411S not writing at all, EEPROM damaged?

Recently, I bought a second-hand 411S. It was known to have problems with some media, as I was told before I bought it.

After installing it in my computer, I found that, with the media I tried, it doesn’t burn anything at all! That is, Nero is writing fine, but a verify fails. There are also problems with erasing RW’s. The problems apply both to CD and DVD.

The drive reads everything I put in it, CD/R/RW, DVD/R/RW.

I’ve already tried flashing the firmware to the newest version from Lite-On but that doesn’t solve the writing problem.

I’ve been searching in this forum, but couldn’t find a straight answer to my questions, so I put up a new thread. I hope someone can help me.

'Till now, I’ve come to the conclusion that I suspect that the former owner has tried to make the drive region-free with an unsuitable tool. So I downloaded an EEPROM dump somewhere, programmed in my drive using a tool that everyone has but noone should have :wink: (after making three backups of my current EEPROM, yes) and restarted my computer.

Yes, I am fully aware of the fact that programming any other drive’s EEPROM to my drive DOES destroy it, because valuable calibration data is overwritten, but what did I have to loose, having a drive that does NOT write at all??

To my great delight, the drive burned both a CD-RW and a DVD-RW (2 GB) and verified OK! But 'till now, I’ve only tried this two burns (no time for more extensive checks, no PIPO’s, but I will burn some discs and PIPO them asap), so I don’t know how the drive behaves at other media. I guess there WILL be problems, because the EEPROM was not calibrated for my drive!

What I like to ask to the forum members is:

Regarding I made an EEPROM dump that has problems, and I have an EEPROM dump that at least does something, is there any way of repairing my own EEPROM? Is there any universal EEPROM dump that maybe might not produce the best results, but should work in any 411? Or is there any calibration program that can recalibrate the drive and write the results in an EEPROM dump? (I guess when a program like that DOES exist, it also needs a calibrated, prerecorded DVD for good results, making this method quite useless to me.)


If the drive works better with the new EEProm, I suspect that the owner had already overwritten the original EEProm. That explains why the drive had such problems.

It is right that each device has its unique calibration data stored in the eeprom. However, someone who had messed his eeprom uses the eeprom of my burner. He did not experience any problems with it. So I conclude that the calibration values might be pretty similar in some cases.

If it works for you with the new eeprom, just leave it as it is.

You can compare the 2 EEPROM, and just repair the changed parts of the original. But this is not something for the inexperienced to attempt, and is not “recommended” by CDFreaks.

As I already feared, after burning some more discs (CD and DVD), more verification errors showed up. It seems that the more files are written to the medium, the bigger the chance that there will be errors. This sounds a bit strange to me, since, as far as I know, the disc or session is written as one large stream of data.

@rdgrimes: I do not fear this operation, but when I replace all parts of my own dump with the parts of another dump that are different, my dump will be an exact copy of the other EEPROM. So what I would like to know is: what are the most interesting parts of the EEPROM that I could try to replace?

By the way, 0x100 is 00, not 97 or 99…

Maybe I should just try some more EEPROM dumps, I found some on the net.

my dump will be an exact copy of the other EEPROM.

Yes, you should see differences in those areas that were not changed also. I can’t tell you where to look, partly cause I don’t know and partly cause we have a poclicy against such things.
Perhaps you should start by trying to find out what method was used to flash the EEPROM to begin with, you may well have an EEPROM from another drive that you are calling “original”. If a patcher of some sort was used, it would only change specific areas, but there were a number of methods used that involved using a completely different EEPROM.

A line-up of what I’ve achieved so far:

I have a dump of the original EEPROM, let’s call this EEPROM A. Further, I found a dump of another EEPROM, let’s call this EEPROM B.

With both EEPROMS, the drive reads ALL recorded and pre-recorded media.

With EEPROM A, the drive writes CD-R and DVD±R discs, allthough it does not accept all kinds of DVD±R. CD-RW and DVD±RW give problems, either during writing/erasing or when verifying.

With EEPROM B, the drive writes and erases CD-RW and DVD±RW discs with no problems and no verify errors. However, empty DVD±R discs are not recognized, the burning program states that “the drive is empty or the disc is faulty”.

Using an EEPROM patcher for 411S->811S upgrade and comparing the original and the patched file, I could make a good guess to where the calibration data is stored. I used a hex editor to cut the calibration data of EEPROM A and paste it in EEPROM B, and vice versa.

EEPROM B with the calibration data of EEPROM A just returns problems on all kinds of media.

EEPROM A with the calibration data of EEPROM B results in the correct writing of CD-RW and CD-R and DVD±RW, but DVD±R discs are still unrecognized. I tested several discs which where sealed when I got them and had never been written to, nor did I make any attempts to…

Is there something else I could try to get this drive burning?

Is it possible to downgrade the drive to 401S (I have 401S EEPROMS and FW’s) and try if the drive will burn DVD+R/RW at least? If it does, I think I will stick to + and forget the - discs.

Sounds like a serious problem you have there. I do not have any real solution for you…

But I’m wondering what DVD media you have tried?

Brand and preferrably ID ( http://DVD.Identifier.cdfreaks.com for example) would be nice.

Thanks for the link, I will try it, allthough DVD+/-R’s are not recognized at all… Anyway, I tried Philips DVD+R and the DVD+R that came with the drive; the former owner didn’t use it.

