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Plextor 48/24/48A and Ultra Speed 24X CD-RW media

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Plextor 48/24/48A and Ultra Speed 24X CD-RW media

Postby tlotz on Sat Mar 08, 2003 3:44 am

I have been having a lot of trouble with the Plextor 48/24/48A CD-RW drive. The first drive I sent back because it was a TLA #0000 that sounded like a jet engine. Now I have a Best Buy purchased TLA #0001 October 2002 Assembled in China 48/24/48A drive. This one also has a major problem. It does not properly erase/write to Ultra Speed CD-RW discs. I have tested it with the Verbatim DataLifePlus 74 minute 16X-24X Ultra Speed CD-RW discs recommended by Plextor for this drive. Originally, I purchased a 10-pack of the Verbatim media for this drive. After having trouble with this 10-pack, I purchased a 5-pack from *another* vendor. Both packs of media, bought from **different** vendors, fail with erasure/write problems. Here is what happens: initially, when the discs are new (never used before), they *usually* work. Then, as they are written/erased to as little 2-3 times, they fail. For most discs, the failures don't begin until the discs have been written or erased at least twice. Here is an example: I put a brand *new* never used 24X Ultra Speed disc in my CD-RW drive and erase it the first time before writing to it. No problems erasing it--the erasure takes about 3 minutes and 47 seconds, which is *normal*. Then I write 620 MB of data to it, and no problem. Then I erase it again, and the erasure takes the normal amount of time, about 3 minutes 47 seconds. Everything is fine so far. Now, I write 500 MB of data to the same Ultra Speed disc, and no problem. Then, I erase the disc again. Then, it happens! The disc, after 40 seconds, says it has erased itself successfully. That's a load of crap. The same thing happens regardless of what CD software or operating system I use. Well, it takes a lot more than 40 seconds to erase one of these discs! After this *obviously* failed erasure, I examine the disc in Windows Explorer and verify that the data is *still* there--the erase didn't work! So, after 2 successful writes, and 2 successful erasures, the disc fails to erase itself after the last successful data write. After the erasure failure, I have tried repeatedly to erase the disc again, without success! These discs are supposed to be rewritable up to 1000 times! Some of the discs I tested failed the very first time I tried to erase them. My Plextor 48/24/48A drive has no trouble with CD-R media or normal speed (4X) CD-RW media or high speed (10X) CD-RW media. The problems are only with this *recommended* media. Since this media is one of the biggest reasons I bought this drive, I am quite ticked.

Since I have now tried two packs of this media bought from different vendors, I am inclined to believe it is the CD-RW drive. The drive is setup properly and runs in Ultra DMA mode 2. I have tested the drive with 3 different IDE data cables. The drive has no trouble reading discs, and performs the way it should. I have verified that the drive is set to UDMA mode 2 in the BIOS. The only thing left is to try the drive's diagnostic test--which I will do as soon as I feel like taking apart my computer *again*. I am fed up with the problems I have had with the 48/24/48A drive. And, since I am beyond the 30 days allowed by Best Buy to return the drive, I must now fight Plextor to get this problem fixed. Does anyone reading this message know of problems with the Verbatim 24X CD-RW media or problems with the TLA #0001 drive's interaction with this media? Is there anything else I can do to fix this problem? One final thing: I am using the new 1.04 firmware for the drive, and it does *not* fix the problem. Neither does the old 1.03, 1.02, or 1.01 firmware. I am ready to get Plextor involved with this problem. Any advice on additional things I can do to troubleshoot the problem or advice on how to deal with Plextor is welcome. I do not want refurbished junk. I should have stuck with Plextor SCSI CD-RW drives--this drive has been non-stop hell. I bet the people who pay for the pricey 40/12/40S SCSI CD-RW drive will not have any problems at all because apparently Plextor puts all their quality into SCSI drives. In short, you get what you pay for! My trusty Plextor 12/4/32 SCSI drive never gave me any problems. And I paid $300 for that drive when I bought it in 2000. Thank you to everyone who replies.
tlotz
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Postby tlotz on Sat Mar 08, 2003 4:52 am

It has been suggested by Plextor support that I try the drive in Multiword DMA mode 2 by setting the DMA jumper. Will the drive perform properly in this mode?
tlotz
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Postby Han on Sat Mar 08, 2003 7:27 am

The drive will perform fine, though I doubt either MW-DMA mode 2 or PIO mode 4 will solve the strange problem.

What operating system do you have? What recording software do you use? Have you tried the drive with any other program? What's your hardware configuration?
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Postby dodecahedron on Sat Mar 08, 2003 8:31 am

another suggestion (just to make sure the problem is the drive, not your computer) try testing the drive in another computer.
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 tlotz on Tue Mar 11, 2003 5:42 am

I just wanted to post some new info regarding this problem. Putting the DMA jumper on the drive (and thus forcing the drive to use Multi-word DMA mode 2) doesn't help. The drive's diagnostic self-test passes. However, this test is only for CD-R media. Also, the write error I'm getting in Easy CD Creator when I get a failed write to the 24X Verbatim CD-RW media is:

E80041882: CD error - power calibration area error - [03/73/03]
E80041934: TrackWriter error - Flush failed - [T7127]
E80041925: TrackWriter error - Command retry failed - [T7118]

So it's a power calibration area error. I do not believe the drive's diagnostic test results are relevant to my problem.
tlotz
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