Take a look at our
ThinkPads.com HOME PAGE
For those who might want to contribute to the blog, start here: Editors Alley Topic
Then contact Bill with a Private Message

Best solution to replace an old 40 pin 2.5 inch hard drive?

Talk about "WhatEVER !"..
Post Reply
Message
Author
zoltan87
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 251
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:16 pm
Location: Plymouth, United Kingdom

Best solution to replace an old 40 pin 2.5 inch hard drive?

#1 Post by zoltan87 » Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:11 pm

I have been in the process of trying to fix up an old NEC ProSpeed SX/20 laptop from 1990. I have a thread about it on VCFED, I started the repair about a year ago or even longer, but I was unable to proceed with my failed repair after re-capping the whole unit, as I just didn't have the skills to know what to look for. So after trying out everything that was suggested to me on Reddit and VCFED, the whole project was put on hold.

Here is a few seconds long clip about the machine I am talking about, with the power on problem (first the fan coming on, and later going completely silent/dead):

https://youtu.be/IeuKC0MA2H4

Luckily recently I managed to buy an other laptop of the same make, and with the help of this new unit I managed to identify, that the no switch on/ power problem was caused by a dead hard drive. Very strange if you ask me. That very faint click indeed came from the hard drive, but why would the machine not have a clear way of telling me, that the hard drive is dead. It's ridiculous.

Anyway, the hard drive is a PrairieTek Prairie 240 hard disk, here are a couple of pictures:

https://imgur.com/a/lbqegtN

First I thought that it was proprietary, but upon closer inspection it looks to me that it's a 2.5 inch form factor drive with 40 pin IDE(?) interface, plus 8 more pins for power? I am very amateur in these things, so let me know if I completely misidentified it. Wasn't the 40 pin connection used for 3.5 inch drives only?

But my main question is this: is there a way to somehow fix old hard drives, that are unable to spin up? And if I wanted to use a more modern storage solution, what would be the best way to go? Some kind of DOM (disk on module) with the correct 40 pin interface? Something like this?

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/PQI-Industri ... 4218187653

What about those additional 8 pins (I suppose for power) on the original hard drive? Would it be a problem if I didn't connect that cable from the motherboard to anything, as these DOMs don't need additional power?

Or maybe I should go with an industrial grade CompactFlash card (one that is set up as fixed disk) in some adapter?

I am just very hopeful that there is a way to use a different storage solution from the original hard drive, as I have no clue how reliable this working one will be in my newer machine. The fact that the one in my original laptop died after a couple of hours of use isn't exactly confidence inducing.
Thinkpad T60, 15" Flexview, with mods (Xiphmont's LED mod, T500 heatsink, cpu undervolt, reinforced frame)
Thinkpad T601, 15" Flexview, with mods (Xiphmont's LED mod, T500 heatsink, cpu undervolt, reinforced frame)
Thinkpad X32
Thinkpad T22
NEC ProSpeed SX/20

RealBlackStuff
Admin Emeritus
Admin Emeritus
Posts: 21824
Joined: Mon Sep 18, 2006 5:17 am
Location: Wexford, Éire
Contact:

Re: Best solution to replace an old 40 pin 2.5 inch hard drive?

#2 Post by RealBlackStuff » Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:33 am

How is that HDD connected to the motherboard?

Some extra pins are for power, others to jumper them as Master or Slave or Select.
Pinout example: https://flylib.com/books/4/55/1/html/2/ ... 6fig07.jpg
Still NOT a great day for a Guinness! (the Real Black Stuff).
Ireland is on FULL lockdown until Easter 2021!
Covid-19: Stay safe, so Mask it or Casket!

Screamer
Senior Member
Senior Member
Posts: 585
Joined: Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:15 am

Re: Best solution to replace an old 40 pin 2.5 inch hard drive?

#3 Post by Screamer » Wed Jan 13, 2021 9:28 am

zoltan87 wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:11 pm
but upon closer inspection it looks to me that it's a 2.5 inch form factor drive with 40 pin IDE(?) interface, plus 8 more pins for power?
It doesn't look like it's meant for power. The entire drive itself looks like a 3.5-inch hard drive shrunken down to the 2.5-inch size and had its standard Molex 8981 power connector removed. If I am not mistaken, the row of pins on the right side of the image that you've shown are jumper pins.

