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My Maxtor Hard Drive Just Caught Fire!

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the hate-when-that-happens dept.

386

Dracos writes "Dell batteries you say catch fire? Well don't worry about that Dell battery, look inside your PC case at your HDD, mine just went up in smoke and flames..." Could be worse. It could be ball lightning. I hear there's a lot of that going around inside servers these days.

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386 comments

Overblown Drama (5, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016556)

While I don't think Seagate will like this (they acquired Maxtor last December and are still merging them into their operation, similar to the fate of Connor), I think it is a bit overblown to compare to erupting batteries which could scorch reproductive organs if they went off in laps like so much Gamma-Ray emitting McDonald's Coffee. I've seen chips fail before and it's nothing new to see their little epoxy encased brains leaving Olympus Mons-like formations or going off like Krakatoa. More excitement can likely be found with exploding motherboard capacitors (due in large part to counterfeit electronics components.)

Now, if this is something which is widely happening then it's news.

you know that pumpkin we built a pc in? it doesn't need a candle.

Re:Overblown Drama (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016589)

More excitement can likely be found with exploding motherboard capacitors (due in large part to counterfeit electronics components.)

The motherboard's power supply caps aren't exciting when they fail. The ones that we had a huge rash of a few years back failed silently (at least in terms of being able to hear them over the fan noise) and just bubbled a little. I let the smoke out of a capacitor once by plugging too much power into it, and all that happened was the little pre-stressed piece at the end burst open like an airbag cover or something, and a bunch of foul-smelling smoke that I ran away from rather than breathe spurted out of it; it was a fairly thick cloud but it only shot out about sixteen inches. Those weren't on a motherboard, but in some dinky (and crappy) powered speakers.

Re:Overblown Drama (3, Funny)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016634)

Well, it surely caught fire now haha


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The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.
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Re:Overblown Drama (4, Funny)

bladesjester (774793) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016902)

Seeing everyone in the lab where I used to work jump and hit the floor when a cap blew loud enough to sound like a gunshot was just amusing.

Blown Out of Proportion (5, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016559)

I'm going to argue that this comparison between the cell batteries and this hard drive are not apt.

I'm not an electrical engineer but to the best of my understanding, batteries have complex chemicals and, ultimately, are a large capacitor storing energy with nothing but a insulator between the two negative and positive charges. Should these insulators decay, then disastrous effects can take place. Have you seen the pictures for the Dell laptops? Some of them are basically the entire battery slot burned out (top and bottom) with melted plastic, circuit board and screen. We're talking potential bodily harm here.

Again, I'm not an electrical engineer but as I understand it, hard drives are merely rotating discs or platters with a reading arm accessing them while they spin at high speeds. If something goes wrong, it grinds to a halt. There is minimal electronics and circuitry on them and that's what's malfunctioned here. We're not talking flames shooting out the side of a case or possible bodily harm but instead just a chip reaching it's melting point, producing a flash and growing carbon as it dies. And why does this article say "Maxtor" when this is most likely an isolated incident?! I mean, catastrophic failures happen in computer products no matter what the brand name is. Mean time to failure, right? Any microcontroller has this risk. Why doesn't the article list the age of the drive and the conditions it was operating under? I am most interested into whether or not this is under normal use and whether or not it happened immediately or if it's 2 years old.

Honestly, compare these two images: Blown up Hard drive from the article [dragonsteelmods.com] and a Dell laptop result [blogsmithmedia.com] .

I hardly find the two comparable. I've seen burned out hard drives and burned out computer components and, honestly, you have more to worry about from a cheap power supply than you do a Maxtor hard drive. When those burn out, they tend to take the things they're connected to with them.

Re:Blown Out of Proportion (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016620)

I used to have a seagate RLL drive that would occasionally decide to burn a trace off the board for no apparent reason. I routed around the trace with a piece of wire, and then that melted its solder off, and then I did it again and used it for about four months without further problems.

It really is amazing that I never burned the house down as a kid.

Re:Blown Out of Proportion (4, Informative)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016649)

One chip baking is definitely not anything near the danger of a battery baking. Lithium rechargables are pretty dangerous if misused. One EE battery specialist told me that you only need to overcharge a lithium battery by about one percent to risk explosion or damage, which is why the charge limiting circuitry is so important.

