Western Digital WD800 Mechanical Bits

I looked over the control circuit board for a Western Digital WD800 hard drive and failed to find any documentation relating to chips I found onboard. Oh well. Maybe I’ll have better luck with another drive. For this drive, I continue on to familiar territory: take it apart to marvel at all those mechanical wonders within. As a side effect, this will also make all data stored on this drive functionally inaccessible.

The only tricky part with disassembly is that two of the Torx screws holding lid in place were hidden under the label sticker.

Inside we see a single platter. I’m pretty sure 2002 was recent enough for multi-platter drives, which would mean 80GB was not the highest capacity model in this product line even when it was new.

A translucent yellow bracket limits possible range of motion with read-write head. A small magnet is embedded on one end, but I don’t know its design intent. Perhaps it held the head in place when there’s no power? This bracket is held by a single screw and had to be removed before the read-write head can pivot far enough to clear the platter.

Visible in this picture under the read-write head voice coil is one of two very powerful magnets buried inside this hard drive, the other one is mirror-image on top and already removed in this picture. I have yet to figure out how to nicely separate the magnets from the thick steel cage they are glued(?) to.

Once cleared I could remove the read-write head and platter. There was a pleasant surprise when the platters were removed: I saw three more screws holding the motor in place. Previous HDD teardowns found motors press-fit into the aluminum and impractical to remove. This was the first brushless hard drive motor spindle I could easily remove and store away for potential future projects. Learning more about brushless DC motors is on my to-do list, and I will need motors to experiment with.

This is just the latest in a series of desktop-sized 3.5″ HDD I’ve taken apart. What I haven’t done much of is taking apart their laptop-sized counterpart 2.5″ HDD.

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