Seagate ST39173N 9.1GB Narrow SCSI Drive failure

Jules Richardson jules.richardson99 at
Wed Oct 13 08:35:32 CDT 2010

Pete Turnbull wrote:
> Doc wrote:
>> Mark Wickens wrote:
>>> My (limited) diagnostic skills would point towards a drive motor 
>>> controller failure, or less likely sticking heads. Given that the 
>>> drive has been powered down and up on a number of occasions without 
>>> issue I'm thinking it is probably a controller failure rather than a 
>>> head problem, but I'm open to alternative opinions.
>>   I've gotten my data off of more than one SCSI drive by freezing it 
>> and whacking it.  Let it stabilize in the freezer for a few hours, 
>> drop it flat from a foot or so, and plug it in *quickly* to a system 
>> that can take a backup.
>>   It's a one-shot deal - that's invariably been the last time the 
>> drive spun up.
> Useful, I agree, and often successful, though one should remember to 
> check that the electronics aren't covered in condensation when you power 
> it up :-)

Indeed. I've used big pans of ice sat upon the drive before as a way of 
keeping the temperature down long enough to get the data off - seems to work 
well (just use something as a non-conductive barrier on the PCB side).

If that Seagate drive is the one I'm thinking of, they had a reputation for 
running hot and slowly cooking themselves :-(  I think I have one with a 
narrow interface still, but it's overseas so unfortunately I'm not getting to 
it any time soon.

If the problem is heads stuck to platters, then worst-case you could open the 
drive up and try freeing them by turning the spindle manually - I've had good 
results with that in the past. Do it in as clean an environment that you can 
manage (and ditch the drive afterwards, obviously).



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