How to save the data if a broken USB conector?

Hello there,

I have one problem actually and need help or advise for 2 specific questions.

Basically I have a Western Digital Essentials external USB HD with important data on it and a the mini USB connector de-soldered. Not very good to use!

I have opened the devise to figure out what can be done to save the data and eventually fix it.

I have discovered inside a regular SATA WD Green Caviar hard drive. My first idea was to connect the hard drive directly to my desktop computer through a SATA connector. The HD is well recognized at the boot up but it does not mount in windows. I have tried with Linux distro live CD but it is the save, the data are not recognized. I have made some research on the web about a potential data recovery software but nothing specific. I had a look at the logic board and found a strange chip with the following references “Initio INIC-1607E”. After a few research I have found that this is the USB/SATA bridge controller but with a AES 256 bit encryption ! :D I have also read that the encryption key vary for each device so that even if I found a similar model, it would be useless to swap the logic board.

I think I can give up in trying to access the data directly? Any idea guys?

Well, so I’m now looking at a repair for the de-soldered USB connector. I’m lucky the logic board is not damaged and nor the connector. Here I have 5*0.32mm pins to solder on the logic board and there is only 0,8 mm step between each of them. I have never done something like that before !

Do you think this can be done manually with a regular iron ? I think I can manage to found a 0,4 mm pan, do you think it can be small enough?

If you have any advice or standard practice for me on how to do with this kind of work, you are very welcome?

Anyway, I’m gonna have to be sober before to start, I stop drinking now !!!

Thank you

Answered! View the answer I have this problem too

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Gaetan, you will not just have to sober :-) but you will also need very good eyesight, a steady hand, and great light. Yes, it can be done with a regular soldering iron and a small solder tip. I suggest you use a magnifying light source while you solder this connector back on.

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Hello,

I'm happy to say that I have been able to backup all my data with a temporary repair.

It consists in:

  1. Disassembly of the HD
  2. Temporary repair for the USB connector
  3. Backing up all data
  4. Installing the HD in a new case

All my data are now safe into the same HD but installed into a new standard external USB case.

I came across a lot of topics in my research from people in the same situation. It looks like this HD model have an easy to broke USB connector and always unable to access the data directly. I will write a guide with the temporary repair I have used pretty soon. I have made some pictures all the long!

I will never buy again such external HD all built-in and I will never recommend WD external models from now. I think the best is really to buy a standard external USB empty case and to put whatever HB inside.

Thank you for your help.

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The guide is now available here : Temporary repairing Western Digital Essentials HD de-soldered USB connector. I hope this will help others.

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Most Helpful Answer

Soldering is the way to go! Use a very small tip and some kester would do the job a lot easier!

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There is one other way here: Instead of repairing the USB. You can take the HD out of the case and install it into a new case. A side benefit here is you could get a USB 3.0 case incase you have a newer system that supports the faster connection.

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That may be a good plan indeed but first I need to restore the data. Here is my first problem, I have not been able to read the data directly from the HD. It looks the data are encrypted and can be view only using the original SATA/USB bridge.

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WD doesn't have any hardware encryption for this drive. So I can't explain why you can't access the data if the port USB died. Apple does has File Vault and WD did offer a software encryption app with the drive. Did you use either one of these?

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I did not used any encryption software at all. The HD was used on windows with NTFS format. When I plug it to the SATA port directly it looks like not partitioned.

After some research on Internet, it is very clear that the SATA/USB bridge chip used by WD does an hardware encryption. It makes the SATA/USB bridge logic board not interchangeable!

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you can take the hard drive out and buy usb adapter and connect to your computer and make copy for your data

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Thank you but as explained below it does not work!

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i have a similar problem. i have a broken USB, the Chip itself has snapped in half and the USB now understandably does not work when i plug it in to my laptop. Is there any way i can recover the data off the USB if the chip itself is actually broken or is this a lost cause?

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not quite sure what chip you are referring to. If the PCB has any broken component, you should consider a new PCB that matches the one on your drive.

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It's all about western digitals single waged war against 3rd party enclosures. Why spend so much money on an encryption that's garunteed to succeed and spend so little money on hardware that's garunteed to fail? That makes no sense! It's all over the net western digital has a hardware encryption that lies on the USB to SATA bridgeboard. It's not optional it's not manually selected it's the default HARDWARE encryption. 256 AES is the governments encryption which in other words means impossible to decrypt which sucks because it's your data your trying to get not there's right!? Even WD support does not give out this information "don't ask don't tell" which is the motto of the US armed forces isn't that ironic? You would think western digital would offer some kind of replacement PCB, enclosure etc. but noooo. The least they could do is offer you a bottle of KY because at this point your screwed!!!

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Gaetan will be eternally grateful.
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