DH-20A4P-04 Jamboree Party

The facetious title of this thread conceals a real problem with my drive: for some reason the tray ejection process has become more forceful after a few weeks of friction-free functionality. While I enjoy the rapid disc presentation, the initial outward burst of the tray causes discs (particularly lighter discs like CDs) to pop up and slightly back. This inevitably causes the disc to jam inside the drive and, worst of all, introduces a series of noticeable scratches on the underside (‘business side’) of this disc. There is one review at Newegg that notes this potential problem; however, with searches done here and elsewhere it seems this is not a common issue for this drive.

Corrective actions? The standard option to RMA the device doesn’t seem that appealing to me for two reasons. First, the practical: it would cost about 1/3 of the total cost of the drive to send it back to Newegg. I rather save the money for a different species of LiteOn (if it eventually fails to write – i.e. further degrades). Secondly, the political-ecological: where do most old drives go to die? To the landfill? Perhaps some are recycled/refurbished. I must confess I don’t really know the possible fate for my drive (yet I would say that despite factors such placed purchased/returned, regional location of purchaser, dominant political ideologies one is inscribed in, etc. that most drives not returned to the manufacturer take the walk of death to the landfill). In any case, the simple point is that I’m trying to watch my ecological impact (and yes this means fewer burned discs for me). Hopefully one can assert the importance of the ecological and not be written off as an acolyte of New Age mysticism, a hugger of trees, etc (or have a slightly critical remark on the crisis of the market taken as a marker of being ‘anti-capitalist’ – an ideological maneuver par excellence on part of the addresser). I’m not interested in watching China (other parts of Asia) destroy itself through ecological disaster, nor I’m I interested in surrounding myself with piles of rubbish (recreating Rome), or shipping it to those countries that can’t afford to refuse it.

This may sound odd, but I achieved success with what I will call the ‘slow eject finger method’. The simple technique: I press the eject button and, with the right about of pressure, place my finger on the tray. The finger pressure softens the initial ejecting force and no more jams occur. A pleasurable experience for both the user and the drive, but, as you can guess, it becomes tedious.

My questions:

  1. The long shot: is it possible to address the tray ejecting speed through EEPROM or the firmware?

  2. Other things to try? Software ejecting through Imgburn has no effect. I’m not hesitant to open-up the drive if something can be done.

A picture of the jam (below):

  1. Cheap media acknowledged. However, the jam doesn’t discriminate; both CDs and DVD of different manufacturers fall victim.

  2. Jams don’t occur all the time. It is haphazard. Sometimes it happens five times in row; other times, 1 in 15 ejections. Nonetheless, it’s frequent enough to be a problem.

  3. This particular jam occurred late in the ejecting process (3/4 of the way). Most get caught about half way.

  4. While the picture is not the best, you can see how far the disc is away from the front of its nested circular tray groove.

  5. I believe my drive was made in December 2007. Current firmware: 9P59 stock.

  6. If nothing else works, I might try to devise a non-invasive tab to put at the back of the drive to keep the discs from popping up and back. Thoughts? Suggestions?

Many thanks for this virtual community! :bow:

hmmm sorry i have never had that problem with my 20A4P nor with my 20A1P.

You might not be alone though.

Thanks for your words Bob. Given the dearth of replies, it seems the issue I reported is indeed uncommon for this drive. Nonetheless, I’m certain to stick with my ailing 20A4P, through thick and thin – or at least until the tray mechanism breaks from the human-assisted ejection method described in the first post. Who knows…maybe one day the drive will decide to auto-correct.:smiley:

I’ve opened up drives before (an NEC 3550) and cannot resist the temptation to open this drive for a peek. Is there anything in particular I should inspect? - anything that might be contributing to the constant, yet haphazard, disc jamming? I’m not too hopeful, but perhaps something can be done. I’m still baffled by the behavior of this drive: for three weeks it works fine, then one day unrelenting disc jams. Fortunately, it still burns and scans fine.

Only thing i can think of is, do you push the tray in when closing or use the eject button? I always use the eject button.

Gently nudging the tray instead of the eject button is would not normally cause such behavior upon ejecting. The A1 series in particular has seen a wider degree of variation between one drive and another in relation to the force at which the tray is ejected. It would be reasonable to believe the A4 series would also share this attribute, although hopefully with lesser variation as it is supposed to be more mature than the A1.

The drive’s firmware is partially responsible for the way the tray is ejected, and is specifically intended to slow down before it reaches the tray’s limit. I wouldn’t rule out that there could be something else the matter with the drive (hardware?) if it started doing that suddenly.


Bob – Eject button only for me. I’ve seen enough drives with loosened, or slightly drooping, trays to hold off from pushing in the tray by hand. However, I’m sure those members with a soft touch can get away with pushing the tray in by hand without jeopardizing a drive’s delicate plastic pieces.

Superhero – I have no familiarity with the A1 series so thanks for your comments. I’ll try some different firmware variations (e.g. C0deKing’s, older stock, and the original back-up) to see if it has any bearing on the symptom. All other hardware seems fine; there are no clicks, buzzes, or any other kind of strange happenings to report.

If I stumble across anything that restores the drive’s tray functionality, I’ll certainly report back here. Otherwise, I’ll just continue to soften the initial tray burst with my hand, which seems to work every time (even on days when I’m less coordinated).

Thanks again for all the comments,

[QUOTE=superhero;2026097]The drive’s firmware is partially responsible for the way the tray is ejected, and is specifically intended to slow down before it reaches the tray’s limit. I wouldn’t rule out that there could be something else the matter with the drive (hardware?) if it started doing that suddenly.

AFAIK the firmware has nothing to do with the way the tray opens or closes, at least all of the drives I’ve had the pleasure to open up worked by a momentary SPDT switch operated by the tray mechanism.
AFAIK they’ve always worked like that and I can’t think of a reason why they would change it…well to make drives more expensive:cop:

My DH-20A4P is pretty much brand new (no burns, only 10 orso scans) otherwise I would’ve opened it up to see what can be done (I might have a look pretty soon:p).

Right now I can think of 1 possible solution but it requires soldering, and it’s probably not an easy task for some one w/o soldering skills.

Yes, the A1 series also uses such a switch. Presumably, when the switch is thrown the firmware slows down the motor for the last millimeters of the eject.

A certain application of this drive requires a consistent eject distance, and minor adjustments to the firmware were needed to alter this behavior. This was not present in earlier models, such as the 6S series.