Is my 40/12/40A dying?

Hope this isn’t a total noob question, but I’ve had this drive for 2-3 years now, and it doesn’t seem to be able to burn above 8x anymore without crashing mid-burn. I’m on the latest firmware (1.06) and use WaveLab 5 for burning. Here is the error I get, whenever the drive ramps up to about 16x speed:

Extended information:
Device: Plextor CD-R PX-W4012A (F:)
MEDIUM ERROR: WRITE ERROR - RECOVERY NEEDED
F0 00 03 00 00 8F 51 0A 00 00 00 00 0C 07
2A 00 00 00 8E BB 00 00 1A 00

I can run the simulation at 40x and it works fine, but when it comes time to actually burn a disc, it crashes every time at any speed over 8x. Of course, it used to work fine at any speed. I can guarantee that it’s not a buffer underrun issue.

FWIW I just ordered the NEC 3500A from Newegg, but I’d still like to have this drive as a backup if it will still burn masters with a reasonably low BLER. Fortunately I haven’t had any rejects from the plant yet. I guess I should mention that I’m a CD mastering engineer.

Maybe it’s just a matter of cleaning something? I’ve never done any type of maintenence on the drive, but my studio is clean and relatively dust-free.

Any help would be greatly appreciated!

To sort out problems like this, you have to identify all the “delta variables” - what has changed since the last time you were able to burn OK?

New hardware drivers or new hardware recently? Are you using exactly the same media as before? Is new software resident and stealing lots of CPU cycles or IDE channel bandwidth?

The final delta variable is that the drive itself is malfunctioning and needs to be replaced.

If you’re able to scan for BLER errors, can you tell us what the coasters look like up to the point of the burn failing? Massive CU error spikes or clean all the way, then nothing? If you see bad burning leading up the coaster point, it could be the drive - but again, only if nothing else has changed on your system. Would it be possible to remove the drive and test it on another/someone else’s system?

Maybe it’s just a matter of cleaning something? I’ve never done any type of maintenence on the drive, but my studio is clean and relatively dust-free.

Plex doesn’t recommend cleaning, but if all else fails you could try one of those compressed air cans. You certainly don’t want to try one of those cleaning CDs unless you think you’ve got nothing to lose.

Good luck, and let us know any additional info you can provide!

/a bit off topic
my god…there’s a v1.06 firmware for this drive :eek:
when did that happen?

You’re right - I should’ve discussed more of those other variables. Nothing in my setup has changed… same hardware, same media, CPU cycles are fine (WaveLab has a meter that shows where the CPU stands in relation to the burn, and it’s always in the safe zone).

Unfortunately, I’m not able to scan for BLER errors. I’ll just hear back from the plant if the BLER is too high and they’ll ask for another master.

I started seeing the problem while burning a batch of 40 CD-Rs. I was trying to do them all at 24x, but then I started getting errors and slowed it down to 16x. That worked, but the next week it seemed like 16x wouldn’t work, so now I’m stuck with 8x. For that reason, I’m almost certain it’s the drive. It used to be that if I burned at 16x, it would die around the middle of the burn. Now it’ll die in the second track.

I thought I’d read something about cleaning the drive with a q-tip and isopropyl, but I’m not sure how I’d get in there. Yeah, I guess compressed air would work.

Just took my Plextor 40/1240A(march 2002)[repair manual] apart;mechanical failure with cold start up.Also it made more noise compared to my 52/24/52A(new) and 16/10/40A.Unscrew 4 bottom screws and take top off.(with open drawer!)Now gently move big allu laser in a place where you can inspect the surface of the lens for dirt.And clean only if dirty.
While moving the allu, look at dirt on the tubes on which it glides,I suspect !you,11th records have a good chance to find your problem,as it is been used intensively,so wear/dirt will be next to grease and the two bearings.
My drawer wouldn’t open cold,giving only unpleasant harsh noises from plastic gearwheels.Two cottonlike little pillows on the big moving plateau were out of place and resident glue let it stick together,apply also there some grease(if needed) Restauration mechanicly is done. Ur kids could do this,following this manual. (as with all my work,I take photos,need them?)
Wear is also possible at other places,but you need spareparts…
I noticed that the IDEconnector is only “adequate” attachted / placed in interior. If thats your problem,I would fix this with my sledgehammer,because that’s what I’ll use all day in my garage.
My plex runs better as new,good luck with yours. Looks like you need that.
Repairtime : 43 min.
If your problem is lack to electric or microsoft virusses,I can’t be of any help,sorry,this consumes my life… But your sudden “slowdown” points to wear,friction in my experience with cdroms,like bad reading is is better solved using polish wodka to clean the lens,jac daniel leaves residue! Use clear vaseline as grease,if you want to use my manual.(also all plastic moving parts will benefit from that!!)

P.S. in europe I got 2 years warranty on my new plexCDR,it’s looks like that’s about the economic lifespan. The PX-716A that I wanted,took me to this forum,and the result of that experience lead to 2 things : cherish and restaurate your old plexes and I’m better off,buying double layer dvd from the company that was born/founded in my city.

Have fun with the the little Philips screws,plexes are constructed as easy “meccano” :no deal in removing (and dad fixes all later),it’s well built and no springs that aim for your eyes,because=Made in Japan/Deep Purple.(but thats off topic,hell of an album nevertheless)

I’ll have to try that! Thanks Joe! I’m not sure if the slowdown is due to friction, as it seems to be reading and extracting just fine at high speeds. But the same laser reads and writes, right? I’ll have to tear it apart and see, thanks to your instructions.

At this point it’ll just be for fun though. I was at Fry’s today, and picked up a TDK 52/24/48 USB2 external for $40! It’s brand new, not a refurb (manufactured in Feb2004). This way my wife can burn CDs from her notebook if she ever needs to.

It’s not a Plextor, but hey… $40! :slight_smile: