Urgent Problem with LaCie Little Big Disk 200GB

Discussion in 'Mac Accessories' started by yellowtip, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. yellowtip macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007

    Some months ago I purchased a LaCie Little Big Disk 200GB. It's an external HDD with two 2,5" 7200RPM hdd's paired as a raid 0 system.

    Great on paper, horribly risky in practice.

    So, *stupid me* started using this disk as a backup device for some important data. Of course the disk has started to malfunction. When I plug it in, there's this terrible clicking noise and it no longer mounts.

    I have already voided the warranty as I opened it up thinking/hoping it was a faulty connection.

    To all you smart-asses out there, please don't start telling me that I should not have opened it and sent it in for repair. When on a business trip in a remote part of the world, and you desperately need access to the data on that device... sending it in for a warranty repair is simply not an option.

    So... I'm faced with the following choices:

    1. I buy the exact same disk and pray that it was just a faulty raid card and not a faulty disk.
    2. Call La Cie and see if I can order a replacement Raid Card (has anybody tried that?).

    A third option that I would prefer, but not 100% sure about, is to buy the 320GB version of the little big disk. open it up, swap the drives with the old ones, backup my data, and continue using the 320GB disks.

    Has anybody tried that before? Are the raid cards identical between the 200GB and 320GB models?

    Or should I play safe and stick with the 200GB model?

    Any advise would be really helpful. Thanks in advance.
  2. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    Hmm.. Well, the data on the unit will be unrecoverable because RAID 0 is optimised for users who require speed, great for work, bad for backups unfortunately..

    The clicking sound your experiencing is cause from one or both drives malfunctioning, you could try recover the drive by removing the faulty unit and attempting to low-level format it in with Windows. i honestly doubt it'll be worth while considering it'll still be unreliable.

    If you are handy with a screw driver, you can test the drives in any computer provided you have an spare 2.5" ATA case, connected by either USB2 or FW400. If it's a faulty drive it doesn't need to mount for it to click.. However, once you've found the faulty unit, you can replace it. ATA drives are dirt cheap right now, they're quickly been replace with faster SATA drives which doesn't work in our Big Little Disk.

    If you need to restore the uses of the RAID unit, you'll have to replace and install one drive or both drives, preferably of the same size. I'm think the 200GB version is using ATA 100GB Hitachi Travelstar @ 7200RPM Units, cause mine is the 320Gb version and it's using WD Scorpion 160GB drives @ 5400RPM...

    Honestly... I don't think Lacie will provide free repair service, cause you've broken/removed those silver/grey seals. However, if you send the unit back as it is, they might charge you for a repair... I'd imagine it might be more costly then the cost of a HD... But you can call them and ask - no harm...

    If i was in your shoes, I'll buy a pair of new drives and restore the unit for usage. After which if your unsure able it's reliability you can always flog it on ebay.
  3. yellowtip thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    Thanks for the quick reply:

    My objective is recovering the data.

    I'm inclined to believe that in my case the problem is the Raid card or connector board. Here's why:

    I opened the unit, disconnected both drives from the connector board. Then tried starting up the unit by having only 1 drive connected.

    Both drives will have the clicking noise when connected to the top connector. When connected to the bottom connector, none of the drives click and appear to be functioning as normal.
  4. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    I would retest the drives in a external case, this way you can really eliminate the drives and indeed blame the interface. However, until you call them, no-one here can tell you whether or not Lacie is prepared to sell you a spare part.
  5. yellowtip thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    I just called their service rep here in Hong Kong.

    He asked me to send him an email describing my situation so that he could take it up with LaCie.

    However, he did mention that my data is last either way as the partition info is stored in the raid card. So replacing the raid card still destroys the partition on the drives.

    Is that correct??? That's some scary stuff.
  6. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    Sorry... that i can't answer, as i don't know. Though one would of thought the partition data would be stored across both drives, as the raid controller itself doesn't have battery-backup ic anywhere. Hope you remember which drive goes where. Though personally, i doubt the controller is at fault here... just my opinion.

    If your in HK, why not goto the Golden Dragon Centre in Sham Shui Po for a cheap drive case, should beable to pick something up for HK$100-200, or less.
  7. yellowtip thread starter macrumors newbie

    Jun 11, 2007
    Ha! :rolleyes: I was there yesterday to buy the new LaCie untit, but to my surprise noone had it in stock. That's why I thought I'd post to this Forum and contact LaCie before blowing HK$3000,-- on a doubtful solution.

    Since this is raid 0....would I be able to pick anything up from just 1 drive? Would it even mount? Wouldn't that do more damage than good?
  8. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    Ah! No... The objective isn't to restore the functions of your faulty unit, or attempt to retrieve it's date. I was thinking it's best double check those drives first and see are they faulty or not. Because you have to remember in a Raid 0 unit both drives would of had the same amount of usage, although it's rare for both drives to fail at the same time, it doesn't mean it's a impossibility. Get my drift? Though, if you have anything simular at home that could house a drive (temporary) that would do too.

