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#23610 - 10/02/12 08:41 AM DVD burner issues on the mac 27"
kevs Online


Registered: 12/07/09
My DVD seems to be giving me some problems.
Sometimes burns fail sometimes succeed.
Is there a definitive way to know if it's the burner or not? How do you know if you burner is good of bad?

Also:
What is the replacement drive/ part for the DVD burner, any links appreciated. Maybe I can hire someone to come by and replace that.

And what about Laser disc cleaners, and doing firmware update for the drive. thanks! again, any links or ideas appreciated!

10.6.8

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#23611 - 10/02/12 08:44 AM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
The brand of DVD may be the culprit. From my experience (and from posts by others), it seems that many brands are rather bad. Verbatim has a good reputation and I have had good luck with that manufacturer.

What, exactly, are you using?
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Jon

OS 10.14.2, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

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#23612 - 10/02/12 09:25 AM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: jchuzi]
kevs Online


Registered: 12/07/09
Yes, using Verbatim, don't think it's the discs.

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#23613 - 10/02/12 10:05 AM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
When an optical drive is "iffy" it is most often the media, not the drive. Some drives like one media and not another and I have seen 100 CD/DVD spindles of name brand media with as high as 25% burn failure. Another spindle of the same brand worked just fine.

If there were a firmware update for the drive that would have shown up in Software Update. It is a fact the lasers in optical drives do age and become less effective or even burn out completely and that could be happening to you. CD/DVD cleaners can help if the problem is the result of dust and dirt so they are worth a try.

If your Mac is not covered under AppleCare your best bet is to purchase an external Superdrive preferably with Firewire not USB and simply plug it in. My personal preference would be the OWC Mercury but there are other good options.
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#23614 - 10/02/12 10:39 AM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Online


Registered: 12/07/09
thanks Joe, well I just ordered a laser lens cleaner and an Amazon Branded DVD external usb2 $35 -- right before your post.
I don't think its the media, as I tested various media and got same issue. Maybe the lens cleaner will work?

With the new burner, I'll be able to to do A/B tests.

This burner (mac 27") though has had very light usage, so it's puzzling if its the burner.

Why FW over USB, -- even the OWC seem to be USB.
And what is good about those OWC drives?

I used to buy always Lacie, but I'm not sure their higher rates are justified anymore.

I may also replace that internal, any recommendations on that? It's beyond me to install it, I'd probably have to hire someone to do that.

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#23616 - 10/02/12 11:28 AM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Unfortunately there is no simple or surefire way to assess if a disc burner is getting long in the tooth and should be replaced. Yes, the drive lens may be fogged or dirty, depending on the condition of its surroundings, and a lens cleaning disc may help.

My 'indicator' that it's getting time to replace a burner is an increase in the number of failed verifications from a few % to over 10%, with the same brand of blank (Verbatim, made in Taiwan or Singapore, NOT in Indonesia or India, etc.)

In general you should know that a consumer quality burner is only good for a few hundred burns, rarely more than 300-400 (if that many). Using a burner in dusty or smoky surroundings drastically cuts into its life expectancy by fogging the drive lens, sometimes irreversibly. Cleaning discs are OK, but more effective lens cleaning is only possible when the lens is directly accessible, a feature few drives offer without disassembly.

As to recommending drive brands, I've long used LaCie, but switched to OWC because of LaCie's perennial power supply issues (the drives themselves are fine).

PS, I concur with joemikeb and would opt for an external replacement burner. I would use the extra cost of replacing the internal drive for either an (extra) external drive or for a FW hub, in case you're out of FW ports in your current configuration.
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#23617 - 10/02/12 01:08 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: alternaut]
kevs Online


Registered: 12/07/09
A, thanks, yeah, I'm leaning towards it's the burner. I'll use the lens cleaner when it arrives (just a CD you insert) and see if that solves it.

Now I did order a DVD burner, which is USB, again, why is FW preferable? I have a FB hub, but everything is going USB these days, no?

I think I should replace the internal,no? If for nothing else, it should work when I go to sell the computer one day.

