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Printed Circuit Board
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Printed Circuit Board

Commonly referred to as a PCB, a printed circuit board supports the electronics of a hard drive, providing pathways between separate components. Most printed circuit boards are green or blue, and are made from special laminates.

Printed Circuit Board

The printed circuit board of a hard drive interfaces with your computer, and PCB failures require prompt attention.

The role of the printed circuit board is to provide separation. Circuit boards are non-conductive except for small conductive pathways that connect components. The term "printed circuit board" is often used to refer to all of the external electronic parts of a hard drive, sometimes including the drive's power input and cable connectors.

Components on a Hard Drive Printed Circuit Board

The printed circuit board of a hard drive contains a portion of the drive's firmware, which is essentially a set of instructions that tells the drive how to operate. Without firmware, a hard drive cannot locate data or communicate with a computer. Most of the firmware is actually on the first tracks of the hard drive platters, but a critical section is located on a dedicated chip on the printed circuit board.

Firmware is typically drive-specific. Hard drive manufacturers write unique read/write head tracking information for individual drives in order to ensure efficient, reliable operation. If a hard drive's firmware chip is damaged, the drive will not operate.

Other printed circuit board components include power inputs, jumpers and cable connectors. SATA circuit boards contain a single input/output for power and data.

Common Hard Drive Circuit Board Failure Scenarios

Because printed circuit boards contain a number of electronic components, they are extremely susceptible to damage from electrostatic discharge (ESD). Computer users should always ground themselves before handling hard drives and avoid touching the board whenever possible.

Printed circuit boards can also fail due to power surges, inconsistent power from faulty power supply units or high operating temperatures. In many cases, computer users will immediately notice circuit board issues; most serious problems will immediately incapacitate the hard drive.

Common symptoms of printed circuit board failure include:

  • Drive Fails to Boot
  • Incorrect Drive Size or Model in BIOS
  • Burning Smell
  • Drive Powers On, but Does Not Recognize
  • Knocking or Clicking Sounds
  • Visible Damage to Printed Circuit Board Components

You should immediately turn your hard drive off if you notice any of these symptoms. Never run data recovery software on a drive with damaged electronics and never attempt to replace any of the components. For the best chances of a successful recovery, contact Secure Data Recovery Services at the first sign of media failure.

Data Recovery Techniques for Printed Circuit Boards

If a printed circuit board sustains serious damage, data recovery engineers may need to replace the board entirely. This is a difficult process due to drive-specific firmware chips mentioned above. Data recovery companies need advanced firmware repair equipment in order to repair electronically damaged drives.

Many electronic failures also affect internal hard drive components, particularly the actuator heads that read and write data. To treat internal damage, data recovery engineers need access to a certified Cleanroom. Cleanrooms protect internal components from damage by preventing contamination and electrostatic discharge.

Secure Data Recovery Services' engineers use innovative technologies to treat hard drive issues. We operate a Certified Class 10 ISO 4 Cleanroom, which allows fewer than 10 contaminants per cubic foot. Our teams also have access to advanced firmware repair systems, proprietary data recovery utilities and other tools that allow for high recovery rates and fast turnaround times.

Choosing a Secure Data Recovery Services Company

Secure Data Recovery Services offers repair and recovery for hard drives with damaged electronics. We have built a reputation for our excellent security protocols, high success rates and fast turnaround times.

Unlike many other data recovery companies, we have a number of third-party certifications that show our commitment to data security. We were the first data recovery provider to earn a SSAE 16 Type II Certification, and all of our certification documents are available online for easy review.

Our credentials include:

  • PCI Security Certification
  • SAS 70 Certification
  • SSAE 16 Type II Certification
  • Information Systems Security Association (ISSA) Member
  • General Services Administration Contractor Certification

We offer free media diagnostics for hard drives with electronic damage. Our engineers can perform several diagnostic tests to provide a fast, accurate evaluation report within 24 hours of receiving your drive. Each evaluation report includes a media analysis, a price quote, a turnaround estimate and other important case information.

Our diagnostics are completely obligation-free. If you decide to pursue recovery, we offer several turnaround options including a 24/7/365 emergency service with a 48-hour average turnaround. Contact our customer service team today to set up a free media evaluation or for more information.

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