[nSLUG] Re Failing Hard drive
jim at on-site.ns.ca
Tue Dec 13 20:09:34 AST 2005
When the good lady's hard drive died for the 2nd time I bet the vendor
supplied an exact replacement mounted in exactly the same way.
Hard drives are relatively tough units. But like humans they need to
breathe. Having them in enclosures, or without open free air space above
and below will kill them as sure as you can suffocate.
Recently Dell have shipped a very defective product with similar
failures. It is a combination of very poor air circulation within the
case and a batch of hard drives that were heat sensitive. Many failures
and some repeats in 6 months or less!
The power supply was likely only a contributor. Buying an off brand
drive, or a drive with only a 12 month warranty, or having it mounted
inappropriately are the more likely causes. A big cause of failures is
the fan in the power supply. Cheap power supplies have very cheap fans.
The reason they use $.59 fans is they are all out of $.49 fans.
Having a computer in a cabinet or pushed hard against a wall will
restrict the air outlet from the power supply fan. In some cases the sir
will go out, up, around and back in the front. Now hot heated air is
entering the computer not cool air.
Some vendors complicate life by putting the hard drive at the top of the
case above the power supply where the air stagnates. Others insist on
having the floppy mounted in close contact above the hard drive, or even
worse having two hard drives one above each other and then the floppy.
The meat in this sandwhich, the upper hard drive, will die very quickly,
as in months.
Probably the greatest shame in all this is the vendor is not aware enough
to realize that they could have prevented most of these faults. Careful
assembly and placement will allow the worst of case designs to still
provide enough air to the Hard Drive.
I gave up on Maxtor a long while ago and then dropped WD when they went
to 1 year warranty for some models. I currently buy Seagate as they have
a 5 year warranty. I have pressed the Seagate rep repeatedly to confirm
that they have made engineering changes to allow them to offer this
warranty. They have assured me that they do not expect to have to make
good on very many warranty claims.
I don't consider Samsung, Fujitsu or other such names as Brand Name
Some drives have internal temperature monitoring. They record the
duration of elevated temperatures, on the engineering tracks. If a drive
goes back with failures that are found to be caused by overheating, the
warranty is denied.
Most drive makers are very careful to say that drives MUST have certain
volumes of air flow over them. Most resellers have never heard or read
such documentation. Others plain and simply don't care.
It must be said that if the lady referred to in the original posting has
high speed Internet and no router or other secure firewall, her hard
drive failures could in some cases have been some of the more crippling
virii that have been about. Some actually can damage the hard drive, or
give symptoms that mimic hard drive failure.
Finally the AOpen motherboard may have a case of bad caps. These will
sometimes give hard drive failure symptoms. The computer lights but the
drives don't. Check the MB for swollen or ruptured caps around the CPU
or RAM. I have had two with these defects in the last month. Both
worked fine with new caps, but exhibited hard drive failure before
replacing the caps. I stock hundreds of High Temp, Panasonic brand
replacements for this very reason.
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