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Help, intermitten problems w/ DVD Burner - how do I diagnose

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Help, intermitten problems w/ DVD Burner - how do I diagnose

Postby wm_cheng on Fri Dec 17, 2004 9:43 am

Hi all,

I've had some problems with my Sony DRU-530 lately, all of a sudden it stopped reading DVD discs of all sorts after 6 months of use. After speaking with Sony, I got an RMA and weeks later got a refurbished drive back. All went well for around 20 DVDs, then af few nights ago, the drive failed to be recognized during a burn. I rebooted and subsequently made 2 coasters (the burn hung at 6-7% in Nero). I shut down the system overnight. I tried again the next day - this time I deleted the DVD drive in device manager and let WinXP re-detect the drive. It burnt one DVD without problems, but when I tried to burn another, it hung the entire system. After a few reboots, it seemed fine again and burnt another DVD. I don't know exactly how to characterize the problem other than the fact that its not reliable anymore. It was totally reliable for 6 months till now.

It seems unlikely to recieve two bad drives in such a short time - so I wonder if there is anything wrong with my system that might be causing it - or my media (I am using RiData/RiTek05 x8 DVD-R). I am considering a newer NEC 3500 as a replacement, but not until I can decide it is the Sony that's the problem - I don't want the newer drive to develop the same problem in 6 months. I have probably only burnt 100 DVDs in the Sony's lifetime - so it can't be burned out yet? I have a pretty full system, could it be a power supply problem? I have an enermax 350W powersupply that's around 3 yrs old.

P4 2.4Ghz HT w/ Asus P4P800D (1Ghz RAM)
Primary IDE Master: Sony DRU-530 DVD-RW
Secondary IDE Master: LiteOn 52x24x52 CD-RW
Secondary IDE Slave: Pionner DVD
VIA Primary IDE Master: WD 120Gb HDD
VIA Primary IDE Slave: WD 120Gb HDD
VIA Seoncdary IDE Master: WD 6.4Gb HDD
SCSI: Iomega Zip
SCSI: IBM 4Gb HDD
SCSI: SyQuest 200Mb Removeable Drive
ATI Radeon 9600 Pro 128Mb
ATI TV Wonder PCI
WinXP Pro SP1a
Nero 6.6 / InCD / DVD Shrink 3.1

How do I go about diagnosing this - are there any software that will run diagnostics? I am at a lost to how to proceed. Any comments or suggestions would be sincerely appreciated.
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Postby shoarthing on Fri Dec 17, 2004 12:43 pm

Hi - that's a fairly loaded system: I think your suspicion re: 350W Enermax may be well-founded.

Did these symptoms appear after (say) sticking a new video-accelerator in the thing?
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Postby wm_cheng on Fri Dec 17, 2004 2:24 pm

Hmm, I did get an upgrade from an ATI Radeon 9000 to an ATI Radeon 9600 card a few weeks ago... Could that be it? Its not one of those hot-rod cards that has its own separate power plug like the HDD use - the 9600 is just another AGP card - could that draw more power through the AGP bus that could affect my peripherals? How can I diagnose to find out that it is indeed that I need a new power supply?
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Postby shoarthing on Fri Dec 17, 2004 2:54 pm

Install (say) MotherBoardMonitor & see what voltage-level your +12v & +5v lines are at - see whether they dip a lot when [say] running P95.
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Postby wm_cheng on Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:04 pm

What is P95?
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Postby dodecahedron on Fri Dec 17, 2004 4:33 pm

Prime95
One Ring to rule them all, One Ring to find them,
One Ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them
In the land of Mordor, where the Shadows lie
-- JRRT
M.C. Escher - Reptilien
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Postby burninfool on Fri Dec 17, 2004 5:12 pm

Use Nero CD-DVD Speed with your Sony to test a DVD-Video and a blank DVD.
www.cdspeed2000.com
Also make sure DMA is enabled and try burning with another program such as www.burnatonce.com or www.dvddecrypter.com
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Postby btiger on Fri Dec 17, 2004 7:58 pm

You can go to sony.com and select your drive/model and they have this drive test which you can perform to see if your dive is OK or not and if your drive fail the test you have the option to send the results to Sony.
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Postby wm_cheng on Fri Dec 17, 2004 10:25 pm

OK, I am using the Asus PC Probe to monitor my voltages. I am getting fluctuations 12.15 to 12.22v, 5.08 to 5.053v, 3.376 to 3.4v and 1.584 to 1.536v but they all seem to be over the 12, 5, 3.3 & 1.5v ranges.

