Will this setup work?

9 X LH-20A1H 20x DVD±RW Drive With LightScribe
9 X IDE - USB 2.0 converter
1 X USB 2.0 9 port hub
1 x CASE

For the case could it be possible to use a duplicator case, the only conflict is the power switch to power the fans and the dvd drives, how would this be activated with no motherboard. For example could I use a case like this (http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/CD-DVD-duplicator-Case-Black-9-BAY-500W-from-EC-NEW_W0QQitemZ260147875993QQihZ016QQcategoryZ167QQtcZphotoQQcmdZViewItem)
or if not could you possibly advise me what I should be looking for

Any help is greatly appriciated

Lewis Urwin

My concerns:

  1. USB is probably the worse interface for optical drives for several reasons: a) it requires much higher CPU use than firewire, ATA-100 or SATA, b) the USB<->ATAPI bridges tend to be very buggy and will often lock up during data overruns or when I/O errors occur with the disc.

  2. The bridge you chose does not specifically state that it supports ATAPI, only ATA. It probably does support the minimum ATAPI specs, but those might not be enough to perform some of the unusual ATA/ATAPI transactions needed for secure ripping of audio CDs.

  3. Putting all of the drives on a single 9-port hub will kill throughput dead. IF you find a reliable USB<->ATAPI bridge (not saying the one above isn’t), you still don’t want more than 2 or 3 drives on each USB root hub (i.e. each port on your computer).

Anyway, I’d recommend, instead, going for the standard ACard 1x(7,8,9) duplicator controller, the drives and a duplicator case. That’ll handle all of the disc duplication jobs except for CSS-encrypted discs and you really shouldn’t be duping those anyway. :slight_smile:


Thanks for your help. So if I use a 1-7 controller with 6 liteon lh 20a1h dvd drives and the usb connector for the controller I would be able to connect them to the computer so I could burn them with the droppix software (www.droppix.com) as I need to use the lightscribe feature to burn onto my discs and the droppix software supports an unlimited amount of drives burning at the same time. http://www.acard.com/english/fb01-product.jsp?idno_no=209&prod_no=ARS-2033S&type1_title=Duplicator&type1_idno=4

I hope you understand
Many thanks

Note that the switchable IDE/USB bridge from ACard will only work for one drive at a time (the one it is connected to). I can verify this as I have four of those bridges.

You’d need to buy one for each drive and you’d also have to add a manual switch for each one (well, unless the ACard controller can be wired to switch all seven bridges in parallel).


Thanks for all your help, but I dont actually want to “duplicate” a cd, I just want to have around 5-9 cd/dvd lightscribe drives housed in an external case, just as if there were internal, so I can burn discs to add a cd production line to run alongside my recording studio. An almost identical product is the aleratec “duplicator”. http://www.discread.com/cd-duplication/review-of-aleratec-lightscribe-cd-dvd-duplicator-tower/ If anybody knows how to recreate this then any help would be greatly appreciated.

Many thanks Lewis

Ah, ok. Now I understand a bit better.

Then my final word on this is: take you original plans for a single 1 x 9 tower and, instead, modify it to create two 1 x 4 towers (or a 1 x 8 tower with two external USB connections). That way you’re duplicating the Aleratec approach of a maximum of four drives per USB hub.

And verify that the droppix software that you can purchase separately includes the “for Towers” module that allows multiple target parallel recording and lightscribing. Looks like the XE version would cost somewhere between 250 and 500 Euro depending on the # of devices you want supported.


Thankyou very much for your help it is greatly appreciated. To confirm if I have 8 drives with an IDE-> USB converter going into two USB 2.0 4 port hubs. The only thing was you mentioned that the converter may not support ATAPI, and would the power switch (to run the drives and fan) still work, what do I need to connect the power switch to in order to run the drives/fans. Sorry if I am confusing!!!

8 drives + 8 IDE->USB converters + 2 four-port hubs.

Right, most do, but ones specifically advertised for use with ATAPI devices are probably the best idea.

You need to buy a “drive case” and not a “computer case”. A drive case will have a hard-power switch (which directly controls current flow) vs. a computer case which has a soft-power switch (which closes a gap that tells the computer mainboard to ask the power supply to turn itself on).

You’ll probably also need some molex-to-floppy y-cables so that the case power supplies can also supply power to the USB->IDE bridge boards.


Thanks for all your help. One final (hopefully!) question. Would it work with a case such as http://www.ioffer.com/i/20111846 the only question I had was would there be any conflicts between the ide channels (not wanting to burn to more than one drive on one channel) so would I be able to burn on all drives at the same time. I have asked the seller these questoons but is yet to reply. Many thanks

Dunno. I’d check with the makers of the software to see if they have recommendations on bridge chipsets and whether master/slave arrangements on the far side of the bridge can be problematic.


Brendan: This is a very good point. Does anyone know of a way to get computer case power supplies to turn on, without being hooked up to a motherboard? i.e. directly from the power button on the computer case?

You need a chipset bridge offering not just good performance for hard drives (most do) but also DVD/CD IDE-ATAPI.

I’ve invested lots of time on this, and what you’re looking for is something with the Oxford OXFW911+ (or later) and Cypress AT2. Enclosures based on these have worked without any problem for me.