Advice on HDD RMA please?

Discussion in 'NZ Computing' started by ~misfit~, Mar 16, 2010.

  1. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    I have a Seagate 500GB desktop HDD, ST3500320AS, 7200.11. It came with SD04
    firmware but while others were reporting problems this drive was running
    fine so I didn't flash it. The other 500GB Seagate I had came with SD15
    firmware and I was reading a lot more about disasters with that release so I
    downloaded the update and flashed that one. It's been fine ever since.

    This other one however gave some trouble about a year ago (it's coming up
    three years old on May 2nd). The computer it was attached to wouldn't start
    with it hooked up. If you listened carefully you could hear it make a gentle
    humming every 30 seconds or so. I actually didn't own it at the time, it was
    in a comp I'd built for a friend. He was freaking as he wanted his data. He
    and his family had been on a three-month tour of the world and all of their
    pics, the only copies thereof (yeah, I know) were on the HDD.

    I tried it in an external SATA - USB dock and it did the same. Namely
    nothing but hum every 30 seconds or so.

    Anyway, long story short, I put it in a zip-lock bag in my freezer overnight
    and in the morning had a PC ready with the firmware CDR in the drive (the
    firmware update is non-data destructive), set to boot from CD, SATA cables
    hanging out, all ready to go....

    I got the HDD out of the freezer, opened the bag just enough to attach the
    cables and turned on the computer. Woot! It booted and recognised the HDD!
    The firmware update went as planned and from then on the drive worked
    perfectly (although the first thing I did was copy off his data onto the
    second (external) drive I insisted that he buy. I tested and benched the
    drive for a while, couldn't replicate the problem so sent him home with it.

    Ok, so the drive ran fine for him until last week when it started doing the
    same thing again! The comp would hang at BIOS searching for drives. When he
    bought it around here if I put it in one of the hot-swap bays of my desktop
    it would lock the machine up. If I put it in before I booted it'd freeze at
    drive-setection. Put it in a USB dock and just that strange hum every so

    Guess what? He hadn't done a back-up for a while, asked if there was any way
    that, if I could get it going, I could copy off his 'pics' and 'docs'
    folders and he handed me his external drive! LOL.

    It worked once so I tried it again. I froze it overnight. Yep, worked again.
    Copied of his folders, just fine. When he called around the next day I
    handed him the two drives and told him to back up more often. Then I told
    him a small domnation for my time and effort would be gratefully accepted
    (this guy's a tight-arse).

    He gave me the 500GB HDD and told me he's not going to trust that again, I
    could have it. Niiiiice.

    The thing is, I can't get it to misbehave again. I have the receipt so I
    could RMA it and it's still within three years (actually I think that
    Seagate were still doing five years then but aren't sure. 02/05/08.) I can't
    very well explain to them what happened as I don't think that -14 degress is
    within the operating specs. I don't know how to get it to fail again.....

    I believe in do unto others so I'm not keen on putting it on Trademe. Then
    again I also believe in caveat emptor. I suppose if I were to word the ad in
    such a way so that I could live with my conscience.... I am *very* broke....

    Advice? Condemnation? ? ?
    ~misfit~, Mar 16, 2010
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  2. ~misfit~

    EMB Guest

    Check the warranty here:

    If it's valid then 3 or so seconds on high in the microwave will induce
    a fairly significant fault. Then return it.
    EMB, Mar 16, 2010
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  3. ~misfit~

    Squiggle Guest

    Does anything out the ordinary show up in the SMART data?, and does the
    Seatools util give any error codes on it?
    Squiggle, Mar 16, 2010
  4. ~misfit~

    Richard Guest

    IME it doesnt matter, you ship it with a description of what happened,
    you get a new drive.