    I don't believe one should test for faults, using something that could be part of the problem, is such a good solution! Since your HD's are more valuable at this time (as your data is on them), don't you think it's wise to test them? After all, if you were able to ordered a replacement controller from Lacie, you could -in theory- restore everything - and i mean your data too!!
  9. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    Depending on how important your data is, you can get a recovery company to do attempt recovery. For a RAID it's usually a four digit figure in USD.
  10. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    OUCH! Sounds painful!
  11. mperkins37 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 17, 2007
    Phoenix, AZ
    Might try this,

    I had a Lacie 250 GB that gave up the ghost. I went to Fry's Electronics & found a SATA/IDE to USB device for 29.99. Plug the power source cable into the power receptor on the drive, & plug the ide or sata side into the drives ide, or sata plug in. Mounts the drive as a external device.
    Copy all data to another external & hope for the best.
    Cured what ailed me. The device was made by Vantec
  12. Consultant macrumors G5


    Jun 27, 2007
    That might work, if the drive in question is a single disk.

    The Lacie Little Big Disk is a hardware RAID using two 2.5" drives.
    That means one file is split up in halves on two drives!
    RAID disks are typically hard to recover.
  13. jrsade macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2006
    Just a simple question...

    I have two Lacie Little Big Disks 160GB and 200GB.

    Has anybody tried to upgrade those kind of units with higher capacity drives?

    Are ATA or SATA drives used?

    Is it necessary to low level format the drives to create the RAID 0? Any additional software needed?

    Any hint appreciated.
  14. eRondeau macrumors 6502a


    Mar 3, 2004
    Canada's South Coast
    I have three LaCie external HD's and my oldest one -- a 160GB d2 bought in 2005 -- started doing the exact same thing. Constant clicking, refusing to mount. I managed to recover all the data off of it, as it was obviously having problems for about a week before it completely failed. It's now unplugged sitting in a closet. My other two d2 drives are still working fine. But you're not the only one facing this problem.

    It probably won't help, but there is a LaCie firmware updater available on their web site. Run it and see what happens. Good luck!
  15. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    Yup.. You can!
    Upgrading the drives will work just fine! Make sure you buy PATA (E-IDE) drives and not the newer SATA units, installing a pair of WD250's will give you about 460 to 470Gb of usable space, not bad for a mobile unit that's bus powered!!

    Nope, no software is required...
    Just use the OSX disk utility to format the unit.. the RAID 0 will be created automatically.
  16. UltraNEO* macrumors 601


    Jun 16, 2007
    All Hard-drives will malfunction eventually, not just LaCie units. The clicking sound give you a indication that something is about to go wrong... You can try low-level formatting a unit but they'll never be as reliable as before, if you value your data, back it up to removable media rather than more HD's.
  17. Beardy man macrumors 6502

    Dec 4, 2007
    My experience with LaCie drives (many drives over many years) is that the drives themselves are very reliable. What I have issue with this the power supply's.

    Last year I had 3 200gb drives go down with faulty power supplies. They all gave different symptoms but 2 of them kept randomly un-mounting from the desktop. A computer resart would being them back for an hour or so then, bumf, gone again.

    I really thought it was the drives. It was only when I brought the first drive home to try and recover the data before it failed permanently that I realised a different power supply kept the disk connected overnight. Bought a new p/s an the drive is still sweet almost a year later.

    Next time I had a fault with a LaCie, I got a new p/s (GBP 25) and hey, that drive is still going.

    I now have a 500Gb LaCie that refuses to mount. Problem is I can't remember the model. When I can I'll get a new p/s for it.

    If anyone is an expert on LaCie drives, it's the double length 500Gb with Firewire and USB (double length - sounds like I got a RAID 0 case as well?)

    Would that be a Big disk or an Extreme? Can't remember!
  18. jrsade macrumors member

    Sep 14, 2006
    Great! Thank you! I have just one of those drives here and ordered a second one...
  19. weevil macrumors newbie

    Jan 3, 2008
    On the clicking noise, it can often mean there is a problem with the heads, making the data really difficult to retrieve (without pro data recovery specialists).

    There is a theory about putting the clicking/dodgy drive into a fridge/freezer for several hours (making sure it's in sealed bag, so no condensation/water gets on it). The idea is that the cold compresses the heads so when you connect it back up to your computer, the heads may be correctly aligned for a short period. It may give just a few minutes to access/copy the data before it warms up again and the drive returns to its clicking state.

    There is a lot of info on the net about it - for some it works, for some it doesn't.

