Seagate Replaces Suspiciously Sparking Power Plug

It’s a common theme in “above and beyond” posts: a customer contacts a company asking where he or she can buy a certain small part for their widget, and the company sends the part for free–or a new widget entirely. Today, we honor Seagate, which sent globe-trotting academic Donna a new power cord and international plug thingies for her external hard drive when her American plug began to misbehave.

I’m a PhD student in a fieldwork heavy discipline…and I am writing my dissertation so I have depended on my Seagate external hard drive to, you know, not fail while I traveled from hemisphere to hemisphere. Now that I am settled in the US I noticed that my UK Seagate plug tended to spark in the converter when in an American socket.

I emailed Seagate, complimented their dependability (my Seagate has been carted all over the UK, France, Malaysia, the US and New Zealand in the past 6 months and it is still going strong) and asked where I could buy just the US plug piece for the power cable. I admitted that it was probably my converter but indicated that I was afraid of the sparks so I wasn’t backing up as much as I should. I had found the full cables online but didn’t want to pay $30 when all I needed was one little piece.

Seagate responded right away and within a week they sent me a whole new power cable AS WELL AS the plug pieces for the US, UK, Europe, and Oceania…for FREE! No more sparks anywhere in the world! To be honest, I had already reccomended Seagate to all of my friends and bought their hard drives for family members, but with this I will redouble my endorsement. Thanks for backing my my dissertation with minimal sparks Seagate!


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  1. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    That’s really awesome customer service! It shows the person actually listened to the OP because she mentioned all the countries she had been to and Seagate sent her the plugs for each country. Awesome!

    I would still replace the converter though, because she presumably uses it for other things. Sparking is bad.

  2. Prowll says:

    While I’m glad OP’s issue was addressed, I’m not sure why this is ‘above and beyond’. While the drive has been through some travel, it doesn’t sound abused, and should be under warranty.

  3. mikebw says:

    Good story, but I hope she proofreads her her dissertation a bit more extensively.

  4. TooManyHobbies says:

    Great service indeed. I’m not a big fan of Seagate reliability personally, I have a lot of hard drives in my home, like about 15 of the spinning most of the day, and the only failures I’ve had for the last 10 years have all been Seagate drives, even though almost all of my drives are WDs (I’ve never had a WD fail, though I had two WDs show up dead once – they had been badly packed and UPS had beat them up too).

    • fr34k says:

      I have had all drives fail on me (I work in IT)
      In order of most failures first
      Western Digital

    • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

      the only drive i’ve had fail on me was a Hitachi.
      I also had a WD external drive fail, but that was the enclosure itself. cracked it open, stuck the drive in a new enclosure from newegg, and it’s still working.

    • psm321 says:

      And I’ve had a ton of WD drives fail and rarely a Seagate. It seems to be some sort of weird per-person thing as I’ve seen stories from both sides. I personally gave up on WD drives many years ago after a ton of failures. Recently decided to try them again, and surprise, 1 out of 2 fails during my burn-in tests (lucky I did them). BTW, thanks for reminding me that I have to contact Newegg to see if I can RMA it :)

  5. Blueskylaw says:

    Reading about good consumer experiences with large corporations is a refreshing change of pace.

  6. dadelus says:

    Dependability has not been my experience with Seagate drives.

    I had a 160GB Seagate drive die on me about 5+ years ago. It was the drive that contained all of my music and pictures. At the time I didn’t have a backup system so I contacted Seagate about data recovery. $2500 later I had all my files back contained on a brand new 160GB Seagate drive. The price was steep, but I was alright with it cause I figured it was an acceptable stupid tax for not backing up like I should have.

    Now I was paranoid, so I backed up the files to my computers new harddrive (Western Digital) and another drive I had laying around (Also Western Digital) then stored the drive from Seagate on a cool dry shelf for safe keeping. Six months later I decided to write all the files I had accumulated to my two backup drives. Writing to the first external WD drive went off without a hitch, but the brand new Seagate drive that was stored right next to it on the shelf was a brick.

    So in one year, I had two Seagate drives die on me. One of which was a brand new drive direct from the manufacterer. I backup religiously now, but I also avoid Seagate drives.

    • kc2idf says:

      Sorry to hear about that. My experience in Seagate vs. Western Digital is almost diametrically opposite.

      I used to buy WD exclusively, until I had two or three die over an 18-month period. I looked at warranty periods, found Seagate to have the longest (5 years) and bought one.