Re:Blown Out of Proportion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016673)

Did you read the article? He gives the exact brand and model and when it was purchased.

Re:Blown Out of Proportion (1)

parasonic (699907) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016684)

Correct.

I'd like to see some substantial proof that his computer actually had large flames coming out. Seeing that there wasn't much damage to the PCB itself and that the computer was still running, I find this guy's story hard to believe.

About a year ago, I had a 120GB HDD that fizzled out in the exact same manner. One of the SMD chips on the PCB burned up. It left a hole in the chip with a bit of melted plastic/carbon around the tiny cavity. Considering how small the wires are inside the chip casing, this was probably the "fuse" of a short on the board. Perhaps the motor got a little out of phase, stopped while still powered, and this resulted. Just a little conjecture.

Oh, and by the way, the drive that suffered the same fate didn't explode in a fireball, and it was a Western Digital. Why this guy was railing on Maxtor, probably at his cube on company time, I will never know...

Re:Blown Out of Proportion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016708)

Man, you didn't really RTFA, did you? Wait, I must be new around here...

We're not talking flames shooting out the side of a case or possible bodily harm but instead just a chip reaching it's melting point, producing a flash and growing carbon as it dies

From TFA:
when I hit the power button flames..LITERALLY shot out of the bottom of the HDD

Why doesn't the article list the age of the drive and the conditions it was operating under? I am most interested into whether or not this is under normal use and whether or not it happened immediately or if it's 2 years old.

From TFA:
ANd FYI, the Hard Drive is a 200Gig Maxtor DiamondMax 10 SATA150 Manufactured on March 1st 2005

I bought the drive in June of 2005 from NewEgg, it has been fine ever since, I came home from store and POOF... No overheating no nothing, ,machineis not overclocked...


Come on man, it's not even a page long...

Or not... (3, Insightful)

phorm (591458) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016742)

How about when your hard-drive is located near your battery. Hard drive starts small internal fire, heats battery (which might otherwise not be so prone to explosion, but it's still Li+ and no batteries like fire), and you get a big fire.

I'd say this is still something to worry about if it's widespread. However, there are lots of reasons a particular piece of electronics can go (including many environmental factors), be it battery, hard-drive, PSU, etc... so unless more hard-drives catch smoke I'd say it's just a freak occurance and to be wary but not paranoid in the future.

That being said, in my professional and personal usage for the last few years, I have very few good things to say about Maxtor. Many drives have died, and if you read the fine-print they'll replaced your burned-out-lost-data-POS drive with a "refurbished" unit if it's past the first period of warrantee... usually meaning your replacement will happily cack itself sometime in the near future as well.

Re:Or not... (1)

absinthminded64 (883630) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016901)

TFA's image confirms that the problem drive was a 3.5" drive which you wouldn't find in a laptop. Laptop drives wouldn't likely be positioned directly over or under a battery either and their ICs aren't exposed.

Definately overblown!

Re:Blown Out of Proportion (1)

A beautiful mind (821714) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016896)

I've had a Maxtor hdd "go up in flames" before. Nothing spectacular, just some smoke and charred chips on the back. Didn't pose any danger.

OK! I think I've figured it out... (1)

T_ConX (783573) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016571)

The reason all our Hardware is suddenly going up in flames is... Global Warming! I'm serial!

Re:OK! I think I've figured it out... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016809)

Super, super serial?

Attack of the soldering iron & needle nose pli (1)

Proud like a god (656928) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016575)

Probably fake. Nothing to see here.

Re:Attack of the soldering iron & needle nose (0, Troll)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016650)

that or the other usual suspects...

"my 360 caught on fire, all I did was wrap it in a shag carpet, douse it in petrol and stick it in the microwave, that's totally normal usage!"

Look people, it's call ventilation. I don't care how cool your heatsink is, or how many LEDs you have in the front of the case. If the air doesn't move over the components they'll heat up. Heat up being "additive". Given enough time they do the nasty [usually just cause a crash via PCI lockups or memory corrupt etc].

So how about you [you==stupid people] stop overclocking your shit, air out the damn case and MOVE OUT OF YOUR PARENTS BASEMENT!.

