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 Post subject: Do underpowered hard drives fail or shut down?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 8:04 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 2:37 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Dallas, Texas
My AMD Brazos system had been doing fine for months, when two hard drives failed on the same day. I had added two Nexus fans about two weeks earlier to cool the hard drives (four in total) from 45-50C down to 35C. The power supply is a picoPSU-150-XT (150W). I'm not sure, but it looks like the failure occurred at power on.

The current hypothesis is that the added fans finally tipped the power requirements of the system past the amount the PSU could deliver, but I'm not sure what the total power draw is (don't have a kill-a-watt) nor do I know if this could even harm hard drives. Does anyone have experience here?

The system is pretty bare. It's an AMD E-350 (Asus E35M1-I Deluxe M1 board, fanless), 4 green WD hard drives, an Intel mini-PCIe wifi card, and then finally two Nexus fans. I thought 150W could cover it.

If it's not the PSU, my only other guess is a faulty SATA controller.


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 Post subject: Re: Do underpowered hard drives fail or shut down?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 17, 2011 10:30 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 16, 2007 2:35 pm
Posts: 808
Location: Greece
Perhaps you should first try attaching the drives to another system to determine whether they`re really dead.

A faulty of overloaded power supply could indeed be responsible for this. It could be the pico psu or it could be the power brick (the pico psu doesn`t filter the 12v line).
I doubt you would exceed the pico psu`s limits under normal use though those 4 drives could draw a fair amount of current when they start up. Unfortunately the only way to determine this is by measuring power consumption at system startup. To get an estimation of what 4 drives would draw, you could power up the system with no drives attached, measure power, the do the same with the drives connected. The difference between the two values multiplied by two should be a decent approximation of the 4 drive`s power draw (I hope that makes sense).

Another possibility is that the drives were faulty. They usually don`t fail in pairs but you never know. Maybe they were both partially damaged during transit?

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 Post subject: Re: Do underpowered hard drives fail or shut down?
PostPosted: Thu Oct 20, 2011 11:09 pm 
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Joined: Mon May 04, 2009 2:37 pm
Posts: 4
Location: Dallas, Texas
Thanks, ntavlas. I don't have a kill-a-watt, but I might be able to hook up the power to an oscilloscope I have at work to measure the load at power-up.

I might just replace the PSU with a Seasonic fanless just to be safe.


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 Post subject: Re: Do underpowered hard drives fail or shut down?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 25, 2011 8:59 pm 
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Joined: Fri Dec 17, 2010 9:44 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
This happened to my system as well. Underpowered hard drives shut down, but their heads are parked in an awkward position and have difficulty starting up.
To solve my problem, I put the hard drives in another system as a secondary drive. After a few seconds from boot up, I could access the data stored on the hard drive. Then I put the hard drive back in the original system, and it started normally.

Hopefully it works for you.


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