In case anyone is following this thread:
The drive was returned repaired, but with no indication of what went wrong or what was repaired/replaced. It is the same drive I sent in, same serial number.
The firmware, which was at 1.57 was reverted to 1.09. When I purchased it, the firmware was at 1.14.
I haven't tried writing a disc yet, but it's reading CDs and DVDs.
i plan to put the current 1.58 firmware on it....keeping my fingers crossed.