    But the cost to ship to singapore is almost that of a new drive with a
    warranty, and you get a reconditioned drive back which IME are just as
    bad as the one you have.
    Richard, Mar 16, 2010
  5. My advice to anyone with a Seagate 7200.11 drive is to replace it
    soon. All four of my 7200.11 drives have now failed and been
    replaced. One was replaced twice before they gave me a 7200.12
    instead. The first problem I had with a 7200.11 was the firmware one
    - it bricked itself, refused to boot, 6 weeks after I got it. This
    was before Seagate knew it was a firmware problem. It was replaced.
    Later, after the new firmware came out, it turned out that if you
    flash a bricked drive, it goes again and all your data is still there.
    So I flashed all my 7200.11 drives, and never had one brick again. But
    they all started to get monster bad/replaced sector counts. They
    started out gently, just a few bad sectors on arrival, and an
    occasional new one. But at some point, they would start to get more
    and more bad sectors daily. One 1 Tbyte drive had over 1200 bad
    sectors and more every hour when it was replaced. It was getting new
    SMART warnings popping up every few minutes, and took ages to copy off
    all the data when the new drive arrived, due to all the retrying going
    on. After that, I got the other 7200.11s replaced as soon as they
    started reporting more bad sectors.

    As well as the 7200.11 failures, the 1 Tbyte drive that was finally
    replaced with a 7200.12 then had infant mortality and died the second
    day after it got here. Unlike the 7200.11 problems with bad sectors,
    it was completely dead and I was unable to transfer the data off it.
    By that time, as you can imagine, I had backed up most the data so I
    only lost a couple of days of TV programs, which had also been
    recorded on my MythTV box. The second replacement 7200.12 is fine, as
    are the two other 7200.12s I have, so I would put that one down to
    just the normal run of occasional bad drives that do happen to any
    manufacturer, rather than a systematic fault as it seems to be with
    the 7200.11s. All the 7200.10s I have are also fine, with zero bad

    In all of this, I have to say that Ascent were very good. They did
    not quibble at all about replacing any of the drives with forward
    Stephen Worthington, Mar 16, 2010
  6. ~misfit~

    Malcolm Guest

    Hey....get Western Digital Drives.....! ;)

    Device Model: WDC WD360GD-00FNA0
    9 Power_On_Hours - 37844
    9 Power_On_Hours - 37825

    Device Model: WDC WD5002ABYS-01B1B0
    9 Power_On_Hours - 6005
    9 Power_On_Hours - 6501
    9 Power_On_Hours - 6505

    Of the other six drives I've had one 250GB (under warranty) one fail in
    the last 5+ years....
    Malcolm, Mar 16, 2010
  7. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    LOL! Big help you are! That's going to help me with this drive. Actually I
    have one WD 200GB desktop drive here and it has 212 bad sectors. It's had
    them for years. It was in a machine and it just kept reporting more and more
    bad sectors every day. It racked up the 212 over a period of about a month.

    I finally took it out of that machine and out in in another and it's not had
    a sector go bad since. Odd that, before that I wasn't aware that a
    controller could cause bad sectors (it wasn't running hot so I have to
    assume that it was the controller).
    ~misfit~, Mar 16, 2010

  8. The Warrantee here is from the Date its Sold not from the Date of

    And its direct to the Retailer that sold it, Contract of sale.
    Frank Williams, Mar 16, 2010
  9. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    That's odd. That page tells me that the drive is under warranty until
    02-Nov-2012. That date doesn't fit with any of my receipts. I'm pretty sure
    I've only ever bought four 500GB Seagate drives, two for my machine and a
    couple for mates and two of my receipts are from Ascent ... blah blah blah

    What I'm saying is that I didn't start buying 500GB drives until april 08 at
    the earliest as they were pretty expensive before that. With a five-year
    warranty that would be April 2013. Odd.

    Well, the main thing is that it's still under warranty. I didn't go through
    with that process yet (thanks for the link BTW) so don't know; Do you need a
    receipt or a retailer's name to do an RMA?
    Heh! Interesting option. <g> I'm thinking, as I really don't need another
    bloody desktop HDD and, going by what Stephen says about the 7200.11 drives
    (which I would likely get back, a 'refurbished' 7200.11) I *really* don't
    want another of those.

    If you don't need a receipt or prrof of purchase to RMA a drive then I'm
    more inclined to sell it on Trademe. I can state that it's working perfectly
    (which it is at the monet) and that it's in warranty for another two and a
    half years. I could live with that, maybe put a comment on my auction that
    everyone should keep back-ups of valuable data, never trust anything you
    can't easily replace to one drive......

