While searching for information about something else, I stumbled across the following Youtube video which shows how to modify a MyBook USB to SATA controller card to allow hard drives from other manufacturers to be used within the enclosure.
The video clearly shows a Winbond 25X20CLV1G flash memory chip, which likely contains custom firmware written by WD. The author of the video removes pin 8 of the chip to allow hard drives from different manufacturers to be used, but doesn’t go into much detail.
This peaked my curiosity, so I located the specifications sheet for the Winbond 25X20CLV1G flash memory chip to see exactly what function pin 8 performs. As it turns out, pin 8 is VCC. In other words, pin 8 provides power to the entire chip, and removing power effictively renders the chip inoperative.
Afterwards, the video shows an ASMedia ASMT 2115 USB device being detected by Windows, which appears to be an off-the-shelf USB controller chip. And this is where things get interesting…
If removing power to the Winbond 25X20CLV1G flash memory chip allows hard drives from different manufacturers to be used within the enclosure, does it also disable hardware encryption?
I’d test it myself, but I haven’t owned a MyBook drive since losing all my data due to a failed controller card and secret hardware encryption. Regardless, testing it would be fairly simple, but doing so would certainly void the warranty.
- Modify the controller card as shown in the video.
- Format a drive using the controller card.
- Write some data to the drive using the controller card.
- Remove the controller card and attach the drive directly to a computer.
- See if the data can be read.