Have you ever swapped the controller board of your HDD?

Hi guys!

Recently, the HDD (a 2TB caviar green) on my MBL passed away without apparent reason. I took it and plugged it to a PC through the SATA port, but the motherboard fails to detect it.

My guess, then, as the drive makes no clicking noises, is that the problem is in the controller. I read that there is a possibility to buy another controller board, flash you eeprom data on it, and if the problem is in the controller board, it will theoretically work, isn’t it?

I would like to ask you your opinion on this issue, with the limited information I am providing here. Have you any experience on swapping the controller card? What was the condition on the drive before swapping it, that led you to think that swapping the controller card would solve the issue?

The MBL is still under warranty, should I, given the low chances to get the data back, forget about the data and get my money back? The loss of the data is not a really big deal. I would love to get it back, but it won’t be a big issue to lose it.


If the drive spins up, then the PCB is rarely at fault. If there is a chip at U12, then it will cost you at most US$50 to try a PCB swap.

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The drive seems to be completely dead, it doesn’t make any noise, and does not vibrate. I checked in two different computers and the NAS enclosure.

Examine the PCB. In particular check the motor controller IC (eg SMOOTH) and the TVS diodes.

See http://www.users.on.net/~fzabkar/HDD/bigcircuitboard_diodes.jpg

Also look for an 8-pin chip at location U12.

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I know it’s been a while, but I wanted to reply in case I can help someone in the future.

I swapped the PCB. It was only $50 to try, so I tried, and it worked.

In my case, the symptoms were a drive that was totally silent when powered, no noises, no clicks, the motors were not spinning. The diodes and the motor controled in the faulty pcb seemed OK, but I noticed that the contacts on the PCB were a bit rusty, so maybe that was the cause of failure. 

I know it is a very particular case, but I wanted to share my experience. I used onpcbsolution. They are from Canada and took like a month and half since I shipped it till I got my PCB back to the UK, and they were very friendly and helpful.

It’s the same that is happening to me with a 3TB RED…

So, did you swapped the controller or sent the entire pcb to canada?