I have searched countless pages and read thousands of posts concerning my burning issues. I have spent many free days slaving over a solution, but now I’m fed up with wasting my time and I’m asking you for some help!
I originally purchased my external DVD writer, the Liteon LDW-851SX, in April 2004. Since that time, I have had so many burning issues that I cannot possibly count or recall all of them. The one word that keeps coming up is “unreliable.” Out of the 300 DVDs I’ve burned, 104 have been “bad.” The upside is that I have made a bare white wall in my flat nice with by decorating it with all these bad discs.
I have tried different media, different firmware, +R vs -R, different USB 2.0 ports, different burning software with different versions, and different cables.
The errors I get in Nero have to do with SCSI commands aborting. The errors I get in DVD Decrypter have to do with semaphores timing out and invalid write addresses. The errors I get with Alcohol 120% have to do with invalid write addresses. These errors can happen at the very beginning of burning a disc anywhere until the disc is 99% completed. CopyToDVD and Sonic RecordNow! Deluxe burn all the way through without giving errors, but then the discs have several different accessing problems. For discs that burn without errors, the following applies. If I burn a DVD with several files, let’s say a DVD containing 25 episodes of Seinfeld that I recorded from the television, any of the following could happen on the burned disc :
- The entire disc will not be readable in my Liteon LDW-851SX drive or my QSI SBW-242 internal laptop CD-RW burner. The green access light will blink forever, but nothing will get accessed. This has two variations. The first is such that I can see the files I’ve burned to the DVD but never be able to access any of them. The second variation is such that the DVD will not be accessible at all.
- The disc will be readable, but when I play back the episodes, one or more will have “freezing” issues. I call these “bad spots” for lack of a better name. The action will just stop and the green accessing light will come up as if the DVD drive is trying to read the information. This happens on both drives. I can eject the disc, reinsert it, start up the episode again, but move to a spot past this “bad spot” and it will start playing normally again. Undoubtedly, it will happen again at a later point in the episode. Sometimes the bad spots work themselves out before I can reach for the eject button, but this is very rare.
- The disc will be readable, but the last episode (or two) will not play at all and cause the same accessing issues in #2 above.
- The disc will play completely without any problems mentioned above.
In my situation, it seems that the problems can happen anytime. I could burn two bad DVDs, then a perfect one, then a bad one again. One thing I’ve noticed is that the drive doesn’t like to work through unpowered USB hubs, despite the drive having its own power supply. The drive actually prefers certain USB sockets on my laptop itself. I have three USB 2.0 ports on my computer. According to the documentation that came with this laptop, I’m using a SiS 7001 PCI to USB Open Host Controller. I have read that there are known issues with the SiS 7001, but don’t know much more about it than that. Regardless, the writer will not burn any DVDs when connected to the third port (one, rarely), and when connected to the first and second port, it will burn about 70% and 50% of the time, respectively. This leads me to believe that I need to do something about these USB ports.
Other than my experience with the USB part of my experiments, I have checked the drive out completely and am using the proprietary USB 2.0 cable. Up until recently, I was using the standard GS0P firmware (the latest), but since then I’ve flashed to the CG5J and now have a LDW-851SX@SOHW-832S. This really hasn’t done anything noticeable because I have so many issues with the drive already.
As for the media, I can paste my media findings in a post if needed. I will say, however, have found the media that works best for me is either TDK [DVD+R:MBIPG101-R04-001] or Sony [DVD+R:SONY-D11-000]. If I, for example, use Philips media [DVD+R:INFOME-R20-000] that I bought in a recent trip to Berlin, Germany, I burn wall of shame ornaments every single time. It’s hard to get Verbatim or Taiyo Yuden media here in the country in which I’m currently living (Poland), so I haven’t been able to test much out. As for asking about whether I can acquire other types of media, it’s very difficult. These people here in Poland 1. Don’t speak anything other than Polish 2. Don’t have much experience with the different DVD medias. 3. Even at the specialist places that deal specifically in CD and DVD recordable media have old geezers working there who don’t know the difference between DVD-R and DVD+R… I digress.
My chances of burning a good DVD seem to be best when I am burning many DVDs in a row, when I’m using DVD+Rs (DVD-R never work), and when I’m using a program that burns files like bin/cue or iso. If my hard drive has been optimised and my computer has been freshly rebooted, chances are better. I should mention that I store all the files which I burn on my Maxtor OneTouch II external USB 2.0 300 Gb hard drive. I’ve never had any problems with this drive.
I suppose the other main issue is my laptop’s internal QSI SBW-242 not liking any DVDs I burn. In fact, it only likes CD-R/W’s and manufactured discs of all types. This really doesn’t bother me much so I’d prefer not to dwell on this issue, but if anyone out there knows anything about it, I’d appreciate some support.
Other than the above information about my DVD burning problems, which took me a very long time to write, there isn’t much more that I can tell you. As for my computer, I have a two year-old Alienware Area-51m 766 laptop running Windows XP Home with SP2 and Zone Alarm Pro. My software is always up-to-date with the latest patches and I have no viruses.
Although I’m searching for advice and help, I have done quite a bit of research on my own and consider myself computer savvy (not a “newbie”). I believe that I have narrowed down my list of possible complications to the USB 2.0 controller on my laptop, but perhaps I’m wrong. If this is the case, I also have a firewire port on the laptop. It’s a small one, about 6mm wide and 4mm high. I don’t know anything about firewire or their ports. Perhaps they have some different sizes? The port itself maybe has four or five pins arranged in such a way: [ | | | | | ]. Sorry, it’s so small that I can’t count them. My DVD drive doesn’t have firewire capability, so if I’m to go this route, I will need to know what the best external firewire-capable drive is. Another option, if the USB is indeed the problem, I could buy a USB 2.0 PCMCIA (CardBus) adapter. I have one slot on my laptop, and it’s free. According to the documentation that came with my computer, I have a O2Micro OZ711M1 MemoryCardBus Controller. If this is a good option, I will need to know what the best card to purchase would be, and if it will be reliable. I’m sick of these problems and I’m ready for a quick and easy solution, regardless of the cost. Regardless of the cost should read: I will buy some new hardware or a new drive, but I’m not going to go buy a new computer! I can tell you that with all these problems I’ve been having, my next computer will be a desktop.
I appreciate any assistance that anyone can give me in solving this problem, or telling me the best route to take in getting new hardware or a new burner if necessary! Many thanks!