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Success! HTS542516K9SA00 recovered!

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Joined: 14 Jan 2011
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 23, 2011 10:30 pm    Post subject: Success! HTS542516K9SA00 recovered! Reply with quote

It came in a laptop. Laptop came under leaky tent roof. Laptop totally fried. Hard drive fried. This machine didn't just get wet, it ended up in a puddle. It was practically under water.

By the time I got it dried out there was visible water damage everywhere including on the old drive and PCB. Probably the worst scenario I've ever seen aside from lightning stikes. I wasn't too optimistic and I had backups for almost everything but I don't like giving up easy.

I found a replacement PCB on Ebay, the seller was EffectiveDriveSupply, I highly recommend them. However, the PCB swapout itself didn't work. I needed to try the ROM chip swap which I can't do myself. And I met Sunny over in China through this board and he seemed like a good guy but it was one of those things I put off until a buddy of mine started talking about the new place he worked and I realized he was describing microelectronics, so I wrote up some instructions and put the clearly marked boards in a zap-bag and asked him to ask around at work. And sure enough, we find a guy that does the ROM chip swapout for nothing, for the old "owe ya one". So I get it back.

So I put the new PCB with the old ROM chip on the dead drive. And I place the thing in an external enclosure. And I hook it up on a Ubuntu box and held my breath. There were still lots of things that could go wrong. I was worried that water infiltrated the drive housing itself and left residue on the disk surfaces in which case the recovery would have taken a quantum leap up in complication. I was worried the ROM chip itself might have sustained damage.

The drive powered, spun up and Ubuntu mounted it and there was my filesystem! Well hello there! From there I was able to take ownership of it's files using CHOWN and CHMOD because user files are protected down to the FS level with Linux. It would have been more complicated if this was an encrypted drive but it wasn't. Then I performed my file recovery which turned out to be a couple emails and trivial things but heck, it sure felt like winning after a loosing streak.

The risk I took by trying the new PCB without re-chipping was significant, SMART could have really scrambled those eggs but as it was, the failed attempt at simple PCB replacement was insignificant in my case.

So I just left the thing plugged in and I'm playing multimedia files off it now. With a bit of tweaking I could re-home it and get it to be bootable again. I wonder how long it will last?

Anyways, don't give up out there. Thanks to all of you on this board and site, you guys really help clarify the issues. I'd like to see more people try Sunny's re-chipping services and report back how he does. I've only seen good reports from his services. And it's not that I don't trust Chinese mail, it's US mail that has me underconfident these days.
Beating a dead horse is a statement intended to convey futility. Whoever said it obviously never tried because it can be really relaxing.
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