Although, there is certainly a chance that one of those jumper pins could've been repurposed as power and ground pins. Otherwise, there'd be no power going to the drive.
zoltan87 wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:11 pm
Wasn't the 40 pin connection used for 3.5 inch drives only?
Not exactly. The ancient 2.5-inch hard disk drives and 'slimline' optical disk drives used them as well, with or without the Molex 8981 power connector.

In which year did they stop making such drives, I have no idea. All I know is that they switched to the common DuPont 86455 for 2.5-inch hard disk drives and to the JAE KX15-50KLD for 'slimline' optical disk drives.
zoltan87 wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:11 pm
But my main question is this: is there a way to somehow fix old hard drives, that are unable to spin up?
There are many possibilities that could cause a hard drive to not spin up, such as the motor being worn out or some components on its PCB has failed. Generally, it's the motor that fails first. I don't know what has failed on your hard drive, though.

Either way, you're looking at a motor replacement or a PCB replacement. Both operations (it may not apply to the PCB replacement depending on the hard drive) require a dust-free room as you're going to physically open the hard drive to swap out the faulty bits. That means exposing the platter(s) to unfriendly foreign objects such as dust particles or hair/fur, which may easily damage the platter(s) themselves as soon as the head moves over to the dust-ridden platter(s).
zoltan87 wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:11 pm
what would be the best way to go? Some kind of DOM (disk on module) with the correct 40 pin interface? Something like this?
The 'best' way is dictated by your budget and your preference. In my opinion, I wouldn't settle for something shoddy, such as this disk-on-module.
zoltan87 wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:11 pm
What about those additional 8 pins (I suppose for power) on the original hard drive? Would it be a problem if I didn't connect that cable from the motherboard to anything, as these DOMs don't need additional power?
I can't find a pin-out for them, so I believe you'll need to figure that out by yourself. Preferably with a multimeter on hand.

As of now, we don't know what those row of pins do. Judging by the similarity of the arrangement to the standard 3.5-inch ATA drives, it appears to be jumpers but that could be wrong. Again, you'll need to find that out with a multimeter if nobody has a pin-out for them.

The disk-on-module that you linked has a 2-pin JST SH connector of some sort on its back. Are you absolutely sure that isn't meant for power?
zoltan87 wrote:
Tue Jan 12, 2021 7:11 pm
Or maybe I should go with an industrial grade CompactFlash card (one that is set up as fixed disk) in some adapter?
Certainly sounds much better than that hackjob of a flash drive, but that's just my opinion.

zoltan87
Junior Member
Junior Member
Posts: 251
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:16 pm
Location: Plymouth, United Kingdom

Re: Best solution to replace an old 40 pin 2.5 inch hard drive?

#4 Post by zoltan87 » Wed Jan 13, 2021 10:26 am

RealBlackStuff wrote:
Wed Jan 13, 2021 12:33 am
How is that HDD connected to the motherboard?

Some extra pins are for power, others to jumper them as Master or Slave or Select.
Pinout example: https://flylib.com/books/4/55/1/html/2/ ... 6fig07.jpg
It's connected with very short cables, here is a picture:

https://imgur.com/a/HJM8MN9

That's a great picture you linked, I will have a closer look at it later.

And thanks Screamer for your suggestions, looks like I will need to do some testing with my multimeter. And yes I was probably wrong with my assumption, that DOMs don't need additional power, I saw quite a few more and almost all of them had extra cables for power. I think I will go with the CompactFlash + adapter route.

Unfortunately i don't have a clean room, so the hard drive repair is out unfortunately (not that I would have the expertise anyway). I was hoping there might be some magic knocking or shaking technique haha, that could get the hard drive unstuck. I assumed it's maybe just the 30 year old grease that got hard, preventing the motor to spin up.
Thinkpad T60, 15" Flexview, with mods (Xiphmont's LED mod, T500 heatsink, cpu undervolt, reinforced frame)
Thinkpad T601, 15" Flexview, with mods (Xiphmont's LED mod, T500 heatsink, cpu undervolt, reinforced frame)
Thinkpad X32
Thinkpad T22
NEC ProSpeed SX/20

Post Reply
  • Similar Topics
    Replies
    Views
    Last post

Return to “Off-Topic Stuff”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 12 guests