Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

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inteq
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Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by inteq » Sat Dec 03, 2016 11:14 am

Hello,

Solved with DSM 6.1 (for ST8000VN0002 at least)
Thank you Synology


For some time now I am having this problem and frankly I can't stand the noise anymore.
I opened a ticket with Seagate, but they are useless. I even sent them a recording with the clicking noises, yet they wanted me to run SeaTools for DOS on all my drives.

Devices
Synology DS215+
Hard drive model:
2 x Seagate NAS Enterprise ST8000VN0002 (SC60 and SC61)

The problem
While idle for more than 3-4 minutes, all drives are starting to make clicking noises every couple of seconds.
Audio recording:https://goo.gl/Zbyn5W
As soon as I login to DSM or access the drives via CIFS, FTP, SSH, the clicking noises will stop for several minutes. I would say 3-4 minutes or so.
Setting the drives to sleep after 10 minutes will stop the noises, but way too many times the drives won't go to sleep after 10 minutes but after much longer. Sometimes a couple of minutes more sometimes even 1 hour+.
And even when Synology manages to put the drives to sleep/hibernate, the NAS will wake up randomly without any access to any files or services. Actually I tested with the network cable unplugged to rule out any network problems.
It takes quite a bit of time for these drives to come out of sleep/hibernation also.
I purchased Enterprise grade drives to be able to spin them 24/7 and access them when I need them, not when they want to become ready, so I would like to setup both drives to never sleep/hibernate.
I suspect the clicking noise is made when the drive parks it's heads and I would be fine with this, but these drives in a Synology NAS are constantly making this darn horrible noise.
Just for testing, I put all Seagate drives on my desktop, just to see if the noise is constant (every couple of seconds) and to my surprise, all drives park their heads, but only once. Not constantly every couple of seconds.
My conclusion is that Synology is somehow not compatible with Seagate's PowerChoice http://www.seagate.com/files/docs/pdf/w ... des-us.pdf and it is unable to put the drive into idle_a power mode.
I am not 100% sure, but a Load/Onload cycle value of over 81.000 in 800 hours cannot be too healthy for any drive.
Image

There are some older Seagate drives that a user can disable this behavior on using HDAT2 software. Does not work with STXXXXVNXXXXX series drives.
Searching the web, I am not the only one in this situation.

So the question is
This is a Synology bug in the OS? An incompatibility with these drives in particular?
Anyone else experiencing this kind of problem and maybe someone found a solution?
Last edited by inteq on Mon Mar 13, 2017 5:42 am, edited 7 times in total.

inteq
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by inteq » Mon Dec 05, 2016 5:02 am

While I wait for a response from Synology, I devised a quick and dirty method to prevent Seagate (and actually all other brands) drives from going to sleep/spin down. Thus, stopping the clicking noise.
As I said, I have Enterprise drives, designed for NAS work. I want them to spin and be ready 24/7 even tho I am not using them 24/7. Common sense dictates that ~82.000 load/unload cycles in just ~800 hours is not healthy for any drive, not to mention the horrible clicking noise and, until Seagate or Synology will fix this (if ever), you can try the following:

1. Login via SSH to your Synology NAS.
2. Edit /etc/crontab file and add at the end (thank you richwest)
* * * * * root /bin/date > /volume1/.anti-spindown

What this does is writing the current date to a file on your volume. Modify to suit your volume path if different.

I have to mention that no hdparm command to modify spin down time or APM works on these drives.
I would just like to "congratulate" the engineer who thought an Enterprise drive, designed for NAS usage and quite expensive I might add, needs to spin down every 3-4 minutes if idle.
Nevertheless, if this turns out to be a Synology only problem, my apologies to the Seagate engineer in advance :)

It goes without saying that this implies you should disable HDD power down in DSM (or at least if the setting is on, it will not take effect) and that your power usage will increase a tiny bit.
Also, I advise opening a ticket with Synology if you have the same problem. Maybe in the near future such dirty hacks won't be necessary if they take note of this strange behavior.


later edit:
Seems Synology support cannot even read an email correctly.
I sent them the same information, yet they replied:

Thank you for contacting Synology support.

