Problems with burn quality on LH-18A1P

As noted in the firmware hack thread, I have noticed a wee problem with burns on my drive. It was purchased a few weeks ago, and I’ve burned 4 different media on it with the hacked firmware with all options, all options enabled. Two batches were Verbatim DVD+R 16x single layer blue Azo dye discs, 1 batch was Verbatim DVD+R 8x DL blue Azo, and one batch was Verbatim DRD+R 2.4x DL blue Azo. When I look at the burns in Nero InfoTool, they tend to look pretty much the same within the batches.

I first noticed that the drive would not play certain commercial pressed DVD-ROMs, where a DVD/CD-R drive would. This made me start to worry a bit. Then one of the 2.4x DL discs (burned at 4x) would not play in the drive it was burned in, but again would play in the DVD/CD-R drive. At this point, I started doing quality scans on what I’d burned so far. The results were pretty appalling.

First disc I scanned was the one I’d burned that had trouble playing in the Lite-on drive. Here’s what Nero showed me. Amazingly, though, the disc seems to play glitch-free. The big ugly starts at the layer break.
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For kicks, I then tried burning one of the 2.4x DL media at 2.4x rather than 4x. What I saw started to really freak me out. It seems to play, though…
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I checked one of my single layer Verbatim burns and got equally ugly results.
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Then I started looking at discs I’d burned on my old Lite_on drive before it died on me. And they didn’t look any better. Here’s a 16x Verbatim DVD+R DL blue Azo:
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And here’s a 16x Verbatim DVD+R single layer blue Azo, from the same (now dead) Lite-On:
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At this point I was REALLY confused. All these discs seemed to play reasonably well, and I had no indication anything was amiss until a few discs would not play on the new Lite-On. I started to wonder if the problem was somehow with READING discs, and not in the writing; if the drive was not reading correctly, that would give me PIE and PIO numbers, I reasoned to myself (I could be wrong on this, so someone correct me if I’m off base here). I decided to try test burns through Nero CDSpeed.

First I did a DAE test disc, which of course was on a CD-R. Totally flawless.
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At this point, I started to wonder if there was a firmware issue of some kind, since I’d loaded the hacked firmware as soon as I unpacked the drive. I put the original firmware image that I’d backed up back on the drive, but left Hypertuning and SmartBurn turned on. And here is what I got, using the 16x Verbatim DVD+R single layer blue Azo. It wasn’t so horrible after it “settled down”, but those numbers at the beginning are making me tear my hair out.
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At this point I turned off HT and SB, and reset the caches for media history in the drive. I did another four burns on the same media, and it was the same each time.
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Question 1: Could this be a problem with the drive not READING properly? Having checked a bunch of media I burned on my old burner that seemed perfectly fine, and seeing serious “problems” with all of it, I am suspecting the discs are fine and for some reason the error checking is somehow faulty, or the drive itself is. I checked several of the discs listed above in the ScanDisc tab in Nero, and every one I checked came out 100% good. I am having trouble reconciling these results.

Question 2: Is there any chance whatsoever that the firmware might have caused a problem? I am 99.99% sure that that could not have done anything bad to the drive, and it’s something that was wrong with the drive when it shipped from the vendor. If there is really no chance that the firmware somehow screwed it up, I’ll assume (hopefully rightly) that the drive was not in good working condition when I received it, and I’ll send it back to the vendor and get another one from them. Obviously if I screwed it up somehow, I’ll eat it, but if it is a problem with the drive that didn’t come from me flashing the firmware, then I won’t have an ethical problem sending it back for a replacement drive.

Question 3: More of an inquiry… Anything that anyone with experience has to say on any of this would be of help, and would be greatly appreciated. I’m more thahn happy to send someone some discs burned on this burner, if someone would test them on a known good drive with CDSpeed to see if the discs are really that bad, or if it’s a problem with the drive (read head out of alignment/focus?)

I am starting to think I just have the worst luck in the world with DVD burners… I’ve only managed to burn about 25 discs between TWO drives, one that worked well and just up and died not long after I got it, and then this one, which appears to have been bad out of the box. Oy. :sad:

Thanks to everyone for having the community and being willing to pitch in, improve firmware, and offer advice. It’s (and all of you have) been (a) lifesaver(s). :smiley: Thanks.

Two drives, one bad and the other makes bad burns, I know you have probably done this but is you PSU ok?
I have found in the past LG’s were a pain in the ass on power, just wondering if your close or have plenty to spare.

I know you do not have LG but that is one i had trouble with.
I have two 20A1h’s and yous the code’s FW and have great luck,good luck

Yep, I’ve got a solid power supply and I’m running an older 1.6 Ghz Athlon, nothing on the power supply but a few fans, the mo’board, a Maxtor Diamondmax Plus 9 hard drive on one IDE bus and the Lite-On on the other. Should be just fine. I have not done it lately, but in the past I’d thrown a VOMM at the power supply to make sure I was getting rated voltages under load, and there was never a problem. This Lite-On gets a lot hotter than my 1635S, it seems to me, but that still should not be enough more power to cause supply problems. And I would tend to think that it would be more likely to have a problem burning; I can’t be CERTAIN my problem is in the reading, but known good discs from another burner (plus some of my pressed commercial DVDs!) are testing as filled with horrendous errors. It stands to reason there’s probably nothing wrong with the discs or burns (with errors like that, I shouldn’t be able to get perfect CRC checks or glitch-free DVD playback, but I get top marks on both counts for whatever I test that I’ve burned thus far), and I think the symptoms would be more opposite, since I gather it takes more power to actually burn than to read.

Rescan a couple known good media at 8x and post the results… Also a transfer rate test in CDSpeed would help to determine the validity of your scans. A CDSpeed “create disc” graph would also help.

Looking at the burn speed graph in the last couple images, the burn speed is all over the place before it settles down to ~6x or so which suggests the buffer being emptied repeatedly. Be sure your drive is configured correctly in both your BIOS and Windows as UltraDMA Mode 4. Also cancel all background tasks and be sure there are not other programs hogging disk bandwidth.

Don’t throw unneeded variables into the mix by changing Smartburn settings. The drive should work fine as configured from the factory, you’re just wasting your time messing with these settings, then praying it will work. Leave the stock firmware, stock settings, go from there.

FWIW, try to consolidate your posts somehow… Most people aren’t going to want to read a novel in order to help you.