Tom

Re:Attack of the soldering iron & needle nose (5, Funny)

LouisZepher (643097) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016859)

"MOVE OUT OF YOUR PARENTS BASEMENT!"

Because the rent is cheap, and the attic is too hot.

Re:Attack of the soldering iron & needle nose (2, Funny)

everett (154868) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016864)

Pot, I'd like you to meet my friend kettle. I think you two will find you have a lot in common.

Smoke from the webserver (1)

pacc (163090) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016585)

If his harddrive went up in flames,
I'd like to see the effect that slashdot
had on his webserver.

Re:Smoke from the webserver (2, Funny)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016839)

Actually, he's from the future and he's showing us what happened to his server once the slashdotting begun.

This just in... (2, Interesting)

Kenja (541830) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016590)

This just in. Electricity can cause heat and electronic circuits can short out. Details at eleven.

This is nothing. Now the power supply I once had belch fire half way across the room, that was somthing.

Re:This just in... (1)

Bitsy Boffin (110334) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016867)

We had a PC almost burn down the house once, literally, two fire engine callout with respirators, toxic smoke billowing out of windows, carpet on fire, sofa on fire, bed on fire, insurance claim to redecorate because of all the smoke damage, and the PC - pretty much nothing left of it except the case - it must have got SERIOUSLY hot inside that case.

Don't know what happened to it, the thing basically spontaneoously combusted and had a complete melt down. Scary stuff.

up in smoke (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016595)

Like your server

HDD smoke... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016604)

One of my HDDs went out with a buff couple years ago. One HDD motherbord component died. Nothing major.
Was it IBM or Maxtor, I do not recall anymore.

If you think computer parts are bad... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016607)

...stay away from Bic lighters!

I recently noticed one end has a little wheel. Turning the wheel generates sparks. The sparks themselves seem harmless, but further investigation revealed a shocking result. If you really push down hard, a valve apparently opens, combining with the sparks to emit a small flame! I know it sounds absurd, but I could reproduce it several times. Not only did a flame come out, but the lighter got hot from the flame. Further testing is needed, but I think these Bic guys should prepare a major recall.

As a tech, I've never trusted Maxtor (4, Informative)

sco_robinso (749990) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016611)

Ive worked as a tech for 10 years now, and for every 1 problem I've seen with a Seagate or Western Digital, I see 3 problems with a Maxtor. Both in retail sales and repair, I've just seen too many problems with Maxtor's over the years. They fail about 3x as much as any other brand.

I know there's people out there who have had problems with all the brands, but overall in tens of thousands of drives I've sold or replaced, the majority of those are Maxtors. A few collueages of mine who also have been doing PC repair for 10+ years also have had the same bad luck with Maxtors.

This doesn't really suprise me. Although none of my clients' machines will be affected by this, as I haven't put a maxtor in a machine for god knows how long.

Re:I concur (2, Interesting)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016705)

I've been working with computes since 1984. In the early 90's, I always chose Maxtor. They were reliable and more affordable than Seagate or WD. However, in the late 90's I started seeing more and more failures with Maxtor drives. I've since given up on them and I'll only buy Seagate, WD or possibly Fujitsu.

Looks like Maxtor is definitely going downhill, or up in flames.

Only thing I really suspect about this story is the part where he "ran the drive out of the case." Was he grounded? Was it on carpet or a bare, non-conductive surface? This smacks of static electricity buildup.

I still won't buy Maxtor, though, or any local store brands that are made by Maxtor.

Re:As a tech, I've never trusted Maxtor (2, Interesting)

eebra82 (907996) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016724)

That's funny.. A friend of mine works at a very large Scandinavian distributor of hardware and he's telling me that Maxtor is on par with other hard drives. Most people rely so heavily on Seagate, but five year warranty is commonplace nowadays and the fact is that these drives fail as often as other major brands (more or less). At least that's what I've heard. If anyone has other info, please correct me.

Re:As a tech, I've never trusted Maxtor (5, Insightful)

Cthefuture (665326) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016736)

Yeah but you can't say for certain until you compare how many Maxtors you sold versus the other brands. Anecdotal evidence won't cut it, you need to look at the records with real numbers. Personal bias can affect even the best of us.

Re:As a tech, I've never trusted Maxtor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016748)

I will have to agree with this, but from my experience is more like a 5 to 1 ratio.

