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Occasional Visitor
airdoc42
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-16-2012
0

Fixed a Western Digital External 2T Hard Drive with Broken USB

OS: Windows 7

Like quite a few othesr, I also had my USB port break off my external hard drive controller (PCB or printed circuit board).
I freaked out...typical, no backup to almost 1T of data. (we won't do that again!)

The drive was powered and showing active (blue light on steady) but did not have a drive letter assigned and did not show up in MY COMPUTER. It did show up in Disk Management but said it needed to be initialized and there were no partitions. This seems to be the typical scenario occurring from what I've read.

I've read that initializing possibly will put your data in jeopardy so that was not an option for me..

Tried a new Dynex enclosure - no help. Western Digital Smartware encryption prevented the data from being 'seen' by Windows although the activity light on the enclosure did show activity (steady blue) 

Here's what I did to repair it.....

-Carefully removed it from the WD enclosure (of course voiding the warranty but who cares?? Data was more important.

-found the broken USB inside and took it and the PCB to a repairman who has micro soldering tools and is skillful in this type of repair. 

- he used 5 minute epoxy to resecure 3 of the 4 leg mounts on the USB to the PCB (while the epoxy was hardening, he carefully alligned the broken pins between the USB connector and the pins remaining on the PCB to get them in the best position to make a solder connection..

- the 4th leg mount is a circuit GND so that was soldered back in place.

- he then soldered the 5 prongs from the USB back to the ones on the board, ck'd it with an oscilloscope to make sure there were no short circuits .....so far , so good


- I reconnected the PCB to the hard drive, plugged the hard drive into my laptop AND.....

IT WORKED LIKE A CHARM!!!

Drive E; appeared (the correct letter for my configuration)


Should this happen to you, find a computer repairman, radio repairman, tv repairman...etc. Anyone who can solder micro connections, works with PCB's etc. if it's just a mechanical breakage, there's a good chance that this is the most effective and cost efficient way to get your drive back in working condition.

The whole process took him about 45min to 1 hr.

Occasional Visitor
airdoc42
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎07-16-2012
0

Re: Fixed a Western Digital External 2T Hard Drive with Broken USB

Also just a quick note....

IF ANYONE HAS A SUCCESSFUL REPAIR, MAKE SURE YOU POST IT ON THIS FORUM.

 

IT'S OF THE UTMOST IMPORTANCE TO POST WHEN WE HAVE A GOOD FIX!!


THIS WILL PROVIDE SOME VERY IMPORTANT FEEDBACK AND I'M SURE WILL SAVE SOMEONE A LOT OF STRESS AND HEARTACHE!!

GOOD LUCK EVERYONE!1

Respected Contributor
Wayne
Posts: 1,078
Registered: ‎12-08-2009
0

Re: Fixed a Western Digital External 2T Hard Drive with Broken USB

yeah, I heard a couple of other users that successfully did the same thing.  thanks for the confirmaion.

Esteemed Contributor
Awopero
Posts: 1,017
Registered: ‎11-03-2011
0

Re: Fixed a Western Digital External 2T Hard Drive with Broken USB

that's really good to know...

Click the Kudos star to say thank you for helpful posts and be sure to come back and 'Accept as Solution' under options for the post that solved your issue.
Valued Contributor
Keith
Posts: 359
Registered: ‎09-22-2010
0

Re: Fixed a Western Digital External 2T Hard Drive with Broken USB

Yes, this is such a simple fix for a simple problem. I do this for free because it saves so much hassle and takes less than hour.

 

 

Regular Visitor
Trailblazen
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎02-03-2013
0

Re: Fixed a Western Digital External 2T Hard Drive with Broken USB

This literally just happened to me and at the WORST possible time.  First off my laptop HDD crashed due to multiple issues with my OS so I was in the process of starting up with a virtual OS disc to recover the contents (IMPORTANT WORK INFO!) and the USB connector came off inside the enclosure for my 2TB WD external hdd when I was hooking it up to pull the 300GB of data......now I am down 2 hard drives.  I have an extended warranty through AAFES (Base Exchange on military base) but I don't see how I would be able to recover my data since they would probably just send me a new drive and take mine back without transfering data.....So it boils down to voiding my warranty and recovering my data with this fix or chance sending it in.  I really feel better about this whole debacle that the resolder has fixed it for folks.  I have almost 1TB of data on the external (photo archives, ect.) so need to get this fixed one way or another and this data is also more important than a warranty if it comes down to it.  Thank you for the confidence that my years of photos,etc I backed up to this drive may not be gone forever.  I will post back once the dust settles if this worked.  Luckily my custom built laptop has 2 HDD drive slots and I will be able to slave in a new HDD to pull everything off the failing drive....just means I am down my laptop for a few days for work and until i decide what to do about my external that too.

 

Signed,

Insult to Injury

Valued Contributor
Keith
Posts: 359
Registered: ‎09-22-2010
0

Re: Fixed a Western Digital External 2T Hard Drive with Broken USB

Well.. I'm always fixing connectors and wires and things like that on my own stuff as well as around the neighborhood. So if you just busted the connector (and nothing else) then it's easy fix.

 

In the event the connector breakage has damaged the board traces, those can usually be worked around. And typically repairs like this can still last the lifetime of the drive if done correctly. It would void your warranty for sure - but you'd get your data back, and your same disk that would continue to operate just fine. If you send in to WD, now, as it is, you'll get a recertified RMA exchange disk WITHOUT your data.

 

You can try finding a qualified electronics repair shop, they should do it for less than $50.00 parts + labor together. A data recovery shop, one the specializes in disk repair and data recovery operations will charge more, but some of them are approved by WD to effect repairs and NOT void the warranty.

 

Personally, I believe that WD (and other mfgs) should do repairs on these connectors for a small fee and return your disk with the data intact. These connectors break too often.

Regular Visitor
Trailblazen
Posts: 2
Registered: ‎02-03-2013
0

Re: Fixed a Western Digital External 2T Hard Drive with Broken USB

Suprisingly I called WD and even though my HDD has been out of warranty a month or two they are courtesy replacing it.  I actually am getting Geeksquad data recovery to pull it from the old one for an extremely smaller fee than exected ($100).

Valued Contributor
Keith
Posts: 359
Registered: ‎09-22-2010
0

Re: Fixed a Western Digital External 2T Hard Drive with Broken USB

Geek Squad will temporarily solder on a connector, copy the data, then unsolder the connector, and return the disk to you.

 

 WD is getting better at making things right when it makes sense to do so. In the case of a slightly out-of-warranty disk with a busted connector it makes more sense than ever.

 

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