      Including and since then, I’ve bought a 120G (to replace a dead, out-of-warranty WD), two 80G, two 250G, a 320G and a 1.5T, in that order. All of them are still operational, and all were purchased between 2006 and now.

      With Seagate, I’ve had zero failures. Some of these drives operate or have been operated 24/7, others have had 1-2 starts per day. They just seem to be solid and reliable. I don’t, honestly, know what went wrong in your case.

      • Hooray4Zoidberg says:

        Most hard drive failure data is anecdotal. The only Seagate hard drive I’ve ever owned failed within a month and a Maxtor drive I bought after Seagate took over Maxtor blew a chip and burst into flames inside my computer 3 weeks after I installed it.

        I’ve since switched to WD which I used to avoid back in the day because they were notoriously unreliable, but have gotten much better.

        I’ve had zero problems with 3 WD drives I”ve been running for a few years now, 2 in a RAID setup and one as a primary HD for the past 3. I also swear by Hitachi which I’ve never had fail, although others claim the exact opposite too. Of course again, it’s all anecdotal.

      • coren says:

        I want to say they’ve dropped their warranty to 3 years. Is that accurate?

      • Red Cat Linux says:

        My experience with Seagate has been the same. I had a collection of bricked WDs, and not a single Seagate. I’ve been building PCs for a couple decades now – not a bad Seagate anywhere.

        Oh, until I dropped my 1 TB Freeagent when the heads were not parked. They replaced it outright. The 5 year warranty is a thing of beauty, and yes, still exists on retail and bare OEM drives.

      • psm321 says:

        Yep, it’s weird how it varies person to person (see my post above for my own experience)

  7. Donathius says:

    I’ve gotten great service from Seagate – even when they messed up.

    I had a 1 TB external drive die on me only about 2 months after I bought it. I used the drive almost daily in my work and so I paid the extra $20 for advance replacement (they send a new drive before they receive your old one). Well I didn’t look too closely at the replacement drive and it turns out they sent me a 500 GB drive. I called and talked to their CSR and he apologized and sent me another drive. A couple days later another 500 GB drive showed up. Called them again and the guy told me that they were out of the 1 TB drives. He said what they normally do when they’re out is to send the next size up, but they were out of those too. He then asked me if the two 500 GB drives would be acceptable to me as replacements for my 1 TB drive. I said that would be fine, so they ended up letting me keep both 500 GB drives as replacements for the 1 TB. In the long run this actually worked out better for me, as I was going to need to buy a second drive anyway (the size didn’t matter so much – more the availability for my work).

  8. Tracer Bullet says:

    If her documents are that valuable she ought to be saving them on some sort of remote solution. One that offers redundant backups and is accessible anywhere in the world. Sounds like she ought to be looking into SSD technology as well if she’s doing that much traveling; hard drives typically aren’t known for taking a lot of bumps.

  9. unpolloloco says:

    It sounds like she is carting around a desktop external hard drive (3.5″) instead of a portable external (2.5″). That’s a recipe for eventual hard drive failure (has nothing to do with the sparking issue, however). Remote backups might also be wise.

  10. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    Funny when my 3 week old Maxtor hard drive, now owned and supported by Seagate caught fire in front of my face they simply told me, fire voids the warranty sorry.

  11. SPOON - now with Forkin attitude says:

    my experience with seagate does not mmatch the customer’s. They produced a massively defective 2tb hard drive and eventually (after 6 replacement units) I had to settle for their 1.5 tb drive that only fails occasionally.

  12. stormbird says:

    On one hand, plugs shouldn’t shoot sparks, but they did fix the problem for everywhere short of Antarctica (yet again anti-penguin prejudice rears its ugly head). Good on you, Seagate!

  13. DerangedKitsune says:

    It was the sparking that got the quick reaction. No company wants the liability of a potential firehazard. The international plugs are a sweet bonus.

  14. cjnewbs says:

    Nice to hear what seagate did for their customer, but learn this lesson before its too late.

    If your data dosent exist in three places, then it dosent exist at all.

    • Fafaflunkie Plays His World's Smallest Violin For You says:

      and to add to that: one of those places not being in the same place the other two are. By that I mean “not in the same building, preferably not in the same city.”

      • cjnewbs says:

        Ideally in a data centre operated by an automated back up service such as backblaze, or livedrive (the company I use)