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Did your hard drive take a dive? Desperate to recover your Data?
Written by Daniel   
Friday, 03 February 2006 16:55

 Gizmo Explains how this might be done by swaping Hard drive platters! This is a last ditch effort!

"The whole thing is pretty straight-forward.

To change the control board, just remove the screws holding everything down. Be careful when separating the board from the housing, because they all use different connection methods for interfacing with the actual drive mechanisms. Some use wired cables; some use conductive rubber, some use printed mylar.

To change the platters, you'll need to remove the top cover of the drive shell. Again, just remove the screws (many times these will be a T-8 torx, which can be purchased from some automotive stores). Carefully separate the cover from the body. You have to be careful because there is an air seal around the edge of the shell, and you don't want to damage it; you'll need it when you put everything back together.

Once you've got the cover separated from the shell, you'll see the platter, spindle, and head actuator. The platters are held to the spindle by the spindle hub, with basicaly clamps the platters. Remove the screws holding the spindle hub (on the drives I've worked on, the spindle shaft had a center depression that an Allen-wrench would fit. You would hold the shaft using the Allen-wrench and then remove the individual hub screws using a Torx bit). Once you've got the screws loose, you should be able to pull the individual sections of the hub off, and remove each of the platters. You'll probably find that you also have to remove the head actuator stop, which prevents the heads from traveling too far to the outside edge of the disk, before you can remove the platters. This should be located somewhere near the actuator mechanism itself. The exact nature of the stop varies from drive to drive. Older drivers used a simple screw arrangment, but that is rather massive, as well as being, err, 'abrupt'. Newer drives I've seen use some kind of nylon spacer that simply pulls out. Whatever the mechanism, once you've got it out, you'll be able to swing the heads out of the way. You might want to find a piece of lint-free cloth to place between the heads as they come off the platters so that they don't slam into each other.

Reassembly is pretty much the reverse.

Note that this proceedure is only really useful on drives that embed the servo information with the data, or that don't depend on servo information at all (fairly new or really old drives). Although I have no personal experience of this, it is my understanding that there was a period of time (say around '96 - 2000?) where the sector spacing and track servo data were stored on one dedicated platter. Because of this, once you loosened the spindle hub and disturbed the relative alignments of the platters, you were pretty much screwed."

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