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#23619 - 10/02/12 01:24 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
FW gives you a speed advantage over USB2, which can be critical during burning. Exchanging internal drives in an iMac is a labor intensive job and hence expensive. If you can do it yourself, you can save a bundle, but it's not for the faint of heart. If you want to sell the iMac in the future, it's time enough to replace the drive then, should it be necessary for a sale. But you can always discount the iMac by the cost of a drive replacement, and save yourself the hassle.
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#23628 - 10/02/12 01:45 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: keys
With the new burner, I'll be able to do A/B tests.

Just because given burner works with brand A media does not mean it will work with brand B media. There are variations in the reflective backing, the dyes, and even the plastic covering in the media not to mention the read lasers and write lasers in the drives ares often of slightly different frequencies and may or may not play nice with the media. Things are better now than they used to be but the last estimates I have seen indicate roughly an 80% media/drive compatibility. So while burner I does not work with media A it may well work with media B. On the other hand burner X may not play nice with media B but plays very nice with Media A.

Originally Posted By: keys
This burner (mac 27") though has had very light usage, so it's puzzling if its the burner.

Failure rates in electronic devices are based on the MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures), so if a given device has an MTBF of say 1,000 hours that means some of them may fail in as little as 1 hour while another a few may go 100,000 hours or more. The distribution curve in most cases is skewed toward the short end of the time frame. Traditional wisdom used to hold that if an electronic device lasted 90 days it would likely be obsolete before it failed. Here again we have gotten a lot better but no one has successfully built an eternal device — yet.

Originally Posted By: keys
Why FW over USB, -- even the OWC seem to be USB.
And what is good about those OWC drives?

FW 400 moves data faster than USB 2 High Speed even though USB 2 nominally has a higher bit rate. The reason is because USB 2 has a LOT of overhead so you have to send a LOT more USB bits to move the same amount of data. FW 800 is a lot faster than FW 400. I ignored USB 3 because your iMac is not USB 3 capable. Technically you probably do not need the faster data rates for optical drives, but I always go with the faster interface all things being equal. My personal predilection for OWC is experience. They are rugged, reliable, fast, and have been compatible with Macs and OS X when others were not.

Originally Posted By: keys
I used to buy always Lacie, but I'm not sure their higher rates are justified anymore.


Me too. You might want to look at G-Technology drives.
Originally Posted By: kevs
I may also replace that internal, any recommendations on that? It's beyond me to install it, I'd probably have to hire someone to do that.

I once attempted to replace a drive in an iMac. I will never ever make that mistake again. It is a good thing the iMac in question was one I was ready to write off. That was all it was good for after my attempt. It is not a task for amateurs. The Apple Store will only replace the drive with a like make and model so that leaves you looking for a competent Apple Certified Repair center. There are some big box stores around here that make a pretense of repairing Macs, but one of their technicians told a friend of mine that his Mac was broken because it would not boot from a Windows CD.
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#23631 - 10/02/12 04:06 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Online


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks Joe/ % A

I only used this internal burner for maybe 20 burns tops. Is that crazy to die so soon? I had a hard time understanding that paragraph Joe.

I think if one media does not burn on internal but burns fine on the new external, that shows the internal is bad.

Do you think my new USB external wont be good being it's not firewire?
(I bookmarked the OWC, just in case)

I would never try to replace an internal. But I could put an ad on craigs list. It's amazing -- I've found really good people there for really reasonable rates. But that is luck of the draw. When I'm ready to sell the imac 27" on ebay, it just kills the ad to say, imac for sell, works great, but the DVD burner may have some problems. No? Wouldn't just kill the bidding process??

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#23632 - 10/02/12 05:35 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
Just because given burner works with brand A media does not mean it will work with brand B media. [....] So while burner I does not work with media A it may well work with media B. On the other hand burner X may not play nice with media B but plays very nice with Media A.

Originally Posted By: kevs
I think if one media does not burn on internal but burns fine on the new external, that shows the internal is bad.

joemike is one of the very few people around here whom you respect; why are you questioning his expertise from your position of relative ignorance?

