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Thread: HD spins down, HD spins up

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2000


    OK, let me first ridicule myself for buying one of the crappiest hard drives around, the Seagate ST15150N for my PowerMac7100/66. But, I didn't discover the Gurus' consensus on this drive until after I got it.

    Anyways, I got this drive last October and it has worked fine until about a month ago. Basically, the startup goes something like this. Upon power-up, the drive spins up, which sounds like a jet engine starting up. Then, it makes a single click sound, followed by a rather violent jolting sound. Then the drive is ready to go, and the MacOS startup sequence begins. Take note that this is the way it has always powered up since I got it.

    Now, sometimes while I'm working on my Mac, I hear the single click sound mentioned above and the hard drive then spins down. If I'm not doing anything at the time, once the drive spins down, it then spins back up (following the same behavior above) and I can continue working as if nothing happened. But, if some disk access is going on while this 'spindown' occurs, the disk still spins back up, but the system usually hangs and must be hard-rebooted.

    When I first discovered this problem about a month ago, it would always do it during the startup sequence. Now, however, it seems to always get through the startup sequence but then spin down at some random time while the Mac is on.

    Any ideas on what's going on here? My first thoughts are that 1) the drive is slowly but surely failing (which I believe is the case, but am looking for feedback), or 2) the power supply is failing (could this cause the HD to power down and then back up in this fashion?)

    Thanks for any feedback,


  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
    wherever I hang my hat


    good description.

    I will let others guess at its meaning.

    I will, however, offer the obvious guidance: get your data off that drive, and don't trust it! Pull it, and make it a training aid!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2001
    Austin, TX


    I've seen that behaviour in many drives (well 3 or more) and it's a pain. I think that in each case I eventually had to send the drive in for warranty replacement. Low Level formatting the drive did not help. If I am remembering correctly (it's been a long time) moving the drives to a different enclosure did not help, so it was not the power supply.

    In my case it was some old 2 GB IBM drives (well they were new back then) 0641 or some such and I think I had that problem with a pretty new 15150 as well. This was back when the 15150 was a nifty fast drive from Seagate's cool new Barracuda line. Once I got my warranty replacement back I sold the two 15150s I had and never looked back.

    Of course, you probably don't have the warranty replacement option, but maybe. I think they had 5 year Seagate warranties. Mine would be more than 5 years old by now, but perhaps yours was manufactured more recently. It's debateable whether it's worth spednign the shipping costs to get a 15150 replaced though...

    Incidentally, I had a Quantum Atlas 4 GB in that same era. One of the originals with the dual head armature arrangement. When that failed under warranty, they wouldn't replace it. They made me take $800+ in cash instead.

    On the other hand my 32550 Barracudas are still going strong. They're slow (by today's standards, fast 5 years ago) loud and hot, but this four drive RAID has been rock solid for years. But each of my 32550s has its very own fan to keep it cool...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2000
    Concord, CA


    I have a couple of ST15150 drives, an N model and a W model which is spinning now. These drives run very hot so if you don't have a fan on your N model and the drive is in a cramped space, you need cooling. Both of mine get serious cooling fans. Since these are half-height drives, they tend to fill the bay. The hot side is the smooth top. The drive may be trying to tell you it is getting too hot.

    As you mention, the other possibility is power, perhaps the power supply, or perhaps the white plastic molex 4-pin power connector is not making good contact. I would remove it, take a look at the pins, and try another if you have a spare in the box. If not, hook up the connector again and make sure it is all the way in. Also make sure the SCSI cable is firmly seated in the drive and at the end where the cable plugs into the motherboard. Check the SCSI cable not crimped or cut anywhere, especially where it might interfere with the box cover. k

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