DSM doesn't have such function to adjust the noise generated by HDD.

Please kindly switch the HDD from different trays or slots to check the source of noise.

If it comes from HDD, please kindly consult with the manufacturer of HDD and exchange with them.

If it comes from trays, please let us know so we can send you new trays as replacement.

Hope this helps.


So if you are expecting a solution from Synology, do not hold your breath.
Last edited by inteq on Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.

mdhnn
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by mdhnn » Tue Dec 06, 2016 7:10 pm

Hi inteq,

Newby here, joined after reading your post. I have a similarly annoying but slightly different problem. I too have what sounds like head parking (every 3 seconds). Mine is continuous whenever the system is awake, even if I'm logged in and accessing the drive. It starts as soon as I fire the system up and only stops when the drives go to sleep (after 10 mins), then starts again as soon as the system re-awakes. Before Saturday it was all working fine and had been since I bought it a few months ago, then I installed the latest DSM update and the clicking started. I have also tried contacting Synology but have had no reply. My setup is slightly different - DS215j with 2x WD red 3TB. Looking at the GUI there doesn't seem to be any way of rolling back the update (I've not looked at any command line stuff), so at the moment I'm only switching the system on when I need it and when it's on I always look to see if there is another DSM update in the hope it may fix the clicking. Of course it may have nothing to do with the update but I think that is unlikely. If you (or anyone) can give me any advice that would be much appreciated. Thanks again for your original post, at least I know I'm not going mad.

mdhnn

inteq
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by inteq » Wed Dec 07, 2016 3:06 am

Welcome to the forums mdhnn,

So you are saying you hear the same clicking sounds, but all the time and they start right after you power on you NAS?
I would go out on a limb here and say that if your drives are making this noise all the time, at least one drive is defective and you should RMA.
But, you can take some additional steps to check.

What I would do to rule out a defective drive:
1. If you have more than one drive in your NAS, take out one drive at a time and start your NAS. Check if the noise is present.
2. Take out all your drives and start your NAS. Check if the noise is present.
3. Attach all your drives from the NAS to a Desktop or a SATA Dock and check if the noise is still there. Preferably one drive at a time.
4. Run SeaTools for Windows from http://www.seagate.com/files/www-conten ... sSetup.exe and do a test on your drives.
It is a bit weird for a healthy drive to start making clicking noise right after you power on your NAS, when DSM is not even fully loaded.(at least that is what I understood from your post)

mdhnn
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by mdhnn » Wed Dec 07, 2016 7:18 pm

Thanks for answering and my apologies that I didn't make myself entirely clear. The clicking sound starts as soon as the lights on the front of the unit go from amber to green, so not immediately on switch on. The point I was trying to make is that, unlike yours, my clicking is not when the drive has been idle for any period. It's just all the time the drives are awake and accessible. On the plus side, Synology have been in touch and asked me for a debug log which I have sent them, hopefully they will be able to tell me something. In the meantime my NAS is switched off. Your diagnostic procedure makes complete sense so maybe at the weekend if I've not heard from Synology I'll do as you suggest re disconnecting the drives one at a time and also testing them on another system (I have a sata dock). Best regards, mdhnn

richwest
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by richwest » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:13 pm

I'm seeing a very similar problem with the ST8000NM0055, which is a similar Seagate Enterprise drive, in my DS216+. The load cycle count is constantly increasing whenever the drives are idle, which can't be good for them (presumably it's constantly parking/unparking the heads). They're on the compatbility list, but there's obviously some kind of compatibility problem between these drives and the Synology.

I've just opened a ticket with Synology for it (also have one open with Seagate, but they keep asking irrelevant questions and just seem to be wasting my time). Hopefully we can get this sorted out.

