After reading the promising preview here on cdfreaks.com, I recently bought the AD-7173A.
After a few burns I was really happy with the results and so I did a bunch of backups of some older audio discs. Unfortunately 90% resulted in coasters, although the burn process was successful! Strangely, two discs were perfectly ok. I then started investigating (thinking of bad media, trying another brand, etc, etc), and the result is this: my 7173A is in perfect working order, I can burn 100% ok whatever I want as long as using write modes DAO or TAO.
BUT: as soon as I use RAW mode (or DAO/96, which is like RAW96), and the content is more than soemthing around 400MB, the problem happens: it turns out to be unreadable, although burn process is always reported as successful. If it is less than around 400MB, the discs are ok!
And as copyCD function in my burning program works per default with RAW mode, that’s why I got all those coasters. Now, funny thing is, the coasters (the ones with more than 400) are partly ok: until that “barrier” of 400, the cd is readable (although getting worse quality when approaching that “limit”), after which then there is no reading possible. With audio cds one sees that nicely, until a certain track the disc can be played, then distortion starts to enter the audio and the next track to that is unreadable. Data is the same: you can mount and read the content but any data that is located physically beyond that “barrier” is completely unreadable (system reports: bad block).
Now, the thing is perfectly visible when looking at the disc surface! Every in RAW-mode burned CD-R that has >400MB does look the SAME! It stops the burned area (different color, as we all know) at a point around 3/4 of surface but not with sharp edge as normal, but blurred edge, and from then on NOTHING is burned! Although the drive keeps on writing and even finalizing the disc, saying success!! So that explains why the discs are only readable until that “magic” point. If the content is less (I tried with 330, and 390MB), then the discs look (and are) perfectly normal, burned area with sharp edge corresponding to size of content.
I did everything I could to come to these conclusions (meaning I have about a dozen coasters lying around arghh ), so that I could present you guys a clear situational report hoping anyone has a good idea how to solve this problem, if possible…
As I said, it only appears in RAW mode. Everything else works 100%.
My system: I have Linux and burn with K3B (using cdrkit), but I also tried the same thing on a WIN98 install I have lying around with Nero, and it was exactly the same: RAW mode (called DAO/96 there) produced unreadable discs, looking 100% the same like all other coasters I already produced like this.
This just to say that it is NO software issue, and I am certain it can’t be hardware, as everything else burns fine. So, it must be Firmware, no? Or is this a common bug with NEC drives?
The firmware of the drive is 1-01.
Ah, and yes, I have tried with two totally different CD-R media. One of them is good quality Sony 48x (D21).
Anyone else having this problem? Any solution? I don’t want to flash the modified firmware from this site to it because of warranty, but is there maybe an official 1-02 ?
Not that this RAW-mode is something I couldn’t live without, I could simply tell the program to use DAO mode for copying and that’s ok… but now that I’m this far with investigations I thought give it a try here. As this seems a fascinating bug, never seen a disc burned like that! lol
Well, thanks for any efforts in advance. Happy burning!