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How do you test or make sure your CD burner needs replacing?

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How do you test or make sure your CD burner needs replacing?

Old 08-19-01, 04:11 PM
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How do you test or make sure your CD burner needs replacing?

My Yamaha 4416e is almost 2 1/2 yrs old. Its been a good performer but lately some media that I have been successful burning audio disks lately are coasters that play all scratchy and dropouts. If I play these CDs on my new Pioneer 302d they are fine but my older Sony CDP-C435 is now lousey. CDs with this media made 3 months ago are fine!!! IF I BURN CDs using TDK or HP 74 min media they are fine. Go Figure I can't.

Q: So how do you know if you burner is on the way out? Does is "fade away (?)" or do the burners just just stop?

I want to stress that CDs i burn with TDK work fine but doubt is creepin' in.
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Old 08-19-01, 04:40 PM
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i had an old sony that would burn on pretty much anybrand without a problem.. but as it got older and the laser got more worn out.. it became more and more picky.. after awhile, it would only burn on verbatim cds

replaced it with a plextor 121032.. now I cant believe I wasted so much time with that old one
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Old 08-19-01, 05:46 PM
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Ahh - So your Sony burned ok but slowly failed by only worked on certain media huh? Sounds like what I am fighting. So what blanks used to work now don't YET certain types like Verbatim for you and TDK for me are still fine. Er... are they??!!

So is this how it goes - shyte!!! - a slow degradation until you look around and your mind is gone. Oh wait that is how life treats ya. Sorry I am back now....

Methinks my Yamaha is on its last legs. Makes me wonder if I should stop burning or *trust* that the TDKs I burn on are ok.

Anybody got any pointers or opinions?


- man I got a lot of CDs to burn..... sigh
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Old 08-20-01, 12:41 AM
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For an old drive, it could just as well be dirt and grime deposition inside the drive instead of laser diode failure. If you smoke, the ciggy vapours can deposit grime on the lens over time. Also, if there is a lot of grease in the air due to kitchen cooking vapours, that might contribute to errors when trying to burn less sensitive media. Also, don't put drinks on the cdrw drive tray when you aren't burning a disc.

Since you have a Yamaha cdrw, here is a URL for cleaning a Yamaha cdrw drive:

Cleaning a Yamaha cdrw

The near-infrared laser diodes in cdr/w drives do have a finite lifespan that is shorter than their visible light LED cousins. For some strange reason, I read way more comments about Yamaha drives losing their laser diodes than for other brands. Perhaps one might speculate that the Yamaha current adjustment circuit simply boosts operating current in order to maintain a certain operating output level. If Yamaha diodes are biased higher, then their lifetimes would be shorter per the lifetime current curves for laser LED specific output levels.

While laser diodes aren't the same as high-intensity visible light LEDs, perhaps some parallels can be drawn. I've seen many a high-intensity LED "wear out" over a short period of time. By "wear out" I don't mean they stop working instantly. They just get dimmer and dimmer. I have this annoying LED on one of my LED flashlights that is doing this.

----

EXPERIMENT SUGGESTION FOR WORKAROUND:

Perhaps if you try recording at a slower speed such as 2x or 1x, you can still eke out some more life from the drive. You can see if writing at the slower speed improves the quality. The laser diode has more time to burn the requisite data at the slower speed. I am only guessing here.

If it were my drive, I would stop using it for anything but non-serious read functions. Why? Well, I look at things from a different point of view --> why buy blank cdr media that has an archival life of 100 years when the burner has burned data on it erratically that while being 100% readable right now, will be erratic enough that the archival life of said data has been reduced from 100 years to 5 years through no fault of the media itself...*?*

CAVEAT: The above paragraph falls into the category of FUD (fear, uncertainty, doubt) which is a classic example of logic that is "proven" not by facts but through emotion. FUD is a bad way of doing things generally.

Last edited by Startide; 08-20-01 at 01:06 AM.
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Old 08-20-01, 01:23 AM
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TESTING FOR A WEAK LASER DIODE

Another whimsical engineering test approach: CDRW have less reflectivity. You are going to depend on this to empirically try to check the operating bounds of your laser.

Fill up a CDRW on one of the "problem media" discs using a reliable drive to do so. It doesn't have to be particular files, just have what you feel is "enough" files on it to have at least a number of filenames. You might make two copies of your cache file (for example) and that will fill up the disc.

Now, verify that your suspect drive can read that disc. Run scandisc using that suspect drive. Fast mode, not thorough mode. If so, then your suspect cdrw drive has enough power to do this. Now run scandisc in the thorough mode. After a short period of time if no errors are detected, abort this.

If you have some large zip files on that disc, open one or two and use the "test" to verify the checksum. The zip utility will tell you if the contents of the file appear unchanged.

Now, erase the cdrw using that erase utility. If it gives you an option, select the quick mode this time around instead of the slower full wipe.

Run scandisc in the fast mode on the drive. It should be nice and clean if the laser had enough power.

After erasing, put that erased cdrw into a different good cdrom drive and see if you can recover any data from it. If you can, then the wiping of the cdrw was unsucessful. Wiping is a different way of writing to the disc than the usual "burning".
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Old 08-21-01, 10:16 PM
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Checking for file corruption

If you're concerned about whether the drive is properly writing the data to the CD, you can use a utility to check the files on the disc after you burn it. I use one called CDCheck, but there are probably others as well. Basically, it just reads all the files on the CD and warns you if any are corrupted.
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Old 08-24-01, 09:31 PM
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JANK,

If you do decide to test the failing drive, please post your results here so that we can all learn from this opportunity. I don't have a "bad" drive to practice upon, so all I can do is pustulate postulates as to the original thread topic "How do you test or make sure your CD burner needs replacing?"
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Old 08-25-01, 06:07 PM
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aftermath [long]

Good Idea - didn't realize the interest. My bad.
OK - I tried to take a RW CD and do the test stated above but -darnit- wouldn't you know it my yamaha wouldn't ever erase it! Tried another -same!.. Good enough for me - goodby Yamaha. With 6 coasters stitting around and my entire production in a train wreck I went in to serious research mode by hitting the CDRlabs and CD-Info forums PLUS reading reviews on same sites.

Right off I dropped Yamaha becuse they weren't true 16x and the stuff I read didn't suit what I wanted (do you guys want my research path ' cause I would have appreciated hearing this 2 wks ago???). Being Plextor is 'king,' I made that my standard with a req that NERO (Nero rules.) as the SW. TDK, TEAC and ...hmmm LitOn then entered my radar scope. Read, ponder, read and then.... well hey 24X!!!!! Hmm Why not, Now it is Plex VS. LiteOn. My bad opinion of LiteOn slowly changed with the CDRlabs glowing review of its 16x model and excitement over the 24x. Inital head-to-head w/ Plex showed it equal or ..better AND IT CAME WITH NERO. V5.5!!!!! wow no mo' crack heh.

I got it in 3 days $160 shipped - Plex was $70 more.

So far and I am not looking back - this LiteOn 24x rocks.

(is this too much info?)
Nero rules.
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