1. Welcome to TechPowerUp Forums, Guest! Please check out our forum guidelines for info related to our community.

Lacie external NAS works only if I heat it up real bad? What's the deal here?

Discussion in 'Storage' started by Black Panther, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    8,582 (3.17/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,933
    Long months ago my Lacie external drive 'died' by refusing to start spinning.

    It was just out of warranty - and I had some good old family photos on it which I didn't want to lose. So I spun it around like a frisbee, jerked the power cord in and out, and after like 30 minutes of monkeying around it started spinning again, allowing me to retreive the photos.

    After I turned it off, it didn't spin again.

    Occasionally when I remembered, I tried the same antics above. But the drive never spun again.

    Today I thought I'd try something more extreme. After all, for me the drive was just a paperweight.

    So I put it in the freezer for 2 hours.

    When I powered it up afterwards, it didn't work.

    So I took my hair-dryer and blasted it on full heat at the drive. It got really hot..

    Powered up the drive, and it started spinning.

    :wtf:

    I'm curious to know what's the deal here - what's wrong with this drive that a shock between very cold and very hot temperatures made it work again?

    When it works it does so smoothly. Barely audible, no clicking..
     
  2. MRCL

    MRCL

    Joined:
    May 31, 2008
    Messages:
    5,791 (2.48/day)
    Thanks Received:
    860
    Location:
    Switzerland, Heart of Europe
    I'm already surprised that it worked even after DJ'ing and cord-raping the drive.
    Heat causes metal and stuff to expand, while cold causes them to ...impand? lol.
    Maybe that has something to do with it.
     
  3. RejZoR

    RejZoR

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2004
    Messages:
    4,739 (1.29/day)
    Thanks Received:
    977
    Location:
    Europe/Slovenia
    Test it with Crystal Disk Info.
     
  4. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    8,582 (3.17/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,933
    After I finish copying data I'll connect it to USB and see if the program sees it (it's a NAS drive currently connected to router).

    I'm pretty sure something's wrong with the motor...
    It's terrifickly hot, always was like that. Beaming a laser temperature beneath it reads 60 degrees, and that's just the case.
     
  5. Completely Bonkers New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 6, 2007
    Messages:
    2,580 (0.92/day)
    Thanks Received:
    516
    Consider yourself very lucky indeed to be able to start it and recover data. Sounds to me that you have a faulty motor in that drive. The heat is just enough to thin the lubricant and expand various components to get the drive spinning (the initial inertia for a stationary drive is the biggest bit to get over). The second is a fault or failed capacitor or power circuitry that isnt giving enough beef to the motor to get is started. Your heat-gun-ray approach is changing resistances and capacitances to get it going.

    HOWEVER don't trust it as a writing device. Get the data off there asap and junk the drive.
     
  6. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    8,582 (3.17/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,933
    That makes a lot of sense. Thanks!

    I'm not planning to use the drive neither does it have valuable info.
    Originally this drive 'died' January 2010. I managed to get it spin only once a couple of days later by (using MRCL's expression) "cord-raping" it, and that was enough for me to get the really valuable info (ie my kid's baby pics etc) safely off. [This makes me think that it's your second diagnosis which is correct. In fact, the last time I tried, if I power the drive off and on again it wouldn't start, even though it'd be warm enough].

    Since then I've occasionally tried on and off to see if it works, with no success. Today's was just an experiment. I often heard about how freezing a drive could make it work (usually only for some 20 minutes) but I never had a dead drive to test it with. :)

    However what got it to work in my case was heating it, not freezing it. Now I've read about heating pcb's and graphic cards, but not hard drives. That's what made me wonder.

    I'll be trying to heat it up again tomorrow to see if the method still works. If it does, I think I'll start calling this drive 'my zombie drive' :D
     
  7. erocker

    erocker Super Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Jul 19, 2006
    Messages:
    39,795 (13.19/day)
    Thanks Received:
    14,178
    ^ ..and that is the truth. Spot-on. :toast:
     
  8. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    8,582 (3.17/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,933
    I'll be damned - I switched the Lacie off using its power switch.

