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Petri Wessman's weblog

More specific Maxtor drive specs

Some more info from DataPrey, it seems that the actual “must match” data of the drive I’m looking for is the following:

Maxtor
Model: 33073H3 
Code: YAH814Y0 
N,M,B,E 
PCB code: C9DLA

The other codes are not that important. Pity, since I managed to track down one eBayer with drives that matched everything except that “N,M,B,E” code. Back to the hunt, but it’s looking pretty iffy I have to say.

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No luck with data recovery, but...

DataPrey threw in the towel with the disk recovery, saying that they were unable to fix it, sorry.

However, since they had earlier told me that the problem revolved around getting a spare matching disk, I called them and asked for details. Well, turns out that yes, the problem was their inability to find an exact match for the disk, and they had closed the case because they were unable to resolve it in the maximum promised time.

As for the problem, turns out that at the time this disk was made, Maxtor was in the habit of changing the internals of the drives all the time, even within one model. So in addition to needing a Maxtor model 33073H3, it needs to be a very specific instance of that model. (3-4 other things also need to match, in addition to the model number).

Anyway, DataPrey has a long-term “seeking component X” list, so we put this drive there and reopened the case for the time being. They will continue to scan for matches for this drive, and they’ll send me the exact drive details needed so I can hunt for a match on my own, too. The world is a big place, and you never know, I might get lucky on eBay (DataPrey polls eBay too, now and then :).

So for now it looks like the data won’t be coming back. But there’s a small glimmer of hope, still.

As I was writing this I got email from DataPrey with the info, so I’ll jot that down here too. The drive needs to match to:

Maxtor
Model:33073H3
hda:13A
pcba:03A

and it would be nice if it would also match to:

unique:11A
Code:YAH814Y0
N,M,B,E 

Those codes can be found on the label that is attached to the disk. If anyone has an old Maxtor (30,7 GB) drive that matches to those specs, I’d be very interested in it. I already sent queries to the few matches that I found on eBay.

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Disk recovery update

Got a situation update from DataPrey on the disk recovery attempt, with a nice technical explanation of the problem. Turns out the “service zone” of the disk had developed a physical fault, and even though the fault is tiny in size, since the disk “boots” internally from the service zone, any fault in it means that the disk flat-out refuses to work and just bangs the reading heads around. It’s sort of like the BIOS in a PC getting zapped.

This explains the sudden, no-warning crash of the disk – the fault was miniscule, it was just in the worst possible place.

The normal procedure is to hunt down a disk that is exactly the same model as the broken one, and copy the microcode from there. Problem is, this is an old 30G Maxtor disk that wasn’t too common even back then, let alone now, and finding a “donor” disk is proving to be troublesome. They have some leads (4 of them), but they need to find an absolutely exact copy. If they do, recovery should be possible. If they don’t, it will be extremely hard or flat-out impossible.

So we’re still waiting, we should know the status by next week.

Whatever happens, I’m impressed with the professionalism in the feedback I get from DataPrey, these guys at least sound like they know what they are doing.

Added: on the very slim hope that someone might have one lying around, the disk in question is a 30,7 gig (yes, tiny) Maxtor ATA drive, model 33073H3. It’s about 6 years old, and was originally sold with the “Maxtor Diamond Max” label.

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Drive recovery proceeding

Just got a message from DataPrey, saying that they are hunting down the spare parts for the recovery procedure – they have to find the exact same ones as the disk uses, and since it’s an old disk it could take some days. We’ll see how it goes.

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