Re:As a tech, I've never trusted Maxtor (1)

value_added (719364) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016793)

Ive worked as a tech for 10 years now, and for every 1 problem I've seen with a Seagate or Western Digital, I see 3 problems with a Maxtor. Both in retail sales and repair ...

I could echo the same experience on my end. Anecdotal evidence aside, it's worth noting that most Maxtors being sold are offered with a 1 year warranty. The Seagates often come with a 5 year warranty. If the bean counters have figured out the appropriate price point, you would have figured the consumer could as well. Instead ... "Oh, look, this one's on sale ..."

Agreed (1)

bogie (31020) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016822)

Maxtor=crap. My experiences and many other techs that I spoken to have found that to be the case for the last several years. Everytime I have to work on a Dell with a failed/dying HD it turns out to be a POS Maxtor drive that is usually less than a year old. I'm beyond annoyed that Seagate would sully their name by purchasing them.

Re:As a tech, I've never trusted Maxtor (1)

15Bit (940730) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016830)

I tend to separate my hard drive experience into two loosely divided time scales - pre disk space explosion, and post disk space explosion. Older disks were simply more reliable. I rarely saw any drives fail in the sub 10Gb range. Exceptions to this were western digital, specifically the 3.1Gb ones which i killed a few of. I've still got several happily working drives in the 6-40Gb range that have been running 24/7 for god knows how many years. And its not like these are the last survivors - i've actually seen very few fail (just to note, i never bought any IBM deathstars). Notably reliable are the 6.4Gb quantums, which just don't seem to want to die.

Things kinda change once we got upto 80Gb, and i have no 120Gb's left that work. This is echoed across my friends also. Maxtor are particularly guilty in that range. As for more modern drives, well i've failed a couple of 200Gb seagates and a 40Gb hitachi laptop drive (2 months old) gave up last week. Now, given that my experience is true for everyone i know, why are the MTF values on these drives so high when the disks themselves are increasingly unreliable?

Re:As a tech, I've never trusted Maxtor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016869)

I had a 6 GiB Maxtor drive fail, my brothers G3 iMac had a similar drive that did the same.

Re:As a tech, I've never trusted Maxtor (1)

jcrousedotcom (999175) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016885)

Amen to that. I have quit using Maxtor drives entirely. In fact, I've basically switched to WD exclusively. It just wasn't worth the data loss on the end users' part and the time needed to replace something that should not need replacing on a twelve month rotation. --jcrouse

Re:As a tech, I've never trusted Maxtor (2, Informative)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016909)

In 2004 we bought 48 PCs from Dell -- each with Maxtor SATA hard drives. They were model 6Y120M0. 25 of the drives failed within one year. We worked with Dell to proactively replace the remaining drives. At first, Dell was replacing them with model 6Y160M0, which also had a high failure rate. We finally asked Dell to give us ALL non-Maxtor drives. We got a mix of Seagates and Western Digital drives: no problems since.

Maxtor used to be a good brand. All of our older Dell's have Maxtor drives that are approaching 7-8 years of reliable use. They work great. It's just the drives in the past few years, I guess.

Now, whenever anything in our office breaks, we joke that it must be a Maxtor.

What's with.. (1)

Chaffar (670874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016612)

..the tabloïd-style headline ? I mean, it looks like the nerd equivalent of "Elvis Lives!", or "Brittney's secret child tells us EVERYTHING!"...

Re:What's with.. (1)

jolyonr (560227) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016652)

Yep, and apparently Samuel L Jackson has already inquired about the film rights.

Jolyon

Re:What's with.. (1)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016699)

..the tabloïd-style headline ? I mean, it looks like the nerd equivalent of "Elvis Lives!", or "Brittney's secret child tells us EVERYTHING!"...

Oh, that is just slashdot replicating the 13-year-old-Digg type post.

Editors, it really looks bad, please leave the OMGWTFBBQ BESTEST EXPLOITION EVAR!!!!!! comments to Digg, please?

Re:What's with.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016807)

I mean, it looks like the nerd equivalent of "Elvis Lives!", or "Brittney's secret child tells us EVERYTHING!"...
 
That's because Slashdot is no longer the tech site it once was. It's just a place for the geek squad to moan about nothing. This story isn't even news, it's a single incident. Big whoop.
 
