WD My Cloud 3 TB teardown and notes Part 1

If you find yourself troubleshooting the WD My Cloud's hard drive, removing the case and extracting the WD Red NAS hard drive only requires a small selection of precision screwdrivers. Although the process is simple and returning the hard drive to its case is possible with little to no difference in functionality, perform the procedure only if you really have to, since there is a good possibility your My Cloud will never work the same way afterwards.

If you have experience with hard drives, then there is nothing special about the steps involved with correcting a stuck header or even extracting the hard drive to connect to a hard drive dock. If you are just curious or new to working with hard drive components, there are plenty of YouTube videos of varying quality describing and demonstrating the process in detail. The My Cloud 3 TB uses a WD Red NAS hard drive and the internal components should be familiar to most advanced users.

Some of the scenarios where you might need to teardown the WD My Cloud are the following:

1. The hard drive is clicking, the product is no longer within warranty, and you have performed basic troubleshooting steps. You want to extract the hard drive so you can connect it to a hard drive dock and back up the data.

The WD MyCloud's WD Red NAS on an Orico HDD dock connected to a Debian Linux-powered laptop.

2. The hard drive is clicking, and you want to attempt to move the arm stuck to the platter.

3. The SATA bridge on the My Cloud isn't functioning and you want to try using a hard drive dock for extra power.

4. The hard drive spins and then stops, so you want to try popping the hard drive into a PC or hard drive dock to verify functionality.

5. You have exhausted all basic troubleshooting steps and want to extract data by freezing the drive.

Note: Freezing the drive is a controversial troubleshooting step - even more so than freeing a stuck arm on the hard drive platter. Many professionals discourage placing the hard drive in a refrigerator. I've performed the step to save data from a 6 year-old Maxtor and a 4 year-old Samsung hard drive more than a decade ago. The process worked perfectly and I was able to back up data from the dying drives. However, hard drive technology has changed greatly in the last 5-7 years. There is no guarantee the step will work despite many users reporting some success.

The following should always be taken into account when performing teardowns involving hard drives:

1. The SATA controller, like most boards, can be prone to static electricity, so use an antistatic strap if you have one, or ensure your environment or worktable isn't prone to static electricity.

2. Use the correct bits for the screwdriver. Since the screws on WD Red hard drives are shallow, they can wear out easily if you use the wrong head. Unless you're completely proficient with a power screwdriver, use a handheld screwdriver instead. It goes without saying that you shouldn't lose any of the screws once removed. Suffice to say, don't overtighten the screws, particularly when replacing the hard drive cover or securing the hard drive back into the assembly.

The CR-V 2.0 screws for the brackets on the hard drive are prone to wearing out easily. Be gentle!
3. If you plan to open the hard drive case to access the platter and arm, make sure that your work area is clean. Although there is a filter next to the hard drive platter, technicians recommend a pristine area to prevent contamination.

4. Avoid touching the headers and platters if you are attempting to pull a stuck arm from the platter.

5. Use troubleshooting steps from WD if you have problems with your product. Do not perform a teardown if you are still within warranty, the WD My Cloud has irreplaceable data, or the product is working properly.

Continued in WD My Cloud 3 TB Teardown Part 2


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