HP dvd640 external drive errors

Since this is my first post, I just wanna say the site is a great place to find out stuff about practically anything related to drives and media. Lots of cool tips too.

I searched the forums for a problem with my dvd writer but it looks like no one has a particular problem with it. Maybe there’s a specific problem I’m not aware of.

I puchased HP dvd640 external drive (Lightscribe) several months ago. The drive burned about 40 Maxell DVD-R 8x (MIT) without data verification errors. Then I started getting data verification errors and the success rate dropped to about 50%. I also tried Maxell DVD+R 8x (MIT), Sony DVD+R 16X (MIJ), and Verbatim mini DVD-RW 2x (MIT). I got errors on all of these discs and it got worse - only about 1 in 10 doesn’t get errors. Most of the time I get swirls and discoloration on these discs. I don’t know if this is a problem with the drive or my set up.

I have Compaq Presario V2000 laptop (Sempron 1.8GHz 3000+ 512MB RAM USB 2.0). DMA is enabled. I use Nero 6.6.0.16. Don’t run any applications while burning and hard drive is defragmented. I updated to the latest firmware. I also tried burning connecting the drive to Gateway desktop (P4 2.4GHz, 512MB RAM, USB 2.0) but still get errors. Am I missing something or is it the drive?

Hi & welcome! :slight_smile:

It sounds like the drive could be faulty. Try burning a Nero Data Disc DVD with CD-DVD Speed (download) and post the graph (“Create Disc” tab). If you don’t wish to sacrifice a blank, you can use a DVD[B]-R[/B] and check “Simulate”. Set the burn speed to the disc’s rated speed.

That’s what I’ll do… I have so many coasters that wasting another disc is hardly an issue.

Here’s the graph. Does it look bad?


It doesn’t look too bad, although there’s a lot of laser calibration going on (which might indicate a problem with the drive). Next step is to do a read test of this disc under the Benchmark tab. First click “Run Test” and do a “Burst Rate” test (F6) which should give more than 20MB/sec if the USB connection is working well. Then do the “Transfer Rate Test” (F2) with this disc (not with an empty one) and post the graph. Also, do you see any dark rings or swirls on the data side of the disc again?

Your HP can be a BenQ, an LG or a LiteOn inside. I know the dvd640[B]c[/B] is the BenQ, but I’m not sure whether your dvd640[B]v[/B] is the LG or LiteOn. Depending on which it is, additional info may be found in the forum section for that drive. I see the Firmware Page list an older firmware for the 640v (JOU4) only.

I did a burst rate test and it returned 14MB/s. I guess there might be a problem with my USB connection then.

I do see dark rings on the disc (there are several of them, about 5-6 mm apart).

I did the transfer rate test and here’s the graph.

Thanks for all your help.


External burner usually have more problems. I suggest you remove other USB devices while you burning your DVD. And you can try to slow the burning speed. The slower the burning speed. The better the burning quality. Or you can try a different brand of media.

14 MB/sec. is not uncommon for a USB connection. Test it with a couple different data discs (cd and dvd) and you may yet see a higher value. If you don’t, you’ll have to limit yourself to 8X dvd-burning even with 16X rated discs.

The transfer rate test shows you made a readable disc there - no slowdowns or errors when reading it back. If the dark rings on the burn surface are perfect geometrical circles, they could just indicate the speed change to 8X (after 0.5GB), if however the discoloration (or swirls) are somewhat irregularly shaped, there’s a problem with the laser power. This can be due to a fault of the drive itself or to bad firmware support for the discs used. If you can get hold of it, try a Verbatim DVD+R 16X (code MCC004), as most any drive will support these very well. Problems with that and I’d say it’s the laser that’s at fault.

Thanks, I’ll try Verbatims. Does it matter whether they are made in Japan or Taiwan? Because I read on the site that Verbatims from Taiwan are just as good.

I’m also going to try another external drive (maybe borrow from someone) to see if it’ll have any problems burning. If not, then the problem is my writer.

As to the dark rings, they are perfect circles. I compared the old DVDs I burned to the new ones, and besides the dark rings, I noticed that the new discs have tracks - like a vinyl record.

Don’t know if it matters, but yesterday I tried burning Sony 16x MIJ (Sony D21) discs at different speeds (4x, 8x, and 16x) and to my surprise burning at 16x took 3 minutes longer than burning at 4x. The set-up, data to be burned, and everything else was the same.

Verbatim is Taiwaneese firm and only being made in Taiwan. Also consider that you might have to get another drive because reading your first post about your system components and hard drive being defrag and so on there is a possibility that your drive going south and need the replacement. try to also burn few CD-R to see how the laser portion for CD-R writing function.

I’ll try that.

Off-topic, how common are drive failures? How long is a DVD writer expected to last?

Verbatim DVD+R 16X (MCC 004) discs are Made in Taiwan or India, either is fine. Made in Japan Verbatim is manufactured by Taiyo Yuden and has a TY code, not MCC. These may be even better, but for this test get MCC 004 (the most compatible). Maxell Made in Taiwan is manufactured by Ritek and may not be very consistent in quality.

I’m also going to try another external drive (maybe borrow from someone) to see if it’ll have any problems burning. If not, then the problem is my writer.

Good idea! See if that gives a higher “Burst Rate”.

As to the dark rings, they are perfect circles. I compared the old DVDs I burned to the new ones, and besides the dark rings, I noticed that the new discs have tracks - like a vinyl record.

Perfect circles aren’t as bad, they usually coincide with burn speed changes as mentioned. However, you said there are several “tracks”, 5-6mm apart which may be where the laser calibration points are in the burn graph (the dips in the green burn speed line of the “Create Disc” graph). The burner is trying to adjust itself to the disc’s characteristics there and slows down momentarily for this reason.

Don’t know if it matters, but yesterday I tried burning Sony 16x MIJ (Sony D21) discs at different speeds (4x, 8x, and 16x) and to my surprise burning at 16x took 3 minutes longer than burning at 4x. The set-up, data to be burned, and everything else was the same.

This is normal. When you try to burn at 16X, the data buffer will run empty (because of the slow USB connection), after which the burner switches back to a lower speed to avoid new “buffer underruns”. Always limit the burn speed to 8X max. with that USB drive. Were the 4X and 8X burns OK with these discs?

I decided to post an update…

So I wasn’t able to borrow another external drive but I purchased Verbatims DVD+R 16x (MCC 004) and managed to find Sony DVD+R 8x MIJ (Yuden000T02). I burned both at 8x and the discs burn perfectly - no verification problems and no rings. From now on, I’ll be burning Yudens or Verbatims only.

As to the Sony DVD+R 16X MIJ (Sony D21), I have no problems when I burn at 8x. They don’t burn well at 4x and I used to think that the slower the better.

As to Maxell DVD+R 8x MIT (Ritek G03), I get no verification errors burning at 8x (although there are circles). Since they’re rated 8x, I find it strange that they get errors at 4x.

So if anyone has a problem similar to mine, try burning at a higher speed and getting better media which is not always more expensive.

Thanks Cressida for all your tips.