I started ripping a movie, and 1/3 the way through, a dialog box came up that said that the device was unavailable. I check "My Computer" and sure enough the Sony DVD burner was no longer listed, my other CD-RW and DVD drives were though.

So if I buy another drive will the problem go away, or will it come back because I don't have enough power?

How can I try the Sony thing when my WinXP doesn't even recognize my DVD burner (I have to reboot to get it back) Is this a drive problem, power problem or WinXP problem?
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Postby btiger on Fri Dec 17, 2004 11:08 pm

I would guess 90% is your IDE cable problem, check to see if there is any small crack at both ends. I once had similiar problem with my HD (sometimes my pc couldn't detect it and sometimes it would and I also had to restart to bring the HD back) and it end up due to a very small crack on the IDE cable. This is one of the easier way for you to check before going into the power supply thing and if your OS had no problem with this drive before, then most likely is not your OS.
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Postby wm_cheng on Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:15 am

What type of cable would you suggest? 40 or 80 pin? My Asus motherboard (P4P800) came with a 80pin cable labled HDD and a 40pin labled CD-ROM. Should a DVD burner be 40 or 80pin? Are there any brands I should look for or stay away from?
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Postby wm_cheng on Sat Dec 18, 2004 1:26 am

Actually now, not only does my drive not get recognized (even after a reboot) - I can't even eject the blank media I put in the tray to perform that Sony drive diagnostic program. The eject button doesn't respond, and both My Computer and Device Manager doesn't report the Sony Burner.

However, sometimes when I press the eject button, the Sony burner LED lights for a second and my tower case IDE light flashes (very dimly not like normal HDD access) for a while. Is there something wrong with the IDE? But the tray still doesn't eject - the tray should always eject when pressed no?
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Postby btiger on Sat Dec 18, 2004 3:17 am

The more I see your posts, the more I suspect it's the IDE cable. Use a new IDE cable!

It's only logical that if it's a bad(cracked) IDE cable, sometimes the burner could not be detected by Windows and also when pressing the eject button, the "command" couldn't reach Windows and hence you wouldn't be able to open the door! It's only when an IDE cable with ONLY a small crack will generate this type of errors, as sometimes the "command/s" would be able to reach Windows using the "good" part of the IDE cable. Please post back your result after trying out with a new IDE cable. Use the same 40 Pin cable.
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Postby wm_cheng on Sat Dec 18, 2004 11:43 am

OK, so 40 pin cable for DVD burner - I will buy one today.
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Postby wm_cheng on Sun Dec 19, 2004 2:17 pm

Ok, its been a hour and all seems fine - I replaced the original 80pin IDE cable with a new 40 pin cable, plus I moved the drives around so that the Sony is now Master by itself on the Secondary IDE channel (I remember Sony asking for that the last time I spoke with Tech Support). I ran the Sony diagnostic program which burnt some data onto the RiTek DVD-R and read it back and passed with flying colours!

A bonus - is that my older Pioneer DVD-A05 (player only) drive now gets Ultra DMA-2 transfer rates, it was only getting PIO-4 before! I wonder if that was a sign that something was wrong before?

I'll try burning something real to see if it keeps up - wish me luck, and thank you all who contributed. Hmm, a $3 cable - who would of known!

I'll update this in a few days to make sure the system is back to normal.
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Postby wm_cheng on Mon Dec 20, 2004 5:29 pm

Well... not a total sucess story, but much better. Its been 2 days my system has been up for, and I've burnt 4 DVD-Rs without problems. Everything seems to be working again - plus I now get great transfer rates on all my optical drives (Bonus!)

The bad news, its has hung 3 times in the last few hours. Everytime its been the same thing. I put in a "pressed" DVD movie into the Sony drive, the drive LED comes on for a second, then the IDE activity light on the tower stays on, and WinXP is locked up - not even the 3 finger salute works. Make that 4 times now...

