PCB swap and firmware transfer

PCB swap and firmware transfer

Tutorial: how to swap hard drive PCB
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Swapping the PCB is a common and easy way to fix a hard drive for data recovery purpose.

If the hard drive PCB got problem, people would go around to find an identical good hard drive to take off the good PCB to replace the bad one and hope it will rescue the hard drive. If the hard drive back to life, they would jump high to celebrate it, if not , they would curse the hard drive disk was bad.

Actually, this simple PCB swapping method only works on very few types of old hard drives. for the new hard drives this simple PCB swap method is still a must , but only a half way to success, what is the other half then? 

PCB firmware(BIOS) transfer

 What is the hard drive PCB  firmware( BIOS) ?

One PCB includes two parts:

 1. Hardware (components)

 2. PCB BIOS (data in the chip)

 Why do we have to transfer the PCB BIOS from the old board to the new board?

The PCB BIOS includes hard drive’s UNIQUE configuration data.

The hard drive needs this UNIQUE configuration data to work.

So, we have to transfer this “UNIQUE configuration data” from the original (bad) board to the donor board, then the donor board can work on the old hard drive.

That is why swapping the PCB without "PCB firmware (BIOS) transfer" would not work for the most hard drives.

 Is it the BIOS on the disk of the hard drive?

No, the PCB board BIOS is on the PCB, not on the disks of the hard drive.

Hard drive PCB firmware (BIOS) transfer

The hard drive PCB BIOS is either in one or two independent SMD memory chip on the board or integrated into the PCB Main IC (normally the biggest square chip on the board).

Because the hard drive PCB is damaged, we cannot work from the port of the PCB . So we have to work on the chip directly.

If the PCB firmware (BIOS) is in the independent chip, we can swap the memory chip to transfer the board BIOS.

If the PCB BIOS is integrated into the Main IC, we have to swap the Main IC.

Here are the Tutorials of how to swapping the hard drive PCB :

See all the tutorials