MyBook Studio II failing after period of use

I have a 2TB MyBook Studio II in RAID0 mode that I bought several years ago (so out of warranty)  that has started failing.

via Firewire it simply hangs, whatever operation was being attempt stalls waiting for many minutes until finally timing out.  Even when this happens the light on the front keeps moving up and down.  Attempting to umount the driver causes Finder or via the terminal hang, including shutting down the system.  The computer needs the drive to be physically disconnected so it can disaply the “do not disconnect” message or shut down.  The drive itself needs the power disconnecting to restart.

via USB it simply drops the connection and becomes invisible to the computer.  The light on the drive continues to move up and down, though once the USB connection has been removed the drive goes to sleep, and reconnecting it is sufficient for it to remount.

Being worried that the fault may be with the drives I have taken these out and performed a surface scan, but they check out okay.  Being a RAID0 pair I cannot access them outside the MyBook though so cannot verify the data against a backup.

My second thought, having felt how warm the disks where when removing them, is that the drive was overheating.  But testing is with a fan underneath as well as a desk fanblowing across the unit showed the same results, despite being noticably cooler to touch.  Though I still wonder whether part of the units own electronics may have burned out rather than it being operating temperature.

My two questions therefore are:

a) Is the MyBook unit irreperably dead, or is there anything that can be done to repair it?

b) If I were to swap the disks with those in another MyBook Studio II would it be able to detect the format and allow them to be mounted so I can access my data?  Or does the unit need to be able to store the array information (disk identifiers and RAID mode) and so would just see them as two new unknown disks.  I do have access to a second unit, of similar age, but do not want to risk swapping without asking first just in case it reinitializes the disks.

Thanks for any help and advice anyone can offer.

It wont work if you put the HDDs from the faulty my book into the one that is working, you would need to format the HDDs first on the other my book before you can use them and that will of course delete all your files.

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Thanks for confirming that suspicion, I am glad I never did that then. Not least because it has started working again.

By coincidence I had System Information open with both the broken and working MyBooks connected and noticed they had different firmwares (broken on 1014 and the other at 1015).  Feeling I had nothing else to lose I downloaded the WD Firmware Updated to see if that would help.  I was hoping that maybe the firmware could have been corrupted, or there was something in a new version that would specifically fix my problem.

Although the updated detected a new firmware of 1017, it  gave an error while trying to write it.  Despite that the unit still showed in Finder when connected so it did not appear to do any damge (and System Information still showed firmware 1014) so I thought I would check it again anyway.  It seem to work beyond the point where it had been crashing, so I performed a surface scan on the whole disk to test it.  These seem likea good test because as well as ensuring the disks are accessible, it keeps them spinning for several hours so any heat or interface problems should be highlighted.  These had been fialing after just an hour, but with both USB2 and FW800 connections it got through the whole disk with no issues.  Verifying the data on the MyBook with a copy on a backup drive has also been successful, with no crashes nor any signs of file level corruption.

I am not sure how failing to update the firmware could have had this effect, but it is the only thing to change after several weeks of unsuccesfully trying to test and resolve the problems.  But given my subsequent testing has been far more intensive that the unit would ever experience in normal use I feel confident to resume using it.

So if anyone else encounters the same problem in future, my advice is to just run the firmware update from Western Digital’s product support page and see if that helps.