When I press the eject button, the tray comes out and ejects the disc, but the system is still locked up and the IDE activity light just stays on steady. I have to perform a hard reset.

Help, I'm at wits end - what now, how come its so many different symptoms?!
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Postby wm_cheng on Mon Dec 20, 2004 5:44 pm

OK, a little more light is shed. I rebooted, put the same DVD disc in the Pioneer reader and up pops the usual WinXP dialog asking what I want to do with the inserted disc. The Sony drive just hangs the computer without even giving me that message. I then tried a DVD+RW in the Sony drive, after a long bit of LED lights on and off and spining up and down, it just gives up, and WinXP no longer recognizes the drive (AGAIN...) its not in My Computer and its no longer in device manager. Argh!! what's going on, it burnt fine for 4 disc yesterday, and now its acting up again?! It passed that Sony test program - is the drive just flaky?

Should I just give up and spend the $80 and get another DVD burner? It can't be another IDE cable thing? I just replaced it? If its the Power Supply, why does it not affect any other peripheral (you'd think more things would be crashing)? At least now I am getting some pretty good transfer rates on my other two older LiteON, and Pioneer drives.
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Postby ETP on Tue Dec 21, 2004 7:13 am

Go to NEWEGG.COM and get a new one. 3500/108/etc. As Ian said, it is hard to buy a bad 16x these days. I went with the NEC for the first time this year because of price and features. I now have three units and have no complaints. However I am a Pioneer man at heart. The BenQ is out of stock until the new model becomes available in Jan. 8)
As far as your computer problems, if you have tried all drives on all cables, set them to master slave correctly on the back of each unit, and checked device manager as well as the BIOS menu, then you are the end of trouble shooting. Boy you have a ton of stuff on your system. You need two computers! :lol: Thats what I had to do. I wonder if you have devices sharing resource codes? [-X Sharing is not good! :lol:

BQ 1640 BSOB
NEC 4550 1.6T
Plextor 716a 1.09
Pioneer 109/A09 158
Pioneer 110/A10 1.39
Liteon 5005
Sony 875P & 333ES
Liteon 5005
HK7200
Hitachi 61SDX
Two Dell 8400s & 9100 with SATA HDs
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Postby btiger on Tue Dec 21, 2004 11:48 am

Your Sony burner is fine. Format your HD, re-install OS and update Nero.
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Postby wm_cheng on Tue Dec 21, 2004 1:37 pm

You're kidding right?!
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Postby btiger on Tue Dec 21, 2004 2:05 pm

NO! If you take the time to go over all your posts, you would have come to the same decisions. You replaced your IDE cable, your burner passed Sony's drive test/s...so what else? either your OS or Nero....
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Postby burninfool on Tue Dec 21, 2004 5:25 pm

If your other writers work fine then it must be the Sony.
Have you updated the firmware lately?
www.rpc1.org
Also download Nero InfoTool and make sure your ASPI layer is working and DMA is enabled.
www.cdspeed2000.com
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Postby ETP on Tue Dec 21, 2004 6:29 pm

Good point/can't hurt/flash the sucker! Can you RTB the drive again?

BQ 1640 BSOB
NEC 4550 1.6T
Plextor 716a 1.09
Pioneer 109/A09 158
Pioneer 110/A10 1.39
Liteon 5005
Sony 875P & 333ES
Liteon 5005
HK7200
Hitachi 61SDX
Two Dell 8400s & 9100 with SATA HDs
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Postby wm_cheng on Mon Jan 03, 2005 9:33 am

OK, after a new IDE cable, and new NEC ND-3500 DVD burner the problem migrated to my older Pioneer DVD drive. So it ain't any of the above. Finally switched out the Power Supply to a new Silverstone ST46 460W power supply and the puppy is happy again. My system must of been straining the old 350W supply.

All problems gone for now - its been a week of stable running. So I guess it was the power supply after all. I guess I have an extra Sony DVD burner now.
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Postby supraman215 on Mon Jan 03, 2005 1:42 pm

It's too bad I didn't see your post until now because I was going to tell you to wait to buy a new drive and for FREE you could simply unhook some of your SCSI and IDE devices and try burning again. That would have been a cheap way to figure out if it was the PS or some other software problem. Atleast you have 2 DVD burners now :D

Jeff
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