Trouble with NEC-3550a

Hi, I’m having a problem that no one seems to be able to help with.

I’ve had the NEC-3550a for 8-10 months. Shortly after purchasing it, I upgraded the firmware to the Liggy and Dee version with media speedups (1.Y6 I think?).

The drive worked great for a while. A month ago, though, it started acting up.

When I turn the PC on, the drive’s light comes on and stays on. Sometimes the PC boots up fine and the light goes out eventually after a long time; other times, the PC hangs right before the XP splash screen. If I open the drive, then it proceeds to boot up, and when I close it the light goes out quickly.

Once the computer is booted up, the drive only works sometimes. Sometimes it’s fine, other times it acts like there’s no disc in the drive, when there is. Or it will recognize a disc, but when I try to burn something, Nero crashes. But again, sometimes it’s fine.

I tried making the NEC the only enabled drive; I disconnected the IDE cable from my older, secondary DVD drive. Then the NEC worked perfectly for about three days. Then suddenly, back to the stuff described above.

I tried updating the firmware to 1.7, to no avail. I’ve played with my BIOS settings, disabling then enabling the drive, to no avail. I’m starting to wonder if the drive itself is failing, physically. I haven’t used it that much at all, really, maybe burned 100 discs with it, installed software, ripped some CDs, etc.

Any help much appreciated guys!

Is my question too noobish to dignify a response? Sorry, I’d just like any help at all, really. I’m about to fork over $30 for a new drive…

Well, the 3550 is a pretty old drive but it looks as though you should still be under warranty. All the things you have done would seem to eliminate the obvious but I would still look for a new 80 wire cable just to eliminate the cable as the problem. Many cable problems can be intermittent and infuriating to track down. I would also try a different power connection just to rule that out. Otherwise it would seem that the drive is dying. I do remember some similar problem due to a bad firmware but yours does not seem to have that problem due to the long run with no trouble. The only thing left would be to try it in another computer to confirm that the drive is really at fault.

I would not recommend a newer NEC as LG, Pioneer and Samsung are much better choices today.

Thank you chas, I will try it with a different cable. It’s funny, about a year ago, I read lots of great stuff about the 3550a, how it was one of the best drives around at that time. Now it’s probably failing already, and NEC drives are apparently second rate. How quickly things change in the PC world…

I have an NEC 3550A that has been in use for quite a while. It is still going strong. Any given piece of hardware can fail no matter how good the company’s, or product’s, reputation might be. Painting a company’s product(s) bad for one failure isn’t necessarily accurate.

[QUOTE=slowpogo;1941416]Hi, I’m having a problem that no one seems to be able to help with.

I’ve had the NEC-3550a for 8-10 months. Shortly after purchasing it, I upgraded the firmware to the Liggy and Dee version with media speedups (1.Y6 I think?).

The drive worked great for a while. A month ago, though, it started acting up.

When I turn the PC on, the drive’s light comes on and stays on. Sometimes the PC boots up fine and the light goes out eventually after a long time; other times, the PC hangs right before the XP splash screen. If I open the drive, then it proceeds to boot up, and when I close it the light goes out quickly.

Once the computer is booted up, the drive only works sometimes. Sometimes it’s fine, other times it acts like there’s no disc in the drive, when there is. Or it will recognize a disc, but when I try to burn something, Nero crashes. But again, sometimes it’s fine.

I tried making the NEC the only enabled drive; I disconnected the IDE cable from my older, secondary DVD drive. Then the NEC worked perfectly for about three days. Then suddenly, back to the stuff described above.

I tried updating the firmware to 1.7, to no avail. I’ve played with my BIOS settings, disabling then enabling the drive, to no avail. I’m starting to wonder if the drive itself is failing, physically. I haven’t used it that much at all, really, maybe burned 100 discs with it, installed software, ripped some CDs, etc.

Any help much appreciated guys![/QUOTE]

Hi slowpogo,

I recently had found the same problems on my sisters computer (which has a true 4551 inside). First we thought the problem was the ide cable only, but sadly not… Now the drive appears as “_” in the BIOS etc, really weird, eh?!
Seems the drive is knackered. When the computer boots up everything is fine…but mostly it hangs right when detecting drives at startup. :rolleyes:

chef, have you tried a firmware flash after the startup trick of opening the drive at just the right point in the boot up? I don’t remember the exact timing but I had to do this when my 4570 :Z trashed itself.

[QUOTE=slowpogo;1942789]Thank you chas, I will try it with a different cable. It’s funny, about a year ago, I read lots of great stuff about the 3550a, how it was one of the best drives around at that time. Now it’s probably failing already, and NEC drives are apparently second rate. How quickly things change in the PC world…[/QUOTE]

The 3500 series drives, with some exceptions, were pretty good equipment. I have nothing good to say about NEC since the 4500 series but I am biased so don’t condemn the brand. As was mentioned, any drive can fail.

[QUOTE=chas0039;1943377]chef, have you tried a firmware flash after the startup trick of opening the drive at just the right point in the boot up? I don’t remember the exact timing but I had to do this when my 4570 :Z trashed itself.[/QUOTE]

Not yet, the drive is several hundred kilometers away but its a good idea!
Thanks man. So presseing the open tray button for some seconds should work?!?
1 month ago I flashed that drive to the latest available, it had an really OLD firmware on it before.
I still suspect the ide cable in this case…

The trick was to press the open button just as the light comes on during a reboot. This would allow the drive to be alive again long enough for a firmware flash. It worked for my 4570 after a modified firmware trashed the drive and made it not recognized. Some other poster discovered this just after the 4500 series came out; might not help you but then again Liggy and Dee [I]do not[/I] make bad firmware so anything can happen.