Hard disk failure

About a week or two ago, I discovered that one of the five 2TB hard disks in my home network server had… vanished. The system was recognising it as an approximately 3G disk, with no health status, and generally no idea what it was doing.

Needless to say, the storage pool wasn’t the happiest of things, and generally the entire system was almost unresponsive.

When I finally got into the OS, I discovered that one disk (disk 5; the failed one) was in a state of  ¯\_(ツ)_/¯, one disk was failing, and another disk was showing warnings

Naturally, the first disk I replaced was disk 5, as I couldn’t get anything out of that at all – connecting it to my PC to try and figure out what was going on caused sufficient disruption to my SATA controller that all other disks vanished from the UEFI configuration tool, but would still start a boot into Windows, which just hung completely. Removal of this disk put the system back to how it was immediately.

This led me to think it was a controller failure – and as my last disk to fail was also a Seagate disk of the same model, I considered doing a quick controller-swap to see if it was indeed a controller failure, but alas no. The “new” controller from the other disk exhibited the exact same symptoms.

Time to open it up!

Dark marks within the seal on the top cover

On first opening the drive, I noticed some dark marks on the lid of the drive, indicating that the internals of the drive were not the clean environment I would expect from a drive.

I also noticed some larger debris on the top platter of the disk – not as visible in the photo due to the presence of dust too – it took me a minute to realise I wanted photos of this and to find my camera. Notably, in contrast to everything else, the debris here is actually the larger bits.

Debris on the platter

One of the first things I noticed was that the little filter pad to the side of the disk was filthy with the same black marks as the lid of the drive, quickly followed by me noticing a read head was missing from the arm – more noticeable if the arm is swung onto the platters

More debris towards the back of the platter – note the missing read head

Obvious missing read head is obvious

It was also at this point that I noticed the surfaces inside the disk were horribly filthy as well, and I realised that this is a fine likely metallic powder.

Detail of obviously missing read head

Head parking – also covered in the powder

I began to disassemble the stack of platters, in the hope of finding this missing read head, and possibly more insight into what actually happened.

Removal of the retaining bracket at the top of the platter showed how filthy even the surface of the platter is

It didn’t take long to find out what happened – the underside of the top platter revealed this pretty patterns of dust, visible on the outer half of the platter still in the case, along with a very obvious wide scratch mark across the surface around the middle.

The next platter down revealed even more dust, along with a massive gouge near the centre of the disk – some serious force must have been involved in this. The entire surface of these platters is also covered in concentric rings of dust which just wipe clean

Needless to say, I think I have a fairly good idea why the drive failed, but there is still one mystery I’ve not solved – where did that read head go to?

For comparison, here’s a photo of another Seagate drive of the same model that also failed (nowhere near as spectacularly) about six months prior – the top read head is clearly visible

Another curious point is that upon replacement of this disk, the other disk that was reported as bad is suddenly only showing caution signs:

It’s possible that the disruption to the SATA bus was causing this to completely go haywire I suppose, that and the three disks with problems were all in the same cage – so it’s possible that one failing disk has caused issues with the others.

The cage to the rear, behind the memory modules, is the one which caused issues. The disk in question was at the bottom of this cage.



tl;dr: Cool stuff happened, I’m going to see it for myself.

What can only be described as a seriously concerning chain of events has unfolded before me today, not only due to my somewhat-late discovery of the Dynasty Expeditions, which appear to have been leaving beacons on routes across the galaxy, and now we’ve found one of the mega-ships from that expedition based on some decoding work done by The Children of Raxxla, with some troubling log entries as first discovered by CMDR Jackie Silver. CMDR Shabooka has summarised it all here:

Needless to say, I’m wanting to see this for myself, so I’ve plotted a rough route across to Syreadiae JX-F c0 to find it for myself. As this involves crossing the infamous Formidine Rift, I’ll be using another CMDR’s route across the rift until I’ve actually got some idea of what it’s like. This will be the first outing for my Anaconda, which has this load-out.

I need to be acutely aware that this is not like my last exploration trip where as I got further and further away from home, the star density increased massively – I’m heading out to the galactic rim, where a serious shortage of scoopable stars is a distinct possibility.

My planned route is roughly-speaking to make a quick tourist stop in Tionisla, and then take a bee-line to the travel to a couple of remote outposts towards the Formadine Rift, then onwards to visit the Dynasty Expedition rally points, and finally to the Heisenberg Bridge starting in Myoideau RF-N c20-1 of the Perseus Arm, which provides a guided set of waypoints to Hyopae Aescs YE-R d4-2, from where I will cut up the Cygnus Arm to Syreadiae JX-F c0. What I’ll do after that, I have no idea. While I’m coming this way, I may try and find some of the Dynasty beacons too (yes, they’re plotted), and I’ll be on the lookout for some tourist stops along the way too.

