How To Find a Seagate Donor Drive

by Dec 19, 2016

The following is information we have gathered to help find compatible hard drives for Seagate head swap data recovery cases. None of this information is guaranteed to help you find a matching Seagate donor drive. This is just information that we have gathered from other resources and then refined from our own experience. Use at your own risk and expense.

There is some information saying that the model number must match but that’s not entirely true. In my experience there is not much difference in a DM and a VM drive, from a DR perspective.
I have successfully swapped heads between ST1000DM003 < ST1000VM002 and even a ST2000VX000 < ST3000DM001
If you want a better understanding of a Seagate Model number start with this Simplified Seagate Model Numbers document.

One of the best methods for finding a good donor is the preamp type and this is also the most difficult for the end user. If the preamp type matches there is a great chance the heads will work for recovery. For data recovery professionals with terminal access to the patient HDD you can issue the ctrl + l command at the T> prompt to get the preamp type. You can also find it in ROM code for many models. It’s typically 2 characters, a space, and 2 more characters (e.g. CC 16, B2 03, CA 05). At a minimum the first two characters should be a match, it’s not uncommon for the 3rd and/or 4th character to be different.

Without access to the Seagate F3 preamp number the serial number can be very helpful when choosing donor drives. This is because there could be some indication of the preamp type in the serial number. Many people try to match the first 3 characters of the serial number but I primarily focus on the second and third character. That said, I have actually swapped heads with serial numbers starting with Z1D and W1G. Keep in mind that some have indicated that the second character could be related to the preamp and/or media type and that might be why it’s so important to match this character. That said, matching the serial number is not a guarantee you will get the right preamp.

The first character of the Seagate serial number typically indicates the site code or manufacturing location. in most cases as follows:
S=SU (China) | W=WU (China) | Z=TK (Thailand)
I have seen rare occurrences where W=SU.

The 3rd character has been referred to as a representation of the number of heads and/or head map but I have not seen any consistency.

The part number can help when searching for a donor drive but it doesn’t always have to match completely to be compatible. I do try to match the part before the dash.
Example: 9YN162-021. But I have swapped heads between these P/N 9YN162-021 & 1CT162-500 where only the 162 matches. Common numbers are 162, 164, 166 and you should at least match that number.

Last is the date code. Although some newer models like the Seagate Mobile HDD ST2000LM007 have a date in the form DOM:23APR2016, you will typically find that Seagate date codes are in a custom format (e.g. 10495, 13092). Although it’s not a bad idea to get as close as possible on the date code this has never been a deal breaker for me. There are popular resources that say the date code of the patient HDD and the donor drive should be within 3 months. I stretch this to 6 months and have actually used date codes that are even further apart.

Pro tip: While Grenada and Bacall families will typically work pretty well without importing head adaptives you might find other families, like Holiday, sometimes require importing adaptives before the head swap works. Lookup Seagate Family by Model.

Patient Donor
Model: ST1000LM035
PN: 1RK172-568
Date: 09NOV2017
CSO: n/a
Preamp:
Serial: WC0
Family: Rosewood
Location: WU
Model: ST2000LM007
PN: 1R8174-568
Date: 22SEP2017
CSO: 11FEB2018
Preamp: C2 12
Serial: ZDZ
Family: Rosewood
Location: TK
Model: ST500LT012
PN: 1DG142-540
Date: 04/2014
Preamp: D0 67
Serial: W3P
Family: Yarra 5400
Location: WU
Model: ST500LT012
PN: 9WS142-020
Date: 06/2013
Preamp: D0 55
Serial: W0V
Family: Yarra 1D
Location: WU
TYPE: SSHD
Model: ST500LM021
PN: 1EJ162-038
Date: 08/2014
Preamp: D0 xx
Serial: W76
Family: Kahuna 5400
Location: WU
TYPE: HDD
Model: ST500LM021
PN: 1KJ152-070
Date: 30JAN2015
Preamp: D0 07
Serial: W62
Family: Kahuna 5400
Location: WU
Model: ST1000LM035
PN: 1RK172-568
Date: 09NOV2017
Preamp:
Serial: WC0
Family: Rosewood
Location: WU
Model: ST2000LM007
PN: 1R8174-568
Date: 17OCT2017
Preamp: 82 12
Serial: ZDZ
Family: Rosewood
Location: TK
Model: ST2000VX000
PN: 9YW164-500
Date: 12501
Preamp: B4 43
Serial: W24
Family: Grenada
Location: WU
Model: ST3000DM001
PN: 1CH166-510
Date: 14197
Preamp: B4 23
Serial: W1F
Family: Grenada
Location: WU
Model: ST500LT012
PN: 1DG142-540
Date: 10/2013
Preamp: B0 04
Serial: W3P
Family: YARRA 5400
Location: WU
Model: ST500LT012
PN: 1DG142-286
Date: 04/2015
Preamp: B0 04
Serial: W3P
Family: YARRA 5400
Location: WU
Model: ST2000LM007
PN: 1R8174-568
Date: 07APR2017
Preamp:
Serial: WDZ
Family: Rosewood
Location: WU
Model: ST2000LM007
PN: 1R8174-568
Date: 03JUL2017
Preamp: C2 12
Serial: WDZ
Family: Rosewood
Location: WU
Model: ST3000DM001
PN: 1ER166-570
Date: 18OCT2016
CSO: n/a
Preamp: B7 64
Serial: Z50
Family: Grenada
Location: TK
Model: ST3000DM001
PN: 1ER166-570
Date: 06OCT2016
CSO: 31MAR2017
Preamp: D2 67
Serial: Z50
Family: Grenada
Location: TK
Model: ST1500DM003
PN: 9YN16G-21
Date: 13072
Preamp: CC 06
Serial: W24
Family: Grenada
Location: WU
Model: ST2000DM001
PN: 9YN164-500
Date: 12353
Preamp: B4 03
Serial: S24
Family: Grenada
Location: SU
Model: ST3750528AS
PN: 9SL153-516
Date: 11097
Preamp: 71 03
Serial: 9VP
Family: Pharaoh
Location: TK
Model: ST3750528AS
PN: 9SL153-515
Date: 10283
Preamp: 71 03
Serial: 6VP
Family: Pharaoh
Location: SU
Model: ST1000DM003
PN: 9YN162-021
Date: 13254
Preamp: B2 13
Serial: Z1D
Family: Grenada
Location: TK
Model: ST1000VM002
PN: 1CT162-500
Date: 13016
Preamp: B2 03
Serial: W1G
Family: Bacall
Location: WU
Model: ST1000DM003
PN: 9YN162-500
Date: 12335
Preamp: CA 05
Serial: W1D
Family: Grenada
Location: WU
Model: ST1000DM003
PN: 1CH162-501
Date: 13296
Preamp: CA 05
Serial: S1D
Family: Grenada
Location: SU
Model: ST1000DM003
PN: 1CH162-510
Date: 14156
Preamp: B2 03
Serial: Z1D
Family: Grenada
Location: TK
Model: ST1000DM003
PN: 9YN162-021
Date: 13254
Preamp: B2 03
Serial: Z1D
Family: Grenada
Location: TK

For Seagate DM series we have found that there are 2 preamp numbers that cover about 90% of the recoveries in each of the following storage capacities (1TB, 2TB, 3TB). Some other preamps exist but are typically in drives with unusual head or platter numbers for their series. The DM series with the new Seagate logo have some new preamp numbers as well. As always, your mileage may vary 🙂
ST1000DM
B2 x3
CA x5

ST2000DM
B3 x3
CB x6

ST3000DM
B4 x3
CC x6

Looking for Western Digital donor matching guide?