Laser life?

I’ve burned maybe 40 DVDs with my 1008 now, but recently I’ve been unable to get a decent burn. I’m not sure exactly when it happened or whether it was sudden or gradual because my brand switched MID codes on me and I just assumed it was inferior discs. It was only recently when I upgraded my firmware and experimented with DVD +RW discs that I noticed the problem.

For example:

Typical results with RICOHJPN W11 early on (Nero CD-DVD Speed):

Maximum PI errors: 71
Average: 18.63

Maximum PI Failures: 32
Average: 1.08

But typical now:


General Information
Drive: DVDRW IDE1008
Firmware: 0558
Selected speed: 4 X
PI errors
Maximum: 620
Average: 271.71
Total: 926523
PI failures
Maximum: 33
Average: 1.11
Total: 3782
PO failures: n/a
Jitter: n/a
Scanning statistics
Number of samples: 3410
Average scanning interval: 42.06 ECC
Glitches removed: 0

While the PI errors have gone through the roof, the PI failures remain similar. A similar phenomenon occurs with DVD +R discs: PI errors 4 or 5 times the original level, PI failures about the same or slightly worse.

I have just about ruled out the following:

Firmware: I’ve tried everything between the 357 and the 059 and noticed no difference. (Not surprising; I don’t believe the write strategy for the discs I use has changed.)

Discs: I’ve tried using the very same DVD RW disc I used for earlier burns and I’ve tried brand new ones of the same MID. I can’t get a decent burn now with either.

Burning software: I’ve tried several different versions of Nero (63115 - 63117) and noticed no difference. The same decrease in quality has occurred with DVD Shrink also.

So I’m thinking my laser is wearing out. Is this possible? Should a burner start producing burns that are way out of line with the DVD standard after only a couple of months of use?

What other possibilities are there?

Thanks for any suggestions.

I would try a different brand of disc. I’m doing well so far with firmware 0059. Double check that DMA is still enabled.

Thanks for the reply.

I’ve checked, and DMA is still enabled. I haven’t tried other discs yet (I don’t like to test with non-RW discs for obvious reasons…), but I do find it strange that the DVD +RW discs that performed consistently well a few weeks ago should now produce far inferior burns.

As I mentioned above, this is with the very same DVD +RW disc I used for good burns a few weeks ago, and I have also tried a brand new one from the very same box. Consistently good before is consistently bad now, at least in terms of PI errors.

Strange is the fact that the PI failures remain about the same.

I’m also back to firmware 059, but as I mentioned before, this seems to make no difference in the quality of the burn, nor does switching versions of Nero.

I have tried uninstalling the drive and allowing it to reinstall, also without any apparent difference. The drive is recognized, DMA is activated (according to Nero); the problem remains: sky-high PI error rates, averaging from 200 to 300. When the drive was brand new I got burns every time with these same discs with average PI error rates around 20.

I thought about drive overheating (or rather blank overheating, more likely) as a possible cause, too. But I get the same problem even if the computer has just been turned on, apparently ruling out this possibility as well.

It’s not the read, either. On the early discs I burned I still show very good results, with DVD +R (CMC MAG F01): average PI errors around 6, average PI failures around 0.1, for example.

I’m just about out of ideas except for the laser problem. Do lasers get weaker over time or do they just fail?

Any thoughts still welcome.


If the drive is not too old, you might want to try for some warranty service. Otherwise, the laser lens may be dirty. I doubt the laser will “weaken.” You may wish to try a cd lens cleaner disc, although I have no experience with this.

So, as you suggested (thanks!) I have tried the CD lens cleaner disc, and I have now managed to get some burns that are similar to those I got when the drive was new:

DVD+RW (RICOHJPN W11, the very same disc with which I got the bad results)

Maximum PI errors: 105
Average: 44.06

Maximum PI Failures: 32
Average: 1.33

When I use nero to burn files by placing them into the VIDEO_TS folder, however, the results are often (but not always) quite bad. DVD Shrink uses nero, too, I believe, but produced generally much better burn results. Strange… What also puzzles me:

I’ve been using RITEK R02 discs (DVD +R, Tevion label) lately, and while the PI error average hovers between 40 and 50, the PI failures are similar to other discs, where I got much lower PI error averages (RICOH JPNR01, PI error average 2.08, PI failure average 0.3; for the RITEK R02, PI error average 43.22, PI failure average, 0.26).

Is there no relationship between the PI error rate and the PI failure rate? The Nero quality scores are similar, ranging from 25 to 60.

Despite all, however, I have still yet to encounter a PO failure or burn a coaster. Even the worst burns are still readable by my stand-alone Cyberhome CH-505.

Glad the cleaner worked. If the discs play in the standalone player, then I wouldn’t worry so much about the scans.