Originally Posted By: alternaut
Verbatim, made in Taiwan or Singapore, NOT in Indonesia or India, etc.

And have you checked your discs with reference to that?
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#23634 - 10/02/12 06:57 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: joemikeb]
artie505 Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
FW 400 moves data faster than USB 2 High Speed even though USB 2 nominally has a higher bit rate. The reason is because USB 2 has a LOT of overhead so you have to send a LOT more USB bits to move the same amount of data. FW 800 is a lot faster than FW 400. I ignored USB 3 because your iMac is not USB 3 capable.

Is it fair to say that at today's date a USB 2 device may be preferable to a FW 400 device for some users because it will be compatible with a potential new Mac that will have a USB port but will require some sort of interface to enable a FW device through its Thunderbolt port?
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#23643 - 10/03/12 08:27 AM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: artie505]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
FYI typical speeds on USB2 vary considerably depending on the hardware. Speeds of 12, 18, 26, 36, and 38 MB/sec are strangely common, I assume these clustering of datapoints is due to a small number of different USB chip manufacturers with their own distinct performances.

The best bridge chips nowadatys can do at least 36MB/sec. FW400 usually does 32 or 39 MB/sec, again depending on controller. So FW will usually win.

I don't have the supply of hardware needed to test USB3 speeds yet, but they appeared to be maxing the drive I was testing with. (as did my tests with expresscard esata)

26MB/sec is the bottom number I see on macs. (with the left port of the older 15" mbp being the exception) The 12 an d 18's are usually on those cheap usb-to-sata/ide adapters. Don't use those adapters to connect to your burner and you should be ok with burning via USB.
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#23644 - 10/03/12 10:58 AM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: Virtual1]
kevs Online


Registered: 12/07/09
thanks V. this is what I bought (right before I got Joe's answer)
what think:

http://www.amazon.com/AmazonBasics-Writer-External-Optical-Drive/dp/B003M0NT1M

not arrived yet.


Edited by kevs (10/03/12 10:58 AM)

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#23646 - 10/03/12 02:30 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: kevs
I only used this internal burner for maybe 20 burns tops. Is that crazy to die so soon? I had a hard time understanding that paragraph Joe.

Uncommon perhaps, but certainly not beyond the realm of possibility
Originally Posted By: kevs
I think if one media does not burn on internal but burns fine on the new external, that shows the internal is bad.

There are two possibilities here…
  1. The drive is bad
  2. The drive is not compatible with the particular media
I have two optical drives on my iMac, the internal drive that came from the factory and an external drive that is LightScribe capable. I occasionally come across discs that will either not burn or read in the internal drive that do work in the external drive and although it is rare there is the occasional disc that the external drive will not write or read and the internal drive handles is with aplomb.
Originally Posted By: kevs
Do you think my new USB external wont be good being it's not firewire?
(I bookmarked the OWC, just in case)

No I do not think an external will not be any good because it uses a USB interface. My personal preference would be a firewire interface. As V1 has pointed out there is a LOT of variation in USB chips and the particular chip used by the enclosure manufacturer is generally not something that is under the purchaser's direct control. The best you can do in that case is purchase products from manufacturers with a known good reputation — which may well mean you will spend a few dollars more.

Originally Posted By: kevs
I would never try to replace an internal. But I could put an ad on craigs list. It's amazing -- I've found really good people there for really reasonable rates. But that is luck of the draw. When I'm ready to sell the imac 27" on ebay, it just kills the ad to say, imac for sell, works great, but the DVD burner may have some problems. No? Wouldn't just kill the bidding process??

Better selling it with an external drive than dead in the water because some kid that is a genius repairing PCs discovered there is a huge difference in PCs and Macs and trashed your iMac. Or you might get lucky. There is really only one way to find out. It is all a matter of deciding how great your risk tolerance is and are you willing to shell out for a new iMac if your old one gets converted into a paper weight.
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joemikeb • moderator

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#23648 - 10/03/12 04:22 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Online


Registered: 12/07/09
Joe, thanks Wow, I would only ask someone to do the change if they said they were very proficient in doing it.

