Can RW media fault destroy a drive's laser?

I searched here for this topic without result.

This is about CD-RW drives, 2 in particular. A Phillips DRW1200 and a Memorex 48MAXX.

Months ago, I used a Memorex 4X RW disk to record data. When the data was no longer needed I erased the disk and recorded something new - only the second time that disk was written to. The Phillips never wrote anything again. The drive became very hot in one specific spot on it’s case (internal device) trying to write that disk, which Nero indicated ended in failure. I RMA’d the drive.

Not thinking it could be the media, I erased that disk again, after the refurbished Phillips had cut a dozen or so CD’s (mostly R’s, but one or two other RW’s). After trying to cut on that RW again, the drive failed as before.

I thought it was perhaps the design, so I bought a Memorex 48MAXX on sale. Upon attempted to erase and cut on that RW again, this drive failed. It couldn’t read or write anything. I RAM’d the drive, and I threw the RW disk away. Never had a problem since.

What could possibly have happened? Is there something that can cause the calibration algorithm to ruin the laser from a flaw on the RW?

Hello and welcome to CDFreaks!

That sounds pretty bizarre! If a faulty media is very poorly balanced, then yes, it can damage the inside of the drive. If you found that your drives were making loud vibration noises with that specific disc, then this may be the case.

But if the balance of the disc is good and only the data is corrupt, then the drive should not be hurt by it. (There have been some exceptions to this rule with copy protected discs used on Apple computers, but clearly this situation is different.)

It is also possible that you got a pair of defective drives to begin with.

Hello and welcome to CDFreaks!


Indeed, the media was quite balanced - never had unusual noise.

What puzzles me is that two different brand drives went bad, specifically associated with an attemp to erase and cut on this media.

I suppose I’ll have to accept it was bad luck striking the same way, thrice.

I agree, it sounds implausible - but you guys know more about these things than I.