the 5 pin mini-usb and power supply ports, all inside the maxtor barracuda casing.
Thanks for any info
05-14-2012 02:50 PM
Open it and look on the label, if you see MX15 or SD15, flash it to either MX1a or SD1a asap before it stops appearing at all, SD = Seagate, MX = Maxtor.
05-14-2012 03:53 PM
I cant see either on the label-Ive heard about some of these basic models having an issue in bricking themselves over time and freezing, but Im (pretty sure) my own problem is with the circuit board, since moving the cable slightly within the mini-usb port at the back of the drive sometimes made it connect. I have heard I should be able to connect my drive easily to a sata enabled desktop, but do you know (for older machines) if its possible to connect my 15 and 7 sata pin drive to a docking station? most sata docking stations seem to be only for 40 or 44 pin, so Im guessing theres no option other than to use sata-would that be correct? thanks for your reply
05-14-2012 03:56 PM - edited 05-14-2012 03:57 PM
You should check the FW tbh HD Sentinal will reveal it for you if you don't want to open it yet, but if you do open it you can then slave it on a sata cable, and if it's all good simply get an alloy external enclosure or a dock, hth.
05-14-2012 04:36 PM
I think I was getting mixed up with 40 and 44 pin ide, comparing it to my 15 and 7 pin sata connections on this external drive, lol. The drive has already been taken out of its casing, its well past its guarantee and I wanted to see if anything was loose. Oddly enough nothing feels loose, even the ports seem ok, despite moving or changing the cable often making a difference as to whether the system saw the drives content or not. Thats why I still believe it must be a bad circuit board, if its not the drive itself. Ill try connecting the drive to a sata machine or getting a docking station in the end to find out the truth - but thanks for your reply
05-14-2012 04:38 PM
I'd get a latching cable before looking to the PCB, hth.
05-15-2012 04:11 PM - edited 05-15-2012 04:13 PM
thats the problem, theres no sata capable machine here at the moment to test, only an old desktop.. and any 'usb2 to sata' adapters with their own psus I find online are essentially just docking stations with little difference in cost-but you are right, I think Im best to just try the hdd on someone elses sata capable machine before attempting to buy any docking station thanks
05-16-2012 09:05 AM
This could actually just be a tired usb port on the PC itself if it's that old, and I assume this unit came with a psu for it rather than port powered?
05-19-2012 05:30 PM - edited 05-19-2012 05:34 PM
yes its a standard maxtor external drive, identical to this with its own psu and usb cable-I have surely had it for around 4 yrs old max, simple and easy to use, and Ive never had a problem until now. I managed to eventually take the hard drive out of its casing to test (not the easiest task with this model) as I found a sata to usb hdd transfer cable that I can use with the drive, now taken out of its main casing..... the drive connects with no issues at all. I have not yet received one 'unrecognized device' message, so the problem seems to have been with the small circuit board inside that case that linked the drive to the pc-the board having the psu port and miniusb port. These connections on the circuit board however do not seem loose at all, so perhaps something else on the board has likely\ had its day and given up? I had my suspicion with the board when drive recognition seemed to be worsening the more I re-attached the cable to the miniusb port on the hdd as the days went by. Not that these cables should be constantly re-inserted, but if its definately a board issue, it does make me wonder if its common or only with my model of maxtor basics drive.
Regardless of manufacturer, I do see alot of 'my external drive has failed' posts with users binning their drives as a result-but the issue could (sometimes at least) have been similar to my own, with the drive still being healthy, but the circuit board inside the case no longer working. I can now read my drive with no problems, so I will likely buy a sata enclosure or docking station for it to sit in, as the cables I currently have are a bit cheap and nasty (the psu for the sata cable I found gets a bit too warm-an unknown brand) although finding a replacement enclosure for the hdd that isnt too expensive in comparison to the cost of the drive might be more of a challenge. Some might argue on how valuable I regard my data, but the trick is to have that crucial secondary or third backup. Thankfully all my files on this drive were secondary backups anyway, but its good to know that there was nothing wrong with the actual drive itself.
Thanks for the replies
I have now tried Seatools with the drive along with a temperature checking utility, and the drive seems to be in good health-but to be safe I will only ever be using it as a backup device
05-19-2012 08:47 PM
Indeed, com errors are normally the cable or the bridge board, and at 4 years old I would assume the inside of that cable was well and truely dirty and deformed, anyway glad to see you got it working ok, it the monitor progs say it's fully healthy there's no need to retire it to back up duties, although given it's age maybe it's a good move longevity wise, anyway glad it's sorted.