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Thread: Quantum Fireball ST 3.5 Series Beeping noise when attempting to DBAN

  1. #1
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    Oct 2017
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    Unhappy Quantum Fireball ST 3.5 Series Beeping noise when attempting to DBAN

    I recently purchased a couple of old hard drives on Saturday at a local thrift store:

    1) Quantum Fireball ST 3.5 Series
    2) Western Digital WD100 (cannot tell since it was installed in a Compaq Presario desktop hence the sticker)

    I decided to swap my 60GB Maxtor HDD (when they bought out Quantum) with the two HDDs to see if there was any data or OS on it, and the Western Digital didn't have any as it was wiped by the previous owner (thankfully), but I ended up DBANing the drive to remove its MBR, and "ghost files" in the cache portion of the drive by writing zeroes.

    I attempted to access the Quantum Fireball ST 3.5 Series HDD with my external enclosure and Lubuntu 17.10 LTS 64-bit on my laptop, which did get detected and mounted easily, but whenever I would attempt to access the directories, I hear a beeping noise coming from the HDD. I ran the disk checker in GParted for any errors, and nothing. The OS that was on there was Windows 2000 Professional (laptop attempted to boot the OS, but Blue screened since Windows 2000 cannot boot from a USB port).

    Also, I attempted to DBAN the hard drive, and it still beeped. Would it be hard drive failure? My other plan is to hook up the HDD to the IDE port on one of my machines, run the Live version of Linux, and check for bad sectors or failing parameters (SMART) since the external enclosure doesn't support that.

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    Thats odd. I've heard drives make small "alarm" type noises from the motor, but only if they are having problems spinning up.

    Do check the SMART status. It could be that drive really is failing somehow. (Like an excess of automatically remapped bad sectors)

    I recall in the late 90s some vendors were going nuts with SMART hard drive alerts. It was even common for drives to complain that they were failing when they were really more or less fine, and BIOS or bundled Windows SMART tools would refuse to shut up about it. So a beeper in some fancy class of drive would not surprise me too much.

  3. #3
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    Hard drive beeping in my experience is usually caused by a stuck/sticky head stack or a failing motor. In either case, the drive likely isn't long for this world.

    One thing you could try is to remove the controller board from the drive and clean the contact points on the other side of the PCB where the head stack and motor pins touch the board. I frequently come across older drives that appear to be dead and act erratically, only to be tarnished or burned pads on the PCB. The tarnishing or blackening can be from the environment the drive was in, or a mechanical failure causing excessive current draw. If it's the former problem, the drive will usually start working again if cleaned, and if the latter, some chip on the controller usually detonates.

  4. #4
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    The motor and head stack is connected using a proprietary connection (like a laptop's display ribbon cable) like this:



    It wasn't until the late 1990's early 2000's when they switched the PCB to have both the motor and head stack pins connect to the board itself. Maybe the IDE header might have dirty contacts.

  5. #5
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    From my experience with bad IDE cables, problems talking over the IDE usually just results in a computer freezing or suddenly unable to talk to the drive at all.

    You said you ran DBAN on the drive, was it fully successful?

    If it were me, I would also try running MAXLLF. Sometimes that will force bad sectors to re-map when Linux won't do the trick.

    Could you describe the "beeps" in a little more detail?

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by retro-pc_user View Post
    The motor and head stack is connected using a proprietary connection (like a laptop's display ribbon cable) like this:



    It wasn't until the late 1990's early 2000's when they switched the PCB to have both the motor and head stack pins connect to the board itself. Maybe the IDE header might have dirty contacts.
    It's really crappy they switched to the "test pin" style contacts for the connection between the controller board and drive assembly, because its less reliable. Even normal room level moisture will cause the contacts to tarnish in just a few years.

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