Soldering to a QFP that has broken pins – Maxtor HDD repair

One of my Maxtor hard disk drives was hit by an object which happened to fall down from a shelf right onto the HDD. As a result, the main QFP chip got damaged with 5 pins completely broken off the IC and 2 more pins severely damaged. The QFP site on the PCB had also suffered some pad damage from the impact.
This is quite an old HDD, so getting a replacement chip for it (or a new PCB) is not an easy task. Maybe even impossible.
So what if there were a lot of important data on the hard disk drive that we didn’t want to lose? We would then be left with only one option: Repair the PCB! However, this can prove to be quite a challenging task considering how severely the PCB is damaged. A lot of people would probably write it off as being unrepairable.
But… is it really? I got curious about this and thought that I would try to find that out. So, having nothing to lose, I decided to have a go at repairing this hard drive, just as a little experiment.
Fortunately, I didn’t have any important data on this HDD, so I wasn’t really in any need of repairing it. This is more of a repair practice and a test of my own skill than anything else.

So, will I succeed in repairing this hard drive, or am I throwing myself into a battle that I just cannot possibly win?

(I do upload all the failed repair videos that I shoot as well. If I have taken the time to shoot a video, I’m going to upload it regardless of the outcome. I’m not being selective in that manner. After all, successful repairs are not the only repairs that we can learn something from. We can learn a lot from any repair attempt, regardless of the outcome.)

Removing some of the epoxy mold using a CO2-laser:

A very good presentation on HDD data recovery:

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