Accessing the serial console on a Samsung Spinoint F3 a.k.a. HD103SJ HDD


If you were looking for a more sophisticated title like “What did the Samsung HDD say to the TTL cable?” then you came to wrong blog.

A year or so ago I had some data access problems with this Samsung Spinpoint F3 HDD and having heard that a firmware update might help I… well… bricked it.

Recently I started digging up again about ways to revive a dead HDD. Sure, the hardware people will tell you to replace the PCB or harvest the platter and plant it in a working HDD; crazy stuff like that. I almost wanted to the PCB swap thing but then I read that you also need to replace a chip on it with the one from the original board. Not gonna happen with my soldering skills!

So I thought about other ways. And guess what HDDs have a serial console too!

Like pretty much any piece of electronics out there the developers have left themselves a way in for situations where the software no longer works.

Without further ado, here’s where the action’s at:

2015-09-17 10.06.05

Green is connected RX and white TX(ummm… I think?). I am using this cable: http://www.adafruit.com/product/954

One of the other 2 pins must be the ground. What I know for sure is that the TX is connected because I can connect via minicom and get data. Haven’t yet tried sending.

The serial console settings are:

Bits per second – 57600
Data bits – 8
Parity – None
Stop Bits – 1
Flow Control – Hardware

Source: http://monitor.espec.ws/section5/topic190723.html

I initially found out about this hack from a page like this one: http://hackaday.com/2012/07/30/recovering-from-a-seagate-hdd-firmware-bug/


HDD is still bricked!

I read that you can send Ctrl-Z and then input commands. Will try that next.

OK, so this is a WIP post, alright?

Later 🙂

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