Disk not spinning up

Ernie Luzar luzar722 at gmail.com
Sun Sep 17 20:29:08 UTC 2017

Polytropon wrote:
> This is more a hardware question than a FreeBSD question, but
> as FreeBSD is involved, I think it's worth being asked here
> due to the experienced, intelligent, creative and (in an
> entirely positive sense) "unusual" participants on this list.
> I have a harddisk Quantum Fireball with ca. 1 GB capacity
> (yes, that's GB, not TB). It's a (P)ATA / "IDE" disk with
> a 40 pin connector for a flat cable, configured as master.
> The disk has been in use in a system that I built around 1995
> and which I occasionaly used over the years. The last system
> activation was yesterday. Today, the disk just didn't spin up
> again.
> After extracting the disk from the system and using my fine
> "forensics adaptor" to power it, it made short cranking sounds
> (ca. 1 per second) and short beeps from time to time, then went
> silent. I can repeat this.
> Now I probably did something stupid, but a radio amateur friend
> had success with this approach on a 40 MB disk (yes, that's MB,
> not GB). I _opened_ the disk (with gloves, face mask and cap,
> just to minimize the dust falling from my head into the disk)
> and saw the central motor "rotate" clockwise and counterclockwise
> for less than 1/4 rotation. I tried to "help" the disk spin up
> as you can imagine, but it would not do so.
> My question:
> Had anyone had success getting such a disk work again? Is it
> worth searching my "museum" for a replacement controller? Or
> does it look more like a motor failure than a controller failure?
> I can read the disk with my "forensics adapter" like this (tested
> with the other 1.2 GB disk from the same system):
> 	$ sudo mount -t msdosfs -o ro /dev/da3s1 /mnt
> That's the FreeBSD-related part in this question. But of course,
> a disk not spinning up won't be recognized by the system. I'd like
> to at least access the disk once to copy as much as I can.
> Are there any ideas, options, chances, suggestions or experiments
> other than "throw it out of the window"? :-)

The bearing the disk platters rotate on has lubricant that with usage 
and time has dried out somewhat. Taping the top side of the drive on a 
flat surface some times works.

The best approach is to per-warn up the drive hardware before trying to 
power it on. Put a bear light bulb or shine a flood light from a close 
distance on to the metal covered side, IE; not the circuit board side, 
until it gets almost to hot to touch. Then power it on and and away you 
go almost every time this happens.

Good luck.

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