DELL OEM ND-1100A Won't Install 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?


If the bios can’t see the NEC how were you able to flash it?
If you disconnect the ribbon cable from the PX is the 1100A then recognised? If it is now seen then it would suggest that both drives are being seen as master or slave, not as master & slave. If it’s not seen then there’s a connection issue like the a bent pin or cable pin 1 connected to drive pin 40.
Don’t worry about the master/slave advice from DELL or Plextor. DELL probably normally supply 1 HD (as master) and the writer as slave on that same IDE channel. Obviously better performance is achieved if the HD & Writer are on separate IDE channels. If you’ve got 2 writers you need to know how you’ll use them. If you do disc to disc then the writers should be on separate IDE channels. If you burn from HD then the writer you most frequently burn to should be on the secondary channel.

I reconfigured the ND-1100A as MASTER in order to flash it, then tried moving it back to the SLAVE position. 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 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 way I would do it. You might want to find a firmware upgarde for the ND1100a that has riplock removed otherwise dvd to dvd might be a bit slow.
Let us know how you get on.

I’m running 10GE on the ND-1100A, which is the latest Dell OEM supported firmware. I kinda hate to try some of the other firmwares that aren’t supported, because I’ve seen where lots of folks have had problems. I’m not sure if riplock is part of 10GE or not. I also 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 almost 10 inches apart, and I don’t know how lucky I’d be in locating those - groan.

Don’t use cable select with your ND-1100A and PX-712A. That could give you the troubles decribed.

Place each jumper master or slave.

I use NEC 3500A as master and a Plextor PX 712A as slave on secondary channel.

I have an 80-conductor Ultra DMA cable (does CS natively), so it should be just fine. You can use CS and connector placement, or set jumpers to MASTER or SLAVE, either works. Per my first post, Plextor recommended the MASTER setting, and the BIOS won’t see the ND-1100A as SLAVE to the PX-712A MASTER on the same cable no matter how you jumper/connect/cable it. However, the ND-1100A used to work fine as a SLAVE to a plain CDROM. I think there’s 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. I’ll start by using CS jumpers (since all the drives in the system are 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 controllers, and also to burn from my 120 GB multimedia storage drive to the new PX-712A using separate controllers as well. According to everything I’ve heard so far, this should be the optimal configuration.