When the downgrade to 401S succeeds, I think I will use this drive “as is”, else I think I will sell it to someone who thinks he can solve the problem, or just throw it away…

The downgrade to 401S gave the same results with several EEPROMS found on a Polish website…

When I insert a DVD±R, the drive light is flashing irregularly forever and the drive makes funny noises. Could this as well be a simple misalignment?

When I open my drive, “LDW-401S” is printed on the main PCB. Is this normal, or is it possible that someone swapped the contents with a 401S drive? On the outside, I read “LDW-411S” and it does not look like someone exchanged the sticker. Btw, it is an October 2003 drive :frowning: which is frequently reported on this forum as a problem drive… And when I bought it, the warranty seal had already been broken.

Hello Squirrel;

I would suggest that you try to contact Zebra. I think this guy received a lot of 401/411 EEPROM. I think he has all the values taht are commonly used. He can try to give the middle (not sure of the english name, but the principle is : “middle value” = a/2 + b/2 for two values, I’m sure you known what I mean)value of all these calib data so you can try it. It should work, as it work for 95% of people with 811S calib data from his 411->811 patcher.


I think you got ripped off :frowning:

Originally posted by Ssseth
I think you got ripped off :frowning:

Well, yes and no. I also think the drive is not what it should be, but I was warned before I bought it.

One question: are there more 411S drives with “LDW-401S” on the main PCB, or is this definitely a 401S in the casing of a 411S?

If it is a real 401S, I will reprogram it as a real 401S, no problem as long as I get it 100% working as a 401S…

Originally posted by Squirrel
If it is a real 401S, I will reprogram it as a real 401S, no problem as long as I get it 100% working as a 401S…

All liteon 401/411/811 are AFAIK identicals. If you don’t have the original EEPROM, wich seems to be the case, then setting it to a 401S won’t do anything. It will work as bad/good than it is actually. The problem with the EEPROM is that you missed the original calibration data of your specific drive. Note that calib data are the same for 401 and 411. That is they are stored at the same place and are the same order of magnitude. What you should do is finding an EEPROM that match best your original calib data. Either you ask Zebra to give you the average (I recall the word now ;-)) value of more than 100 401/411 drives or you try and test as much EEPROM as you can and finally select the one that gives you the best result. I known it’s boring, but it’s the only way to restore back the drive full functionality. I’m confident it’ll work.

You mentionned that you could sell it. Honestly, it’s not right to sell a drive that is half dead to a person. Even if you tell him it can’t burn some media, the truth is that the drive has a real problem and it’s only luck that it can burn DVDRW discs.


Makes me wonder how many times the drive may have been sold…

Originally posted by Squirrel
One question: are there more 411S drives with “LDW-401S” on the main PCB, or is this definitely a 401S in the casing of a 411S?

More, if not all. Mine 411S ‘also’.

Some time ago one of our members posted pics showing a 811S with PCB marked “LDW-401S”.
These pictures were deleted after a few hours, and I think you all know ‘why’.

BTW, I would go for a ‘411’ from scratch :slight_smile:

Thanks for your replies. As to the 401/411/811 similarity, I already knew that PCB’s where identical, but I’m surprised that Lite-On even didn’t take the effort to change the printed message on the PCB. But as far as I can see now, telling from your replies, it probably could be a genuine 411S.

I’m still not sure about the EEPROM, the original EEPROM contents that my drive came with might as well be the original factory EEPROM contents. I messed around a bit with different EEPROMS, but the main problem stays that the drive doesn’t recognize most empty DVD±R discs.

When I insert one, the drive tries to read it and starts making clicking noises, like pulling the laser pickup back beyond the zero point, against the hard stop. I experienced this behaviour once with a CD-ROM drive and it proved that the laser pick-up was misaligned. So I will have a try at adjusting the pick-up alignment in small steps and see if that makes any difference. I’ll keep you informed…

It may also just be a defective drive.

Originally posted by rdgrimes
It may also just be a defective drive.

Ok, but there’s no way of returning it so I have to get it working or throw it away…

It’s time for another update!

I’ve been messing with the alignment of the laser pick-up and indeed, sometimes media that wheren’t recognized at first now got recognized by the drive, but not repeatedly. I didn’t remove the glue with which the pickup was fixated in the factory, so I could adjust the alignment only over a very small range. Next step is remove the glue, adjust even more and, if it works, reglue the pick-up. So finally things are looking brighter now.

Another question for the EEPROM experts out there: What kind of calibration data is exactly stored in the EEPROM? Should I think of laser focus calibration, drive motor speed calibration, linear stepper motor calibration or all of them? I’d like to know that, since fiddling with the laser pick-up alignment could make calibration data useless. Or, assuming that the drive was 100% good when it left the factory, but has been damaged by transportation, re-aligning could as well make the calibration data usefull again.

By the way, I know that in-depth discussions about EEPROMS are beyond the forum’s intentions, but I don’t want to know byte locations, calibration methods or so, just the global idea of what is in the calibration part of the EEPROM.

For a “newbie” (I thought you said…) you’ve burnned eeprom, opened the drive (whether or now open before), and now (yikes) your messing with alignment.

Do the world a favor…head for the trash can and place the drive in after hitting it with a hammer.

With a rebate, these drives are selling (new) around here for less than $35.00 US!!! My 451 cost (new) after rebate, US$49. at Bestbuy.

Face it, the drives dead and will always be so.