1 week old 6TB Hard Drive died advice required doing the swap Chip Trick


I bought a new Western Digital 6TB hard drive 2 weeks ago for the boss of my company and a week later the drive promptly died giving the error “AHCI Port X Device Error” when booting his PC where X was the port number the drive happened to be plugged into at the time and the error would follow the drive round to any port i plugged it into on his motherboard (other drives worked fine in the same ports). I suspected the physical hard drive was ok (the platters and motor) as i could hear it constantly spinning wihout bad clicking sounds and assumed it was just the board that had gone bad.

I had stacked the 6tb drive with data from 3 x 1tb of the bosses hard drives. I could build up the data again as i hadnt got rid of them so i havent lost any of the bosses data and he was on holiday and not using the PC at the time but my boss who i bought the new hard drive to make his machine more streamlined wants me to accomplish two seamingly at odds goals 1) Get a replacement drive back from Western Digital under Gaurantee becuase its a big personal expense he has to justify to his boss but also b) Doesnt want me to send the drive to western digital until crucial company files contained on it are secure erased.

So i did a bit of (lets call it minimal) research on the web and found you could swap a PCB from a good drive to a bad drive to access data so long as they were bought / Manufactured at roughly the same time. Well i convinced the boss to allow me to buy another western digtal hard drive of the same type as it was only a week after i bought the 1st. It arrived everything matched perfectly and labeling wise on the PCB. I got a .6 torx screw driver out and swapped the boards. I was hoping that even if it could not see the files on it at least the PC would see the drive and windows might ask me to format the drive and then after that i could secure erase the partition to be sure it was wiped and then put the bad board back on the bad hdd and send it to western digital for replacement and sell its replacement when they send it on ebay to recoup the costs of buying a second. However i got the exact same error though could clearly hear the motor spinning the drive. I worried i might of killed the good board from the newly arrived good hdd but it was still accesible after i swaped it back so no damage done.

Did some more research that led me here and i find i’ve got to swap a chip off the bad boards PCB as well so just wondered if anyone can confrm if it is just the 1 chip I need to swap for this drive. It appears that there is an 8 pin Winbond W25Q80BV chip that seems like its going to be the one. The drive is a Western Digital 6TB WD60EZRX-00MVLB1. Here’s some Pics of it:-

So what is the best technique of removing the chip? Soldering Iron or Heat gun?

Also would the chip and board withstand doing it 3 times. 1) Chip off bad board 2) Put chip on good board secure erase drive 3) Chip back on bad board?

Does anyone know of a repair outfit i can use in the UK who will be able to do it as simply and effectively swap chips without damaging the chip, board or components in close proximity?

Best Regards

Hello and welcome to the WD Community.

Please note that the procedures that you are following will void the warranty of your drive.

Let’s see if other users can provide you some information about it.

The usual cause for a spinning, but faulty, drive to remain undetected is an internal problem. It would be unusual for the PCB to be at fault.

If you insist on trying a replacement PCB, then the “W25Q80BV” chip is indeed your “ROM”, so you would need to transfer it, or its contents, from patient to donor. An easier way that does not involve removing chips would be to read and write the ROM using SeDiv or WDMarvel (US$10 for 1 month licence), assuming the board has basic sanity. I suspect that I could probably read and write the ROM using an MHDD script (freeware), although I haven’t tried it on the latest models.

http://sediv2008.narod.ru/Easy3.9Password01234567890.rar (demo version)

Hi fzabkar,

Thanks for your reply you have given me some good suggestions. I tried to get sediv to work i assume that it was a MSDOS based executable so made myself a bootable MSDOS USB stick and copied the contents and tried to run the exe but said it was a 32 bit program so assumed seeing as i was running x64 mobo i tried it on a x32 bit netbook still the same. Then thought it must be run in windows but didnt run there either bit confused about that.

Didnt gte chance to try MHDD yet i will have a go at that today. It looks very promising. If it can see the dirve when the BIOS cannot and can erase the whole contents of it that will be good enough for me.

If it can’t i really need to prove that the winbond chip actually has usuable data in it that could work if i have to do the swap trick. If MHDD can’t get anywhere with my bad board i’ll get the chip desoldered and was thinking before unsoldering the good chip off the good board i best check the winbond chip from the bad board has useable data on it. So was thinking about buying http://www.embeddedcomputers.net/products/FlashcatUSB/ and with breadboard doing something as shown here http://electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/51229/how-do-i-write-to-spi-flash-memory scroll down to where there is discussion about flash cat.

I presume within the ASCII code that will be pulled from the chip there will be some recognisable text saying western digital or other clear English text which will identify the chip as being good and containing usefull data. If it does would sedviv or mhdd allow me to write to the chip directly on the good board without desoldeirng?

Best Regards

Hi fzabkar,

Just tried the MHDD program and when i try any function say for instance SMART test results or drive Make Manufacturer info query in the program i can here not a click but a servo noise from the drive just once for one second and on screen all i get is “Drive is Not Ready” in red text.

Not sure which controller the drive will be on the program has disabled the primary. Two others appear and both of those get the same result so it is seeing something on the controller but its just not firing back with anything. Does this mean the PCB is completely trashed?

Was just wondering if i took the good working board off the good working identical model hdd i bought and put it on the bad drive (which i know from trying before will prodyuce the same AHCI Port X Device Error on POST that the bad hdd also comeds up with) will it allow access to the drive using mhdd?

If you think it would work i’ll give it a try. I presume if it is succefull and if  i do a hdd erase in mhdd nothig will overwrite the data in the winbond spi chip so i can after the erase put the god board back on the good hdd and find it still reads its contents?

Best Regards