Fist In Hand Networks
3Feb/1114

WD VelociRaptor Firmware Upgrade / RAID Drive Fallout

I recently experienced a bug with the Western Digital 150GB VelociRaptor drives (WD1500HLFS) and the LSI 9260-4i RAID card. After about 49 days the drives would begin to drop out of the RAID and become ‘failed’. Though, upon manual removal and insertion back into the logical RAID volume, the drive would become active and the degraded array would rebuild. Was the drive actually bad? S.M.A.R.T data and Western Digital’s own tools showed no signs of drive problems. More strange is that the drive failure happened to 3 different WD1500HLFS in the array within a couple days of each other. Coincidence? Unlikely…

After some more investigation I found a couple forum threads mentioning similar problems with the WD1500HLFS and other VelociRaptors dropping out of RAID arrays (http://forums.anandtech.com/showthread.php?t=327367 and http://forums.pcper.com/showthread.php?t=469557). The latter mentions that the latest firmware 0404v02 didn’t resolve the issue. I built a custom ISO image of UBCD with the LSI MegaCLI DOS utility added to it and then remotely logged into the console of the host and remotely booted this custom CD. In UBCD you choose to run the FreeDOS utility and you can then exit the UBCD menu to a FreeDOS command line. I was able to run the following command to see the drive information: MegaCli -pdInfo -a0 -aALL

And what I got back was this information about the drives:

Slot: 0
Data: WD-WX61C10CXXXXWDC WD1500HLFS-01G6U1
Firmware: 04.04V02

Slot: 1
Data: WD-WX61C10CXXXXWDC WD1500HLFS-01G6U1
Firmware: 04.04V02

Slot: 2
Data: WD-WX61C104XXXXWDC WD1500HLFS-01G6U1
Firmware: 04.04V02

Slot: 3
Data: WD-WXC1C100XXXXWDC WD1500HLFS-01G6U3
Firmware: 04.04V05

I was now able to make a helpful correlation. The slots that were failing had version 0404v02! I contacted Western Digital about the issue and they offered a new firmware (WD1500HLFS 0404v06 Firmware) that was supposed to solve the issue.

I was having trouble getting the SATA ports recognized by the FreeDOS UBCD so I had to use another more “traditional” method (yes, Floppy drive). Since I couldn’t fit the firmware all on one floppy, I opted for a bootdisk with a RAM drive (Windows 98 SE OEM) so I could use multiple floppies to copy the data over. Once the wd_dnld.exe utility and 0404v06.bin are on the RAM drive you can flash the drives using:

wd_dnld.exe 0404v06.bin

The utility claims it will flash all the drives connected. However, it only actually flashed the first 2 drives. I had to physically move drive in slots 2 and 3 to slots 0 and 1 to complete the flash.

Success! VMware ESXi Health Status now reports drive firmware 0404v06 on all 4 drives. In another 49 days I should know if the problem is resolved :) For anyone else having the same issue I would encourage you to contact Western Digital before flashing the firmware linked above. They explained to me that there can be multiple revisions of drive models which sometimes utilize different firmware. Flasher beware!

Filed under: Tutorials Leave a comment
Comments (14) Trackbacks (0)
  1. Hi thank you,
    link to firmware update only works when using the link from http://fistinhand.net/ when I’m directly in the post it’s not working http://fistinhand.net/2011/02/western-digital-velociraptor-firmware-upgrade-raid-drive-fallout/

    Ragards, Stephan

  2. I was not able to update the firmware on two PCs everytime I get the “Failed Downloads = 1″ (tried one drice to flash).

    It gets recognized sucessfully but there is no error message why it could not be flashed.

    status = 0×51
    error = 0×40
    sector count = 0xc0
    lba low = 0×45
    lba mid = 0×00
    lba high = 0×00

    • Hmm, are the drive models exactly the same? WD told me that even in same model line there can be different revisions and firmware may be revision specific. I also had problems flashing from certain boot disks and that is when I settled on the Windows 98 OEM with ramdisk. You might try some other bootdisk methods (could be bootdisk communication problem with the drive controller). Also, if possible, try changing around the modes of the SATA controller (Compatible vs Enhanced) and maybe even a different SATA controller.

      • I’ll look for another boot method. I tried on 2 different PCs in 2 different SATA modes (4 combinations) but could not get it to work. I contacted WD and I hope that they can deliver a working fw for my drives. Thank you

  3. This firmware update applied successfully to my WD1500HLFS-01G6U0 drive. Just wanted to give a heads up to anyone else wondering if it will work for that exact model. Hopefully this will solve the issues I’ve been having with this drive.

    Thanks for making this file available.

  4. Hi Friends:
    I’m a W740HLFS fanner from china.
    I want W740HLFS newest firmware for my harddisks.
    Waiting for you Mail. Thank you verymuch!
    A friend from china.
    09 Jun, 2011

    • Sorry, I don’t have firmware for these drives. You should contact WDC.com directly and explain your issue and ask if there is a newer firmware. They should provide you with a newer version if one exists.

  5. how can i flash the drive plz
    can u explain step by step it is my first time

  6. So did the firmware update to 0404v06 keep the 49 day bug from reoccurring?

  7. Very happy this blog entry was out there. I inherited a workstation with two 80GB WD800HLFS-75G6U0 `Raptors. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense for me to keep them in the workstation due to size needs; but I’m running an HP ProLiant Microserver and they seemed ideal for a RAID-0 boot drive (yes, not redundant, but the system is doing regular backups, and the data is on a separate RAID-5 array) from the HP Smart Array P410 controller I’m using.
    I found that both drives were using 4.04v1 firmware; I successfully flashed both of them to 4.04v6 with your provided firmware from another system, and now they are running nicely. Thanks for making these files available.


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