Disk not spinning up

Steve Burton steve at sliderule.demon.co.uk
Mon Sep 18 18:54:53 UTC 2017

On 17/09/2017 21:29, Ernie Luzar wrote:
> 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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> .
You'll need more than luck if you're trying to take a light bulb from a 


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