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New twist on external DVD problem: Writes fine but can't read or verify with Nero

Discussion in 'DVD±R for advanced users' started by waltersbg, Feb 18, 2005.

  1. waltersbg

    waltersbg Member

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    As with many of you, I've read hundreds of messages relating to problems with DVD writers that are in USB 2.0 external enclosures. I'm actually much better off than most people who are reading those threads, but I still have a problem that needs to be resolved. In hours of searching the Internet, I've seen one person reference the kind of problem I'm having but without details or a solution.

    I have a Toshiba SD-R5372 DVD writer. It is installed in an ME-325 series 5.25" USB 2.0 enclosure. The enclosure uses an ALI M5621 chipset and uses an internal power supply.

    On my Compaq X1000 laptop (running XP Home SP1), the Toshiba and enclosure have worked beautifully. The X1000 has built-in USB 2.0 ports. I've run Nero's CD-DVD speed tests on it, read DVDs with DVDShrink and DVD Decrypter, burnt many DVD-R's, +R's, and +RW's with both Nero Express and DVD Decrypter. My only issues when using the laptop have been DVD authoring and capture issues that I've posted in threads elsewhere.

    My real problems started when I decided to get the external DVD hooked up to my desktop too. One of the reasons that I went the external route is so that I could move the DVD writer from my laptop to desktop and my PC at work. Although I may do most of my DVD authoring on my Laptop, I need the DVD writer to work on my desktop for backup purposes.

    My desktop is a Dell Dimension 4100, 1Ghz PIII, 128MB, running Windows ME. It does not have USB 2.0 on the motherboard, so I added a PCI combo USB 2.0/firewire card. This card is using an ALI chip.

    What WORKS when I've got the external DVD connected to my desktop via USB 2.0:

    -- Drive is recognized as "USB Mass Storage Device" when connected.

    -- I can copy data from DVD's to the pc by using the Windows "drag and drop" operation.

    -- I can read a DVD using DVDShrink.

    -- I can burn a DVD using Nero Express. These DVDs appear to be burnt error free.

    The following DOES NOT work with the external DVD enclosure connected to my desktop via USB 2.0:

    -- I can not use Nero CD-DVD Speed speed test. During the spin up, I receive an error: "No additional sense Information".

    -- I can not get surface scan to work in Nero CD-DVD Speed. Even with known good DVDs, the surface scan reports random unreadable blocks. Every time you run it, different blocks are reported as unreadable.

    -- I can not read a DVD in Nero Express when trying to do a DVD-to-DVD copy. I don't have the exact error in front of my, but basically the read fails almost immediately.

    -- I can not use "verify after write" in Nero Express. Random failures are reported during the verify, although a DOS file compare done on my laptop shows that the DVD burnt on the desktop was perfect.

    Note that if I plug the enclosure in to a USB 1.1 port instead, all of the things I mention as failing under USB 2.0 work, albeit very, very slowly.

    I am using the latest version of Nero Express (6.6.0.6).

    So, basically, everything works expect any kind of read operation in any Nero program I've tried. Reading works OK when just doing a windows copy however. Writes seem to work fine.

    I understand that the ALI chips, both on the PCI add-in card and in the enclosure can be problematic. However, I'm encouraged that the enclosure works well when plugged into my laptop. I am going to try a different PCI adapter. This time I will go for a USB 2.0 only card (instead of the one with firewire) and I will look for one with the NEC or SIIG chip instead of an ALI chip. I do find it hard to believe that the card is at fault, considering that everything is working fine (as near as I can tell) except reads with Nero.

    In addition to the possibility of some kind of incompatibility with the PCI card, I'm wondering if Nero does not like (or is not well tested) with Windows ME or if my particular install of Windows ME is making it unhappy.

    Hopefully something good can come from my post, if others are having the same problem.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. waltersbg

    waltersbg Member

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    I've now tried the next couple of steps in trying to figure this thing out.

    Tonight, I tried:

    -- Disabled all other tasks (except for explorer and systray). Still couldn't read from the external drive using Nero.

    -- Disabled USB error detection in device manager for my USB 2.0 controller. Didn't help.

    -- Used Nero DriveSpeed to limit the read speed of the external drive to 1x. Didn't help.

    -- Went into the BIOS and disabled Legacy USB support and set "Plug-and-Play Operating System" to "YES". Didn't help.

    -- Took the drive out of the external enclosure and mounted it in the PC as the master device on the secondary IDE bus. THIS WORKED. At this point, I could use Nero CD-DVD speed to test the drive and do good surface scans.

    It wasn't too much of a surprise that the drive worked when I mounted it in the PC. The good news is that this pretty much eliminates Windows ME, my ASPI drivers, and the Toshiba drive itself as the cause of the read problem.

    That leaves me with one clear choice -- get a new PCI USB 2.0 card. I'm not sure how long it will take me to find one that doesn't have the ALI or VIA chips. I want to get something that, in general, people have had better luck with. We'll see if it helps.
     
  3. waltersbg

    waltersbg Member

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    SUCCESS!!!!!

    In my case, I think the name of this site should be "JustBeforeDawn". In the 1+ month that I've owned a DVD writer, I've been up until Just Before Dawn on several occasions trying to figure out some aspect of capturing, authoring, burning.

    This morning, it's only 2:00AM local time and I have good news to report. If, by chance, there is anybody else out there who was experiencing the same problem I described above (can not read external 2.0 USB DVD drive using Nero software), I have a fix. Or, to be more accurate, I have a fix that worked in my particular case. I don't believe that the various USB 2.0 problems that users are seeing are all from the same root causes. I think for 100 people with problems there will be at least 10 different fixes that work for some of them.

    In my case, I took the next step that I described above. I purchased a different USB 2.0 PCI card. Actually, against all my engineering training, I changed TWO things. I also exchanged my external enclosure. But, the enclosure was exchanged for the exact same model. I only took it back for exchange because the fan sounded like it was on the way out.

    The USB 2.0 PCI card, however, was replaced with a completely different brand with a completely different chip on the card. Instead of buying the cheapest card I could find, I was determined to get one with either a NEC or SIIG chip. I had not proof that cards based on these chips would work any better than the ALI-based card I had, but there was more than one poster out there who felt it might.

    The great news for me is that I found a Vantec brand NEC-based card for only $18. This time, I bought a USB 2.0 only card instead of a combo USB 2.0/firewire card.

    Vantec is still one of those mysterious Asian companies with no real web presence or support. I knew I was still taking a chance as opposed to getting, say, an Adaptec card. But I liked the $18 Vantec with 4 ports as opposed to the $29 Adaptec with 2 ports. I decided to give the Vantec a try.

    After a smooth install process, I finally got up the nerve to try the external drive on my desktop again. ALL NERO READS WORK FINE! I can use CD-DVD Speed to test throughput and I can do surface scans. I can use the verify option after writing. Everything seems to be working great.

    So, long story long, that's what happened in my case. Probably has little if any bearing on the USB 2.0 "SCSI" error that has created a 500-post thread, but at least it could give some hope to those who are having other USB 2.0 issues.

    Later,
    Mike
     

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