Seagate RMA Experience 2015

I’ve been using a Seagate STCA4000100 USB3.0 4TB external drive for a few years now. I noticed the transfer speed slowed down to about USB2.0 speed. I plugged it in to different computers, ports, and even bought another cable. It didn’t solve the issue. I ended up contacting Seagate support via email. After a few exchanges in messages, they want me to RMA it and get it replaced. They informed me that the model no longer exist so they’ll be replacing it with the newer version. So I wanted to document my experience with Seagate’s RMA so I can share with others.

2015-02-04

I created a new RMA request found at http://www.seagate.com/support/warranty-and-replacements/. You will need to provide the serial number. This will be checked against their system to see if the product is still under warranty. My warranty doesn’t expire until May 2015.

You will have to chose from three different shipping method.

  1. Standard RMA: You will need to ship the item first and pay shipping to them. They will ship back a replacement at their cost.
  2. Ground Advanced Replacement (US & Canada only): They will ship you the replacement first at their cost. Once you receive it, place the broken drive and ship it back using the same box – so don’t tear it open. Shipping cost will be your responsibility. You will need to provide a valid credit card. A $1 temporary authorization will be placed to ensure the return of the broken hard drive. If not returned in a timely manner, they will charge $200 fee for an asset recovery fee. It’s recommended that you include tracking with your shipping.
  3. Premium Advanced Replacement (US & Canada only): For $9.95, it’s the same as option 2 but faster. The cost to ship back is also included.

You can find more information at http://knowledge.seagate.com/articles/en_US/FAQ/202271en?language=en_US#8. I chose to go with option 2.

2015-02-05

I received an email notification that the label has been created.

I tried to use Seagate Seatools to format the contents of the hard drive, but it only has diagnostic tools. I believe the DOS version has the formatting tools but I didn’t want to go through the hassle. I ended up using my Macbook Pro’s Disk Utility to format the drive. I used the Zero Out Data option – only 1 pass. That format took close to 48 hours. I much prefer to do the 3 pass but I’m sure that would’ve taken several days, probably close to a week. I’m not sure if it’s because it was done on a laptop (late 2011 model with Sandy Bridge i7) or it was on USB2.0 speeds. Although it is 4TB and to write out bit by bit will take a long time.

zero out data

It took close to 48 hours to complete.

2015-02-06

The replacement drive arrived. It came from East Rancho Dominguez, CA. I guess that’s why it arrived so quickly since it’s headed in the same state, so your time of delivery may vary.

safe shipping

Seagate’s packaging with lots of foam.

The drive is packaged well. The inside is fully foamed, even the cables. It came with the AC adapter and USB3.0 cables. The drive is recertified and the model is SRD00F2. It looks like a newer version of what I have – but it’s recertified. I’m assuming this Amazon product is what I got http://www.amazon.com/Seagate-Expansion-Desktop-External-STBV4000100/dp/B00BFFQN3M.

I plugged it in to a USB3.0 and transferred some files to check the speed. This is what transferring in USB3.0 should be like.

usb3 speed

USB3.0 transfer speed

I will be sending off the old drive and updating this post once the next steps happen. So far the experience has been good and no surprises.

My first DOA drive

Right before black Friday, Newegg put the Seagate ST3000DM001 3TB hard drives on sale. I picked up 3. It’s been a few weeks now and I finally found time to install it in my server.

hdd

Well 1 of the 3 is DOA. This could be my first DOA hard drive. It failed the tests using Seatools so now I’m trying to see if it’s repairable. If not, I’ll be sending an RMA to Newegg.

error

seatools

Opening an Apple Mac Mini Mid 2007 MB138LL/A

I wanted to upgrade my old Mac Mini Mid 2007 MB138LL/A. Here’s what I did. Remember that I will not be responsible for any damage to your equipment.

With most Apple computers, opening them can be trivial. The trick to opening this one is using a putty knife. There are no screws holding the case to the computer/motherboard.

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There shouldn’t be any hidden wires connecting the case and the computer itself. Once you have the case off, here’s what you’ll see.

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You will notice that the DVDRW drive is at the top, while the hard drive is right underneath. At this point, you’ll probably not see the ram. It’s underneath the hard drive. You have to remove some screws to get access to these components. You should note that there is a wire that needs to be disconnected before removing the screws.

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In the front view of the above picture, please note A. This is the wire that needs to be disconnected.

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You will need to unclip the piece marked A to gain access to one of the screws.

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The picture above shows you where each of the 4 screws are. They are black with one of them being longer than the other 3. The labels A, B, C, and D shows where the screws are located. D is the longest of the 4 screws. E just shows you I have removed the component to get access to screw C.

