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Old 11-24-2020, 12:19 AM   #1
tekra
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Can't burn DVDs. Kit too old?


It's years since I burned a CD or DVD, but the occasion has arisen, so I bought a 50 pack of Kodak DVD+R and dug out my old USB burner. No go. Both the drive and the software struggled valiantly to recognize them, but couldn't. The drives buzz and search ... pause ... buzz and search ... pause ... buzz etc. Xfburn simply reports "Drive empty".

Mystified, I dusted off the old laptop on which I'd burned many a DVD still in use. Same result. Went back to the shop and explained: they generously swapped the package I'd bought for another. Same result.

Got online and found this:

https://club.myce.com/t/discontinued...acement/167665

... which explains why Kodak is krap and recommends Verbatim. Tracked down a 25 pack and carried it home triumphantly. Result? The same.

So what's going on, sez I to meself? Both drives are recognized by the system (dmesg and all) and still playback OK. The only thing I can think of is that they're both at least a decade old.

Have things changed this much, that modern media can't be recognized or used by older kit?
 
Old 11-24-2020, 05:18 AM   #2
fatmac
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The last time I needed to burn a DVD, I had to give it several tries before it would work, I think the laser was probably a bit dirty, maybe it is the same with you(?).
 
Old 11-24-2020, 07:23 AM   #3
rkelsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tekra View Post
Have things changed this much, that modern media can't be recognized or used by older kit?
Nope. Sounds like a dodgy burner to me.
 
Old 11-24-2020, 08:12 AM   #4
tekra
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> I had to give it several tries before it would work

Interesting. I can't recall ever having had to do that.

> I think the laser was probably a bit dirty

Yes, I used a lens cleaning cloth to polish it, but both drives read without problems. I used the USB drive to do a distro installation, so any persistent read errors would likely have corrupted that process.

> Sounds like a dodgy burner to me.

Which is what I thought; but TWO of them - laptop and USB?

I seem to recall back in the day that there were two types of DVD named -R and +R, the former being the original or earlier, and +R coming along later. Also that I used to use -R. This dates to about 2007 when I bought the laptop, and before rewritables. I've noticed now that both Kodak and Verbatim are DVD+R, and the rewritables on the shelves are DVD+RW.

The problem seems to be at the firmware/hardware level rather than app software, which makes me wonder if mine are only able to work with the older -R types.
 
Old 11-24-2020, 09:04 AM   #5
fatmac
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Ah yes, you may well have found your problem, -R not +R, some of my old drives wouldn't write to +R either, but they were older drives than the last one I used....

Last edited by fatmac; 11-24-2020 at 09:05 AM.
 
Old 11-24-2020, 09:35 AM   #6
teckk
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How old are those writable optical disks. They are made with a dye layer between two plastic disks. That dye layer was suppose to be written to within 18 months of manufacture. That dye layer gets old and a hole can't be burned in it any more if it's too old. I wonder how old those optical disks are that they are selling today. Bet you that they have been sitting in a warm warehouse for years.

If writable optical disks are years old, they won't write correctly any more. Once you write a newer disk it will last for at least 21 years. How do I know? Got some that are now 21 years old and they read.
 
Old 11-24-2020, 11:13 AM   #7
JZL240I-U
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Could you borrow another USB drive from a friend? What software do you use?

@teckk Try M-disks, they are produced with a mineral layer for a dye. That should not age in an appreciable time and they originally boasted that their disks hold data for a 1000 years (thus m (millenial) disk).

Last edited by JZL240I-U; 11-24-2020 at 11:14 AM.
 
Old 11-24-2020, 12:29 PM   #8
business_kid
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In my 20ish years of burning, I never met a drive that could not be persuaded to do dvd -R & dvd +R. I may have been lucky. On the other hand lasers weaken and plastic gets scratched by dust, fingernails, etc. I never got 5 years out of a cd/dvd. Whoever got 21 years must be working in a museum.
 
Old 11-24-2020, 12:37 PM   #9
teckk
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Quote:
Whoever got 21 years must be working in a museum.
I haven't used them much at all. I recorded some data to a stack of CD-R's 21 years ago, have kept them flat in their original spindle, sitting on a shelf, out of the sunlight, in a temp controlled room(not out in the garage), and they still read today. I've read them 3 or 4 times over 2 decades. I took the data off and put it onto other media years ago. But...point was that they read after 20 years.
 
