Sun May 3 21:56:28 UTC 2009

rest in peace

Good news, everyone!

WD7500AAKS 2008/2/19 - 2009/4/27
goodnight sweet prince

No, wait, not good news. Bad news!

You see, it all started with the death of Geocities and the subsequent Archive Team rescue effort. I had a bunch of USB disks lying around for a backup scheme I have had in mind for months but never got around to, and I figured I might as well use some of the spare disks for geocities data.

After partioning and formatting the backup disks, I figured I should actually perform a backup with them. After farting around with rsync[*], I got everything working right. At about 196 gigabytes of 428 copied, I noticed that the source drive, the drive with all the precious completely un-backed-up data, was getting hot.

*: Protip. If you're using rsync -vaxE --ignore-errors --delete then the syntax is [source] [destination]. --delete will delete files on the destination drive if they don't exist on the source drive, so if get the two turned around, rsync will happily start deleting everything on the source drive. It started deleting everything in .Trash-bbot, but I didn't manage to stop it before it irreversably destroyed files I had already deleted. Damn you, rsync!

A year ago, when I got the drive, the external USB box I got to go with it had a wonky mating device, which failed to press the SATA connectors together with sufficent authority as to result in a working connection. Not willing to throw away fifty bucks of external USB box because some two-bit engineer hadn't done his job properly, I tore down the box and attached the USB bridging hardware manually, like thus:

Spoilers: This was a really bad idea.

Concerned that the heat of sustained up-backing might shorten the drive's lifespan, and perhaps cause it to die of terminal irony, in the midst of a backup; I scavenged a 120mm fan, and rested the drive on top of my soldering iron tip cleaner copper scrubber holder thing, to allow the air flow under the drive; and left to go get something to eat.

The bare drive.

With the exposed, uninsulated PCB.

On my return, golly, why has rsync stopped? What's with all these ominous errors in dmesg? What's that faint odor of magic smoke?

Why, it's because some enormous moron rested the drive's controller on a ball of copper wool.

The only data lost was torrents, but still, that's 300 gigs of torrents. Since it was just a controller failure, I figured buying another drive of the same exact model, and swapping boards, might work. Which it did, to the extent that the drive now responded, and could be mounted, but also didn't, since it reported zero sectors.

What's the lession here, kids?

Do your fucking backups!

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