In the meantime I've used a similar solution to you to try to prevent excessive wear on the drives ("* * * * * root /bin/date > /volume1/.anti-spindown" in crontab for each volume).

inteq
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by inteq » Mon Dec 12, 2016 10:24 pm

Writing current date into a file prevents the spin down in your situation richwest?

later edit: seems it does work. And I would say a better approach than mine.
Thank you for the tip.

richwest
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by richwest » Mon Dec 12, 2016 11:20 pm

I've only just tried it today, so haven't tested it extensively. I think it does stop the load cycle count constantly increasing though. Don't have exactly the same symptoms as you since the drive is different (I can't seem to hear specific "clicking" but assumed from the smart stats that head parking was going on). The drive is quite "buzzy" in general, but I don't know if that's related to whatever power management problem is happening on Synology, or just how these drives are.

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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by richwest » Wed Dec 14, 2016 8:06 am

I don't get the same problem with these Seagate drives under Windows (in fact they seem to make less weird noises in general). So it seems like the problem must be something to do with how the Synology handles the drives or their power management.

I've put the drives to a different use for now instead and swapped the ones in the NAS for another brand.

inteq
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by inteq » Wed Dec 14, 2016 9:32 am

richwest wrote:I don't get the same problem with these Seagate drives under Windows
Exactly my situation also.

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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by richwest » Mon Dec 19, 2016 7:40 pm

So the current situation seems to be that Synology either can't or don't want to do anything about the problem on their side, on the basis that it only affects specific Seagate drive models.

Seagate have some of the worst support I've ever dealt with, who are clearly offshored employees working from a script and don't understand or care about this issue. After going through many hours of irrelevant diagnostics and exchanging a dozen or so emails with them, they decided I had "OEM drives" and wouldn't provide further support. Never mind that the problem seems related to their latest retail firmware and has nothing to do with the drives themselves.

I'll post an update if I hear anything more on this, but at point my advice to anyone reading is to avoid these models and buy Western Digital instead :wink:

mervincm
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by mervincm » Mon Dec 19, 2016 9:58 pm

your pic has me wondering about your drive
smart value #7 that seems like a hell of a lot of seek issues.
I know its not exactly the same, but in my 1813+ I sampled a couple drive. all have been only in this unit.
4TB RED WD, I have a value of 0 for that. ID:9 shows I have 12,468 power on hours, and #193 has me at 1,572 for load cycle count.
3TB RED WD, I have a value of 0 for #7. ID:9 shows I have 22,035 power on hours, and #193 has me at 8,348 for load cycle count.
1815+ (factory patched board) 4GB 5x6TB WD RED

inteq
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by inteq » Tue Dec 20, 2016 12:40 am

No seek issues.
Both drives have the same load/unload problem while idle for more than 2-3 minutes.
I only posted SMART for one drive.
Running a cron job with * * * * * root /bin/date > /volume1/.anti-spindown fixed it for me

Image
Image

@richwest, I feel your pain.
Lately, Synology support, as well as Seagate, feels a lot like Microsoft support powered by Indian staff.
They have no idea what they are talking about and they seem absolutely non-tech savvy. At least those that respond to email tickets.

nasDave40
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by nasDave40 » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:41 am

I had a similar problem with head parking on Seagate drives. I used HDPARM to stop the parking. In the morning I'll look at the actual setting for you but -254 sounds about right. I put it into a task using the task scheduler and run it on start up as the seting is lost on every cold boot.

So far, my head parking has been very good. All except the slightly broken drive. 1 drive fails to park sometimes and is racking up a lot of failed parking stats. It also repeats the park until successful. So I think that is why it's parking start is higher than the others.

Till tomorrow.
DS3615xs 32MB, 10G SFP+ => 6xWD red 1TB 2.5 RAID 6 btrfs + 6xSamsung 2TB 2.5 RAID 6 btrfs.

inteq
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Re: Seagate NAS drives constant clicking noises when idle

Unread post by inteq » Mon Dec 26, 2016 1:46 pm

nasDave40 wrote:I had a similar problem with head parking on Seagate drives. I used HDPARM to stop the parking...
I am pretty sure you are not talking about the same model or at least a NAS "dedicated" drive from Seagate.
STxxxxVNxxxx drives cannot be managed with hdparm.

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