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Questions about "pellets" in a WD Hard Drive!

Discussion in 'Hardware' started by Neil, Nov 7, 2007.

  1. Neil

    Neil Byte Poster

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    Hi all,
    A hard drive died on me a few hours ago (lots of clicking & scratching noises, and failing to register). Its a Western Digital Caviar 20GB manufactured on 12 Aug 2001. Well just like any other techie, I decided to take it apart to see what's inside (for fun). When I lifted off the top metal plate (with the manufacturer's label), a paper-ish little dome fell from it. That paper "dome" contained about a million little black balls/pellets the exact size of a period "." and when it fell, all the little pellets scattered all over the hdd and made a mess. This is the very first time I'm seeing something like this in a hdd, cuz I took apart quite a few :twisted: . So my questions are:

    1] What are those little balls/pellets?
    2] And what are they used for?

    I personally think that its some kind of tamper-proof element that just scatters those pellets all over the hdd once it was opened or tampered with. That's basically all I can think of at the moment, cuz I can't recall MM or anyone else ever mentioning it.

    I opened several older hdd's (not WD) but never saw anything like this, that's why I posted the specs above, cuz I don't know if its something put in these newer drives. If you guys don't understand what I'm talking about, lemme know so I could post a pic. Anyways guys, just help me out here cuz I'm curious about it. Thanks.
     
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  2. BosonMichael
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    BosonMichael Yottabyte Poster

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    Those are probably hard drive ball bearings - they're supposed to be inside the hard drive spindle. Ball bearings are used to provide smooth, low-friction motion for things that spin around, like a hard drive platter. Metal ball bearings are largely being replaced in hard drives with fluid bearings.
     
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  3. Neil

    Neil Byte Poster

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    Well I attached some pics below here to clear everything up. Forgive the image quality cuz I jus took them out using my phone's cam. I placed them beside a US quarter to show proportion. The third pic with the hdd metal cover shows the white circle (on the top left) where the "dome" was attached. This definitely didn't come from the hdd spindle. Let's hope the images clears it up so we could figure out what that thing is and what its used for.

    pic1.jpg pic2.jpg pic3.jpg
     
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  4. ManicD

    ManicD Byte Poster

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    I would agree with yoru anti tamper device theory....pretty dam effective aswell.
     
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  5. BosonMichael
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    Ah, gotcha... I missed the part with the paper dome... you're probably right that it's a tamper-detection mechanism. If the paper is ripped and the balls are scattered, then the drive has been opened, and thus, the manufacturer would no longer provide warranty support for the drive.
     
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  6. Neil

    Neil Byte Poster

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    Yea seems like we all conclude that its a tamper-proof mechanism, and even if you *could* fix the drive on your own without enforcing warranty, you'll still be unable to do so, cuz when that dome detaches, those balls scatter like toner and messes up the whole drive! So either way, you *have to* get a new drive.

    BosonMichael had me thinking a bit when he mentioned "fluid bearings", because coincidentally, those balls/pellets move fast together with a "fluid particle" movement. Anyways this was quite interesting and I guess we all learnt something new. Kool!
     
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  7. Neil

    Neil Byte Poster

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    Hey I just thought of something, isn't it possible for that dome to become detached due to the heat generated from the drive? I didn't see any traces of glue, but something HAD to be keeping it together. I know that all of that was considered during manufacture, but I'm sure that there's still room for "what if's".
     
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  8. BosonMichael
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    The HD manufacturer likely tested that glue under those conditions before deciding to use it for that purpose.
     
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  9. Neil

    Neil Byte Poster

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    Sounds good to me. So I figured. Thanks for all the input guys.
     
    Certifications: CompTIA A+ & Network+
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