    Switched it back on again, and as always happened whenever I tried during this past year, it remained dead as a doorknob.

    So I tried the hair-blower solution once more, got the case of the drive so hot I could barely hold it in my hands, powered it on and it spun! :eek: Weird.... :rockout:
     
  9. jsfitz54

    jsfitz54

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Messages:
    903 (0.57/day)
    Thanks Received:
    242
    What brand of drive was in the LaCie enclosure? Maybe manufaturer of HD has longer warranty period than LaCie. Just a thought.
     
  10. remixedcat

    remixedcat

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,929 (1.80/day)
    Thanks Received:
    645
    sometimes the strangest fixes work!
     
  11. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    42,377 (11.55/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,682
    what this suggests to me, is that you should just replace the drive in the NAS ;)
     
    Black Panther says thanks.
  12. beyond_amusia

    beyond_amusia New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,140 (0.41/day)
    Thanks Received:
    63
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Save them files while you can. -.-
     
  13. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    8,582 (3.17/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,933
    No problem, the drive's empty. I'm just testing for testing's sake :)

    _______________________________



    Today's experiment:

    I powered up pc, and the Lacie NAS.

    As expected, the Lacie didn't spin up. Remained as cold as a doorknob even though its LED light was on - the drive wasn't spinning.

    I left it like that for over 2 hours, just in case it started spinning up on its own.

    After nothing happened:

    I left the Lacie still 'powered up', connected to my pc and not spinning.

    Then took out my hair-dryer. Tilted the drive so that I could blow hot air directly into the grille at the bottom (as shown in picture below). After only ~ 60 seconds I felt the drive start spinning in my hand.

    [​IMG]

    Now the drive works again.
    That is until I turn it off. In which case I'd probably have to use the one-minute-hair-dryer-procedure again :laugh:

    Any diagnosis? :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
  14. jsfitz54

    jsfitz54

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Messages:
    903 (0.57/day)
    Thanks Received:
    242
    My smart ass diagnosis is to put an auto block heater on it.:)
     
  15. beyond_amusia

    beyond_amusia New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2007
    Messages:
    1,140 (0.41/day)
    Thanks Received:
    63
    Location:
    Baltimore, Maryland
    I'm willing to bet it's a solder issue with the logic board on the HDD itself, or the SATA to USB adapter inside the enclosure... Since the light comes on though, I'd say it's the HDD's logic board.
    Open that thing and see if it works in a computer. ^^
     
    Black Panther says thanks.
  16. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    8,582 (3.17/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,933
  17. remixedcat

    remixedcat

    Joined:
    May 13, 2010
    Messages:
    2,929 (1.80/day)
    Thanks Received:
    645
    Isn't LaCie supposed to be a high end brand? I know thier monitors aren't cheap and even some pros think they are overpriced.
     
  18. timta2

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2008
    Messages:
    817 (0.33/day)
    Thanks Received:
    114
    Location:
    Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA
    Unfortunately these days just opening the enclosure voids ALL warranties with most, if not all of the companies who manufacture them. And most, if not all hard drive manufacturers know what drives they sold as OEMs to other companies usually via serial number.

    Yes, although we all know that they just have these enclosures made really cheap in China and then Lacie buys some hard drives to throw in them.

    It's hard to get a quality enclosure when you can get that external drive or similar (2TB without NAS features) for under a hundred US dollars. That same NAS drive (1TB) is currently listed on Amazon for $126. In addition, there are a lot of enclosures without fans/proper cooling and we all know that is asking for trouble.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2011
  19. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    8,582 (3.17/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,933
    Unintentional 2nd testing of this drive:

    Update:

    Something different happened today, it was the first time I tried this.

    Well at 6:00 pm I powered up the home pc I have in system specs, and while I was at it I thought I might as well switch on the 'dead' Lacie drive.

