Questions regarding LITE-ON LDW-401S firmware

the first thing i did as a newbie was to READ READ READ and SEARCH SEARCH SEARCH with the search button. but, try as i must, i just can’t pinpoint the answers to some of my basic questions. most things i read either refer strictly to Lite-On CD burners and/or don’t discuss anything about ltnflash.

scenario:
i have a Lite-On LDW-401S, windowsXP, and it came flashed with firmware ES0E. i have memorex 4x DVD+R.

  1. if i were to flash it to ES0J from liteon’s webpage, would i be able to use 401@411 later down the line if i wanted to? i ask, because liteon’s webpage says it can’t be flashed down and i don’t know how upgrading the flash would affect doing a 401@411

  2. to “flash down” (supposing i’m dissatisfied with ES0J), do i use mtkflash with the binaries from liteon’s website, or must i use a hacked firmware to be able to flash up and flash down? or do i use ltnflash (there’s that bad word) to do this?

  3. if i were to successfully perform a 401@411, then wanted to upgrade the firmware later on, how would i do this? on lite-on’s website, it says that they “will no longer support illegal firmwares”. i’m assuming they are talking about 401@411. would i have to use a hacked firmware binary? what if i didn’t use mtkflash?

  4. i see people posting graphs of their DVD burns. i have tried looking for a guide here on how to read and interpret those graphs, but without luck.

  5. the firmwares on other sites, are they hacked firmwares? i suppose something was done, because the firmwares from Lite-On just say to “click on the exe file and let it take care of it”, whereas people here like using bin(ary) files for mtkflash in DOS mode.

  6. if i were to upgrade my firmware from lite-on’s website, could i flash down later with mtkflash (even though the website says that i can’t flash down).

because of all the problems people are encountering with their media and with high blank DVD costs, i have yet to flash my drive or even burn with my LDW-401S. call me scared. i just want to be sure i have everything in place before producing expensive coasters.

i’ve flashed firmware before, so i’m not a complete noob, but i am still a noob nonetheless.

The .bin files are what must be used to change the firmware with ltnflash or mtkflash. You can get the .bin file easily by opening the .exe file with a hexeditor and searching for the pattern that signifies the beginning of the actual firmware information (I believe the pattern is “02 06 A1 02” (make sure this pattern doesn’t appear more than once). Cut out everything above that pattern. After that, go to address “0F FFFF” and cut out everything after that. Save the file as a .bin. Or if you used the .exe to update to (for example) ES0J, you can use ltnflash to backup the firmware file and this will be the same thing as extracting it from the .exe. The only difference will be the very top part of the firmware. This is the “boot code” and the .exe doesn’t always update the boot code. I think using something like ltnflash or mtkflash is the only way to go back to earlier firmware, but I am not 100% sure.

I haven’t done the 401@411 to my 401, but all of the guides I have read do it with ES0G on the 401 before making the change. I don’t know if this is matters though. If you decide to do the 401@411, I have no idea how you upgrade the firmware on the 401@411 drive. I don’t know if the .exe files from LiteOn will work, or if you have to use .bin files, or if it is more complex and you have to do stuff with the eeprom (ie change the eeprom, update firmware, change back the eeprom).

I have upgraded my 401 from ES0G to ES0J and I ahve noticed no difference at all. The drive still works fine and no coasters.

The only advantages of using .bin files instead of the .exe is that you don’t have to reboot after upgrading, you can back up your existing firmware before upgrading, you can downgrade if you want to, and you can force the boot code to change (I don’t really think this is important). There may be other reasons, but I am not sure.

But technically you shouldn’t be using ltnflash or modifying the eeprom.

well, i’m going to try to just find an ES0J bin and flash my 401S from there, rather than to use the exe from lite-on. what i’ll do from there, i don’t know yet. at least with the bin, i’ll have the option to flash up or down.

Well you can flash up with the ES0J.exe, but if you want to flash down you will need to use a .bin and something like mtkflash. What I am trying to say is using the .exe to go up will not keep you from going down later (using, for example, ES0G.bin and mtkflash). Of course you would need to back up your old firmware with something like mtkflash before doing the upgrade to ES0J with the exe. It should be no different than using mtkflash and the .bin.