I’ll need to keep in mind CMDR Heisenberg6626’s warnings – a jump range of 32.7ly is more-or-less needed unless I use jumponium, and of course, with lessons learnt from my last exploration trips, I’ll be kitting out heat sinks and multiple AFMUs.

This is going to be a long, dangerous journey, another trip away from the Bubble of civilisation. Multi-crew is now possible thanks to this shiny new Holo-Me technology I’ve had fitted, so CMDR Braxton Doyle and I can still go bounty hunting in the asteroid fields around Aequeelg, and he can come and see the sights for himself if he chooses.

I’ll keep this post updated with my overall plans via the dynamically-generated information at the bottom, but for now, this is still definitely in the planning stages. Given the event that’s supposedly happening a couple of weeks from now, on the 29th April with CMDR Salomé, I might stick around the bubble just long enough to see that. Now that Salomé is dead, I want to go and see the evidence for myself. I’ve already been to check out the logs from “R” in the Teorge system, and this has my curiosity piqued.


Update 2017-05-01: Salomé dead, Teorge listening posts, not going to Tionisla (already been when in Teorge; anticlimactic), plus remote outposts

Sagittarius A* – 5th Jan 3303 (Day 26)


There have been real confirmed reports of first contact with an unknown ship. As such, I’m skipping some of the sightseeing on my return to the bubble, and planning to make a beeline back as fast as possible. This will probably mean only scanning the primary star of a system at most, no more planetary scans, and also possibly attempting to use neutron stars to boost my journey back.

Anyway, other than that, waypoint 15 reached, waypoint 16 plotted towards Eyes of Riker still.

Sagittarius A* – 4th Jan 3303 (Day 25)

Nothing particularly interesting on the journey front, other than that I made a rather annoying mistake on the plotting of the last waypoint, which I have reached.

As can be seen from the above, I took one coordinate in the wrong direction, as such Waypoint 14 is going in the wrong direction to Eyes of Riker. Fortunately, I realised this mistake early before another waypoint was plotted, and no further waypoints are needed to make up for this mistake. The upper green line is the route I should have followed, and now a new waypoint has been plotted to account for this mistake, which is the new Waypoint 15.

Sagittarius A* – 3rd Jan 3303 (Day 24)

Today I decided to pay attention to the minerals on planets, and decided I would try and find some polonium, so I decided to try my luck inside a crater.

However, space madness got the better of me, and I noticed that there were signals on my wave scanner coming from the large, steep mound in the middle of the complex crater. So I decided to see how far my SRV could get up the side.

Turns out the SRV is pretty good on this planet, and it made it up rather far up some very steep slopes.

.. and so I made it right to the top.

At this point, I realised that being so high, I was at serious risk of tumbling down the side leading to almost certain death. Attempts to recall my ship lead to the autopilot picking the most sensible place for it to land in the vicinity – at the bottom of the hill.

With only one thing for it, I began the terrifying decent – with what looked like a solid wall in front of me, the tyre tracks made it obvious that I was staring down at the crater floor.

Rather shockingly, I actually made it down to the bottom in one piece, though it took me quite a while to make the decent.

… and after all that, I actually found some Polonium too!

Sagittarius A* – 1st Jan 3303 (Day 22)

Today I appear to have developed a minor fault in my canopy’s augmented reality display:

While this quickly resolved itself, I’m hoping that my ship is not also suffering the effects of space madness…

I’ve also added four new places to visit on my way back, which extends my trip by three waypoints too. The places I’ve added to visit are:

  • Eyes of Riker (Whambeia PO-Q e5-2321)
  • Gleeson’s Gem (Froarks GM-D d12-355)
  • Gibb’s Bridge (Syralia JT-V b7-0)
  • Blacklight (Schaikaei XJ-H d10-1)

However, I may or may not be able to reach Blacklight, as it does appear to be rather far above the galactic plane. The search for jumponium begins!

I’ve also passed Waypoint 13, so I’m getting pretty close to the Great Annihilator!

Sagittarius A* – 30th Dec 3302 (Day 20)

Last night I stopped one jump short of Six Rings, at Myriesly RY-S e3-5414, to savour the sights of this system for a new day.

On arrival, I was presented with a very pretty class B blue-white star, which takes the total number of stars in this system up to 7, albeit the other six being T Tauri protostars.

e3-5414 9

e3-5414 11

e3-5414 13

e3-5414 14

e3-5414 15, with 14 in the background

e3-5414 16

After that, I continued past Waypoint 11 and onwards to Sagittarius A*.