Problem with burn errors using Plextor PX-712SA

I hate to have to burden everyone with my problems - but after having tried to work it out on my own for weeks now I really do need all the help I can get.

I have a Plextor PX-712SA sata dvd drive hooked up to an Asus A8N-SLI motherboard.

My problem is that I am trying to do a backup of the kids DVD movies to save on the originals - they probably won’t notice the quality reduction anyway.

So I use DVD shrink to rip the DVD to my HDD and that works fine enough and the .vob files look like they are ok - I tried testing with cdcheck and it doesn’t report any read errors.

But when I try to burn the files to a blank DVD 5 out of 7 times the disc doesn’t work.

I’ve tried using both Nero 6 SE and CloneDVD 2 and it’s the same problem with both.

Usually both Nero and CloneDVD will tell me that the burn process completed successfully but if I try using verify in Nero or CD-DVD speed they will both report numerous inaccessible, damaged or corrupted files and most of the time trying to get the DVD to run in a DVD player is useless.

I have tried to do burns both with and without the nvidia nforce chipset driver installed and I have upgraded the firmware on both the PX-712SA and on the motherboard.

I’ve tried closing down all the programs I could to make sure that it wasn’t another program causing the problem (couldn’t close Windows Defender).

I’ve tried using different DVD medias - I even borrowed some from a friend who has been using them for ages without any problems at all (Prodye) and I’ve tried with both DVD-R and +R medias.

However no matter what I’ve tried I just can’t get an even stabil burn although some of the discs are worse than others I’ll have to admit.

But what am I doing wrong - or am I just bad out of luck and at the end of the road?

Please help me - cause I really need it.

I’ve attached a screendump from CD-DVD speed just to show you all the pretty little red dots at the end of the test (the test never reached 100%)

  • Regards
    JiveFive

I forgot to mention that I have tried burning at both 4x, 6x and 8x speed.

Also I’ve made som DVDs with clips of the kids and I have no problems burning those - but they are smaller than a full DVD - around 3.7GB so perhaps that has something to do with it.

JiveFive

Unreadable sectors are usually a result of bad media. Software doesn’t affect readability, defects in the media does; spots, cheap dye, scratches etc. You may not be able to see them. Only use good media, don’t try to save a couple of dollars buying cheap crap. Most media by Verbatim, Maxell, Sony or Fuji are good. If you can find some that say made in Japan, buy them, they are probaby Taiyo Yuden, arguably the best out there. Basically I only use TY and Verbs.
Try Rima.com and get some TY or Verbs.

Your 712 has been around a while. Is it in a smoking environment - very bad on optical drives, the smoke oil makes other stuff in the air stick to things like mad. When is the last time it got a good cleaning? Cleanliness is next to godliness with optical drive systems. I disassemble my drives and clean them manually but most are probably not up for that. So I recommend a wet system drive cleaning kit from a respected manufacturer like 3M or Diskwasher.

Another possibility is that d__ned Sony DRM spyware. If you’ve played any Sony audio disks on your PC lately, you better check to see if it’s on the list of those that carry that malware payload. That stuff really messes with DVD burning and other optical drive processes. Get rid of it! While you’re at it, do a thorough scan for all viruses and other malware just to be safe.

And a new firmware update just came out: 1.09 - that shouldn’t make that much of a diff unless you are burning TDK media, but do it anyway .

.bh.

Hi Ricoman

Well I have tried several different types of media and it seems that when I don’t write to full capacity it works fine - ie. 3.7 GB that DVD MovieFactory use as a limit.

Also I am using Prodye medias that was recommended to me by a friends who has been using them for years without experiencing anything like this.

But I will try some HQ medias just to see if it changes things.

  • JiveFive

I was just wondering - is there anyway I can determine where on the disc the errors are located?

Cause I have a bad feeling that this has something to do with writting stuff beyond the 3.7 GB mark mentioned earlier and perhapse it has something to do with writting to a specific area of the disc … just guessing here.

To Zepper - the drive is only about a year old and most of that time it has been in a smoke free environment but still I guess I’ll try to give it a good clean.

  • JiveFive

Yeah, I was thinking 712A which was introduced in late spring of 2004, but yours is the SA which came out later.

.bh.