Old 11-24-2020, 12:39 PM   #10
tekra
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> some of my old drives wouldn't write to +R either, but they were older drives

Correct if I remember! The laptop (Lenovo purchased new in Beijimg during a trip) is thirteen years old. The USB is newer ... not sure. I'm wondering if there's any ID in the drives that would tell. Using e.g. lsusb -vs 002:018 prints out the USB metadata. The USB burner identifies as a 'PATA Bridge' which makes sense, esp as the end-points correspond to a CDROM (reader) and summat else - will do it again and report.

> That dye layer was suppose to be written to within 18 months ... a hole can't be burned in it any more if it's too old. ... they have been sitting in a warm warehouse for years.

There's a heap of essential stuff here that's no longer known or has been forgotten.

> Could you borrow another USB drive from a friend?

Good suggestion! Not sure but worth a go.

> What software do you use?

Have been using xfburn and brasero. Same results: as soon as it needs to SEE a blank disk the relevant buttons get greyed out - disabled. As I said, all the whirring and clicking without a result suggest that it's the drive itself having problems, not the app. I came across a writeup explaining that the first step in burning is to read some ID off the BLANK disk in order to identify its chemistry etc. If the firmware can't read or recognize whatever strings or codes it's looking for, that would explain the behaviour.

And if the medium is newer than the firmware, it may not fail gracefully, just scratch its head and try again.

Last edited by tekra; 11-24-2020 at 12:43 PM.
 
Old 11-24-2020, 12:47 PM   #11
JZL240I-U
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Hmm. I use K3b for burning. After starting the burn it prints the actual commands it uses for its backends (growisofs(?), ...). At least brasero is also a frontend. Does it say what it uses? Maybe just an update for the backends could help...
 
Old 11-24-2020, 01:32 PM   #12
fatmac
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My laptop has a single screw holding the drive in, it just pulls out/pushes in, might be worth a look.

I know my drive had a date of manufacture on it, probably says what type it is too, but can't remember; on some the edge of the tray had its type.
 
Old 11-24-2020, 01:57 PM   #13
rnturn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JZL240I-U View Post
Could you borrow another USB drive from a friend? What software do you use?

@teckk Try M-disks, they are produced with a mineral layer for a dye. That should not age in an appreciable time and they originally boasted that their disks hold data for a 1000 years (thus m (millenial) disk).
You'll need a drive that is capable of recording onto M-disk media. They cost a bit more -- at least my (internal) Lite-On did -- and the media costs more (~$2/disc but holds more, though) than the garden-variety DVD media you find at the big box electronics and office supply stores.

Cheers...
 
Old 11-24-2020, 04:11 PM   #14
tekra
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Now that ancient memories are resurfacing, I do recall following the suggestion that the firmware in the burners could be reflashed, but never got to verifying it. This was about when HDDs and USB sticks became so large that DVDs seemed puny by comparison, and my interest lapsed, as also did my use of them.

Thanks for all the input. Didn't know about the M-disks so that's certainly useful, although even my own limited archiving requirements (less than a terabyte) make multiple magnetic drives, rewritten periodically, the easiest and most cost-effective option. Fact is, NOTHING lasts forever, and consumer-grade tech at present seems dubious beyond a decade, although tekk seems to have done very well with his carefully-stored disks. No doubt the future will bring improvements.

> it just pulls out/pushes in, might be worth a look

Looks like a new USB burner is my best option. The laptop isn't worth upgrading given my limited need of the facility.
 
Old 11-24-2020, 05:36 PM   #15
rkelsen
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tekra View Post
> Sounds like a dodgy burner to me.

Which is what I thought; but TWO of them - laptop and USB?
My apologies. I read your OP as meaning that you had tried the same USB burner on both machines.

As above, I think you've found the answer. I seem to recall not being able to successfully burn a DVD+R back in the day. But I've never had any trouble with DVD-R at all. Since that worked for me, I stuck with it. I never tried any of the RW formats, but it didn't matter in the end because as you said newer & better technologies came along.
 
  


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