Drive spin up times = drive failure ?

Just been off the phone with Drobo tech support as my ticket went un answered for 3 days. My drobo rejected two new drives recently. Support says that one had some bad sectors which it does appear to have but the other drive is being rejected because of its too slow to spin up. All the drives are the exact same model (1 dead, 1 new (slow spin up), 1 in the drobo and running fine).

This just sounds suspious to me. There should be some sort of back of procedure for slow spin up times on drives and i cannot imagine it being that bad. It mounts fine in my caddy. Anyone think my drobo is going bad ? The support guy was almost useless.

drives often start to take longer and longer to spin up as their motors begin to die… i wouldn’t trust one…

drobo can be cautious (almost over cautious) but the whole point of having drobo is for data security… so you dont really want your drobo to be taking risks…

Spyker, you could pull the drive and pop it into a desktop to view the SMART data. One of the items tracked is spin-up time.

Whenever I replace a disk in a RAID array, or whenever I pull a drive out of a pile of “good used” drives, I like to check SMART statistics. Higher spin-up times seem to correlate with more power-on hours, which is consistent with Docchris’s explanation.


Thanks for the replies. I have attached the smart status for the drive in question doesn’t look like anything really abnormal for a brand new drive. Unless im missing something. Dont know if i made this clear but this drive that is being rejected beacuse of its spin up time, was a brand new drive as a replacement for the drive that had bad sectors.

What you think ?


For utter completeness here is the smart status of the 3rd drive that has been fine this whole time. Again this is the same make and model as the others.

Those numbers show a new drive in great condition. Your Drobo is on crack if it rejects such a good drive.

I wonder if the SMART stats are being misread on the second drive, though. Too many numbers are the base values. Because SMART IDs aren’t completely standardized, it’s not unusual to misread some values.

thanks rdo.

No idea what to do now. Cant get decent smart status from drive. Don’t know if the Drobo is going bad or not.

I tried removing all the data from it and doing a factory restore. No dice still got the same problems.

Any body have any ideas what i could do next. Stress the new hard drive that is reporting bad spin up times. Maybe if i thrash it for a week it might die and then i can RMA it.


Hi Everyone,

Dont suppose anybody else has any words of advise. I am pretty much at a lost with what to do as i cannot reliably RMA my drives and get charged shipping both ways if nothing is wrong and im pretty sure they wont replace the Drobo in its current state.

Literally any advise is really appreciated i have a bunch of drives and drobo i dont feel comfortable using / cannot use

Did you get the exact same model drive as a replacement, and not an “equivalent” model?

It’s weird that your two drives report slightly different SMART tables.

hi id also try another smart program tool too
maybe that wdtool - then you can see if different tools report differently too

hi Bhiga,

The drives are the same type spinpoint f3 1TB 7200rpm drives but their model numbers are different. I guess it must be updated.

hi Paul,

im running on a mac, managed to get those from bootcamp. A few tools failed completely. I have to mount them over USB. It seems this throws a few tools off.

On a side note, if i sell the Drobo does its warranty move over to a new owner ? Im thinking of moving on to building my own RAID box.

Bad news, according to the DroboCare terms, it is not transferrable. Furthermore, it seems it’s only offered to the original purchaser.

Terms may be different outside of North America though.

Thanks for clearing that up for me bhiga.

Even less sure what to do now. Feels like the only choice i have is to buy more drives and test those, or buy/build another raid box to test it. I really wish the support and this product was better, or at least more transparent. Its not like its for the everyday user anyway. Why cant i see the smart status of the drives like the drobo does and even give me the option to keep using the drive if its gone bad to really kill it or at least expose any potential issues.

As my previous support ticket has not been closed do you think i should re-open it and see what can be done. Do any support staff roam the forums ?



they used to be here more, eg Jennifer and kurt (flying penguin and cartoon driver icons)
i think they are mainly roaming the non-“drobo” sections though, and fogetting the little guys.

Spyker, I understand why you might feel caught in the middle between Drobo support which claims a drive is failing and the drive manufacturer who will want evidence before accepting an RMA.

After being caught in similar situations, I’ve learned that I can request that a technician provide data to support their conclusion that (another brand) part has failed. If the tech cannot give me enough data to nail down the other part as faulty, then they need to work a little harder.

Case in point: I installed third-party RAM in my MacBook, and had problems. Apple pointed to PNY, who pointed to Apple. I finally escalated on both sides and told each of them that I was invoking my warranty rights and their support organizations were to assist me in troubleshooting to resolution. Result: two highly motivated techs and an RMA.

My recent experience with WD at least has been that you can RMA a drive for just about anything. No diagnostic codes required. On one hand, great, it’s easy to RMA. On the other hand it makes me afraid… Obviously they’ve made it easy on purpose.

Does that mean they were getting so many RMA request through human support (due to not being able to run diagnostics, whatever) that they decided it was more economical/efficient to just allow all RMAs, even if some might be false-positives? I don’t know.

Not sure what Hitachi/Samsung RMA procedures are tho.

maybe just to make things easier for customers?

a lot of drives are returned for reasons which basically amount to user error - and its probably easier just to replace them than create bad-will by trying to argue with their own customers

Thanks so much guys. I guess ill try and replace the drive with potential bad sectors and then use that as the deciding factor depending on if it gets replaced or not as a guide for the drobo being a bit off. Seems like the only option.

Just in case any one is interested: i have also decided to move the drobo on to another owner after this is all sorted. Fancy building my own RAID box again. Dont suppose anyone on here wants a drobo first gen ?

Thanks so much guys, you members are better than the support drobo offers.