    Whaddya think?
    ~misfit~, Mar 17, 2010
  10. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Yup, I've got nothing but good things to say about Ascent either. You may
    pay a little more but you'll be glad you did if you ever need to RMA or have
    any other problems.

    BTW, thanks for that Stephen. You do realise that I have just over 3 TB of
    data all on Seagate 7200.11 drives? That I have no way / no how of coming up
    with moola to buy replacement drives? Also, I'm mainly using them in USB
    docks now so that my SMART monitoring tools don't work? I guess that all I
    can do is make sure that I have as many copies as I can of the *really*
    essential stuff and then just hope that I can get to sleep at night.

    ~misfit~, Mar 17, 2010
  11. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Hey Squiggles,

    SMART looks fine to me (via HD Sentinel) and I haven't run Seatools. I might
    give it a run later on.
    ~misfit~, Mar 17, 2010
  12. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Somewhere on teh intarwebs Richard wrote:
    Surely you don't ship to Singapore? The last Seagate I RMA'ed was to Melco
    (?) in Manukau, I delivered it in person. (However I seem to remember
    hearing that they were dropping the agency, which could be why there seem to
    be less Seagates listed on NZ sites these days...)
    ~misfit~, Mar 17, 2010
  13. ~misfit~

    Malcolm Guest

    Of cource I am... :) Well at least I didn't have to ship mine to
    Singapore :p Went to the WD site, put the serial number in, printed out
    the free shipping labels boxed it up and a few weeks later I had a
    replacement 250GB drive, have used it once or twice as an external
    drive. Have three 250GB SATA one here will probably use two soon on
    this system attached externally (Motherboard came with 2xSATA external
    connector bracket), just need to make a case for them.

    I'm just please someone actually has a computer issue, tired of all the
    other carp in this news group....
    Malcolm, Mar 17, 2010
  14. ~misfit~

    Cima Guest

    I shipped one to Singapore last year, and got a shitty refurbished drive back
    (which has since fallen over).
    Cima, Mar 17, 2010
  15. ~misfit~

    John Guest

    I returned a Seagate HD about a year ago using the information from their
    web site (no receipt) they go though a great rigmarole about the packaging
    but I just used a plastic HD holder and sent it away. The return HD came in
    a large box with special packaging that must have cost an arm and leg-)
    John, Mar 17, 2010
  16. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    There's the problem Geoff, I don't know which receipt goes with which drive.
    I was hoping to match them up by the warranty expiry date but that didn't
    help. I bought drives froma couple different places over a month or two and
    I'd hate to get it refused because it turns out that the drive I take to
    whichever retailer wasn't sold through them.
    ~misfit~, Mar 17, 2010
  17. ~misfit~

    ~misfit~ Guest

    Yeah, know what you mean mate... Although my killfile deals with most of it
    with less than a half-dozen entries.
    ~misfit~, Mar 17, 2010
  18. I think you need to regularly put them in an eSATA dock and read the
    SMART data to see if they start to have bad sectors. As soon as they
    do, get them replaced. Note that not all eSATA ports will do SMART,
    unfortunately. There is normally several weeks between when they
    start getting more bad sectors and when they fail, so once a week
    checks would seem to suffice. If you can not do eSATA, just hang a
    SATA cable and power cable out the back of a PC and plug onto that.
    Stephen Worthington, Mar 17, 2010
  19. ~misfit~

    PeeCee Guest


    I had a 500GB Maxtor here I RMA'd directly to Seagate/Maxtor.
    Had to send it to Singapore.
    Cost around $NZ60 all up so value wise it was marginal.


    PeeCee, Mar 17, 2010
  20. No, they seem to have run out of 7200.11 drives. And you can say when
    you return it that the 7200.11 drives are not an acceptable
    replacement due to a known history of failures. That works with a CGA
    return, but I am not sure if it is a manufacturer's warranty return.
    I have never done it, but I believe that you can return any Seagate
    drive by using their web site, regardless of the retailer. Then you
    are relying on the manufacturer's warranty (with all its terms and
    conditions), rather than the CGA which says you have to go through the
    Stephen Worthington, Mar 17, 2010
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