Try a quality scan, I believe plextools will do it. I don’t know if Plextor is supported on CD/DVDspeed for quality tests. Obviously your problem is with the last 8% of the disc. MCC is good media, same as most Verbatim discs, they should burn fine at 8x. Look at your disc under a bright light with a magnifying glass to see if there is a visual defect.

In what way do you think a quality scan will help in figuring out the problem?

The ScanDisc test included above shows that the disc has damaged and unreadable sectors, so I don’t see how a quality scan will tell us something we don’t already know. The question isn’t whether the disc is bad (it is), but rather why it is bad.

It might show the general quality of the media, we know it is unreadable at the end, how about the rest of the disc? It’s just a process of elimination. If the burn is good up to the end then it could be a scratch, dirt, dye bubble or one specific defect. If there are high errors or bad jitter throughout, then you tryanother and look for a bad batch or the burner could be on it’s way out.

JiveFive: Do you know how to do a diagnostic self-test? It’s in the manual, if you still have it, but it’s also described here:

http://www.plextor.com/english/support/faqs/HW00008.htm

Don’t forget to use recommended media like Taiyo Yuden or Verbatim. If it fails, well, that’s probably it for your drive. I’m guessing you’re in Europe, and if you still have the receipt from when you bought it, your 712SA should still be covered under warranty.

Hi ftp1020

Thank you for helping out - I read up on the self-diagnostics test and unfortunately the 712SA sata drive doesn’t have a built in self-diagnostics test even though the document you directed me to states that it also applies to the SA version - the manual states that it doesn’t. Wierd part is that the directions in the guide on plextors own website that you directed me to tells you to remove your atapi cable and reconfigure the jumpers on the drive … kinda wierd considering that the sata drive doesn’t have jumpers and doesn’t use an atapi cable - lol

Anyway I am trying to sum things up here and as far as I can tell it just doesn’t make sense for it to be due to bad quality medias - cause they all fail in the last 25% of the disc and my friend has no trouble writing full discs of the same make also if the medias were bad then I would expect to see errors spread all over the discs and not just at the end.

Further I don’t think that dirt can explain the behavior - again if for instance the optics were dirty then I would expect to see errors all over the discs.

Which leads me to belive that the problem really lies in the drive itself - but am I right to think so? - could this at all be due to some wierd driver issue or perhapse a problem with the motherboard?

No one has posted any thoughts on that but is that because the problem isn’t related to this in your opinion?

  • JiveFive

It very well could be the burner. Try one last thing give a couple of blank disc from the same spindle to your buddy and have them burn it. Compare them to your burns. Blank media is made with two pieces of plastic with dye between. When they spread the dye, they do it by spining the disc. Sometime this results in the outer ends having an uneven coat of dye. So you could have part of a disc burn well, then have problems. If your buddy’s burns are good, try RMAing the drive. I had an 8 mo. old liteon 811S that started to suddenly giving me bad burns and Newegg prorated it and I bought a new drive with the refund.

It could be a dust bunny or something else ( a piece of a CD label), a foreign object (do you have kids? :wink: ), etc. Not hard to take the lid off for a look-see.

.bh.

Jive Five,
The 716SA does do a self test. I’ve run one on mine. See section 6 pages 104 and 105 of the user’s manual. Here’s a cut of the pages from the manual. The diagram for the jumper position is not shown.

Material which follows is copyrighted by Plextor

Section 6. Maintenance and Troubleshooting
104 PX-716 Installation and Users Manual
Using the PX-716SA Self-Test Diagnostics
The PX-716SA drive contains a set of self-test diagnostics that can help
isolate trouble and determine if a problem is in the drive or elsewhere.
NOTE: Using the self-test diagnostics requires opening the computer and
adding a jumper to the rear panel of the drive. If you’re are not
comfortable with opening your PC and adding a jumper, you may want to
let someone with more experience handle this aspect of troubleshooting
for you.
To perform the tests you’ll need:
• Tools to remove the computer’s cover
• A jumper (supplied)
• A blank piece of Plextor-recommended DVD+R, DVD-R, or CD-R
media. (See page 114 or visit our web site.) The self-test will write to
this media, so you won’t be able to use this disc again.
This tests three functions of the drive: writing at maximum speed,
continuous playback at maximum speed, and random access.
To perform the self-test:

  1. Turn the computer’s power OFF, unplug it from its power source,
    and open the computer to gain access to the rear of the PX-716SA
    drive. Typically, this involves loosening or removing several screws
    on the back panel of your computer and sliding off the cover. (See
    Figure 21 for an example.)
    CAUTION: Before you attempt to open your computer be sure to
    properly ground yourself by wearing an anti-static wristband. This will
    help prevent static damage to your computer system.
    You should be able to see the back of the PX-716SA drive connected
    to the SATA cable and power connector. There are two cable
    connections to the drive: the left-hand connection is a 15-pin SATA
    power cable. The right-hand connection is a 7-pin SATA interface
    cable.

