Optical Drives are inexpensive equipment that are prone to failures. Their life span under heavy use has been sadly very low. I have used many drives with hundreds and thousands of disks, with many drive failures. Some drives have been replaced every 6 months with a new RMA. Do not hesitate to buy another optical drive as a back-up while you RMA your old one. Very good Optical DVD Burners are selling for less then $30. More expensive Drives are not less likely to fail. I have a Plextor that is considered the best optical drive ever made, and it appears it is in the final stages of permanent failure.
My extreme heavy use of DVD Burners give me a very unique perspective
PATA - Or Basic 133, 100 or 66mhz BASIC
If the device is not on a standard PATA device (located on your motherboard) and/or you have the new 965 or 975 Intel chipsets then you must update the drivers for your motherboard or the ATA addon card. Many new chipsets do not support PATA natively. If you have a motherboard and you dont know if the devices are on a native PATA device, simply right-click the drive go to properties and then click on the Hardware tab. If the device says SCSI on it, then it is on a Add-On device. Note: Allot of add-on PATA cards made by companies like Promise, and JMicron are not compatable with optical drives. You should never plug an optical drive into these add-on devices without checking with the manufacturer for compatability.
Update the firmware for the drive. Simply go to the website, download the firmware update utility and the newest firmware. Follow the directions given on the website.
If you are unable to update the firmware then follow the bellow testing; but also test the ability to update the Firmware as part of your testing procedure. If the firmware updates then you know you got some communication between the device and the ATA controller. If it wont load on any configurations then you must contact vendor for replacements.
Replace the cable with a new cable; use the default cables that come with the drives (the flat ones). The nice round ones you buy can easily be damaged if you pull the cable out of the drive by the ATA cable and not the plastic tab. Also, some of these cables have been made poorly. Check the length of the ATA cable; if its longerr then 21 inches then it is not standard, and throw it away.
Check to see if all jumpers for drives are set to Cable Select. Or better yet; manually set the drives to Master (at the end of the cable) and slave (on the middle). Make sure you plug the cable from the system end, and check the length of the cable. Test It.
Take the drive off the ribbon and put it on its only PATA cable. Set each drive to Master. And test it alone on its own ATA device. If this fixes the problem then check the other device, in the same manor. If both drives work, then try mixing the devices on different PATA channels, or with other devices. You may find that one device doesnt play well with other devices; which will result in a defective product.
All other issues, contact Vendor!
Media Issues - Reading
Always try another disk of the same type in the drive. If multiple disks fail then you have a problem. Other words the problem is with the media. Make sure there are no fingerprints, the disk isn’t broken, the label side isn’t scratched deeply, or the optical side isn’t damaged. If there are minor scratches and/or the disk is dirty; try washing the disk with some soap and water and dry with a paper towel. If you want, buy a CD/DVD repairer. These things actually work, and are used by many rental places and people to remove scratches.
If computer DVD Player doesn’t read a certain type of disk (CD-R's or DVD-/+R's or RW's) check documentation on the drive for compatibility. Note: CD Players cannot play DVD's. Also older DVD drives, especially ones made by Sony, will not play Recordable media. Many older DVD drives that state they will read recordable DVD data are limited or sometimes not fully compatible. It’s best to buy modern DVD Writers to play media. It is not uncommon for old computer DVD players to not play recordable media.
If your Home DVD Player doesn’t read disks burned from your computer, try changing from DVD+R's to DVD-R's. If the disk plays in your computer and not in the Home DVD Player then your disk are fine, and your home DVD Player isn’t going to work. If some disks play, while others fail, then you have an old “Duel Laser” DVD player that was made to play DVD recordable media, even when there was no DVD recordable media available. For best results make sure your DVD Home Player is new (1-2 years old at most) and never buy a Sony DVD player. Don’t expect to ever use RW media in a DVD Player.
Media Issues - Burning
If you are unable to burn some media, and your drive supports that type of media, immediately update your firmware. Try burning with Nero or Alcohol 120 (http://www.alcohol-soft.com/), do not drag and drop files onto the Optical Device. Windows only burns CD’s, and will only burn Data. The software is not very well written, and will often cause many problems.
