Is my drive dead? If so what do you recommend?

Hi guys, my first post so take it easy on me :wink:

Ok I’ve had a Pioneer 105 (i bought it from a friend who had ordered it and at the last minute decided to get a 106 so i bought it off him for around £10 shy of what he had paid for it ~ £70 last year- just after the 106 had come out) for coming up to about a year now. I’ve always only used Ritek G04 based discs (of varying brands: datawrite (not any more), datasafe, fws, ridisc and Ritek’s own brand).

About 2 months i started getting powercalibration errors on succesive discs and from multiple tubs(different brands as well)- I expect to get one or two every so often but this seemed to be more than simply a bad batch- someone suggested i clean the lens which i did- not having any specific lens cleaning fluid, or alcohol based cleaner i read somewhere that i could use ahem, Listerine (mouth wash), which i did and it did seem to cure the problem (although possibly unrelated- lead in times started to get longer- ~1 minute at 2x- which is what i always burn my discs at- i don’t make backups for trading so i’m in no particular rush to have them done).

Today it went again so i opened it up cleaned the lens again but now once everything was put back together sticking a blank disc in there, the activity light is on for a long time ~20-30 seconds, and afterwards the disc dye is not being picked up in either DVD identifier, or DVD decrypter, Nero isn’t recoginisg the disc either when in the penultimate stage of the burn so valid speed options aren’t displayed. I’ve had maybe 350-400 burns in total so i’m not too narked about it going out on me- although i have read that this isn’t paricularly high either. The drive has been flashed with 2x4all firmware based on 1.33 firmware- though i regret doing it now as i never really made use of it, and as i’ve said before, I quite happy burning discs at the rated speed or lower.

So unless any of you chaps have any other ideas as to what i can do about this I’m guessing i should get a new rewritable drive.

I’ve read alot of the stuff on here and it seems to me that in the uk the decision for me anyway is between Pioneer (as i’ve had one before and never really gave me problems, till now :wink: ), and the NEC 2500/2510. What i have read on here and on other forums has got me seriously considering the NEC option my only worry is that i currently have maybe 150-200 of blank G04 discs sitting in my room- (Ridisc and Ritek branded) and the one criticism of the NEC vs Pioneer seems to be that the Pioneer is better with Riteks. However I don’t know about in other countries but Ritek media seems to be in the UK the best value for money while still having little or no issues in terms of compatibility.

I’d like to know if there is still issues with 2500/2510’s and G04’s or are the brands that i’ve been using (e.g. i steer clear of Datawrite/Bulkpaq/Arita branded G04’s) sufficiently reliable to consistently work with NEC’s or should i just stick with Pioneer (if ain’t broke don’t fix ;)).

Also on an aside, my old LG Romdrive (DRD 8160B) has never liked any type of back up and recently I seem to be getting more and more Cyclick Rundancy Check Failures with orginal retail discs, so i’m thinking about changing that too- (i don’t really want to be flashing the writer to rip files to hd at 12x) I was looking at maybe freeing up an IDE cable ond getting an DVD/CD-RW combo drive, the LiteOn SOHC-5232K combo in particular (although I have a perfectly adequate LG CD-RW that came with the machine so a new ROM drive would be a cheaper option). For reading of burned media as opposed to retail discs, and high ripping speeds would you guys recommend LiteON drives as the way to go? If so any others?

Thanks in advance and sorry for such a long post!

Sounds exactly the same as what happened to my 105.
Would read DVD’s ok but would fail as soon as you tried to burn, (usualy just after the lead in, which took about 5 mins to finnish!!!).

Then the drive started to make funny clicking noises on me and then totaly died.
I had not long since used a hacked firmware to unlock the ripping speed so it might have killed it???
Thing is I also used Datawrite 4x DVD’s as well…

In the End I got a DRW-2S81 8x dvd +r/-R DVD-RW (it’s just a rebadged Lite-on SOHW-812S) for £64 from a local Computer Shop. Flashed it using the lastest Lite-on Firmware and it’s working great.