Points vefified and added info
1 - a new 80wire ata cable for the IDE devices. The detection problems may be related to a damaged cable.
Tried different 80 wire cables ,bought new and tried,swapped around between ide channels
2 - If I understand well you have 4 IDE optical drives. is this correct ? are any of them as cable select ? the safe way is to use one as master and one as slave on every channel.
Yes, 4 optical drives ,1 DVD burner always set to master with one DVD rom set as slave ,2nd channel 1 DVD rom and 1 CDRW drive,doesn't matter which way I set them up, the DVD rom is never recognised whether it is set as master or slave ,but the CDRW always works O.K as master or slave, none set as cable select.
3 - your IDE controller have any RAID settings in BIOS ? RAID mode doesn't like optical drives.
Nothing set up for Raid on the IDE channels, there is a Jmicron controller to set up raid on the sata connections, it makes no difference to the drives whether the Jmicron drivers are in use or not installed.
4 - ( it's rare ) Particular combinations of drives produces conflicts but they work OK if alone in the IDE channel
This is the only thing I can think is happening.When I had my Pioneer burner fitted in the old P5W DH board I was able to run four drives,that drive started to fail,so I put in the Liteon drive.The Liteon Drive works as master with another DVDrom as slave,on the other channel, the CDRW drive works fine set as master or slave,but I've tried 3 different brands of DVD rom set as master or slave,they all come up funny in bios or "my computer" and won't work but do in other PC's so it wasn't a particular DVD rom drive causing the conflict.
5 - Verify the power connectors of the drives. There are reports of bizarre behaviour of optical drives because of bad power supply.
Tried differnt power leads ,even a different new power supply,I have a 750w power supply for a sytem that is hard pushed to use about 325w of power,so hopefully I'm O.K there.
The same happens in two different moboard, my old P5D DH deluxe and a brand new P5N-E sli that has two proper IDE channels ,the P5D DH wasn't a proper dedicated 2nd ide channel,and DVD drives weren't supposed to work on that Jmicron controlled channel,but they did.
I have recently managed to contact the person who had 4 optical drives running on his PC,his was set up exactly the same as mine but he used LG drives on his system, two LG burners one LG Rom and one BDRom drive. The drives I need are all different but needed for there particular reading abilities. :)