ND-3540A timeout problem during POST

I added an ND-3540A burner to my system a while back and started getting intermittent timeouts (long delays) during POST and am looking for suggestions from anybody.

The gist: computer goes through memory check okay, hits the DVD drives, and when I have the ND-3540A in my system it will intermittently just hang during POST for minutes and then proceed with the boot. If I’ve told it to enter BIOS setup during the wait it will come up and will see the ND-3540A just fine as well as my second DVD drive.

I have tried many variations to isolate the issue, but the problem seems to be the presence of the ND-3540A itself and any other DVD drive.

I’ve tried setting it to master and the secondary drive to slave, tried setting both to CS, and have swapped other DVD drives in with the ND-3540A but nothing has really helped.

If the ND-3540A is the only drive in the system (set to master or CS) then there are no issues at all – POST is just like it should be.

If I take the ND-3540A out of my system and swap in other DVD burners or DVD-ROM drives the problem goes away.

I’ve checked in BIOS and both IDE primary channel (where my 2 HD’s live) and secondary channel (both DVD drives) are enabled and set for max-UDMA.

I’m running the latest stock firmware (1.03 I believe).

At times I can CTRL-ALT-DEL while it’s hung up in POST and when it reboots and goes through POST again everything is fine.

I can burn and read DVDs just fine in the drive – it operates perfectly, I just have this incredibly annoying intermittent problem with long timeouts during POST, like the BIOS is looking for something and not seeing it and eventually timing out.

Anyone have any suggestions for me?

Thanks in advance!

what is your motherboard
what is the motherboard chipset
what is the motherboard bios version

It’s a Compaq Presario motherboard. Device manager says I have an Intel 82801BA Ultra ATA storage controller – 244B.

Motherboard chipset is Intel 845.

I’m flashing with the latest version of my BIOS now – hopefully it will help.

BIOS is now 3.04 – the latest and the problem is still there. I had to reboot 10 times before I made it through POST.

Is the drive correctly recognized IN the BIOS?

It may be worth changing the IDE cable and using an 80 conductor type.

Yeah, that’s the weird thing – after the long timeout period it shows up fine in the BIOS and works great burning and reading. I love the drive – it’s FAST and does great, problem free burns.

I’ve changed the cable several times because the original was pretty bent up and am currently using an 80 conductor type (or so the BIOS informs me).

where is the drive on the cable, end or middle?
what is it jumpered
what is the other device on the chain?

Check the COMPAC site for driver updates for your MOBO! Sometimes there will be extra updates in addition to your BIOS!
Safeboot and delete extra hradware in device manager! Be careful man!

this is a hardware, not software compatibility. my guess is an older drive that is not compatible or a cabling jumpering issue

> this is a hardware, not software compatibility. my guess is an older drive that is not compatible or a cabling jumpering issue

The story is actually getting weirder but there may be a light at the end of the tunnel. I talked to a friend of mine that used to repair units coming back to Compaq and he said that me stuffing the unit with upgrades (768MB of memory, 2 big hard drives, 2 optical drives, several PCI cards) may have pushed the power supply to its limit and that might be the issue, particularly if the power draw from the 3540A is higher than other optical drives that I was using.

So I disconnected the power lead from the drive (power was shut off and unplugged to the computer first, of course), and plugged in the power lead (only) from my external drive enclosure so the drive was still cabled up to the computer but being powered by the enclosure instead of the computer’s power supply.

Voila! I rebooted the computer 10 times without any issues and I thought I’d found the underlying problem.

Then I disconnected the power supply from the enclosure and in the process of realigning the power lead from the computer’s power supply I got a weird clicking sound from the power lead and now everything is working beautifully – I can reboot endlessly with everything in my former troublesome configuration and it’s great.

Not sure what’s up with this – I saw this behavior once before where everything was fine until I messed with the cables (but made no essential changes, ie, I unplugged things and replugged them in correctly).

I’m deeply suspicious that this might be a power issue somehow – either an issue with the power lead from the power supply or all of the hardware being initialized at once during POST in combination with a higher power draw from the NEC 3540A than other drives is pushing my power supply over the edge?

I don’t see how this could be a driver or software issue because no software is active during POST except for the BIOS.

At this point it’s working, so unless someone has any other idea I guess I have to wait for it to ‘break’ again and then retry my external power supply trick to see if it fixes it again.


The drive has been all over my cables but always jumpered correctly. In its latest configuration (that used to not work), it’s on the end of the cable and setup as master, with a new Sony DDU1615 DVD-ROM setup as slave in the middle connector. (I think, it’s 2:30am here and I’m utterly exhausted).

They’ve both been set to CS as well – nothing ever really changed the underlying problem and I’ve tried 3 different cables now. Pretty sure it’s not a cable issue. It’s looking to me like it’s power related somehow.

Now if someone could just tell me why my supposed new 16x DVD-ROM player (and my previous NEC 16x DVD-ROM player) can never get beyond 8-9X in Nero speedtest, I’d die a happy man! (The 3540A starts at about 6.8X and quickly races to 16x in the speedtest, but the supposed 16X DVD-ROMs aren’t even close to 16x) using the same test media!

1615 Has a FW that will speed it up! mine did the same thing!



That’s insane! How is it that these drives are all labelled as 16X DVD-ROM drives when none of them even remotely approach that speed?

Is this an outright case of fraud or what am I not understanding here?

Thanks for the link, etp. I think I understand what’s going on now – these “16x drives” that I have only read pressed DVDs at 16X.

Anything that I’ve burned will be read at a maximum of 8X and will start at 4X when it first starts reading.

I think I need to flash the firmware to make it read the DVD-R and DVD+R media at a more aggressive speed.

Thanks again!

You can read 16X single layer pressed DVD on every other odd friday! 12X on some DL DVDs on some readers on a good day/very good day! It’s like it gets over 30 MPG! Sure it does!LOL


My Sony DDU1615 DVD-ROM came with a later firmware version than the patch utility that was on that website (FYS2) and I don’t see any links for that drive on the Sony site to flash it back to the same firmware version that’s in there now (FYS3).

I don’t want to downgrade the firmware to FYS2 to do the experimenting. Any ideas?

Go over to the Sony/liteon forum! I have an old thread on this!

I use two burners these days, but my 1615 is on the shelf and ready to go! Used it when my 716 died!