Slashdot is turning to sensationalism (regardless if it's intentional or not) to get traffic. Too bad that management has seen this complaint from many users yet continues on it's path. Stick a fork in it, it's dead.

My Maxtor Hard Drive just Caught Fire! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016613)

"503 Service Temporarily Unavailable"

Indeed.

Publicity stunt: My [insert device] caught fire (2, Funny)

suggsjc (726146) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016628)

Couldn't get to the article, but I bet since the dell incident was spun to be the "power of bloggers/internet" that you will be seeing a lot more headlines/blogs/whatever that are going to try to ride on its coat-tails.

The power of connection and freedom of communication is a very wonderful thing, but it can also have its drawbacks as well.

not exactly (2, Insightful)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016777)

Potentially damaing remarks will be peer reviewed by other tech savvy users, if this Maxtor issue is a one in a million problem then it will fizzle. If a lot of other Maxtor drive owners have drives that go boom, there'll be a recall. It all takes care of itself.

More than likely this owner, whose hard drive was manufactured on March 1, 2005, has a 3 or 5 year warranty on that drive. I have a similar drive from Maxtor from that year that's 5 protected for years. Pity about the data though.

Its a Mod site ! (1)

in2mind (988476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016895)

The story author runs a MOD site ! [dragonsteelmods.com,which is where the story is written]

Inspite of his denial of overclocking etc,who knows what things he tried with his PC ? Duh.

Thats a copy! (1)

FFFFHALTFFFF (996601) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016637)

Well, Maxtor are copying a old tecnology, the Quantum Fireball hard drives!!!

Re:Thats a copy! (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016727)

Another brand prone to high failure rates. Though I never saw one live up to it's "fireball" name. Dead weight, sure, but not fireball.

Not unheard of... (1)

LSD-OBS (183415) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016641)

In 1999 I had a Maxtor hard drive do exactly the same thing - on the same (read: equivalent) controller chip on the board. The smell was pretty bad too.

Re:Not unheard of... (1)

smbarbour (893880) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016728)

Theoretically speaking, the data should still be intact. The drive is just over a year old and may still be covered under Maxtor's warranty (I'm not too familiar with Maxtor's warranty policies). It should be as simple as replacing the control PCB (although I'd recommend it be done in a clean room just to be safe).

yeah.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016644)

And so did your webserver

It seems it really did! (1)

pe1chl (90186) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016653)

Service Temporarily Unavailable
The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.
Apache/1.3.33 Server at www.dragonsteelmods.com Port 80

He is guilty!! (0, Troll)

chowdy (992689) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016654)

He clearly purposely set fire to his drive to remove evidence of his pirated software.

Bah! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016659)

Just saw a 120G maxtor melt a carrer, no real damage though.
This is just as everyone has said; If real, overblown.
Nothing to see here, move on.

What about Quantum drives? (2, Funny)

tritonman (998572) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016661)

What about when we start using these quantum drives, I can see it now, an error happens with the hard drive, a neutron goes flying off an atom, smashes another atom, setting off a chain reaction... Oops, there goes your whole neighborhood!

Re:What about Quantum drives? (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016767)

Well, a quantum drive will not fail until you check if it did. Otherwise it will just be in a superposition of failed and working, and quantum algorithms should be able to make use of the working part anyway. :-)

Missing the "It's funny. Laugh". (4, Funny)

ettlz (639203) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016665)

From TFA:

when I hit the power button flames..LITERALLY shot out of the bottom of the HDD, I was like F**K!!

when I clicked on the link flames..LITERALLY came out of my head and into this text area. I was like, F**K, Dude?!

BUT FLAMES SHOOTING OUT OF IT?!?!?!?! Damn, first dell batteries now Hard Drives... What's next?!?

OMGWTFSATAHDD!!!!11! Tubular!!!!1111one

DIGG IT!!!!

Ughnnn...

Same thing happened to me (1)

Juggalo_X (999173) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016666)

this is not isolated i have a Maxtor diamondmax 10 160 GB and the exact same thing happened to me the same chip the same flames and smoke and horrible smell. Im thinking design flaw. Sad part is my drive was 1 month out of warranty and i have about 30 gigs of family photos on there it was my back up drive and i didn't have them on my mail drive for lack of space the the time.

