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I'm pretty sure it is a hardware problem, try connecting the DVD writer to a different port.
Maybe Debian is trying to work off a different connector but I think that is unlikely. I'll look around and keep you posted.
Most of the information I found doesn't seem to help. I would try to install Debian with a USB port instead, it is more efficient. But before you install go into the motherboard options and make it boot from USB or it will go straight to your DVD writer or hard-drive.
are you connecting the dvdrom device through usb or some other external plug? it won't be mounted as dev/cdrom it will be mounted as /dev/sdxy where x is a letter between a and c and y is a number between 1-6 usually sda- mounted devices are Internal drives sdb's and sdc's are external i would recommend setting teh device to find as /dev/sdb1 and if that doesnt work try /dev/sdb2 and if not either of those it will be /dev/sdc1 or /dev/sdc2 so keep me posted...