dead USB drive anyone?

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Hi,  
I already know the answer but we never know if anyone out there can make
miracles :)
I've been given a dead USB drive, in my linux laptop is identified as usb
storage device but it fails to read (probably) the capacity and the usb stack
keeps on resetting the device.
It's not possible to open it, looks like a small solid plastick stick with  
metal tabs embedded on one side. It's just a bit longer than the typical
usb slot.
I tried heating and freezing it, just in case it was some temperature
sensitive fault, but behaviour never changed.
I don't think there's a way to expose the actual NAND-flash chip and read
it separately, but I'm asking the expert here :)
Did anyone ever found a way to open (or otherwise read) these little
data killer devices?
Thanks

Frank

Re: dead USB drive anyone?


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The only USB HDD I have any experience with is a USB external - it came with  
a special Y cable with 2 plugs so it could pick up enough current. Only 1  
plug has signal lines.

Not tried it myself - but someone on a forum was complaining they had to  
clonk the drive on the desk to get it to spin up. They were using a normal  
single plug lead.  


Re: dead USB drive anyone?
frank wrote on 6/22/2017 7:47 AM:
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Just to be sure, you are talking about a USB Flash drive, right?  I've yet  
to find one I couldn't open.  It would cost them extra money to make them  
hard to open, solid plastic.

Not sure what you might be able to fix inside other than a failed solder  
joint though.  Mostly they are a single Flash chip with a built in  
controller, nothing to replace without losing the data in the chip.

The lesson here is that Flash chips are not terribly reliable for long term  
storage.  Anything on a Flash drive should be backed up on another Flash  
drive or your computer hard drive or both.  Backup, backup, backup.

--  

Rick C

Re: dead USB drive anyone?
On Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 3:48:13 PM UTC-4, rickman wrote:
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sb
 stack
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A good buddy of mine had some data and pictures on a flash drive that he co
uld no longer read on his computer or any recovery software.  So I opened i
t up looking for bad solder on the chip or a problem with the USB connector
.  Sure, the plastic outer case opened up easily enough but there was nothi
ng inside.  That's right, nothing.. Other than a two piece outer plastic ca
se, the drive was a USB connector soldered to a multi-layer board with no e
xternal components on it. Whatever it used for a chip was embedded inside t
he PC layer.  



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rm  
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I have a library of .bin files for TV mainboards on 4 thumb drives as well  
as three PCs I own and several PC from others in the business.  Too many ye
ars removing soldered-in eeproms and reading them to lose them to a balky f
lash drive.


Re: dead USB drive anyone?
John-Del wrote on 6/22/2017 4:15 PM:
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Was there a black blob on the board?  That would be epoxy covering the die  
mounted to the board.  I see that on high volume, low cost products which  
only need one or two chips.  Actually mounting chips inside the PCB is not  
something I've ever seen or heard of before.  Not saying it's impossible,  
but it would be done for low cost and I don't think it would be any cheaper  
than the epoxy blob and in fact may be slightly more expensive.


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Flash memory inherently wears out.  It also has issues being made.  To deal  
with both problems the chips are made with extra capacity and error  
correcting codes are used to find and correct errors.  When a sector is  
found to have errors, the data is copied over to a spare block and the old  
one is marked as bad.  The problem comes when there are too many errors to  
read the data on a failing block or when all the spare blocks are used.  
This makes SSD storage susceptible to sudden failure.

--  

Rick C

Re: dead USB drive anyone?
On Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 6:49:36 PM UTC-4, rickman wrote:
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ake
 usb
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sb stack
 with
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cal
read
 yet
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hem
e could no longer read on his computer or any recovery software.  So I open
ed it up looking for bad solder on the chip or a problem with the USB conne
ctor.  Sure, the plastic outer case opened up easily enough but there was n
othing inside.  That's right, nothing.. Other than a two piece outer plasti
c case, the drive was a USB connector soldered to a multi-layer board with  
no external components on it. Whatever it used for a chip was embedded insi
de the PC layer.
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e  
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Absolutely not.  I know what an IC printed on a PC and covered with epoxy l
ooks like (most modern consumer electronics remotes have them).

This was a multi layer board with no exposed lands save for the USB connect
ions.  The rest of the board was green mask with no place for any parts to  
be soldered to. If he still has it I'll take a pic and upload it.


Re: dead USB drive anyone?
On Thu, 22 Jun 2017, rickman wrote:

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Yes, they may not go back together afterwards, but they are always easy to  
open.  And they may not be so pocketable once opened, but they don't  
really need the case to use, just to protect the circuits when sitting  
around.  And if there is a failure, it's not like the thing will be  
trusted again, the best that opening can do is show a bad connection that  
can be resoldered, and then you rescue the data and abandon the device.

   Michael

Re: dead USB drive anyone?
On Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 3:48:13 PM UTC-4, rickman wrote:  
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And now, they're even talking about after saving something on a device, open it back up and save it to the cloud for extra backup, too.

Re: dead USB drive anyone?
On Thursday, June 22, 2017 at 4:50:57 AM UTC-7, frank wrote:
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tack
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A couple of years ago a coworker had a flash drive from his daughter that h
ad research material for her doctoral work and she was very upset. I plugge
d it into my machine and it was indeed dead. I flexed it a little and got t
he Windows beep for USB. She had flexed it in the side of the laptop while  
using it in bed and cracked the solder connection(s) in the drive. I just s
tressed it while it copied off the data to the hard drive and copied on to  
a new flash drive. I never found out if there was any damage to the laptop  
but she was very happy to get her data back. I think she learned a lesson a
bout backups.

If it's a 'portable' drive particularly with those wide USB 3.0 cables, I'v
e seen those break too often but are easily available.



Re: dead USB drive anyone?
snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com wrote on 6/22/2017 11:53 PM:
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I'm no fan of the typical USB connection for flash drives in laptops.  It is  
far too easy to damage both the drive and the PC.  I often use a short USB  
extension cable for plugging in a flash stick.  But that still leaves the  
laptop connector vulnerable as the typical USB connector still creates are  
pretty big lever arm.  I don't even like the "micro" size mouse dongles.  I  
had a laptop bag ripped from putting the laptop in it with the dongle  
installed.  The tear ended up running and destroyed the whole bag.

--  

Rick C

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