But tell me, how can changing a DVD drive ruin a whole computer?

If you say it's not worth the risk, (not to mention the cost), then yeah, I'll just say the DVD burner can be iffy, but that would kill bids probably. But it does work sometimes still...

btw, how do you do you quoting on threads, i.e. put the ops quotes into those rectangles, would love to learn that.

Anyway, I used to only burn external, so much for my dumb idea of using the computers burner to burn. In the future, I'm just leaving those internals alone!

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#23649 - 10/03/12 05:40 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Originally Posted By: kevs
Joe, thanks Wow, I would only ask someone to do the change if they said they were very proficient in doing it.

I would ask to see their current Apple Certified Technician certificate and proof of their financial ability to replace the computer if they break it. The ability and willingness to replace a broken computer, together with AppleCare is why I always use the Genius Desk at the Apple Store for repairs.

Originally Posted By: kevs
But tell me, how can changing a DVD drive ruin a whole computer?

There are numerous opportunities. Once they get the back off then they have to carefully remove the foil covering, being careful to leave it intact so they can glue it back into place before reassembly — begin careful to use the approved adhesives of course. Then they have to work in a very confined space with lots of tiny connectors, fragile cables, etc. Failure to reassemble everything correctly can result in electrical failure, overheating resulting in system failure — there are a myriad of opportunities to screw up if you do not know what your are doing.

Originally Posted By: kevs
If you say it's not worth the risk, (not to mention the cost), then yeah, I'll just say the DVD burner can be iffy, but that would kill bids probably. But it does work sometimes still…

Like I say the decision depends on your personal tolerance for risk. The recommendation of using an external drive is based on ease, lowest cost option, and the possibility of carrying the external drive over to your next computer. In fact my external optical drive is now on its third computer having outlived two predecessor iMacs (one of which was replaced under AppleCare after nearly three years of service).

Originally Posted By: kevs
btw, how do you do you quoting on threads, i.e. put the ops quotes into those rectangles, would love to learn that.

Edit the quote tag to read

Code:
[quote=keys]

Originally Posted By: kevs
Anyway, I used to only burn external, so much for my dumb idea of using the computers burner to burn. In the future, I'm just leaving those internals alone!

I don't know why you would say that. I would venture 97% of CDs and DVDs burned on Macs are burned using the internal drive. I use mine all the time without problems. Whether I use the internal or external optical drive is more a matter of whim than anything else unless I am burning a LightScribe label onto the drive in which case I have to use the external drive. That and my external drive is a touch faster than the internal drive.
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#23651 - 10/04/12 09:40 AM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Online


Registered: 12/07/09
Like I say the decision depends[quote=keys]

Joe, what does edit the quote tag to read [quote=keys] mean?
As you can see I have no idea how to achieve this quoting thing....


Ok, I don't care at all about the internal being iffy, but then I have to honestly say in my ebay ad when I'm ready to sell this, that the internal DVD/ CD writer may have some issues. My guess it that there will reduce bids a lot and probably the final price as well, no? For this alone, I may now ever use an internal again. If they break, look what do do I'm in......

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#23653 - 10/04/12 02:07 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
joemikeb Online
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
The text to be quoted must be contained within a beginning and ending pair of UBB "quote" tags. The basic form of the beginning UBB "quote" tag is…

Code:
 [quote] 

The from of the ending UBB "quote" tag is

Code:
 [/quote] 

To show the attribution of the quote you add "=attribution" to the beginning UBB quote tag. So if you want to attribute a quote to say Wikipedia the final form would like like…

Code:
 [quote=Wikipedia]this is the text of the desired quote[/quote] 

When displayed on the forum this results in…

Originally Posted By: Wikipedia
this is the text of the desired quote

You can get the basic beginning and ending quote tags either by using the quote (") icon on the tool bar above the input window or by manually typing in the tags being sure to include the required square brackets.

