The well-discussed "Superdrive Not Reading/Burning in Macs"

OK, really need some help here. Thousands have posted complaints that the superdrives, particularly Matshita, just suddenly stopped working in Macs. No one yet can definitively classify the issue as a problem relating to poor drive manufacture, Apple update issues, poor media compatability or just crappy discs.

Personally, I have tried nearly everything I could find to get my drive to recognize blank dvd discs that I have used for several years without a problem. I have used Sony 1x16, Memorex, Verbatim, etc. successfully, but now not one is recognized, simply get the whirrrrr, then it spits out in about 20-30 seconds, with NO ERROR MESSAGE… not even the dreaded “Device failed to calibrate the power level necessary to…”

I tried the RCP1 Region free firmware flash, lens cleaners (5 of them), the “International language change in preferences”, the “try different media”, the “check Apple, manufacturer, and third parties for updates”, have searched Apple, Intel, Panasonic (Matshita).

What is interesting is that last week, my drive suddenly wouldn’t read or write CD or DVD. After using the 5 different lens cleaner discs (all dry), I can now read AND write CD, read ANY commercially pressed DVD or DVD burnt on my MAC, whether it’s DVD movies or simply data backups.

It would seem that if all those aforementioned things began working OK after cleaning, would it also mean my drive’s inability to recognize blank DVD’s is related to a dirty lens? I can find no info on how many laser lenses are in my particular drive, and I am planning to very shortly break open my Apple to directly clean the drives lens. Is this wise? Does anyone have specifics on this procedure? I have seen some photo postings on the net on how to disassemble the iMac, but it was not “drive replacement” specific. Still, because of the timing of many of these drive failures, many in the know suspect the issue may be related to Apple updates which have changed the level at which blank media will be recognized. We all know that the burn speeds have increased, and some think Apple may be setting up recognition of only the higher speed, newer DVD blanks, thereby the drive would not recognize the older slower speeds. Some think the opposite may be true, since my drive is not known for burn speed, and maybe Apple does not want the drive recognizing blanks intended for anything above 2x-4x.

Can anyone speak to this issue before I tear apart my Apple? I would greatly appreciate it, since I am a newbie. I can’t even seem to get a straight answer on what slot drive replacement options I have. I realize I could, and probably should, get an external quality drive, but even if I do, I still would like to fix the internal ATAPI drive if only for esthetic reasons. As far as an external drive working directly with iMovie and iDVD, I always create a disk image first, anyway, so an external would not limit me there.

This website is so intensively devoted to burning that I cannot believe there is no one out there that knows what the issue is with my hardware, firmware or other software. I am running Mac OSX 10.4.11 on the following machine with the following drive:

Hardware Overview:

Model Name: iMac
Model Identifier: iMac4,1
Processor Name: Intel Core Duo
Processor Speed: 2 GHz
Number Of Processors: 1
Total Number Of Cores: 2
L2 Cache (per processor): 2 MB
Memory: 512 MB
Bus Speed: 667 MHz
Boot ROM Version: IM41.0055.B08
SMC Version: 1.1f5
Serial Number: W8603VXRU2P


Firmware Revision: FB2U
Interconnect: ATAPI
Burn Support: Yes (Apple Shipped/Supported)
Cache: 2048 KB
Reads DVD: Yes
CD-Write: -R, -RW
DVD-Write: -R, -RW, +R, +RW, +R DL
Burn Underrun Protection CD: Yes
Burn Underrun Protection DVD: Yes
Write Strategies: CD-TAO, CD-SAO, DVD-DAO
Media: No


Did you ever find a solution to this problem ? I just had the same thing happen to my INtel Core Duo iMac - which the warranty ran out on just 2 and a half month s ago on… Mine stopped working rather suddenly - but not without warning,. I first noticed it was getting finicky or picky about sertain blank media. Although my iMac was supposed to be able to use DVD +/- R media, i was only aboe to use + R from the beginning. I accepted that - but didn’t like it. Recently it rejected a great deal of MAxell + R media, but not 100%. About 35 - 40 out of a 50-pack spidle were rejected. A sinlilar spindle of Memorex blanks worked perfectly - but again, just to bug me 1 was rejected. ANother spindle of Pengo brand DVD+R’s were used successfully. Then I started getting rejection of blank media by the computer when usisng Popcorn. Then POpcorn would not recognize old written discs - typically movies. At first I noticed these were bad copies that my DVD player would not recognize then it rejected discs I kow that my player COULD recognize. Finally it started not reading any media if I had been doing a great deal of burning - which I had been doing lately. THen a few nights a go it stopped readinga ll media - even if I gave it a “break” By this I mean if i did not use the isc drive for an extended amount of time. This had worked for a few days when the problem first appeared. Currently I have no way of reading or writing any disc - CD, DVD+R/-R etc. I of course am purchasing n external burner , but would like my internal to work. Any suggestions or advice or insights appreciated.

I just purchased a 1.66MHz Mini used, and the SuperDrive is reading commercially produced disks just fine, but cannot read disks it has written. In fact, with CD-R disks, it tends to fail with “Write Errors.” When I take the CD-RW disks it has written to a machine with a Combo drive, they work fine. One other difference is that the SuperDrive Mini is running Leopard, while the other Mini is running Tiger.

Is this a Leopard issue, a SuperDrive issue, or just a dirty drive lens?