Section 6. Maintenance and Troubleshooting
PX-716 Installation and Users Manual 105
NOTE: You may have to remove the drive from the computer to
perform the next two steps.
2. Hold the SATA interface cable (the left-hand cable) at its connection
to the PX-716SA drive. Carefully remove the SATA cable from the
drive by pulling the cable gently rearward. Leave the SATA power
cable attached to the drive.
3. Note the self-test/DMA jumper at the rear of the PX-716SA. If no
jumper is installed, place a jumper across the two pins.
Figure 55: Add the PX-716SA self-test/DMA jumper to
enable the self-test diagnostics
4. If you removed the drive for access to the cable and self-test/DMA
jumper, slide it back into the computer and reconnect the power
cable to the drive. (Do not connect the SATA interface cable.)
5. Replace the computer’s cover and re-connect the computer’s power
cord to the power source.
CAUTION: Turning on the computer power without first replacing the
cover can be dangerous to the computer’s components and also to
you. Be aware of the danger of electric shock and do not touch any
components inside the computer.
6. While pressing the eject button on the PX-716SA, turn the computer
power on. Continue to press the eject button. The LED indicator
blinks green, then amber, and the tray ejects.

End Plextor materials.

This manual is available at http://www.plextor.com/english/support/manuals/manuals.html

select the " PX-716A /SA(Atapi and Serial ATA) - English" Hyperlink to download.

Good Luck,

rcubedcuber

JiveFive: Sorry about that link; I just checked the FAQ and then made sure the link worked, but I didn’t actually read it all in detail. I’m convinced your drive has a problem and it may be time to just call/email Plextor SA and see about an RMA.

rcubedcuber: I hope that does work on his 712SA, but my manual seems to indicate it probably won’t:

Good luck, though!

Sorry guys,
I misread his plextor model as a 716SA not 712SA. Chalk it up to late night tired eyes or old age. If he does update to the 716SA then it will work :-).

After the problems I had with compatability with the SATA interface (I have an Asus A7N8X - Deluxe mobo and had to use an adapter card I think I’d recommend the EIDE interface if one is available on mobo. I had used all of mine. Still have problems with playing DVDs using DVDMax Player (stuttering). Other than that the drive has been working super including doing 6x DL burns with Verbatim +R DLs. For singles I stick to TY’s.

Again I appologize for not reading his post very carefully. Shame on me.

Rcubedcuber

Hi rcubedcuber

That’s ok - I got confused as well.

The reason I even went with the SATA version was that I had problems using the IDE controller on the mobo to begin with … I really have to stop buying Asus mobos.

Anyway I just posted a support request on Plextors site - let’s hope they have a solution.

  • JiveFive

By now you may have already solved your problem, but in case anyone else checks this forum (Like I did), this is what worked for me.
I smoke, and having read the thread regarding a smoke filled room took my drive apart completely and cleaned the lens with metholated spirits. I just had to make sure that the lens was dry and no residue of the spirits was left. Cottonbud seems to work best.
I am a total “noob” (newbie) and just know enough to leave things alone that I think may pose a problem. This advise was well worth the try.
Motherboard:
Asus A8N-SLI Deluxe
CPU:
AMD x 2 4200mhz
Memory:
4 x 512mb Geil Value DDR
Harddrives:
Seagate 250gb IDE (Boot)
Maxtor 160gb SATA1
Seagate 120gb IDE
Optical drives:
Plextor 712sa DVD Burner
LG CD burner
LG DVD rom
PSU:
Hiper"R" 580watt
Sound:
Soundblaster XFi Extreme music
Input devices:
Logitech S105 Keyboard
MX Revolution mouse
Pro 4000 webcam
Backup:
Seagate 250gb External hard drive