Cleaning Question - HDD PCB

So got some barracuda seagate HDDs for free (ranging from 1TB to 4TB ones), and with reason as they had been stored in a humid area… they would normally be written off and ended up in a bin … so got lucky or not to well get them for free…

They where all in Lacie external HDD cases but well easy to get them out, now the question is how to clean the small PCB prior plugging in and see if they still work.

The PCB at the HDDs hold rust spots like shown below, would isopropyl alcohol work or other stuff needed to do ? I never cleaned rusty PCBs before so that’s a new area for me.

As you notice you can see the multiple rusty (corrosion) spots … they all look more or less similar when taken out of the lacie external cage


  • neglect and plugin and see if they work
  • clean with isopropyl alcohol
  • clean with ??? no clue what
  • just bin them

Any advice, help how to welcome


This generally happens in areas with high humidity and high sulphur content. Sometimes the drives will continue to work but its a gamble. These normally come from areas with high industrial activity/pollution

Im not sure what you can use to clean the drives but be careful with ESD etc. Also if you do decide to clean the drives I would remove the PCB from and clean the area between the 2 holes on top right of your photo, there is a serial port connector underneath there that can short if the contamination bridges between the tracks. (Always put the PCB back on the same drive as it is tied to the HDA it came from)

Good luck !

A new endeavour … worth a try and see if it works or not and yea you are correct they all came from a factory, got a truckload with old hardware and these where also included … even an AS/400 , so figuring out what is usable and not, a 50 14 inch CRT Compaq monitors included but hey who knows … there might be one or another gem between all picked up … (those monitors will prob still work but to sell , maybe at $2.5~5)

Company cost, 0 as they don’t have to pay for their old hardware to well get rid off, my cost rented a truck and having my garagebox filled up top notch again …

As for the info on putting back the small PCB to same HDD thanks a lot that would be one of my mistakes trying to clean …

My first attempt, well reading lots of stuff on cleaning PCBs … will be just with a simple gum and see if it helps… if not … well

Like said never done such stuff before but hey, lets see , the HDDs are the ones that interest me the most , I didn’t check the old compaq/HP desktops included what they hold, just the external drives …

ESD wise always been careful but on that level that will be new …

And thanks @infinity for wishing me luck , guess it will be needed lol

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