First let me say I really liked my Plextor 716A. RIP my not so old friend. Only six months old and now one of the dearly departed to RMA heaven.
While a dead burner is no big news on this forum, I haven't seen anyone who actually documented its demise like the way I, unfortunately, did.
Yesterday, all was well in whoville. I burned a couple of CD-R's and a DVD+RW. The PxScan of that DVD+RW is even on this forum (http://club.cdfreaks.com/showthread.php?t=142795) and may have portended the eminent death that occured today. Is this the natural progression (degradation) of a DVD+RW after several rewrites or is it the beginning of the end?
Today, I opened up a fresh spindle of Taiyo Yuden 52X 80min CD-R's purchased from meritline.com (nice $10 discount off). I have never used Taiyo Yuden CD-R's before, but the DVD+R TY02's I got from meritline are fantastic! I popped in the first disc from the spindle and "successfully" burned a full disc using Nero 6.6.x. Then I used Nero CD-DVD Speed's Transfer Rate test and was greeted with "Error! L-EC Uncorrectable Error (031105)", ATAPI error code for bad disc, unrecognizable MID, incorrect DMA setting or "unknown". The only other clue I found on Goggle was a suggestion that the disc may be copywrite protected - which I know was not the case here. I then PxScanned the disc and the DOS window showed "Command Failed: BE(12) Position 73m45s" and then the same error at "76m41s". Uh Oh! Never seen any of this before. (Can Alexnoe decipher "BE(12)" please?)
Then I used Nero CD-DVD Speed's Create Data Disc to keep things nice and standardized. Using Nero's Transfer Rate test, things got even more dicey, with a precipitous near vertical drop in speed from ~46X to ~4X at about 68 minutes. Never seen that before either.
I examined several of the blank Taiyo Yudens and saw irregularities, like a concentric smudged ring within the media near the outer edge on the bottom/data side and an occasional scratch as well. The first disc I burned also had a removable concentric ring of smudge on the top. Thinking I had bad Taiyo Yuden CD-R's, I set up an RMA for replacement discs. No problems and very easy dealing with meritline over the phone.
Then things turned about as bad as they can get. The 716A would not read ANY media I fed it - new, old self-burned, commercially pressed, CD-R, or DVD+R, DVD+RW. The yellow LED would shine for about 2 seconds after inserting a CD or DVD (initializing), but then the LED would go dark (no green for reading). I couldn't access the disc in Windows Explorer, and, games I had played last night would not load after clicking my desktop icon, instead reporting the disc was not in the drive even though it was.
A quick and easy call to Plextor Tech Support ended with me RMA'ing the drive. I asked the tech if this was a fimiliar issue and he said no, not having drives fail essentially while writing. He wondered if my drive was on the verge of failing and the media, if bad at all to begin with, created a tipping point and I had a complete failure. Also, the tech verified that the drive writes from inner hub to outer edge, so any imperfections in the media towards the outer edge would cause errors there just as my testing results showed.
The images below are of Disc 1 Nero Transfer Rate test and subsequent PxScan, followed by Disc 2 Nero Transfer Rate test of the Data Disc created by Nero, respectully.