Originally Posted By: keys
Ok, I don't care at all about the internal being iffy, but then I have to honestly say in my ebay ad when I'm ready to sell this, that the internal DVD/ CD writer may have some issues. My guess it that there will reduce bids a lot and probably the final price as well, no? For this alone, I may now ever use an internal again. If they break, look what do do I'm in……

Using your rational you would never use the internal hard drive in your computer either, much less the monitor, processor, power supply, whatever. Over the last several years I have had at least three internal hard drives fail, one video card failed, one processor failure, and one logic board failure. In that same time frame I have had zero optical drive failures.

Around here a three or four year old Mac with a working optical drive has a street value worth less than $100. In fact you might get more for it with a working optical drive — they keep the external optical drive and trash the computer. After five years they charge you to haul it away.
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#23656 - 10/04/12 02:52 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: joemikeb]
kevs Online


Registered: 12/07/09
Originally Posted By: Joe
The text to be quoted must be contained within a beginning and ending pair of UBB "quote" tags. The basic form of the beginning UBB "quote" tag is…


thanks for that.
Well, my last G4 and G5, I got $400 or $500 for. My 27 " is going for ebay now for $800...so it's a chunk of change.

Are internal hard-rives so risky to replace or is it just the internal optical DVD burner that is such a risk?

---
Cooled it worked. Question: so you just keep those codes for quoting handy. Would be nice if forums just had buttons for that to insert.


Edited by kevs (10/04/12 02:53 PM)

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#23657 - 10/04/12 03:35 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
Originally Posted By: kevs
Question: so you just keep those codes for quoting handy. Would be nice if forums just had buttons for that to insert.
Your prayers have been answered. When you post a reply, click the quotation mark icon. That will automatically insert the proper code. You can then fill in the blanks as you desire.
_________________________
Jon

OS 10.14.2, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

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#23658 - 10/04/12 03:54 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: jchuzi]
kevs Online


Registered: 12/07/09
Originally Posted By: jchuzi
Your prayers have been answered. When you post a reply, click the quotation mark icon.


Thanks, Jon. It seems to put more than you may want to quote, but I just deleted some. cool...

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#23660 - 10/04/12 04:22 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: kevs
Originally Posted By: jchuzi
Your prayers have been answered. When you post a reply, click the quotation mark icon.

Thanks, Jon. It seems to put more than you may want to quote, but I just deleted some. cool...

It looks like Jon and you are referring to two different quote buttons. 'Yours' is the one next to Reply at the bottom of every post, which by default puts the entire post you reply to in quotes. But instead of quoting an entire post, it's usually a great idea to edit that and cut out all extraneous stuff to focus on the detail(s) you like to reply to, as you did. Otherwise the reader may not see the forest for the trees.

Jon, I suspect, referred to the Quote ( " ) button over the Reply box, the one you see after you hit the Reply or Quote button below a post. If you haven't done that yet, you might want to try out all those buttons, there may be some goodies there you're not aware of. And as with all UBB code tags, you can edit these ready-made tags to your liking. tongue
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#23661 - 10/04/12 06:48 PM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: alternaut]
kevs Online


Registered: 12/07/09
Thanks A. is there a way to just copy a sentence and get the quote system going for that?

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#23662 - 10/05/12 02:42 AM Re: DVD burner issues on the mac 27" [Re: kevs]
jchuzi Online


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: New York State
Yes, I do that frequently. (BTW, alternaut is right about what I meant. I thank him for the clarification.)

Here's the procedure:

1. Click the Reply button. The reply box and the original message will appear.
2. Copy the sentence that you want to quote.
3. Click the " icon.
4. Paste the sentence at the appropriate location and fill in the quote attribution (i.e., =name).

_________________________
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OS 10.14.2, iMac Retina 5K 27-inch, late 2014, 3.5 GHz Intel Core i5, 1 TB fusion drive, 16 GB RAM, Epson SureColor P600, Photoshop CC, Lightroom CC, MS Office 365

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