Pioneer 109 External Anomalies

Hi All, first post.

I was using for some time, a Pioneer 107 externally in what I believe was a mentor brand caddie(via USB2). It performed excellently, but recently its success rate went through the floor, coastering most DVDR except Ridisc Extreme.

I landed my hands on a Medion 109 and connected that up. I managed to cross-flash the firmware to A09 1.58 to get the extra features from Quiet Drive utility.

Now, a weird thing occurred. On ripping DVDR, I couldn’t acheive over a 0.7x speed. Retail DVDR were fine. Very frustrating.

I put the 107 back in, and it was fine for ripping. Put the 109 in a PC internally - ripped good speeds.

Changed over the drives again and this time connected the external caddie to a PC, same problems.

For some reason, call it desperation, I flashed the 109 back to the medion firmware and it seemed to fix the problems. Or so I thought. I was able to pickup some RPC1 1.58 firmware and flashed to that…worked fine. The only odd thing was that the Device Buffer in DVD Decrypter was highly erratic - jumping from 18% to 95% constantly. (Not the buffer, the Device Buffer)

I’d ordered a SumEvision external caddie and connected this up. The rip was then fine, but in every burn using DVD Decrypter I got ‘The Semaphore Timeout Period Has Expired’. In Nero - I got a SCSI error. I returned the caddie and got a new one, same problem.(USB2)

I put the other caddie back on, and what do you know…back to 0.7x rips. Eh? Took it off, put it on again. Same problem. Flashed back to the Medion firmare. Still didn’t work. Took connections off, put them on again. Then suddenly, it ripped at full speed again.

What gives on all this? Is it bad caddies? or is the 109 faulty? (Hence why it rips full speed sometimes)

I’ve ordered a BenQ 1640 OEM, but now fear that it just ain’t gonna work in either of the caddies. Should I have gone for an NEC 3540?

These external cases are just crappy, most of them.
I would prefer connecting them via FireWire instead of USB.

Chef, my laptop is a couple years old and only has a 4 pin Firewire connection. Can I use this, if I get a 6-pin to 4-pin cable?

Should work. IIRC, the 2 other pins are only for the power (supply).

But I cannot say it for sure, because I have not much to do with Laptops in general.