If the drive burns media successfully, then it wont read that media; try inserting it into another computer that supports recordable media (like another burner). If the DVD Burner continues to burn disks that it cannot read, but are read in other drives, then you have a defective DVD Burner. This issue is VERY common on drives, and is often the first step before the drive fails completely.
If the drive continues to fail on a specific media, assume it is the drive. I have used every single manufacturer of DVD media on the market, and it is very rare that I will have a 1/20 failure rate. Try a different media, but I would start to assume that your drive is of low quality or failing. Many cheaper DVD burners fail at larger rates then other DVD burners. Plextor is the king of DVD burners, but don’t be afraid of NEC or some other companies. I have had problems with the Lite-On DVD burners.
Never copy disk too disk. Always copy a Disk to an ISO or record to hard-drive, then to the blank media.
If making backup DVD’s of a commercial movie, you can not back these disks up unless you it is legal in your country to do so. In the United States, we have the DMCA Act, which limits the freedom of information from reverse engineered products. Please feel free to contact your state representative in opposition of this law and its restrictions to free speech. It is not legal to copy or make backup copies of DVD’s in the United States.
It is out of the documents scope to discuse specific problems related to DVD video conversions and/or DVD backup. If you would like to know more about Video DVD recording, please visit http://www.doom9.org
If you need more specific DVD Burning or Reading Help, Please post a thread on this forum.
SATA Optical Drives
Not much is known about these drives; do to the low number of devices out there. Currently Plextor is the only company making SATA DVD/CD Recorders, with LITE-On soon to Follow. LITE-On also makes a DVD Reader, which they were selling without even mentioning the product on their own website. The device does work in both the Gigabyte DS3 and Asus P5B
If your SATA Optical drive doesn’t work, Make sure your SATA drivers and BIOS are up to date. Asus P5B bios 309 does NOT support SATA optical drives.
Sorry that’s all I got for you on SATA Optical Devices for now.
Lastly Please make comments and or changes, and post as a sticky. This document will solve 99% of the problems.
I know someone who has one, and he never changes the wheel... go figure
YES, they work... and I am almost positive Blockbuster, Netflix, etc all use them. Though they probably have big professional $10,000 ones
The cheap ones work great. I have seen perfect looking DVD+/-R's not work in DVD players. We try and try, and they dont work... Then we decided to run it through this thing... Well like I said, their was no dust, dirt or scratching on this disk... but magic it worked in the DVD player.
Go figure... I would chuck it up to luck, except that it happened over and over again... each time the CD/DVD buffer would allow it to play...
I dont know how to explain it... It sounds like magic to me... but I saw it... their is no logical explination.
They do work REALLY good... And will fix most things... The only thing unrepairable is scratches on the label side of the disk. These go into the data layer, and are unfixable. The DVD/CD Recordable media market use to print the data on the outside layer. Now they sandwitch it between two different disks. This makes it really hard to damage the data layer. I dont know if commercial disks are this way, but from what Ive seen of broken commercial DVD's, they are 2 seperate layers of plastic.
Best Buy just started carrying the SH-183L/B and it is a SATA dvd burner. I have looked all over the net for reviews or info but no one else seems to carry it or has even heard of it. If anyone knows if it is any good, actually better than the 182 pata burner, I would really like to know.
These DVD burner companies are selling burners before they even add them to their website... no wonder why my Plextor is gone once again Damn DVD drives dont work after a few thousand DVD burns... What the hell...
$10 shipping for RMA = Another 6-10 months on the warrenty.
BTW; this thread was turned down as a sticky, because it is in an area of the forums that isnt visited much... I dont know what the logic is behind that, but Im not going to be helping anyone in here anymore, since optical drives dont seem to be a priority item for people.
I guess all of you who want some help in this area should go to http://www.doom9.org for Optical Drive help and assistance. I will be over there helping people as usual.