Re:Same thing happened to me (1)

tommy13v (828552) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016765)

Mine went out 2 weeks ago, 1 month out of warranty. Got the data restored from a Disaster recovery service for $574.

Nothing Special (1)

paulberezansky (862800) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016683)

Electronic chips burn, it happends. Capacitors explode. I guess this is just the first time for him, so he blogged about it.

Yo0 fAIL it (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016686)

recruitment, but i8 ratio of 5 to Rivalry. While Slashdot 'BSD is all along. *BSD the same operation obseesives and the obtain a copy of truth, for all long term survival Baby take my represents the BSD fanatics? I've ink splashes across and has instead reaper Nor do the handy, you are free pallid bodies and Of reality. Keep for membership. progress. In 1992, Are you GAY

A plot by hardware manufacturers (1)

Billosaur (927319) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016693)

This is part of an under-handed campaign by hardware manufacturers. Why? Simple: to generate sales. Face it, if they make products with long lifesapns, there's no incentive for you to buy new things (laptops, hard drives, etc.). You'll keep your trusty equipment until it suffers a massive failure, which given average quality, might last ten years. Result: slow sales and low turnover. Solution: cause products to self-destruct! The only problem Dell had with the plan is that they got caught by a wave of incendiary laptops. While I doubt Maxtor would make it so obvious, if there's a spate of HDs bursting into flames, don't say you weren't warned.

Short circuit (5, Informative)

Derf_X (651876) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016696)

I read TFA, and from what I understand, is drive died normally (or a cable came unplugged), like lots of drives do, and when he plugged it in "while it was out of the case" as he says, the contacts on the logic board must have short circuited on the metal surface of the case, which created some sparks. It happened to a friend (who happens to be a computer tech) once when he was checking a faulty drive.

So in essence, he was not careful with his drive. Hardly a Slashdot story, even less news.

Threadjack -- sort of (1)

kent_eh (543303) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016709)

So, what HD would you use in your desktop box, if you had to replace a drive today?

I mean, all drives fail at some point. I've had Maxtor, Segate, WD and several others die over the years (though not as spectacularly as TFA suggests).


Maybe a mix of brands is the answer, if you can make them co-operate in a RAID array.
The usual advice seems to be that you want the drives to be identical. Are there any major downsides to using similar spec, but different brand drives in an array?

Re:Threadjack -- sort of (1)

Corwn of Amber (802933) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016773)

"A RAID-5 of 150 GB WD Raptors" sounds like a wet dream to me. Expensive as hell, but won't die anytime soon.

Seagate (1)

Avatar8 (748465) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016871)

Hands down.

I think Seagate has the lowest failure rate of the big three I'd consider (Seagate, Western Digital or Fujitsu) - this from memory, not statistics I could look up.

Seagate and WD both offer 5 year warranties. I've RMA'd a few drives with Seagate at my work. They have yet to refuse a return.

Look at enterprise usage. Most SAN's, NAS's and enterprise servers will have Seagate drives in them. There's a reason: reliability.

If you're really concerned with performance and reliability, go with the Barracuda line. A bit more pricey, but worth the reassurance of Seagates top line.

As for using different drives in an array, no there are no issues. As long as the RAID controller can talk to them, it will use the smaller of the two (or more) sizes as the "base" for mirror or RAID calculations. The overage on the larger drives will be wasted. (even though they both may say 200Gb, there will be a slight size difference.)

Could be an interesting tech support call (4, Funny)

nizo (81281) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016712)

Customer: My new drive is smokin!


Tech Support: We are pleased that you are happy with the speed of your new drive.


Customer: No, I mean smoke is pouring outta my harddrive man! (Screams of panic and someone saying "get the fire extinguisher!" in the background)

Re:Could be an interesting tech support call (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016858)

Can you imagine the idiot that would call tech support while his hard disk was on fire? "Should I just shut it off? I don't want Scandisk to scold me when I boot it up again!"

Had a couple of old Dells die like this... (1)

Aphrika (756248) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016717)

Specifically the old Txxx and Dimension XPS series from 1999 or so - although not as spectacularly I must admit...

