Broken USB connector Samsung HM502JX

DIY a hard disk circuit board failure?

In Blog, Hard Disk Drive Recovery Case Study by Administrator

DIY Hard Disk Data Recovery

No person wants to part with money needlessly. So why not do the data recovery yourself? When the engine in your car fails you normally pull that out and fix it yourself don’t you? What’s that, you take it to a reliable garage with staff that are experienced with the failure and have access to the relevant spare parts and tools to fix it? Perhaps you should consider the same with your hard disk drive.

Below are two images of a Samsung HM502JX. Notable as it has an integrated USB connector that is directly embedded into the hard disk drive printed circuit board (PCB). This sort of integrated USB2 or USB3 connector is becoming increasingly common, particularly in the Western Digital My Passport and Elements range (for details regarding Smartware problems on WD drives click here)

The gentleman that owned this particular hard disk drive was an electronic engineer. Naturally, he presumed that he was well qualified to conduct work on his own hard disk drive. Unfortunately, this proved to be a good example of the dangers of knowledge of theory versus practice. We must acknowledge that his theory behind how to repair the PCB was reasonably sound (although there was a much more straight forward method that he was unaware of). However, the execution of his theory was just appalling. The result was further damage to the PCB and making data recovery more difficult than it would have been originally.


Sadly the owner of this drive did not want to proceed with the recovery of data based on the fixed price quotation we gave him as he still thought that he could do it himself. He had already purchased a (non-matching) donor part and wanted to make further attempts to utilise this part given the expense of it. In this case, he wanted to remove the microprocessor chip (MCU). On this series of Samsung HM502JX, the hard disk drive has unique adaptive data which is contained within the large chip (MCU) on the circuit board. The information in this chip is critical to the initialisation of the hard disk drive.

Simple failure, challenging recovery

It is almost certain to say that the chances of this succeeding were nil. More likely he will make the data unrecoverable and has already spent a significant amount of time and money attempting to do so. In short, if your data is important do not attempt to DIY it. Hard disk drives have become increasingly complicated devices over the last few years, and the opportunity for a simple fix has diminished significantly. If you would like advice regarding your disk failure please contact CDR – Manchester Data Recovery Services.

More botched DIY data recovery attempts to follow!