Experiment on recovering data from the FUJITSU HDD (Model MPG3409AT-EF)
Defect Festinate
* die Model-Nor. MPG3409AT*
Various kinds of data recovery methods

There are many kinds of data recovery methods. The root cause of the HDD failure is a faulty disk controller chip. So if we can replace the chip with a known good chip temporally and if we can recover data from the faulty HDD we can solve this problem. To do that we have two main repairing methods. One method is to
replace the faulty chip on the HDD controller board (there are two sub methods) . Another one is to repair the chip on the HDD controller board (there are two sub methods). The last one is the software repair method. There are five repair methods. I recommend you to try following order when you repair your HDD.

C-1)-> A-1) -> B-1) -> B-2) -> A-2). I think this is the least risky order of repair methods. However you need to bake the controller board before you try B-2 even though two person didn't bake the board but could repair it.

A-1) ->C-1) -> B-1) -> B-2) -> A-2). 9/9/2005 updated
Since Fujitsu's repair software modifies parameters in the HDD there is a risk to use the Fujitsu's repair software first. If you can afford to buy a controller board then this sequence is less risky way of repairing your HDD.

A) Replacing disk controller chip with a known good chip (Two sub methods)

A-1) To replace the HDD controller board with a known good HDD controller chip.
A-2) To replace the HDD controller chip on the board with a known good chip.

B) Repairing chip itself on the HDD controller board (Two sub methods)
B-1) Probe repairing method (See previous page. To fuse open dendrite by electric current)
B-2) Mechanical stress repairing method (To break dendrite with mechanical stress: Hot air and dry/cooling method) - Sometimes flame of cigar lighter works. Also CPU fan cooler helps to keep HDD controller cool during data retrieval. (10/30/2005 Updated)

C) Repairing HDD by software
C-1) software repairing method

I'll explain one by one.

A-1) is a "Controller Board Swapping" method. You need to swap the defective controller board with the good one. This is not a difficult repair method but you need to buy a new HDD or borrow the controller board from one of your friends. I have one board. I think this is the easiest way of repairing the HDD next to software method. (Please see pictures of controller boards of MPG3307AT-F and MPG3409AT-B) As of today 3 people successfully repaired HDDs. 9/9/2005 updated.

A-2) is a "Chip Swapping" method. This is not an easy repair method even though you can get the new controller chip because the bottom of the controller chip is also soldered to the controller board due to thermal design purpose (This site used to put the picture of the controller board after the controller chip was removed. However this site is password controlled as of 4/13/2006) and can't remove the chip by heating the chip with solder iron. To remove the chip you need to heat up the parts for 2-3 minutes at 250 - 350 degrees. However if you are not careful you might crack the package or break bonding wires due to moisture explosion known as "package crack" or "popcorn effect" in the semiconductor industry.

B-1) is a "Probing" repair method which I described in the previous page. The basic principle of this method is to fuse-open dendrite by current.

As of 4/13/2006 11 person told me that they could recover data from faulty HDD by this probing method. Total QTY repaired by this method is 13 HDDs.  

B-2) is a "Mechanical" repair method and there are two sub-methods. Basically this method is to use mechanical force to break dendrite. "Hot air" repair method is to break dendrite by mechanical stress during thermal expansion of package. Dendrite is a fine element and it can be broken by mechanical stress. If you heat up the controller chip by hot air gun molding compound will expand by the heat and mechanical stress will be applied on the dendrite. There is a good possibility that you can break open the dendrite. However, as I described in A-2) above this repair method has some risk of package crack(popcorning). I recommend you to bake controller board at least 12 hours at 100 degrees C before you try this method. According to the mail from the person who used this method he has repaired many HDDs by this method (Mechanical repair method). He also mentioned to me that he could repair controller board by applying heat with burner flame for 2 to 3 minutes. I don't know the temperature. Even though molding package contains flame retarder please take extra precaution when you apply heat with burner flame. This is not the "Hot air" repair method but there is a "Dry/Cooling" repair method (This site is written in Japanese. Please take a look at the picture). Basically this method uses mechanical stress to break dendrite during the process of drying and cooling (Peltier device) the chip.

As of 10/30/2005 two out of three person tried to repair HDD by heating up the HDD with flame successfully. Both of them used a cigar lighter to heat it up. One says about for 5 seconds. Then he checked the HDD. And repeated few times until BIOS recognizes this HDD.

A Muscovite reported me that he could recover data from MPG3204AH-E by Dry/Cooling repair method. Here is how he did it. 8/28/2005 updated
***************************** Cool/Dry repair method **************************
1) Put the affected HDD into the refrigerator for a couple of hours
2) Take it out and let it dry up
3) Remove ANY jumpers from Master-Slave selection connector and connect the affected HDD as a secondary HDD (of course, you should have a Master HDD, on which you will copy all your data). In case of failure you can also try to set the affected HDD as a Slave using corresponding jumper.
4) Switch on PC
5) If BIOS doesn't recognize the affected HDD go back to 1)
6) Transfer all data from the affected HDD to the master HDD.

One Japanese reported me that he could recover data from MPG3409AT-EF by Dry/Cooling + CPU fan repair method. Here is how he did it. 10/30/2005 updated
***************************** Cool/Dry repair method **************************
1) Put the affected HDD and desiccator into the container. Then put the container in the refrigerator for 24 hours
2) Take it out and let it dry up. After this mechanical stress BIOS recognized this HDD but it stopped again during data backup.
5) Then he put some grease on the CIRRUS LOGIC's HDD controller and put CPU cooler (fan) on it and retrieved data from HDD.

C-1) is a "Software" repair method
I don't know the basic principal of this method. I can think of two possibilities. One possibility is that this software just reset the HDD parameters to the initial state. The other possibility is to fuse open dendrite by applying electrical filed between adjacent pin to the power (Vie) pin where dendrite growth is most occurs and Vie pin. However dendrite be formed between power pin and its adjacent pins easily but from my experience it is not the case always. So I don't know exactly what this software is doing. Basic data in the HDD might be corrupted. Maybe $1790 software (this web site is password controlled as of 6/22/2004) is not so expensive for the person who wants to recover very important data but the repair fee of $1790 is too much for most of private PC users. However it is difficult to throw away HDDs which contain many pictures of kids or the pictures of once-in-a-lifetime event. The $1790 software is for HDDs from Western Digital. Please check this URL (this web site is password controlled as of 6/22/2004) and find out what types of HDD they can be repaired by this software. If you are interested in the data recovery software for Fujitsu HDD(MPG3409AT-OF)please follow this link (this page is written in Japanese). (Title: Fujitsu MPG series HDD Recovery Tool Version 2.02A) I got the same software(ZIP,1.36Mm Virus scanned) from foreign country the other day. According to the person who sent this software to me he was very happy because he could recover all family pictures he took during his trip to foreign country by just running this software. I think it's worth trying.. As of 23/26/2006 13person told me that they could recover data from faulty HDD by this software. Total QTY repaired by this method is 13 HDDs. 

You can always ask Data salvage company to repair your HDD but I think they use one of above repair methods.

If you know some other repair methods please let me know by e-mail.

Original: 5/2/2004
Updated: 4/13/2006