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 Post subject: Troubleshooting Spinpoint 1614N Failure
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:13 am 
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Sorry if this gets long. I want to include as many details as possible. The situation is described in detail, the questions I have are at the bottom.

Last week, my wife was working on the computer and called to say Windows had locked up. The machine then rebooted itself and could not get past the "Detecting IDE drives...." message on the BIOS. Tried many on/off cycles. Nothing.

Open the case and find that the Master Spinpoint 1614N is not spinning. This drive is suspended just below my FDD cage, with the PCB facing up, the drive horizontal to the ground, and a grounding wire to the case. I've had these drives less than 6 months. The drive gives a faint twitch when first powered on but nothing else. The Slave Spinpoint 1614N spins up fine. The Slave drive is mounted in a SD2002 that is turned on its side so that the drive is vertical (perpendicular to the floor) and the SD2002 sits on the bottom of the case against the removable side. I had both drives on a rounded cable, but switching to a flat 80-pin cable gave the same results. These drives use the same set of wires from the PSU, but switching one drive or both drives to an alternate set of power wires gave the same result. Tried the drive in an external enclosure to try to troubleshoot the PSU and IDE controller. Same result--no spin.

I finally got the drive to spin up by grounding myself to the case (all work with the case open is done with a grounding strap on my wrist), holding the drive PCB-side-down in my hand and gently (or sometimes not so gently) "tapping" the side of the drive with the ball of the palm of my hand. I typically did this just as the PC was powering on, hoping to get the extra "power-on" burst that HDDs use to get spinning. I was able to make an image to the Slave drive. :)

Removed the Master, put the Slave into the Master position (now suspended under the FDD cage and running on IDE1 Master). This involved a 90° turn for the HDD. Restored my image to this drive and was 10 minutes into backing up to an external Firewire drive when the HDD started grinding and came to a stop. Subsequent reboots--no spin, just a very faint click (about 12-15 in 3 seconds, then a 2 second pause then repeats).

Of course, because I had improperly assumed that both drives would not fail, I had already erased my first drive (using Autoclave) to get it ready to RMA. :oops::o I typically backup at the first of the month. This all started January 28. :roll: :oops: Now I was out a month of email, etc. Not too bad, but would rather have all my data back.

AArrrrrgghhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!! :lol:

I installed a Seagate 60GB V and put a basic Win2K install on it. And put the second failed 1614N in the slave position.

For all my free time for 2 days I tried to get my second failed drive to boot/spin. I even tried swapping the PCBs on the two drives. Just the ticking. :cry: Finally after praying for the return of my data, I move past gentle taps and start beating my drive. Full hand slaps to the top and the side. Pounding the side with the ball of my palm and FINALLY....putt-putt-putt..... it spins up. :shock: I am able to image the data AND get a copy to an external HDD as well. :D

ANALYSIS and QUESTIONS:
  • When one drive failed I chalked it up to simple component failure.
  • When the second drive failed, I wondered if something happened because of the 90° turn when I moved the drive from vertical to horizontal and put it in the new mounting position.
  • But then I start to wonder if there is something wrong with my PSU or HDD controller on the motherboard that could have caused the motor failures. Is there any way to test this other than waiting to see if my Seagate drive fails, too?
    When I get the data restored to the Seagate drive, I plan to run MBM to see if I am having any severe fluctuations in the PSU rails. When I was running MBM while backing up to the external drive, the 12V oscilated between 11.73 and 11.80--but not systematically--the changes did not follow a pattern, but .07 doesn't seem like a big fluctuation. The 3V and 5V rails seemed stable.
  • Other opinions or suggestions?


Thanks!!!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 7:36 am 
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:twisted: - WOW!!

My considered opinion was a flaky power cable, until a re-read showed you had eliminated that (both a different cable, and the external enclosure).

Thing is (at least with the second drive, and probably with the first) not only is it reluctant to spin up, it actually spins down when already running. So not just the starter circuits (if any) causing problems.

But it is not a case of fundamental drive problems (the platters falling off the spindles or breaking) because in both cases a bit (lot?) of open fist therapy caused a temporary recovery.

Also would be hard to believe that a 'duff' psu can cause so much collateral damage to 2 drives without other symptoms (so far). The hdd motors run off +12V - do you know if your VCore regulation is from +12V (P4, some recent AMD) or +5V (all others)?

I will be stunned if the normal/temporary drive orientation has anything to do with it, or the soft mounting. Not sure if SPCR/MikeC is interested in pulling some Samsung strings to try get a proper post-mortem done to find out what has happened?

ps - does the IDE cable include a READY and/or POWERDOWN signal (to actually trigger motor start/stop, or is the (power down) via timer values in registers in the HDD? The train of thought being your mobo/cables are failing to assert READY (or START or some similar signal), or persistently asserting POWERDOWN (or STOP ...) ?

pps - dry joints (in both drives) between the molex +12V pin and the hdd mobo? or the joints broken because the psu cable molex +12V female caused the same pain to each drive?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Fri Feb 06, 2004 8:09 am 
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dukla2000 wrote:
Also would be hard to believe that a 'duff' psu can cause so much collateral damage to 2 drives without other symptoms (so far). The hdd motors run off +12V - do you know if your VCore regulation is from +12V (P4, some recent AMD) or +5V (all others)?

P4 - see sig. VCore seemed stable in MBM, but I will keep an eye on it when I log.

