Hard Drive Circuit Board Replacement Guide or How To Swap HDD PCB

HOW TO SWAP HDD PCB

Replacing a defective hard drive circuit board is not an easy swap. The new PCB must be adapted for your hard drive. Without the necessary steps to adapt to the new circuit board, your hard drive will not function properly and data will not be accessible
Most hard drive circuit boards possess ROM, NV-RAM, or a controller chip that holds unique data required to access the hard drive system area. We call this data “PCB firmware”. If PCB firmware is missing or incorrect, there is no access to the hard drive, and no access to user data. Because of this, a simple circuit board swap will not make a faulty hard drive operational. It may be necessary to transfer the PCB firmware onto a new PCB
In many cases, the ROM or NV-RAM chip is external, and can be physically transferred (soldered) onto a new circuit board. The PCB replacement guide explains how to do this yourself. Sometimes the PCB firmware is located on the controller chip, and without a professional BGA Rework Station, it is impossible to move that chip onto a new PCB. That same controller chip is often the problem in the original PCB. In these cases, a new chip must be reprogrammed with the correct PCB firmware (which Donor Drives can generate) with access to the original failed hard drive


REPLACEMENT GUIDE

Transfer chip

Make sure the PCB Replacement is relative and that PCB firmware needs to be transferred. Read our guide carefully for instructions

Examine your hard drive circuit board to see if a ROM chip exists. The ROM is usually an 8-pin chip (4-pins on 2 sides) marked as U12 on Western Digital, or U6 or U5 on Hitachi. There is usually only one 8-pin chip on a hard drive circuit board. You will likely find a number starting with 25 on the chip. Western Digital USB-powered PCBs and some newer, large-capacity Hitachi hard drives have 2 ROM chips, so feel free to swap both

If you aren't sure which chip to swap, contact us, and we will gladly help. For Western Digital PCBs, find a U12 white marking on the chip side of the circuit board. A missing chip in place of U12 would indicate that the PCB firmware is embedded in the controller chip. That chip can be transferred by a professional with a BGA Rework Station, or reprogrammed

Once the chip has been located, perform the PCB chip swap.An overheating ROM chip can result in significant damage and data loss

The required tools are: a hot air station or heat gun, metal tweezers, grip tool, an optional soldering flux

PCB Replacement1
PCB Replacement


BRAND-SPECIFIC REPLACEMENT

WESTERN DIGITAL

WD has 2 types of PCB

Has an 8-legged U12 ROM chip that must be swapped

Has a missing U12 chip, and PCB firmware is stored in the big “M” Marvell Controller Chip. That chip can be transferred  by a professional with a BGA Rework Station, or reprogrammed

wd
marwel

?How to find a matching PCB for Western Digital HDD

SEAGATE

(These hard drives have 2 architectures: Barracuda (older) and F3 (new generation

Barracuda Architecture. These hard drives have a dot (.) in the firmware version (“3.CDA”, “8.01”, “3.03”, etc.). Most PCB swaps are simple (~85%). In the other 15%, a ROM chip must be swapped

F3 Architecture. Hard drives have no dot (.) in the firmware version (“CC94”, “0002BSM1”, “SD03”, etc.). The 8-legged firmware chip will have a number starting with 25, and must be transferred to a new circuit board

Seagate Barracuda
Seagate F3

How to find a matching PCB for Seagate HDD?

TOSHIBA

Most Toshiba boards have an 8-legged firmware chip that must be swapped. The chip will have a number starting with 25
For some Toshiba families, the chip might be missing unique adaptive data stored in the large controller chip. That chip can be transferred by a professional with a BGA Rework Station, or reprogrammed

toshiba 3.5
toshiba 2.5

HITACHI AND IBM

All Hitachi and IBM circuit boards have an 8-legged firmware chip that has a number starting with 25

hitachi

SAMSUNG

Most of the time there is no need for adaptation service, but in some cases an 8-legged firmware chip (with a number starting with 25) must be transferred

Samsung 2.5
Samsung 3.5

MAXTOR

Adaptation service not required. A simple PCB replacement should work

FUJITSU

PCB adaptation is not required, but occasionally, a firmware chip transfer is required

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