Do you have critical data on this drive? Have you already tried attaching it as a slave drive to recover data, or used programs such as Linux Live? What brings you to the conclusion that it is the controller board and not the platters or something else damaged?
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It would depend greatly on the model you are working on. Each family of drives has many generations of technologies and then models on top of that. The question you are asking is like saying is it hard to change the engine on a Ford? Does it require tool X?
Take precautions against static electricity -- the usual no shoes, no socks, no long sleeves, and have static-safe storage for the circuit board, like pink bubble wrap or even aluminum foil. Some ribbon connectors have latches that have to be unlocked, such as by swinging up the top half or by sliding out pins on the sides.
The experts at places like http://www.HDDguru.com say each HD is tuned for its particular heads and servo and that it's possible to damage a drive by merely substituting another identical circuit board. So they recommend transplanting the tiny 8-pin BIOS chip from the original circuit board, which contains the drive's tuning settings. http://www.OnePCBsolution.com sells replacement circuit boards and for an extra $50 will transplant the BIOS from your original board.
A lot of times when a hard drive fails because of its electronics, it's only because a crowbar device (IC protector, actually a zener diode -- larger rectangular black plastic block with a soldered connection on each end) shorted and destroyed itself in order to protect the rest of the drive, taking out a fuse (another rectangular device but much thinner) in the process. Those devices are usually located at the rear of the board, near the power connector. You may want to search for posts by "Franc Zabkar" or "fzabkar" because I think he gave specific instructions for repairing this kind of problem for a WD drive. He's posted in HDDguru forums and at WD's forums.
Last edited by larrymoencurly; 05-01-2012 at 12:54 PM..
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