Fixing a broken Western Digital Caviar Green hard drive – Part 1

So today i got a new project. Fixing a 1 TB Western Digital Caviar Green. It does not work, i tried connecting it to my computer without any luck. I checked both disk management and the BIOS. So next was to get a donor drive to try and solve the problem. I got told that there is a lot of important stuff on the drive, so i had to be very careful with it.

Western Digital Drive
Western Digital Drive

Mechanical problem or PCB problem

So now the question is, is this a mechanical problem or is it a problem with the PCB? After a lot of research I find that this is most likly a PCB problem. So to swap a PCB i need to know two things, the model number and PCB number. In my case the model number is WD10EACS and the PCB number is 2060-701537-004. The PCB number does also have a “REV A” behind, but people on the internet say that this should not matter if this is a A, B, C and so on.

Western Digital Caviar Green donor drive

I managed to find a similar drive on ebay on $140 USD, it is definitely not worth the money. But it is worth the money saving the data on the drive. So i started with swapping the PCB boards and guess what, the drives shows up in the BIOS as a drive with 0 GB of storage. It did not show up in disk management, so what now?

I did some more research online and it looks like Western Digital drives need some more adjustment and a simple PCB swap would not work. So it looks like there is some kind of 8 pin firmware chip that needs to be swapped. But none of my drives have this chip.

What to do next?

So now I am out of ideas, and I did some more research finding out that the controller chip needs to be transferred or reprogrammed. And it is not recommended that i do this my self, someone professional needs to do it. I am leaving this post on some kind of a cliff hanger, because I am not sure what do to.

Product used in this post

Will the Marvell 88SE9215 Sata 3 controller card work with FreeNAS?

So I promised that I would make an update on the Marvell 88SE9215 sata controller card for FreeNAS. Like you probably know, it have been nearly one year since I build my NAS, and the Marvell board have not failed once. I have 2 drives connected to it in Raid 1, and it seems to work just fine.

So will the Marvell 88SE9215 work with FreeNAS?

Yes it will, and you can find the correct one here: I am currently on FreeNAS 9.10. So if you are on an older version, I cannot guarantee you that it will work on your system.

Marvell 88SE9215
Marvell 88SE9215

What about the NAS?

The NAS has been doing its ting. No problems at all. It is only one thing that keeps annoying me, is that I cannot add more RAM. And it bothers me so much, because i see the RAM gets maxed out every time i use the NAS. But i cannot see that it affects the server, it still does its job without problems.

I am thinking of adding two more drives to my NAS, because the ones i have now is maxed out on about 90%, above the recommended. Not sure of what size i am going to go for, but probably 1 TB or more. I have a really low budget on computer parts after the Noctua and RX 480 upgrade of my main computer, so the NAS is not really on top priorities right now.

Other than that, i did not know that it was possible to remove the front cover of the Fractal Design Node 304. So just imagine the amount of dust that was collected in the air filters. And yes, there are fan filters there. Bet you are as surprised as I am if you have the same Node 304 case.

Old Hard Drive benchmark – Samsung HD154UI – Update #2

This is a follow up on the 6 year old Samsung HD154UI 1.5 TB Hard Drive. So i wanted to test my old hard drive to check if it is any good, and the results look bad. I tested my SSD’s, my 2 TB drives and the 1.5 TB drive.

Here are the results:

From top left: Samsung 850 SSD 120GB, Samsung 850 SSD 250GB, Seagate 2TB (in raid 1 so only one test) and the old Samsung HD154UI 1.5 TB.

As you see the old drive is a bit far behind on my seagate hard drives, about 100 MB/s. And even worse on the SSD’s. The SSD’s are about 5-6 times the speed, and that is impressing for the SSD’s, but not for my old drive. I got a motherboard and cables that supports Sata 3. Every drive is Sata 3 without my old hard drive, the Samsung HD154UI, it is Sata 2. So the problem is probably there.

So here we did some good results, i am a bit worried of the speed if i put the drive in the NAS server. Because it would not be the internet that slows down the transfer speed, but the drive. I should think about buying two new drives. It would have been fun to use this drive to, to check how long it would have survived.

Thanks for reading. Leave a comment if you have any questions or want me to test other stuff. 🙂


Products used in this post:

More storage devices – NAS Project – Update #2

My NAS motherboard does only have 2 Sata slots, so i would need 4 more. I found a lot of cards online, on both eBay and Amazon. But my motherboard does only have one PCIe x1 slot, so not all cards would fit on my motherboard. A card that works great with FreeNAS is a SAS card, but it does not fit on my motherboard so i do need to find another one, like a Marvell 88SE9215.

Generic Internal SAS SATA 9211-8i
Generic Internal SAS SATA 9211-8i

I do recommend this SAS card (2 SAS slots, with the cable it will be 8 Sata slots): Generic Internal SAS SATA 9211-8i 6Gbps 8 Ports HBA PCI-E RAID Controller Card

You would also need some SAS to Sata cables: Cable Matters Internal Mini-SAS to 4x SATA Forward Breakout Cable 3.3 Feet

Why choose a SAS card instead of a normal Sata card? Well, it got some issues having a normal Sata card, some of them is that it does not allow you to run SMART on your drives. But anyway, i am using the Sata card because it fits in my PCIe x1, and it is a bit cheaper. It is a risk to take, i have read that sometimes it would not work, but i am taking the risk. I found Marvell 88SE9215 Sata card for $36.5 USD, it got 4 x Sata 3 slots. It is not important that it got Sata 3 (Sata 2 is fine), but why not.

Marvell 88SE9215
Marvell 88SE9215

Marvell 88SE9215 Sata card: IO Crest 4 Port SATA III PCI-e 2.0 x1 Controller Card Marvell Non-Raid with Low Profile Bracket SI-PEX40064

Something i have been thinking about is what to do if i want 6 sata drives and what to do with the SSD that store my FreeNAS OS. If that day comes, i think i would install FreeNAS on a USB, not recommend but i think it will work.

Updates on how the Marvell 88SE9215 card did, will come in future posts.

6 year old Samsung HD154UI 1.5 TB Hard Drive – Update #1

I want to show you my 6 year old Samsung HD154UI 1.5 terabyte hard drive. The average disk lives about 4 years, and that is why this Samsung drive impresses me, the production date is 2009 and 7 years later with 6 years of daily usage it still works.

My old harddrive
My old harddrive

I did replace it with a 120 GB SSD Samsung 850 about 6 months ago, and have since then used it as a backup device until today. I do also have 2 x 2 TB Seagate hard drives that i bought about 1 year ago. If you did read my NAS server project, you would probably already know what i am going to do with the disks. Yes, put them in the NAS.

This means i will have 2 x 2 TB and 1 x 1,5 TB storage on the NAS. I am thinking of buing another one so i would have RAID 1 on the 2 x 2 TB and the 1,5 TB. But i am unsure if i want to have a 1 TB or 2 TB drive with the 1,5 TB, because it will probably die soon anyway, so i would replace it with the same amount as the other new one.

On my daily pc i will have the 120 GB Samsung 850 SSD and another 250 GB Samsung 850 SSD. I do like the SSD’s, it comes with an easy to use software and they got a great design. Maybe not the cheapest or the best SSD’s on the market, but it depends on what you like.

I will update you with some smart tests in the next post.


Products used in this post: