WOOHOOO!! I just successfully unbricked my drive by following the instructions from this thread. All of my data is accessible again (and now safely copied to a new drive).
Let me just extend a heartfelt "thanks" to the people who contributed to this happy day!!!! Over the past months I have read posts from Gustek, Fatlip, Gradius, Aviko (and of course others).
In actual fact I am really glad for the timing of my fault - because it let me share this journey with them by reading their posts as the solution unfolded.
The funny thing is that if the DR companies had just been transparent about what they do, and charged a little less for this fix, I would have used them weeks ago. I called 2 local DR companies and asked "how much *IF* it turns out to be the well known 7200.11 SD15 BSY error?". If they had been transparent and said "Quick fix - but we still need 300 Euros to cover our overhead" I would have said "fine" and given them the disk. Instead they they basically said "How much is your data worth so that I know how much to charge you?" (i.e. quoted 600-900 Euros). As a result they didn't get my business, and I suspect they won't get many others. When I finally got a working TTL adapter (thanks Alexx86) the solution indeed took 3 minutes.
Because I had many difficulties with my first adapter - I have included my tips here:
1 - Buy an adapter which you KNOW works and is EASY
! (Easier == less steps == less risk)
The first adapter I purchased was a USB Signal to RS232 TTL UART
Despite a LOT of effort, I could NOT get a terminal session established with the drive. I tried all suggestions (grounding, different power supplies, with and without PCB connection, etc.)
Shorting TXD and RXD (loopback test) worked so I knew the UART was not faulty - but connecting to the Seagate PCB gave nothing other than the "Arrow" in Hyperterminal. A further problem occurred because i didn't realise that for my chip, VCC on the TTL output was connected to 5v, so when I connected my 3v batteries to it they were "charged" by the UART chip and literally popped whilst connected to the drive (at this point I was sure it was game over :-))
2 - Keep it Simple
I decided to try one last time with a known adapter. I contacted a local poster in this thread (alexx86) who confirmed for me that this part number had worked for him: FTDI TTL-232R-3V3 USB Cable
This adapter rocked - it was soooo easy by comparison:
- No guesswork. Good documentation. Good drivers.
- It is USB, so no RS232 port required.
- It came with drivers for XP, Vista, etc. - but I didn't need them (just "plug and play" on my machine)
- There was no need for additional battery power supply. The cable includes a 3.3v VCC already.
3 - Connecting it
(these steps thanks to Alexx86)
Connect a Standard SATA power cable to the drive, and then connect the USB<->TTL cable as described below. Note that there was no need to ground between the USB<->TTL cable and the SATA cable (i.e. they are seperate). I did however connect 3 USB<->TTL wires to the drive PCB (3rd one being GND) and I used the same PC to provide both SATA power and USB<->TTL cable).
This USB<->TTL cable has 6 wires. Only 3 are connected to the Seagate PCB. Of the remaining 3 wires, 2 are joined together and the final one is unused.
USB<->TLL Cable Connections:
- Orange (TXD) - Connected to 1st terminal pin on PCB (closest pin to SATA adapter)
- Yellow (RXD) - Connected to 2nd terminal pin on PCB (2nd closest pin to SATA adapter)
- Black (GND) - Connected to 3rd terminal pin on PCB (3rd closest pin to SATA adapter).
- Brown (CTS) and Green (RTS) are tied to each other and nothing else (for flow control). I would have thought this was unnecessary - but I did it to be sure.
- Red Wire (VCC) is not used.
4 - Fix your drive
Open Hypterm and Ctrl-Z to confirm you have connection. Then follow the commands from Gradius/Aviko. I had trouble deciding whether to follow Gradius or Aviko's solution. I felt loyal to Gradius, and found his instructions more readable - but some of Aviko's advice was also clearly valuable.
In the end I mixed a little. I used 2 pieces of paper card to isolate both the Motor connector (3 pin connection) and HDMA contacts (IC-style connection) and started with Gradius' approach. As I have a 500gb Seagate however, I couldn't resist trying the F712 commands that Aviko mentioned which are only apply to my drive (see post #610). Therefore I ended up not using the Glist Erase command ("F3 T>i4,1,22 (enter)").
My summary is that Aviko's advice is clearly knowledgable and he has added additional value to Gradius' excellent solution thread (note that I did not say it was Gradius solution - but it IS Gradius' thread, so please don't point out that someone else created the solution first). Without Gradius however, most of us would not have our data - me included!
Gradius and Aviko - thankyou BOTH