I wrote down my experience and tips using this tool and hope more people can succeed with this tool and also write it as a return to dolphins' great support in all.
It's not easy to repair damaged WD hdds and recover data from them, especially to those who are new to enter this field.
If the damaged WD hdds are already clicking, undetected or busy, there're several possible causes:
ROM damage-incompatible ROM or PCB was swapped without original ROM chip and contents or ROM contents missing;
Firmware module damage-module checksum error, module empty, incompatible module, module missing;
Head damage-Downgraded heads without good head r/w abilities;incompatible heads; heads are destroyed due to accidents and sometimes platter scratches can fail the hdd too.
For ROM damage repair, I often manage to get the original ROM by ROM regeneration for data recovery purpose, sometims, you need hot swap, sometimes you need to write a different ROM in Safe mode especially when the hdds are busy. Sometimes if you can read the modules normally, you can regenerate the ROM directly. Next I just need to write back the regenerated ROM back to the patient hdd. If for hdd repair purpose, we can write a different ROM and write different SA modules which are compatible to the new ROM you write and then run selftest.
For Firmware modules damage, it's easy to know the solution is to repair the damaged module.I often check if the wd repair tool I am using can regenerate the module, if yes, it's fast and easy and write back the regenerated module, done. If not, we can try to find some donor modules of the same family or even with the same microcode. Different modules have different requirement. If the module cannot be regenerated, cannot acquire the donor modules, the only choice is to edit it manually. This one is not for new beginners and very time-consuming.Sometimes after you write back the new regenerated module, the hdd cannot be detected as well, at this time, I often select to shift the modules to some vacant tracks.
For head damage, it depends on how and how much the heads are damaged. For data recovery, we can use head map editing in RAM to avoid imaging the bad heads or we can use selective head image or we need to swap the heads within a clean bench. For hdd repair purpose, we can depop the head, configure the TPI and CAP and format with P-list.When we use head depopping for repairing clicking hdds, sometimes, the hdd keeps clicking after you have tried depopping all heads, this might be the problem of the PCB and you may change a PCB to try it.
Next let's talk about how to repair hdds with bad sectors, just for hdd repair purpose, not for data recovery.
Firstly, we need to backup the firmware modules and ROM modules.
If not many bad sectors, it's almost fixed by ARCO 44 and 46 and then run 28 selftest. If there're many bad sectors, you need to run full ARCO processes for full hdd optimization. ARCO has high requirement on the firmware used. Use the original firmware to run ARCO and if not successful, change for another common repair firmware and ROM to run arco.