The drive was placed vertically in the front of the machine with the PCB facing the air vent. Consequently, dust and debris from the floor got sucked in, and eventually something shorted out the drive electronics. We didn't get 3" high flames, but we got a nice big blue/white flash and the magic smoke came out.

We solved the problem by raising the towers off the floor and placing plastic shields of the drive PCBs. I haven't seen the problems on more recent machines, but if you're in an environment making CAT5 cables or other stuff where you're likely to get small conductive lengths of material, it's worth bearing in mind.

Re:Had a couple of old Dells die like this... (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016832)

That was a lousy design, but you could have also solved it by installing a filter in the front of the case or blowing out the dust regularly.

Many people say maxtor hdd is bad (1)

awss82 (995948) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016723)

I my self used Maxtor befor 80GB. And then after a year it got as many bad sectors as my hair. Then I died. I bought another one then after three months same thing it was 80GB also. But now I am using Seagate and so far after hmm probably a year and half still working well.

Re:Many people say maxtor hdd is bad (1)

remembertomorrow (959064) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016803)

Then I died.

You died? How are you posting on Slashdot then? Is the internet access fast <wherever you are>?

Re:Many people say maxtor hdd is bad (1)

ajmilton (975709) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016874)

as if dying wasn't bad enough, before he died ... well ...

as many bad sectors as my hair

poor guy. i've been lucky so far and avoided bad sectors of hair.

Re:Many people say maxtor hdd is bad (1)

RedMage (136286) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016851)

And then after a year it got as many bad sectors as my hair. Then I died.
I'm sorry to hear about your death, but perhaps there's good cause for a wrongful death lawsuit? Or perhaps you needed to calm down a bit more and not take it so seriously... BTW, Does the afterlife have good deals on aftermarket equipment? I bet there's a lot of VAXen still running... RM

SMPS (1)

in2mind (988476) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016733)

May be his SMPS/Power supply is at fault.

You cant draw much from a single incident like this - except perhaps that, under circumstances hard disk's can also catch fire.

Smoke Yes, Fire No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016735)

The Chip Burned out. The magic smoke escaped.
Fire would be very interesting. The PCB and chip plastic are flame retardant.

Maxtor drives suck (1)

Corwn of Amber (802933) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016740)

and have always sucked. Their warranty expires after 365 days and their MTBF is 368 days however heavily you use them.

I have several terabytes of various data on dead Maxtors.

Next HDs I'll buy will all be Raptors (Western Digital). It may cost three times as much as anything else, but real fast access times and 10000 rpm justify it. And a serious MTBF (read : "will hopefully not die until I buy a replacement") has no price.

Repeat after me : "Do. Not. Buy. Maxtor. Ever."

My Pants (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016754)

Just Caught Fire Reading This Article!!!

Reminds me of a story... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016784)

I was supervising over a retail chains tech shop and we had a computer checked in for diagnostics; it kept frying harddrives. You'd turn this beast on, it'd work perfectly fine, it'd post, detect CD-ROM drives across both IDE controllers, and the moment you plugged in a harddrive, BAM, it'd turn toastie and shoot flames out of the bottom. So we're like WTF, I put the new guy on it to test him, he comes back to me with a powersupply wire. APPARENTLY silverstone decided to make their BTX powerupplies such that you could plug power wires into them backwards; fans hooked into the chain would work fine, but the drive won't. So we plugged the wire back in right and told the customer who was none too happy at blowing out $600 worth of drives due to his own stupidity.

Then there was this other time where I had a powersupply that blew out motherboards. You'd plug it into a MSI board and it'd fry; plug it into another powersupply, everything was perfect, thing even booted into windows. Plug it into the bad bestec from an e-machines, and it'd turn into crispy critter and if you plugged it into the good antec test powersupply, it would no longer post. The northbridge had 2 little spots on it from melting, on 3 seperate boards of different brands. I almost wanted to keep that bugger but the customer wanted it back.

Oh Em Gee (3, Interesting)

Donniedarkness (895066) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016787)

I've got a couple of Maxtors (160gb SATAII's) running in my desktop that like to run at 55+ degrees celcius....without me even doing anything. No programs running, I'm sure there's no spyware accessing the drives, and hell, it's not even connected to the internet. I wonder if we've got some out of the same batch? I've moved the drives away from each other, installed 4 more 80mm case fans (2 that push 34 cfm and 2 that push 36) to complement my 120mm rear fan and 80mm side intake fan. All that managed to make them go from about 65+ degrees to around 58 degrees (celcius, again)... after only about an hour and a half of sitting at the desktop.

