Can't Install PX-712A as Master with NEC ND-1100A as Slave


This is my first post cdfreak post. I just bought a Plextor PX-712A drive, and tried to install it in my Dell Dimension 2400. My PC already had a CDROM drive and the NEC ND-1100A installed (factory configured/shipped). They were both connected using cableselect, the CDROM in the MASTER/DRIVE0 position at the end of the cable and the ND-1100A in the SLAVE/DRIVE1 position in the middle.

The Plextor installation stated that the PX-712A should be MASTER. I tried simply replacing the CDROM at the end of the cable with the PX-712A and jumpering it to CS, but then the BIOS wouldn’t see the ND-1100A. I also tried using a non-cableselect cable (came with the Plextor) and manually setting the PX-712A on the end to MASTER, and the ND-1100A in the middle to slave. I still couldn’t see the ND-1100A.

I tried both Dell and Plextor tech support, and they were no help whatsoever. The Plextor response was that it really didn’t matter - in spite of their installation recommendation and even though they mentioned that you would have decreased speed when burning from disk to disk. I guess they think the buffer underrun will take care of it, and you can’t burn max speeds because the media isn’t available anyway.

The Dell support was the worst I’ve ever had, where I had to suggest everything and try to drag info out of them (one of those interactive chat deals). The guy first sent me to a general “How to install devices in you system” URL. They then told me that a BIOS flash would fix this “bug” (my idea), but couldn’t show me the bugs fixed by the update. So, I flashed the PC BIOS and BOTH the PX-712A and ND-1100A BIOS’ as well - didn’t help, same problem. It just seems so weird that the ND-1100A would be a slave to a CDROM drive, but not to the PX-712A no matter how you configure it. The Dell flash instructions for the ND-1100A did mention that the ND-1100 was typically configured as a slave and not master, but that the configuration might have been changed - like maybe because it won’t install with another burner unless it is master? Has anyone else had this problem?


I’ve had a Plextor PX-504A (NEC ND-1100A OEM) installed together with a PX-712A without a single problem. What you need to make sure is that your PX-712A is set-up as Master on the channel and the NEC as Slace. Cable Select is not a good idea. So, first add the Plextor as master and start your system. If that works, add the NEC to the same channel as Slave and check again. Judging from your info you already did this though but before jumping into any other solutions, make sure you’ve done this and report back. And, when you do, let us know your computer model and the rest of your hardware set-up (hard disks). If you’ve only got one hard disk in your system, for instance, you could try adding the NEC as Slave to this channel. Good luck!

I reconfigured the ND-1100A as MASTER in order to flash it, then tried moving it back to the SLAVE position. I’ve already tried using a non-CS cable with manual settings for MASTER (PX-712A) and SLAVE (ND-100A), AND using the CS cable with CS jumpers. The ND-1100A simply WON’T install as slave to the PX-712A, even though it used to install as SLAVE using the CS cable to a plain CDROM drive (Dell OEM). As for how I intended to use my drives, I wanted to be able to both burn from HD to DVD, and direct from DVD to DVD. I already have 2 drives on the primary EIDE interface, the Dell Dimension 2400 system drive (40 GB) and a secondary 120 GB drive where I store all my multimedia work before burning a DVD/CD. The secondary EIDE interface has both the Dell OEM NEC ND-1100A (MASTER) and the new Plextor PX-712A (SLAVE). I thought I’d burn DVDs direct from the ND-1100A (slower) to the PX-712A (faster, more options). So based on what you’re saying - and it makes sense, I should probably put the Dell system drive on the primary channel as MASTER, and the PX-712A with it as SLAVE. I should then put the mass storage drive on the secondary EIDE channel as MASTER, and make the ND-1100A SLAVE to it. This way I’ve got the best performance whether I’m burning DVD to DVD (both on separate channels), OR from HD (mass storage) to the new PX-712A. Everything should work using cableselect mode - right?

Yep, that’s the set-up I would use. However, I would NOT use CableSelect mode as it’s recommended to use Master/Slave modes. Good luck and let us know how things go!

I realized that this cabling configuration won’t work for me due to physical limitations - the connectors at the end of my EIDE cables are about 4 inches apart, the hard drives are located side by side and the DVD burners are too so that one cable can connect both, but they are mounted far enough apart in the chassis so that a single cable can’t cross-connect a HD and a burner. I’d have to find cables where the end connectors are 10-12 inches apart, and I don’t know how lucky I’d be in locating those - groan. The burners are located at the top of the mini tower, and the HD’s are mounted vertically behind the faceplate near the bottom of the chassis. I’ve seen longer cables, but not where the end connectors are that far apart. Any ideas?

I see… All I can recommend you to do is to add an extra PCI-based IDE controller to your system. To this controller you can attach your NEC and Plextor recorder but I cannot guarantee that it will work since I suspect the NEC to be slightly different from a standard NEC ND-1100A drive (since that drive should be able to work as Slave just fine). I have no other suggestions unfortunately. Maybe someone else can suggest something? Good luck…

I have an 18" 80-conductor Ultra DMA cable (does CS natively) on my secondary EIDE channel, so it should work just fine. You can use CS and connector placement, or set jumpers to MASTER or SLAVE, either works using this cable. I agree that there’s possibly something weird in the Dell OEM version of the firmware for this drive that’s causing this. I’ve decided for performance reasons I’m going to connect my 40 GB system HD as MASTER on the primary EIDE controller channel, with the new PX-712A as SLAVE. I’m then going to connect my 120 GB HD as MASTER on the secondary EIDE channel, with the Dell OEM (NEC) ND-1100A as SLAVE. My factory cables aren’t long enough to allow this, so I’m going to buy two 36" 80-conductor Ultra DMA cables where the end connectors are spaced 12" apart (verified). I’ll start by using CS jumpers (since all the drives in the system are already using CS jumpers anyway), then try discrete MASTER/SLAVE settings if I have problems. This will allow me to copy source DVD disc (ND-1100A) to destination burner (PX-712A) using two different EIDE controller channels, and also to burn from my 120 GB multimedia storage drive to the new PX-712A using separate controller channels as well. According to everything I’ve heard so far, this should be the optimal configuration. I’ll let you know how it goes.

Worst case, the ND-1100 may not want to be SLAVE to my 120 GB HD MASTER on the secondary EIDE channel. If that happens I guess I’ll set the 120 GB HD to be SLAVE to the ND-1100A MASTER and see if it works. Does a hard drive on the secondary EIDE interface (non-system/non-boot disk) care whether it’s MASTER or SLAVE in order to function correctly?