WD80EZAZ 3.3V Pin Issue

Recently I got my hands on a Western Digital My Book 8TB drive. Various sources showed that currently many of these external drives are shipped with Western Digital white-label WD80EZAZ HDDs, which seem to be Helium filled HGST Enterprise drives with just 5400RPM instead of 7200RPM. However, these drives have issues with certain power supplies as they are using the power disable feature from the newer SATA 3.2+ standard.

There are several ways to fix this in case the power supply or backplane can’t handle it: The easiest way is to use some electrical tape and simply cover the third pin of the SATA power connector (starting at the pin nearest to the SATA datacable). Another way includes using a Molex to SATA connector, which should only be used if they are known to not catch fire or short out and possibly kill your drive, PC or more.

Testing

While the issue is fixed easily, ideally one can simply plug the drive in and use it. Especially in setups involving hot-swappable bays the electrical tape might come off easily, defeating the purpose of using such a bay in the first place. I tested a few PSUs and cases as seen in the table below which might come handy for someone with a similar setup:

Device Type Working?
Corsair RM650x PSU w/ pin fix
BeQuiet Pure Power 300W PSU w/ pin fix
BeQuiet Straight Power E9-CM-580W PSU w/ pin fix
Chieftec GPS-500AB A PSU w/ pin fix
Xigmatek Midgard II HDD docking station yes
RaidSonic IB-563SSK Hard Drive Caddy yes
Chenbro 80H10321516A1 Backplane yes
SinanPower GD 35621 External Casing yes

The table indicates, although based on a very small sample size, that directly powering the HDDs from a consumer grade PSU, likely requires an additional step to get the drives running. However, when using more recent hardware that was built for powering only SATA-HDDs, like cases, backplanes or docking stations, chances are that drives are working without any additional measures. More importantly this means that in scenarios that require frequent plugging and unplugging, one does not have to worry about the tape coming of every other time.

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