Multiple HDD Failures on different devices

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by Christopher Winter, Jan 17, 2017.

  1. Christopher Winter

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 17, 2017
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    Hello,
    I'v been having repeat issue over several months and I can't think of what to try next.

    I work in the IT department of a medium-ish sized company with almost 40 retail locations across a quarter of the state. Recently, after a few break-ins we were authorized to install a fairly basic security camera system in our stores. Specifically it is a Night Owl NVR (Network Video Recorder) with 4-8 cameras per store. We can view the systems remotely and while not exactly top of the line, they work fairly well.

    Ok, most of them work well. We have one location who has has repeated issues with the Hard Drive (1Tb = 1 Week of recorded history). About every three weeks (never less than two, once just over a month) the Hard Drive fails. Over time we have replaced the NVR with a repaired one from the company, a brand new one, and even swapped out with one from another store that had been working for several months without issue. Each one of these, once placed at our trouble store, has a HDD failure in just under a month.

    Physically the NVR is located in an office environment, no excessive heat/cold, inside a locked network box (sheet steel, bolted to the wall).
    Originally we had this unit plugged into a battery backup/surge protector, but per the manufacturers recommendation we moved it to a dedicated power outlet. After a few more instances of this failure, they suggested an electrical line conditioner, which we installed.

    None of this seems to have any effect over time. Sometimes, if we power the NVR down and do a full software re-install it will fix the problem for a few weeks. Other times, the HDD has crashed and is fully dead.

    During a crash or HDD fail, the cameras still broadcast. There is a basic desktop PC, plugged into a different outlet, in the same office that doesn't exhibit any issues.

    I've run out of possibilities, the manufacturer has stated that they have no clue what else to try and they will continue to replace the NVR as we request them.

    After using the line conditioner and the battery backup, that should have eliminated any potential electrical issues. Replacing the actual device should have dealt with any random manufacturer defect or bad equipment.

    What am I missing? What else can I look at?
     
  2. AlbertHall

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 4, 2014
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    Is there anything that could generate some vibration which could be communicated to the HDD? Perhaps something else attached to that wall?
     
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  3. Christopher Winter

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 17, 2017
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    Directly behind that wall is the employee break room a clock-in pc and, if I remember correctly, a refrigerator and microwave within a few feet. We have even requested (but not yet received) building plans from the landlord to see what is inside that wall.
     
  4. AlbertHall

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jun 4, 2014
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    I would certainly be moving the microwave. Do you have (access to) a microwave radiation tester?
     
  5. MrSoftware

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2013
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    Hard disks are commonly killed by heat or vibration. Heat is probably the most common. If that thing is in a box then it needs forced air cooling, including positive air flow over the drive itself. My suggestion is let it run for several hours, then quick as you can get it apart and check the temperature of the hard disk. Warm is normal, hot is bad.

    What is the failure mode?
     
  6. Christopher Winter

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 17, 2017
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    AlbertHall: I do not have access to that, but can definitely try moving the microwave.

    MrSoftware: When we try to remotely access the camera system, we can see the cameras livestreaming, but the HDD does not show as available and the recorded history is gone. When we go plug in at the device physically, there is still no recorded data and about half the time, we can see a HDD error message (literally, thats what it says 'HDD Error'). the other half of the time it's just dead, the HDD won't even show locally as installed.

    Technically we aren't allowed to open the equipment, without voiding the manufacturer warranty etc, but we have other equipment in the same enclosere; modem, watchguard firewall, network switch. No issues with those, and this is the same setup as our other locations, if the box was trapping too much heat, I would assume it would cause issues in other locations as well.
     
  7. MrSoftware

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2013
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    Is the hard disk not user replaceable without voiding the NVR warranty? arg..

    Find the air vents on the NVR and figure out which way the air is supposed to flow. Strap a good fan to the outside of the NVR case to assist the air. See if that resolves the issue.
     
  8. Christopher Winter

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 17, 2017
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    It is a sealed unit, unfortunately. Arg indeed!

    So, the next time we go to that location, we will see about adding/improving ventilation and move the microwave. The only part of this that kinda sucks is resetting everything and having to wait a month-ish to see if the problem returns.

    Thanks Guys!
     
  9. spinnaker

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 29, 2009
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    I would simply move the recording device and see if that fixes the issue. I think you are just chasing your tail trying to figure out, what around it could be causing the issue.
     
  10. rthomas12

    Member

    Dec 6, 2016
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    3
    I would check the modem logs and see if it has been dropping out. Maybe an employee is power cycling the cabinet to resolve a connectivity issue. That would create disk errors and a surge of heat dissipating. Could you add an additional drive to the local pc and record there as well?
    Good luck
     
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