Horrors of the Sony DVDRW DW-56a

Hello folks, I come with much hope of any answers at all for my longsome and very tiresome and frustrating issues.

In October of 2005 I purchased (for way too much $ because I was ignorant did not extensively research it) a Sony VAIO PCG-k47 notebook. So, it is still under their minimum 1yr warranty!

It came w/ a Sony DVDRW DW-56a. It worked for about one month, it then completely quit reading/writing any media within one week. Sony fedex’d me a new drive, I replaced it in my notebook, it worked great as the first one did, but for shorter than one month and it too then failed to read/write.

I then realized their service centre was/is in San Diego and was relatively local to me, so I took the machine in to their shop. They again gave me the exact same drive replacement, telling me it had newer designed hardware (yeah… maybe it did, or didn’t). It too failed very soon afterward, but it was too late for me to go back to them again for the 4th new drive because I was leaving in only a matter of a few days for a roughly 6 month western pacific military deployment.

So I spent about six months on a ship w/ a big heavy, extremely well heat producing sony vaio and no working dvd reader/cd reader or write of any sort. I did manage to order a lite-on shm-165h6s though w/ a beautiful thermaltake enclosure (go lite-on! go thermaltake! (the beauty of spending time and researching paid off on those two purchases)), so anyway, I dealt with that for a while, and now that I am on my way back to San Diego, I need some ideas.

I called Sony again from out here on the sailing seas and was told that somehow I called them in April of 05 about this laptop, but at which time I did not own it. Then they said that I can either provide proof of purchase, which I Doubt I kept, or just purchase a new drive from them for 268 big ones… oh yeah… 268 big ones. (I almost bursted into loud abnoxious laughter).

So now, my questions/concerns are as follows.
This drive is apparantly mostly crap-ola, as I’ve done a lot of time on finding anything possible about it on the internet (which by the way there is not much info on it period) but I did find it also comes implemented in many different dell laptops as well (though, somehow the dell units seem to work 78,986 times better than the ones in the sony laptops… go figure) but I also had a very difficult to near unable time to find a place to purchase this drive from. (Mind you, the idea of inserting a newer, better, more capable device entered my mind from the get-go, it seems after experimentation w/ slim-type drives from my friends’ different laptops, it seems sony has cunningly programmed this pcg-k47 notebook to only accept the DW-56a or just sony branded drives only anyway! Go SONY! otherwise i would’ve purchased one of the many offered slimtype notebook drives from various online outlets, like newegg) Till today, I searched again, and found one which seems to be what I need (http://cgi.ebay.com/Sony-DW-D56A-8X-DVD-RW-Notebook-Drive-RW-D56A-20_W0QQitemZ290010396611QQcmdZViewItem) I am not exactly sure if it is the one, but it’s worth a shot I say, especially for just $60 for a notebook burner. I am not purchasing it yet though, I will wait to get back to San Diego and give sony service another try by going over there (after all, presence is a lot more powerful than fearless sound waves through telephone wiring)

For now though, if anybody has any ideas as to what I can do besides deal w/ the seemingly uncaring corporate monster of Sonias, I’d love to know.
I also would love to know if there are any other drives which this laptop would accept, or if there is any cost/means effective way of making this laptop accept them (I imagine some bios tinkering may come into play?)

It’s simple fellas/gals, all I really want to do is use some form of basic reading of multimedia… I am willing to sacrific burning if I can at least READ, I mean come on! it’s my god-given right to READ MY MEDIA NO??? lol
Burning I can leave to my other more than suited external dvd drives and my desktops, but it’s also nice to not have to lug around extra heavy hardware! and for me, the principle of the idea that this laptop is still less than one year old, and I cannot get a media goliath like sony to help me is ridiculous!

Between ideas that I contacted them about 6 months before I EVEN OWNED the laptop and then paying 270 us dollars for another potentially defective unit (or one which can and probably will become defective again soon after owning it) is ludicrous!

I’m sure this will end in buying this 60 unit off of ebay, but at this point, besides that, I need any and all ideas/help I can get.

I’ve tried re-flashing it w/ the same firmware, older sony firmware, and also various other dell firmwares for the same model drive, nothing has worked. i put it in other sony laptops which accepted it and picked it up, but it still failed to read/write.

ideas please! and feel free to email me too (I prefer email, since our SHF drops and picks up signal sometimes, so we build up some nice queue’s at the hawaii noc, preventing us full time internet access)
borcam(at)germantown.navy.mil

Hi zeromarius, when I first saw you post I though, eek, do I have time to read all of this but after I started I found I couldn’t stop until I read the whole thing. :wink:

I can only believe that the drive is getting too hot in the Sony notebook, which is causing it to fail and that’s why the same drive in other notebooks, like the Dell, are not giving any trouble. You might want to mention this to Sony when you take the notebook into their service center. Perhaps the fan is not working as well as it should or the air flow is blocked somehow.

The ebay drive does appear to be the correct drive model but the tray and front panel may be different, which could cause you some issues. If you don’t have any joy with Sony then this may be your only option but make sure you get them to check the cooling first, even if you have to pay for that.

I hope you have a good voyage back to the USA. :slight_smile:

I appreciate your reply c0deking, not many people would so much as take the time to read the article. I managed to catch sony during their open hours, all they had to tell me was to just bring it in again when I get back to the states… so I shall. I must say, sony has really dissapointed me with this entire fiasco.

And yes, I think you’re on to something w/ the heat topic, because it does get pretty hot sometimes, and I personally do not know what kind of limits there should be on temperatures for optical drives until they go lights out.

I will defenitely make it a big point for them to investigate the heat idea.

I have the dw-56a in my dell 6000 and it has been crap lately. I’m gonna get a new drive off newegg for it.

I only wish I had a dell that would accept any drive I slapped into it.