Bricking USB-C hard for presentation.

Thread Starter


Joined Mar 8, 2022
We are testing our computer products for disaster recovery. I have come up with an idea to make a presentation that will drive the point home. To make this work for our presentation, I need to damage a USB-C drive. When I say damage, I mean make it unable to read or recover any data. While traveling in Asia, I acquired some very cheap small size external USB-C hard drives. I have the pinout map of said drives. I have a USB-C cable that I have striped on one end I will connect to a breadboard. My question is could someone recommend pins to short at a specific voltage that should leave the drives useless. I am not concerned with bricking the drives. I acquired the hard drives for just that purpose. Thanks for any help.



Joined Jan 27, 2019
Welcome to AAC.

When I say damage, I mean make it unable to read or recover any data.
Herein lies your problem. Your absolute requirement that it be impossible to recover data is probably not doable from the USB C interface. Are these SSDs or spinning disks?

The only thing I can imagine that would come close to your requirements is an overwhelmingly high voltage with concomitant high current to literally burn the internals. Even that would be uncertain to make the data unrecoverable.

What is the actual goal of the demo? What will it actually illustrate? That is, intentional, malicious destruction? Accidental damage?


Joined Jan 23, 2014
There's usually a controller board between the USB connector and the actual drive. So, it's possible that you'll damage that controller and not the drive itself. If that's close enough to "bricked", then applying negative 9 or 12 volts instead of +5V to the power terminals ought to do something.