Quote:
ps - does the IDE cable include a READY and/or POWERDOWN signal (to actually trigger motor start/stop, or is the (power down) via timer values in registers in the HDD? The train of thought being your mobo/cables are failing to assert READY (or START or some similar signal), or persistently asserting POWERDOWN (or STOP ...) ?

Is this ruled out by the failure to boot in the external enclosure? Unless the same pin on the drive-side on both drives was somehow damaged.

Quote:
pps - dry joints (in both drives) between the molex +12V pin and the hdd mobo? or the joints broken because the psu cable molex +12V female caused the same pain to each drive?

I tried a lot of wiggling of the power connectors. Not abuse, but gentle wiggles to see if it was a connection problem. I don't remember them being broken or loose... and I looked, but maybe not close enough. It's worth another look....I'll take a closer peek when I get home tonight.

Thanks!


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 07, 2004 11:35 am 
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*BUMP* Come on Ralf, where are you man? I need your expert opinion! :)


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 5:17 am 
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I read this yesterday and between the troubleshooting you've already done and what Dukla suggested, I can't think of anything particularly constructive to add.

I will say that I doubt that your 12V rail is causing the problem. You apparently haven't checked thoroughly yet but you'll probably find some variation in the voltage on your 12V rail over time. This is very normal on P4 boxes though, as the CPU runs off the 12V rail so it's quite normal to see it sag some under load. If this sort of activity was enough to damages HDDs we would have seen a lot more dead drives over the past 2+ years.

One more thing, FWIW. As I've stated in my "I love the SP80 drives" gushes, the reliability of this series of drives is a big unknown. Samsung doesn't have a big track record to work with and these are brand new drives. Look what happened with the 75GXPs. They were everyone's favorite drive until they started dropping like flies. Now they're one of, if not the most reviled HDDs in history. I have noticed a seemingly disproportionate number of people haveing "issues" (i.e. the effing drive is dead :) ) with these Samsung drives but there's no way for us to tell if that's statically significant.

Because these are a brand new series of drives from a relatively unknown manufacturer I've always been more careful than usual about backing up the important data that's on my SP80's. I personally use two of them and I've installed two or three into customer boxes and I haven't had any issues with any of them yet (knock wood) so I can't really offer any other pearls of wisdom. Sorry.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 7:09 am 
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as posted elsewhere i've suffered 2 seperate Samsung drives fail on me... the 1st i put in another machine as my PVR backup.. i only recently found out that its got 20gig of bad sectors on it now so i will be trying to get that swopped..

I've lost data on the one that happened most recently (last week), so i'm a bit baffled as well... mine seem to spin up ok but i've never really looked too closely.. i power down the machine after one of these failures.. turn it back on.. various states of windows being screwed and i then transport it to a 2nd PC to try and see if any data survived.. then i slowly attempt to rebuild it with reinstalls etc.. annoyingly i'm now using 2 of these in a software raid mirror on my backup machine running linux.. hopefully they'll be ok.. they seem to be so far..

I'm seriously considering going back to Seagates.. i have had one fail on me, but i've also had another 3 that were fine.. its the performance loss that i'll miss..

Be nice to maybe have a poll on who has had trouble with these drives.. may be interesting to see if we can get anything statistically significant from that..


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 8:36 am 
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Ralf Hutter wrote:
I read this yesterday and between the troubleshooting you've already done and what Dukla suggested, I can't think of anything particularly constructive to add.


Thanks! :)

I was wondering if you would have a link to any software that I should be using to test the IDE channels/controllers, etc.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 12:24 pm 
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aphonos wrote:
Ralf Hutter wrote:
I read this yesterday and between the troubleshooting you've already done and what Dukla suggested, I can't think of anything particularly constructive to add.


Thanks! :)

I was wondering if you would have a link to any software that I should be using to test the IDE channels/controllers, etc.


I've seen Event Viewer pick up errors on the IDE channels before, you might want to take a look at the logs to see if there's anything interesting in there.

I suppose you could run a drive testing app like HDtach, ATTO or IOmeter to see if everything's benchmarking like it should, but I doubt that would actually tell you anything useful. Probably your best bet would be to run that "hutil" or whatever the Samsung disk checking utility is, just to do a general HDD health check.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 12:26 pm 
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jimbobUK wrote:
Be nice to maybe have a poll on who has had trouble with these drives.. may be interesting to see if we can get anything statistically significant from that..


I don't think we could generate enough data to make it statistically significant.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Feb 08, 2004 4:22 pm 
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Put me on "THE LIST". Mine is RMA'ed and going back in the AM.

GEEEZZZZ why didn't I procrastinate ordering my spinpoing for another week?


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 18, 2004 5:22 pm 
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I don't know how I missed this thread so long ago, but one piece of software that has been recommended to me from multiple sources is Spinrite. Although it's probably way too late to help you, Aphonos, this might help someone else out.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Sep 05, 2004 7:34 am 
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Thanks for the detailed analysis - very appreciated as my drive has just had similar problems...but now doing a backup as we speak thanks to the tapping drive technique.

My drive is suspended in the front of my case, no earth wire, using standard IDE cable and it is the only device on the channel.

My machine is always on, so i rarely restart. But on the last 3 occassions - namely 2 driver installs and a shutdown so we could change the power cabling in the house, the hd has failed to be detected in POST.

I tried other pc's etc and was just getting the "should have sorted my backup technique" thoughts when i found this thread.

Now to decide whether to replace the drive with an identical one, or a different manufacturer.


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