How to Replace the Pins on a Laptop Hard Drive


The laptop hard drive, mostly a reduced version of a standard hard drive, has data cable connector pins that may break off. Replacing these pins is a straightforward process that will require moderate computer hardware skills.


Things You’ll Need:

· Damaged laptop hard drive

· Replacement controller board

· Small screwdrivers (Phillips and TORX)

· Step 1

Unscrew the damaged hard drive’s TORX screws that are holding the controller circuit board in place. The controller cards contain all of the data pins, which cannot be easily re-soldered.

· Step 2

Carefully remove the controller board from the hard drive. There is a small ribbon cable on the back or bottom of the card that will tear if not handled properly. Tugging on it very gently will dislodge it. If the ribbon cable comes from the hard drive and plugs into the controller card, then it must be removed, not cut.

· Step 3

Replace the controller board with one from a similar make and model, and plug in the ribbon cable. Some manufacturers will use the same controller cards for several models over a product’s lifespan. Since the pins are very small and very close together, it is not possible to repair them once they break off. They must be replaced with the controller board.

· Step 4

Replace the TORX screws that hold the board to the hard drive. Be careful to not over- tighten them. The drive should now be installed into the laptop, and tested.


Laptop Hard Drive Circuit Board Repair

Questions to ask Before attempting any form of self data recovery or hard drive repair

· What is the problem?

· Does the hard drive spin?

· If so does it click?

· Does the armature kick out?

· Do the hard drives heads vibrate to initiate?

· Is there an odd smell to the drive?

· If it doesn’t spin do you here a slight or faint ticking sound?

· Does the BIOS see the hard drive?

· Does the BIOS see the hard drive as the correct model?

· Are there funny characters showing on boot?

· Does the operating system blue screen?

Important things you should be aware of before you do anything to a suspected failed hard drive

Static discharge will kill a hard drive when handling… especially the internal components Dust will destroy your data… DO NOT OPEN! In my experience I see so many hard drives destroyed by helpful neighbors when the problem was not situated internal of the hard drive assembly. Just because it clicks doesn’t always represent an internal failure. Swapping the electronics runs the risk of further damage, especially if the revision number of the PCB is different. You will have a greater success of data recovery with less risk if the original electronics is repaired. The Printed Circuit Board controls many functions to operate the hard disk drive, There are 5 main features of a the electronics that can be unique to each drive that is likely to fail, the first being:


The most problems we see here are mostly human era… forcing the power plug in the wrong way. Unfortunately apart from a few notebook PCB’s there is no protection fuse to prevent PCB Damage. There is also risk of power surges making it through to the electronics as well


Firmware is unique to the PCB this controls calibration and track information so it is very rare to be able to interchange the same model PCB with one that has another firmware revision… so what this means, if your board shorts out the firmware unique to the drive, you will be in trouble. Of course a good main stream data recovery company will be able to replace this and manually reprogram this chip


This controls the speed and rotation of the spindle rotating the platters internal to the hard drive assembly or HDA. These intend to get very hot at times and can often short out… The most famous of models to this was the good old quantum LCT, particularly the TDA5247HT Chip; this would go up in smoke and leave a pin hole or a very big mess on or over the IC



These rarely fail unless there has been an extreme hit by power such as a lightning strike that may cause voltage through the IDE Cable. If this does fail you would normally find visible damage.


Internal track are the thin Copper ribbons that run through the board that connect each component these can be easily damaged bay any of the above case scenarios, but one of the most common that I have seen is Corrosion. Below is a great Example of how quickly chemicals in the air from industrial workshops or even sulfa in the air from volcanic regions can cause havoc… but for most residential computer hard drives its condensation that damages a PCB


In this example this PCB was only 6 months old


Yes there’s a high chance…


If you have an exact match to the PCB you want to attempt swapping, the risk will be minimal but what allot of people don’t realize, is that code can change overtime even with exact matching parts. What this means is… if you were to purchase two NEW exact hard drives at the same time from the same batch and then swapped there PCB’s to each other, you would most likely be successful! Try that same scenario 6 months after heavy use… and results will could be very different. There’s a high chance that each PCB has made themselves unique to each drive! How can this be?

Its called SMART Technology where the hard drive is designed to reconfigure itself during operation to maximizing performance and protecting data. If a sector is read slow but functional the drive will remap this sector as bad and move this sector creating changes to track and sector information in firmware Now this new reconfigured information is unique to the drive, and can cause this PCB to be incompatible with any other drive of matching numbers. As a data recovery engineer it is always best to repair the Original electronics of a failed hard disk drive.That way you get maximum results with very little risk, Most high end data recovery companies have the expertise to replace many, if not all components on the PCB.. but not only physically but replacement, but this may also involve new components and reprogramming.


Hard Drive Head & Platter Swap Replacement


Clicking or Grinding Sounding hard drives may indicate an internal read write head Failure What should i Know before breaking the seals and attempting to replace the read write heads of a hard disk drive

· Static Electricity

· Parts

· Clean Room

· Steady Hands

· Initiation

· Removing Platters

· Balancing



Static Electricity

This could be the difference between a successful recovery and a waste of time and money when the matching hard drive parts finally arrive Be static aware as the internal components of a hard drive are far more sensitive to static electricity than the common PCB Parts Please see the hard drive parts section of this site for further information Clean Room A Clean room is more precautionary than critical but carries the reassurance of less or no dust particle platter contamination Steady Hands. You cant beat experience, doing something so delicate for the first time has so much risk associated with it rather than giving the task to a person who has done the procedure a 1000 times Correct Drive.

Diagnostics Read write heads internal of the hard drive assembly will click or sometimes behave erratically without being faulty or damaged. Common faults that can produce this outcome can be a faulty PCB or system area corruption So it is always important to cover all other aspects of fault diagnostics prior to ordering parts or opening the hard drive cover to remove the heads. Head Swap Procedure Points to NOTE Upon diagnosing that the read write heads have indeed failed Make sure you are properly grounded and protected from any static risk Have a clean environment and a can of compressed air handy for blowing off any visible contaminants Warning Heads stick to the platter of a hard drive and each other! These need to be separated from the platter prior to removal and remain separated until transferred to the faulty hard drive you are trying to recover Platter Cleaning – Can you clean a platter of a hard drive? from accidental fingerprints? The answer is yes you can Its as simple as using a Q-Tip or a micro fiber cloth dry with no chemicals .. just gently rub the surface until the print is gone Initiation. This is a process of calibration that occurs with a successful head swap has been preformed.


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