Hitachi hard drive head swap cases are mainly the new Hitachi ARM series and here is one case on the Hitachi 5K750-500, Hitachi 547550A9E384.
To swap heads, usually we need the donor hard drive from the same family with same model, same capacity, physically we need the same head number and structure and this is the ideal situation for one great donor.
For 5K750-500, we can obviously see this is one typical capacity downgraded (from 750GB-500GB) hard drive, for this kind of drive, it may have 2 heads, 3 heads or mostly 4 heads. In this case, the drive has 3 heads after opening the hard drive in a clean room, it’s head 1 2 3 without head 0.
When when try to buy one donor hard drive from the market, mostly we get it with 4 heads, to use the 4-head donor drive, clean room engineers can physically cut head 0, sometimes, no need to cut the head physically. When this donor hard drive is connected to DFL-Hitachi firmware repair tool, it has three heads detected and displayed, however, after opening the donor hard drive, it has actually 4 heads. This is because one head is disabled technically after coming out of the factory.
The engineer installed this 4-head stack to the patient drive and powered on the drive, the drive has some noises standing for the bad quality of platters, maybe due to the slim damages on the platters at the outer tracks. After 1 minute around, the drive got ready and engineer connected the data extraction program and imaged the drive directly without even checking the firmware. Because any extra unnecessary reads or operations onto the patient drive may cause permanent data loss.
Fortunately, the drive was imaged successfully with only few LBAs read errors which doesn’t affect the final file extraction.
Head swap tools used: level 2 head comb suite and level 1 head and platter swap suite.