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Keep in mind, there is a ribbon connecting the mid layer you are about to lift and the motherboard. This is to the back of the Mac Mini. The SATA ports are joined to the motherboard by a card. Slowly lift up keeping the 2 components I just mentioned. Figure A is the ram location. You can install 2x DDR2 667. Up to 2GB (2x 1GB) are supported but 3GB can be supported according to Wikipedia. These are not desktop size ram, they are laptop size – SODIMM. Figure B is the hard drive. It is a 2.5” size. According to Wikipedia, it’s a SATA2 port that supports up to 3Gbps but it has been throttled down to 1.5Gbps.

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Figure A is the ribbon I was referring to above. You can remove it but remove the end that’s attached behind the DVDRW drive. It is a little pain to connect it back but it will make moving things around easier. It’s up to you but check out how it’s connected first so you know how to put it back later.

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Above is a picture with a closer look of the SATA card that connects the hard drive and optical drive to the motherboard. Figure A connects to Figure B. So be aware of that when lifting the middle piece off the motherboard. You should lift up.

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The 2 pictures above I labeled where the 4 screws are located to remove the hard drive. It’s fairly easy to remove from the SATA connection after the screws have been removed but putting the new hard drive can be more of a challenge. There’s a gap between the hard drive and DVDRW drive so you can’t rest the hard drive on the optical drive while connecting it to the SATA port.

If you’ve ever opened up a Macbook Pro or other laptops, you will notice the ram is place in a similar fashion. There are 2 clips on the side. Once you unclip the ram, it will pop up. The ram chips are stacked on top of each other, with their own clips.

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Above is another view of the motherboard.

That should cover how to replace the hard drive and ram for the Mac Mini. Before putting the case back, I would suggest turning it on and ensuring your new components are recognize. Just be careful when you have it running to not touch any of the components as you may damage it. Apple may have nice designs but the price of it is the difficulty of upgrading.

Upgrading my iMac MB324LL/A

My 320GB hard drive is starting to fill up on my iMac so I decided to get a 1TB hard drive. I knew opening the iMac is going to be a pain. I’ve seen videos from YouTube on how to open the previous plastic models and it looked hard. Nevertheless, I needed to upgrade my hard drive and I want someone else to do it. Besides, I wanted to know how to do it and do it myself. So the first thing I needed to do is look for videos on YouTube. I kept getting the plastic iMac model but kept searching. I found 2 pretty good videos: by lexusnut and by Zenn3k. Those were my starting point.

Update: their videos on Youtube are no longer there. I’ll keep their usernames in the post just to show credit.

It took my cousin and I two hours to finally access the motherboard area. I cannot stress enough on how careful you must be. Apple has placed wires in many areas where if you lift something quickly, you may pull it out of place or unplug it – leading to damaging your device. We documented the process and uploaded it on YouTube to help others.

My 320GB hard drive is starting to fill up on my iMac so I decided to get a 1TB hard drive. I knew opening the iMac is going to be a pain. I’ve seen videos from YouTube on how to open the previous plastic models and it looked hard. Nevertheless, I needed to upgrade my hard drive and I want someone else to do it. Besides, I wanted to know how to do it and do it myself. So the first thing I needed to do is look for videos on YouTube. I kept getting the plastic iMac model but kept searching. I found 2 pretty good videos: by lexusnut and by Zenn3k. Those were my starting point.

It took my cousin and I two hours to finally access the motherboard area. I cannot stress enough on how careful you must be. Apple has placed wires in many areas where if you lift something quickly, you may pull it out of place or unplug it – leading to damaging your device. We documented the process and uploaded it on YouTube to help others.

So now I got the new 1TB hard drive installed. How do I get my old system on the new drive? There are 2 ways to do this. The first way is to use Time Machine (if you actually did use it). You can install a fresh copy of Leopard on the new hard drive. After installation, you get an option to use a Time Machine back up to restore. I’ve tried this but since I have over 200GB of data, my iMac ends up sleeping while trying to load the data to restore.

The second option is the image the old hard drive and restore it on the new one. This option took me about a day to complete. What you will need is an external hard drive, your old hard, and the new hard drive. If you image your old drive before installing the new one, you don’t need a second external enclosure. The first thing you’ll do is to boot your computer using the Leopard DVD. Open Disc Utility on the Leopard DVD. Do not do this while booted on the hard drive. It’s possible that it will not work because the drive you are imaging is in use. The external hard drive is where you will save the image file. Once finished, restore the image onto the new hard drive. That’s pretty much a brief summary of what I did.

I did run into some errors while formatting the new hard drive. This post helped me outhttp://macosx.com/forums/hardware-peripherals/290989-disk-utility-problem-erasing-large-external-hard-drive.html.

The image/restore process took most of the day. It may be quicker or longer for you, depending on the size of the data. Make sure you take any necessary precautions before working on your expensive Apple hardware 😉