    Probably a good idea to do some checking up on the best methods etc. first.
  20. krye macrumors 68000


    Aug 21, 2007
    Don't buy another LaCie. Their failure rates are horrible. And if one drive dies, there is no way to get the data off the other drive. Poor design. There RAID only seems to be for speed and not redundancy.
  21. tersono macrumors 68000


    Jan 18, 2005
    RAID 0 is generally known in the I.T. business as the "oh look, I just lost all my data" option.

    Don't buy another LaCie LBD of any size. Buy either a single larger drive or a two-drive enclosure that will allow RAID 1 (mirroring). In the latter, if one drive dies, your data is safe. With the RAID 0 drive you have now, if either drive dies, you're screwed - all RAID 0 does is double your chances of losing all of your data.
  22. jackanova macrumors newbie

    Jul 16, 2008
    *** just for people landing here searching for a solution to this problem

    I managed to gain access to ALL data (files, music, movies, etc.) from a completely dead lacie bigdisk 500 gb case, with 2 Raid 0 250 gb disks inside.

    It works ! I just finished copying 240 Gb from the "unmountable" lacie bigdisk 500 to a newly bought 500 gb usb drive.

    It will work IF both hard drives are physically ok. If one of them is physically dead, sorry, you have lost your data.

    Here is how I did it :

    • 1. open the case [it void the warranty]
    • 2. remove the 2 disks
    • 3. connect them both in a PC (desktop with 2 free 3.5 IDE connectors), on IDE cable (with jumpers properly configured)
    • 4. boot the pc [IF windows asks to initialise newly connected disks DO NOT D O IT]
    • 5. find the following 2 softwares : http://www.runtime.org/raid.htm AND http://www.runtime.org/captain-nemo.htm
    • 6. watch this : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DWNq5rAhZ9Y (or search for "raid reconstructor tutorial" on youtube. This video explained me exactly how to get it back to life, as the soft is not completely trivial.
    • 7. open raid reconstructor
    • 8. select both hard drives
    • 9. "open disks"
    • 10. analyse
    • 11. put 5000000 in sector to analyse (instead of 100000 wich is not enough)
    • 12. if there is a clear suggestion, select proper settings
    • 13. back to main screen
    • 14. create a VIM virtual image, and save it somewhere on your PC (ex : in my documents)
    • 15. open "captain nemo"
    • 16. click on "image", sleect the .vim file just created before
    • 17. Voilà ! you have access to your data !

    Good Luck if you are trying to get back part of your electronic life...

    One important reminder : Do NEVER use Raid 0 hard drives to store/backup any data. It is ONLY useful for performance. Not for safety. Raid 1, n is of course ok.

  23. pooryou macrumors 65816


    Sep 28, 2007
    I just had a 1TB LaCie Big Disk Extreme completely die on me. Won't mount on any computer thru FW, USB, or FW800. Disk Utility and Disk Warrior cannot even see it, yet the LaCie Update Utility sees it and is willing to install the firmware update, which does nothing. If I run the updater again it just updates it again.

    Pretty frustrating. I don't even need the data it was just backups (yeah great idea there...NOT) I just want to be able to use the drive as it was expensive. Although at this point I don't think I trust it anyway...

    This will be my last LaCie product.
  24. jonstark macrumors newbie

    Nov 9, 2008
    Lacie hard-drive fails one month out of the box

    I don't think I'm alone. My Lacie hard-drive has failed after only a month. Their tech support told me I have two options: return it to them and lose my data; send it to a recovery company and lose my warranty. Think twice before purchasing from this company.
  25. sickmacdoc macrumors 68020


    Jun 14, 2008
    New Hampshire
    That is perfect- and sadly, too darned appropriate. :(

    True- and in either case (RAID 1 or big solo disk) full backups need to be kept current on top of that (and even more so for RAID 0). Even in a RAID 1 array with its hardware redundancy, it doesn't protect from those "OH ****" moments when you delete a file inadvertently (yeah it never happens! ;)) and realize that poof-- it is gone off both disks. Nor does it protect you from the odd time when an app goes wild or bugs out and writes a file incorrectly- again, mirrored on both drives.

    I just wish external manufacturers made it clear for purchasers that RAID 0 is in use in a product (though of course if you familar with RAID modes you can deduce it and decide for yourself whether the risk is worth the speed gained by using it)- in a sense letting the purchasers make an informed decision. So I would only modify your statement about not buying Lacie LBDs to a slightly broader one- don't buy anybody's external drives that utilize RAID 0 if you are not willing to take the doubled risk of data loss in exchange for higher read/write speed.

    And then back everything up. Then do it again! :D

    TO THE OP: In another thread the other day about clicking drives, a very cool link was posted to a data recovery company's site that has some very good audio recordings of clicking hard drives from several manufacturers- including what each sound could be indicative of. You might want to check it out at Hard Drive Sounds.

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