Plextor 708A - Is there any hope?

Hello, I have a plextor 708a running through a USB 2.00 external casing and it has been working perfectly well now for about 9 months. Within the last week the drive itself has become more noisey and to be honest about 80% of the DVDs I am burning are comming out as coasters. To add insult to injury the drive is making coasters of CDs.

I am using 5.x something of nero and as I say all has been fine. Even after upgrading to SP2 on XP it was fine.

As I say the drive is more noisey and it is generating a clicking noise (as soon as I hear I know the disk is unsuable). When looking at the disks it looks like the rings of saturn where there are gaps where the information should be.

I was running 1.04 firmware and I am using Datasafe Ritek G04 disks all which I have had no problems with in the past.

I am hoping that this is something trivial as it needs cleaning but any help or other things to try would be greatly appreciated.

P.S if it is cleaning can anybody suggest the best way to do this (product etc)

I hope someone can help.


**** Note: I have just read another thread about DMA and PIO stuff and dirty disks. I will check this as well as I have been reading information from some scratched disks recently (which takes a while) so the settings may have changed. ****

Upgrade your Nero burn to the latest version which is and upgrade to the latest plextor firmware 1.08.

DVD_Addict, thanks for the reply. I have had no problems in the past with either Nero 5.4x (i think), media or firmware why would I need to upgrade? I would normally agree to update everything to the latest version but because it worked for my setup I have not changed. I have the latest Nero software I was entitled to free which overcome a buffer underun problem. I have tried 1.08 and still no joy so have put myself back to 1.04 for the time being. Someone at work has mentioned it could be the power supply to the USB 2.00 case it is housed in dropping. As I mentioned it looks like (on DVDS) it writes then skips and then writes again leaving gaps. Also forgot to mention that it seems to read disks without any problems.


Have you tried to run the self-test on your drive? If your drive is making these kind of sounds then it’s usually an indication that there is a hardware problem… Is your drive still under warranty? If your self-test fails (look in the FAQ or your manual on how to perform this test) then RMA the drive as soon as possible. Your problem is not related to the power supply as the Plextor uses its own external power supply and doesn’t draw its power from the USB interface.

Thanks G@M3FR3@K. The drive is less than 12 months although I am not sure I send the warranty card off ;-(. I will check the FAQ and tun the self test. Thanks again for all your help.


Sorry I have had a look on the site but I cant find the FAQ which would explain how to run a self-test. If someone could point me in the right direction it would be appreciated. Also does anyone know how I would stand on RMA a drive when I purchased the drive from ebay. I doubt I kept any sort of receipt although feedback would have been left and a bank transaction would have taken place.

Are Plextor going to just tell me to go away or does anyone have any experience of RMA drives in this situation. Thanks again.

Sorry, I meant the FAQ on this forum. It’s located here. Are you using the drive in an original Plextor external case or are you using a different case? If you’re using the original case then there is a switch on the back which should allow you to do the self-test. You’d have to take a look in your manual for more info. If you’re using an unofficial case I think you’ll have to take out the drive and use it internally in your computer before you can test it. Plextor is generally very good at handling defective drives. Just contact them and explain your problem. I’m sure you can work something out. Keep us posted!

Direct link for the PX-708A internally: How do I run the self-diagnostic tests on the PlexWriter PX-W4012A, PX-W4824TA, PX-W5224A, Premium, PX-708A and PX-712A drive?

Thanks for the swift reply. I am using it in an unofficial case as I have a portable computer. Thanks for the link I will take a look at the procedure.


Good luck, and remember that I said: you need to take the drive out of its external case and build it into a normal computer before you can use the self-test. This is a disadvantage of using an unofficial external case. When you do build your drive into a normal desktop computer you can then also try if the drive works well there. If it does it could be a problem with your external case although it’s unlikely since it worked fine before. Anyway, keep us updated and good luck.

The self test does not need a computer, just power. Disconnect the ATAPI cable and supply +5/+12. Jumper the drive correctly then run the test using recommended media.

If you don’t have the receipt, but the drive is less than 12 mos old from manufactured date (for US only, 2yrs in EU) , you can still get warranty service.

from personal experience, the RMA is pretty painless, and they ship it out pretty quick. I just made sure and game them the results of the self-test. It tends to speak for itself.

Good morning. Here is a new twist? Went home from work last night and booted the laptop up and drive. Installed 1.08 and PlexTools Professional 2.17 (or whatever the latest was). Rebooted and burned 2 CD and 1 DVD without any problems before the second DVD and the same problem occurs. What I did notice again was that when I open up nero it removes the buffer underunflag from plextools professional for the drive.

The source for the DVD is on an external hard disk, again connected Via USB. It is a 4 Port USB 2.0 PCMCIA card. Now I am starting to think it may be buffer underrun problems again.

I do not have Nero 6, does anyone know if the demo version will still allow me to burn the DVD to see if the latest version will overcome my problems?


P.S Will still try and run the self test

I do not have Nero 6, does anyone know if the demo version will still allow me to burn the DVD to see if the latest version will overcome my problems?

Installed the latest version of nero and first disk I burned worked a treat. Not countiing my chickens just yet as plextools still shows “Buffer Underun Proof” off. Will reboot and try another one soon and keep an eye. As ever thanks to everyone who has helped and I will let you know how I get on.


Still having problems. Will attempt to run the self-test tonight (not very hardware minded). Just so I can rule out certain things can someone tell me where I would check to made sure DMA is set within XP as well? Tried burning an ISO with DVDDecrypter this morning (which failed) and the device buffer was bouncing all over the place as well. Tried burning the same ISO through Nero and it failed as well.

Thanks Keith

can someone tell me where I would check to made sure DMA is set within XP as well?

here is a link showing you how to enable DMA in XP with pictures.

Looking at the instructions (thanks DVD_ADDICT) I am just thinking, would DMA apply if I am using connecting via a PCMCIA USB 2.00 Card to my computer?

Nope. When using the drive via the USB 2.0 interface there is no DMA setting. If your buffer is bouncing then there is a problem with the interface. Does your laptop support USB 2.0?? Have you tried updating the drivers for your USB 2.0 card?

The laptop itself does not have usb 2.00 ports, I am using a 4 port USB 2.00 PCMCIA card. As I say I have an external hard disk and the drive connected through the card (so not the best setup I guess) I am thinking with the introduction of SP2 is where my problems have started!! I will see if I can update the drivers, I doubt there will be any generic PCMCIA Card drives I can use so I will see if I have the details of the manufacture.

Thanks again everyone.

Although not this card I think mine is the same

I cant remember that the card came with any drivers disk so I am assuming it is using a standard windows driver. This being the case I am assuming because I have SP2 I am going to have the latest driver and if there is a problem it is a compatablilty problem between the card and XP. I think I will flatten my machine and load XP back on