    The Lacie was switched on, and during all this time I forgot all about it.

    Now at 11:20PM I remembered about it. It was still switched on, with blue led light on but not spinning, and hence not working.

    I removed the power (by pulling out the black cable shown in video post #16 of this thread, not by switching it off) and just pushed back the same power cable.

    And the drive started spinning. :eek:

    ___________________

    So I just concluded that to get this drive working:

    [​IMG]

    I have to either get it hot by blowing it with a hair-dryer for ~4 minutes, or leave it powered on for ~5 hours and pull the power cable out and back in again :wtf:

    I can't still get what's the deal here - except that there might be something which gets warm enough to work after 4 minutes blow-drying treatment, or after a normal switched on power for like 5 hours. I'm still as confused as ever.
     
  20. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    42,377 (11.55/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,682
    you need to figure out if its the enclosure or the drive thats bad.


    if its the enclosure, get a new one - and spare internal drive for you!


    if its the enclosure, get something not lacie this time and re-use the HDD in it.



    also, dear god that sounds nasty. 30MB/s vs the old 10MB/s? wtf, is that thing on USB2.0?
     
  21. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    8,582 (3.17/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,933
    By now I'm pretty sure it's the enclosure's pcb which is failing failed and not the actual hard drive inside the enclosure.

    I bought this thing ~ Jan 2009. Quit working ~Jan 2010.

    Jan 2011 I decided to attempt extremes - when freezing didn't work I tried overheating :laugh:

    It's not on USB 2, it's connected via Ethernet to my router.
     
  22. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    42,377 (11.55/day)
    Thanks Received:
    9,682
    if thats on ethernet, then 30MB/s is terribad.

    <12.5 makes sense if its on 100Mb networking, but god damn... if it caps gigabit to 30MB/s, thats not fun.


    new NAS time!
     
    Black Panther says thanks.
  23. jsfitz54

    jsfitz54

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2010
    Messages:
    903 (0.57/day)
    Thanks Received:
    242
    Have you tried testing the power adapter for a short per your #19 post. If your pushing the adapter in and out there maybe a short in the wire, near the post end. Wired mice fail this way.

    It could also be the adapter itself, not good power.

    If you crack the case, the solder points for the power jack may have cracked off the board and can be resoldered.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2011
  24. Easy Rhino

    Easy Rhino Linux Advocate

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2006
    Messages:
    13,460 (4.64/day)
    Thanks Received:
    3,264
    my lacie NAS went a few months back just before warranty expire. it was actually the power brick that was the problem. for months i could hear the quick sound of a capacitor dieing inside the brick. perhaps that was your issue? also, my lacie is hella slow as well because the onboard chipset cant move data very fast. i was getting 19 MBps on a good day.
     
  25. Black Panther

    Black Panther Senior Moderator™ Staff Member

    Joined:
    May 30, 2007
    Messages:
    8,582 (3.17/day)
    Thanks Received:
    1,933
    Update: the Lacie's been functioning fine everyday now. I don't use the hair-dryer method anymore :)

    I just power it on. The drive doesn't spin, but after 20 minutes it gets really warm. At that point I remove the power jack and re-plug it in, and the drive starts spinning. If I try to do it too early (i.e. drive isn't warm enough) it won't work.

    It does get terribly hot though, testing it with an infrared thermometer gives me 56 degrees. So I bought this cheap cooler for it (it's actually a laptop cooler with adjustable 'arms', and quite effective for the price) powered by usb socket from the same HDD casing.
    [​IMG]

    Thing is now I have to keep the cooler off until the drive gets warm enough to start spinning when I remove and reinsert its power line.
    If I keep the cooler on before I start up the drive, then no matter how long I wait the drive never spins up! :laugh:



    Edit:


    Drive and cooler:

    [​IMG]



    Drive on cooler, fits quite neat and since the bottom of the drive's like wire-mesh the cooling is efficient:

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: May 3, 2011

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guest)

Share This Page