The airflow is good, the case isn't crowded... it HAS to be the drives. Anyone else had this problem?

And this... (0, Troll)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016797)

And this, my friends, is why you shouldn't buy Maxtor. I've never had anything but trouble with Maxtor drives.

Western Digital all the way for me :)

Made by Sony? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16016806)

If it's a drive manufactured by Sony and relabled Maxtor, then we've got a story.

This recording will self-destruct in 5 seconds (2, Informative)

davidwr (791652) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016817)

You have the Mission Impossible virus *joke*.

If you are lucky you have the crippled version that just blows out the electronics, leaving the data intact. In that case any drive-recovery service can get your data back for a few grand.

I have 4 of these (3, Insightful)

gigne (990887) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016828)

I have at least 4 hard disks that have burned out in the same way. I have seen this happen many, many times.

I don't see what the fuss is all about. the guy probably shorted +5 with +12V

This is not a widespread problem. It just happens. You don't see posts on slash about frozen platters, or odd click noises.

I can take pictures if need be.

Use SMART to avoid such occurances (4, Funny)

cortana (588495) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016876)

I'm pretty sure if he paid attention to his drive's SMART data then he would have been able to replace the drive before it burst in to flames.

# smartctl -Asmartctl version 5.36 [i686-pc-linux-gnu] Copyright (C) 2002-6 Bruce Allen
Home page is http://smartmontools.sourceforge.net/

=== START OF READ SMART DATA SECTION ===
SMART Attributes Data Structure revision number: 16
Vendor Specific SMART Attributes with Thresholds:
ID# ATTRIBUTE_NAME          FLAG     VALUE WORST THRESH TYPE      UPDATED  WHEN_FAILED RAW_VALUE
  3 Spin_Up_Time            0x0027   192   190   063    Pre-fail  Always       -
  4 Start_Stop_Count        0x0032   253   253   000    Old_age   Always       -
  5 Reallocated_Sector_Ct   0x0033   253   253   063    Pre-fail  Always       -
  6 Read_Channel_Margin     0x0001   253   253   100    Pre-fail  Offline      -
  7 Seek_Error_Rate         0x000a   253   252   000    Old_age   Always       -
  8 Seek_Time_Performance   0x0027   241   225   187    Pre-fail  Always       -
  9 Spontaneous_Combustion  0x002b   232   232   020    Pre-fail  Always       -
10 Spin_Retry_Count        0x002b   239   232   157    Pre-fail  Always       -

and so on

anda (1)

junglee_iitk (651040) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016878)

The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to maintenance downtime or capacity problems. Please try again later.

Oh... I can see your hard drive just caught fire! :-)

See it all the time (2, Interesting)

Mike Blakemore (999177) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016900)

Nothin' new. I've worked in the computer repair industry for about 10 years now and I've had this happen to about 6 or 7 drives in my time. Never straight out of the box though. I always assumed it was from dust. Yes, mostly Maxtor drives, a couple of WD's and an IBM. Still, not as cool as a good ol' power supply explosion.

yep my hdd flamed out! (3, Informative)

dampeal (999182) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016904)

That' me, my site... sorry about the server probs... can only handle around 2200 online at a time.. host can't help me till this afternoon, they are having probs on their end.. and I was holding the drive in my hand by it's sides when it burst into flames.. fun fun -Dracos

Burning Athlon CPU (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 7 years ago | (#16016914)

Two years ago I came home from work for lunch (lived 5 min from work) When I entered my apt I smelled something burning. WTF? I check things out and noticed my monitor was not on and as I closer to my computer I smelt a burning smell coming from it. I took the side panel off and got a wiff of some burning silicon.

What happened was the fan failed and the CPU started a meltdown. After a few mintures I took the MB out and took the fan off to inspect the CPU. I burnt my fingers (had red marks on them for days) from grabbing the CPU after popping it out. The bottom of the cpu was burnt brown looking and had a dark brown patch from where the little temp? probe from the MB touches the cpu.

If I didn't come home for lunch who knows how hot or burnt it could have gotten.
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