Cleaning HDD Heads & Platters

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New member
pclab":2s7vewht said:
I have been tempted myself to buy one to try, but I'm not very happy to spend 100€ on one to after it gathers dust....
I'm trying to get one borrowed..

The toy in the video is not so cheap ..

I'm not looking to pay expensive
but, I heard that not recommended to use cheaper Ultrasonic Cleaners
For sensitive components
If so, definitely not for heads
Is it really true that using Ultrasonic Cleaners cheap can cause damage
Ie- if there is a difference in results between most expensive to the cheapest models?


Staff member
LarrySabo":2iunzxwl said:
[post]6649[/post] Do you know what he used, Jared?

I think just distilled water. As long as the water is really pure, and it's allowed to dry in a clean hood when removed I suppose the residue will be minimal.


Staff member
After watching some other videos posted on Facebook and reading the comments / discussion on the videos, it seems most are using pure virgin isopropyl alcohol in the cleaner.


New member
Interesting information thanks, i was wondering myself if its better to clean heads first before doing any head swap.


New member
I am doing some experimenting with platter cleaning and found this post very useful. I have taken the 'plunge' and purchased some HFE 1700 which will be here next week. I know the jury is out with this product, but I am guessing I can use it for liquid damaged phones if not successful. In the meantime I have been experimenting with 99% Alcohol. I am contaminating single platter drives with fingerprints and seeing which product works best both in terms of cleaning and leaving residue. Having single platters allows me to assess both surfaces after the clean.

I have just put a single platter WD in a sonic cleaner with 99% and results were pretty good. Small amount of residue in the platters but fairly easy to clean off. Drive spun up and read without an issue. Took the heads back out and no residue left on the heads, so I presume this method seems pretty good.

I have also been experimenting with Dai's method of cleaning platters by cleaning the heads, installing them and removing them and cleaning them again. I had a drive which had platter damage but the client did not go ahead so it was a good experiment. This was a single platter Seagate 7100.10 with a score near the spindle but only on side 0. Head 0 was contaminated (no surprise). I cleaned it with 99% and put the same heads back in the drive. Did this a few times to clean the dust off the platters. Previously the terminal just gave junk on spin up, but after the third clean it recorded SATA Reset in the terminal but did not come live. So I can presume the cleaning did have some effect even with physically damaged heads. I have a new set of heads arriving to continue the testing.

More when I get the HFE.


ddrecovery":w4k8pa01 said:
I have also been experimenting with Dai's method of cleaning platters by cleaning the heads, installing them and removing them and cleaning them again.
I tried that a week or two ago and the head got so dirty it could not be cleaned, even after two sessions in the UC with 99% IPA. The top surface of the platter ended up quite a mess and my donor was a write-off, which makes me hesitant to try that again, unless I use dead heads. :(

Here's the best I could do with the head... (The "moats" in the centre were absolutely full of "data"!)
Contaminated slider 24GW donor used on Lee HDD.jpg

... and here's the platter...
Rosewood top platter damage.jpg


New member
The heads I used were the original from the failed drive. As this platter already had a score in it and was written off by the client I thought it would be a good experiment.


Staff member
The green light is interesting. The rest of it looks pretty much identical to the kit I got from Apex tools.

What type of green bulb is that?