Optiarc AD-7173A serious problems with RAW write mode

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! :eek:
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 :rolleyes: ), 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? :confused: Or is this a common bug with NEC drives? :wink:
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 :bigsmile: 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! :cool:

2 days and no replies yet… Nobody out there having this problem? No idea what’s going on? With so many people here somebody must have tried burning cds in raw mode, no? I just can’t imagine this being specific for my hardware/software combination, as everything else works well… :rolleyes:

This shouldn’t be happening.
Have you tried your Optiarc in another PC? If it still does that, get it replaced.

No, I haven’t yet tried in another pc. But it seems very weird, how can the drive be defective if it does ALL the rest 100% well? I mean, I can burn everything, except CD-R at RAW mode… This can’t be a defect… only a bug… and then who knows, if I have it replaced the next one might do exactly the same… this would mean going though the hassle of having it replaced for nothing… No, I won’t do that, as I can live without RAW mode. I just thought, maybe this has some solution I don’t know, which someone already discovered. Also I wanted to know if others were experiencing the same…
So, I think next thing I’m going to do is update the firmware to official 1-02. Maybe then it’s gone… I’m pretty sure it’s a bug… I remember having a philips dvd burner that in some modes produced coasters in a very strange way: it started correctly, then left out some space on the disc and continued the burn further away, resulting in a surprising visible effect when looking at the disc, and perfectly unreadable for whatever drive on the planet :bigsmile:
That wasn’t a defect also, it was a bug (also I never bothered solving it, as it was enough to switch to another mode, i think dao did the trick.)

Well, just tried updating the firmware: failure! :eek:
It started flashing, but then said update failed. I was shocked thinking: “now my drive is ruined, left with incomplete firmware!!” but fortunately that didn’t happen, it must have failed before writing anything to eeprom. Maybe that firmware is not compatible afterall?! Should be, I mean, even the filename of the executable said AD-7173A 1-02… :confused:
I don’t know, at least it’s very strange, and I haven’t the slightest idea what to do. The only thing I tried was win safe mode, but this was a complete show-stopper: said aspi error and sit there. So, I suppose I can’t update the firmware, no? :rolleyes:
Too bad, one never knows, they could have solved this RAW write issue in the 1-02 version…

Hi, I have Optiarc AD-7173A with firmware version 1.03, under WinXP SP2, and have exactly the same problem as described here.:sad:
The problem appears during writing of audio-CDs.
With Feurio!, the burning always ends quickly with error (seek error) somewhere around the 730-750th sector. With Nero, no errors are reported, but in fact only about 2/3 of content is burned - exacly as described here.
I have no ideas how to fight with this issue.:sad:
(the solution I found is to use my good old Teac CD-W58E - it has not any problems, even in the external USB-connected case).
Any ideas?
The only one I have is to write to the technical support :a and ask them
for help…:bow:
Best regards!

Hi Alex,
I’ve never bothered again to try and solve this, because afterall for me it’s no problem, I found out that the DAO copy function of my program works perfectly well, so actually I don’t ever need the RAW mode. That’s what I would do if I was you, start to work only in SAO/DAO…