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Stay far far away, Major flaw with Seagate Expansion series.
on July 5, 2010
Drive makes loud clicking noise & eventually fails.
Drive works fine for the first few GB's, and once it gets somewhere around 50 to 300 GB, it starts making loud clicking noise. The more data added to the drive the more frequent the clicking noise become and eventually the drive fails.
As the first few sectors of the platter / platters, the traveling distance (from the edge of palter to the center) for the head arm is not that great. But as more data gets written to the disk, inner sectors of platters gets occupied with data. That's when the problem starts.
Without going into technical details, the issue here is not the drive. It is the PCB (Printed Circuit Board) that is installed in these external enclosures. This board regulates & provide power to the drive and in simple terms, there is not enough power for the disk to spin and for the head arm to extend far to reach inner sectors of the platter / platters .
I have tried many solutions recommended on the internet, including a youtube video posted by a person identified in this video as Bruce. None has worked. Some others suggested to change the usb cable, others suggested a firmware upgrade, some suggested to send the drive back to Seagate for replacement. Some people has done that but they got a new replacement drive that did the same clicking noise, and had to be sent back again. Do not waste your time on these suggestions, because I have tried them all before I started looking & analyzing the problem myself.
Seagate is well aware of this issue, but not only they are down playing the extent of this problem, they continue to sell these defective external boxes. In fact the first time this issue was reported on Seagate forum was 06-19-2009 06:50 AM. Up to the writing of this review, there are more than 31 pages from thousands of people reporting the issue with clicking noise & drive failure on Expansion boxes.
Solution & your options:
1 - If you just bought an Expansion, return it while you can get your money back.
2 - If it is under warranty, do not return it to Seagate. If you do, you end up with another defective drive that you have to send back again & each time cost $15.00 to $30.00 just for shipping (inside U.S.). Do one of the following:
A) Buy a new non-Seagate external enclosure (many good brand are in the market between $14.00 to $39.00). Take the drive out of Seagate Expansion enclosure and place it on the new one (this may void your warranty, but it is a permanent fix). Yes, You have break the tabs to open it. Seagate purposely made it non-serviceable.
B) If you can find a PCB that matches the Seagate Expansion box power & USB port openings, replace the PCB.
In my case, I replaced the case with a new enclosure.
C) Never buy a Seagate drive. They have been less than sincere & straight forward with their customers & continue to sell a defective product that they are well aware of it.