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Author Topic: Hard Disk Lifetime?  (Read 5327 times)

apemberton

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Hard Disk Lifetime?
« on: 16 December 2012, 10:13:15 am »

As my Sheeva and guruplugs generally use hard disks to boot and run (as opposed to NAND or SHDC cards), I am just wondering how reliable HDD's are? The reason? I have been running both 2.5" and 3.5" disks as eSATA/root etc. 24/7 for the last two years or so. Now a couple of disks have failed with badly written data ( I have had other failures which were mechanical ) and are unrecoverable even by using fdisk followed by mkfs.ext? to format the drives.

Periodically, I have periodically updated the kernels (I am now installing v 3.6.10 into sheeva and guruplugs), running fsck when the opportunity arises.

I have also found that 2.5" disks have problems when being powered by mains powered USB supplies (i.e. not powered by the 'plugs). The USB Hubs do not seem to be able to reliably power drives (I hear clicking by the drives) and I will resurrect a meaty non-switched 5V power supply built in the 1980's to provide USB power in the future.

I wonder if other users have had problems? Any suggested reliability improvements would be welcome - implementing RAID perhaps? (How could this be done with only one eSATA port?)
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Tony Pemberton

Ralph Houston

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Re: Hard Disk Lifetime?
« Reply #1 on: 18 December 2012, 11:06:04 am »

I've been using PC HDDs for ages (300MB in a 5" cube anyone, anno 1988?) and have seldom had any problems. The oldest drives I have now have been heavily used for 10 years or more. The clicking could be a lack of peak current, so maybe put a capacitor somewhere (or indeed your other PSU). I had a problem where a 2.5" USB-powered drive was not happy on my Dreamplug, but OK with another 'wall-wart' via a jack plug in addition.

Does your hub provide power and a USB node? I'd check:
- that the hub PSU is OK and adequately rated
- the common (0V) is well-connected (again, current surges could be causing data corruption)

Good luck
Ralph
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apemberton

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Re: Hard Disk Lifetime?
« Reply #2 on: 18 December 2012, 11:37:09 am »

Thanks Ralph for your feedback.

They don't make drives like they used to! Ah yes, an IBM PC with a Seagate ST-506 (I think) marvelling at 10Mbyte capacity! But then I'm of the day when sysops used to swap 8(?) platter 14" disk packs with the magnificent capacity of 2.5Mbyte. I was shown a large IBM-370 with the magnetic core size of 1 Megabyte which computed a clearing bank's accounts. (1970). My job then was fixing desk sized terminals which had a 1 bit wide adder, word size of 64 bits and disk capacity of 1024 words (1 head per track - no moving pickup). The datacomm version had 1280 words and communicated at 1200 Bits/sec half duplex. It was good to see the young lasses who worked on these things all day entering cheques and other paper!  :-X

Anyway back to queries.

At present, I am powering the 2.5" drives from old Buffalo linkstation USB ports. I used to have a USB power supply supposedly rated at 2.0A but powering 3 drives continuously for a year or so caused burnout - it is a PSU not a hub. I have tried new USB power supply units supposedly rated 2.0A but these can't cope - they are intended to charge iWatevers. I'm sure the problem is inrush current to the drives which power up, draw too much current which causes the power supply to cut out, drive powers off, PSU recovers and cycle stars again. A reasonably large capacitor would cure that problem I'm sure but I might as well use the old PSU I have (or an old redundant PC PSU).

It is not too easy to provide a common ground without opening all the boxes and soldering a meaty ground wire to all boxes. Things are not designed to be easy!
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Tony Pemberton

sarakfeely

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Re: Hard Disk Lifetime?
« Reply #3 on: 07 February 2015, 05:11:07 am »

All of the HDs end up becoming "internal" as they spend all their time in our servers. While a few thousand of the drives started out as externals, most of them started out as internals.
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