the coaster machine

Well, my DVD burning adventures continue. I actually managed to commit quite a few VHS tapes to DVD, but now things have gone totally off the rails.

First, I was using official Apple DVD-R media (10 pack), and I only got 2 error-free burns out of that. Then I bought a (much cheaper) 25-pack of STI DVD-Rs, and I got 17 good discs out of that (and even at 68% success rate, they were cheaper than Apple's media.)

So, that's 19 DVDs, 16 coasters, and I seemed to have the process down. I was getting about one disc written a day.

Then I bought a 50-pack of STI discs, from the same store, since those worked ok last time. And now, I can only rarely get it to write the disc to completion: what happens is, iDVD spends about an hour "encoding assets", then ejects the disc. The progress bar says "46 minutes left" forevermore, and I have to force-quit iDVD. Syslog says:

    iDVD: Burning to MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-815 D0C4 via ATAPI.
    iDVD: Requested burn speed was max, actual burn speed is 7x.
    iDVD: Burn started, Thu Mar 6 11:37:44 2003
    iDVD: Burn underrun protection is supported, and enabled.
    iDVD: Write (10), block: 0, count: 32 -> 3/73/03 Medium Error, Power calibration area error
    iDVD: Burn failed, Thu Mar 6 11:37:56 2003
    iDVD: Burn sense: 3/73/03 Medium Error, Power calibration area error
    iDVD: Burn error: 0x80020022 The device failed to respond properly, unable to recover or retry.

Some Googling reveals that the "power calibration area" is a spot on the disc that the burners do some initial read-write tests to, to figure out how much cooking the disc needs or something. So that error message means, "bad media, or maybe upgrade your firmware, or maybe it's an iDVD bug. Did you try rebooting?"

At this point, I've gotten that error on 26 discs from the new pack. It wrote 4 discs to completion (without the power calibration error), but those discs don't play right (the last few tracks are unreadable.)

I also tried all the usual suspects: check firmware version; upgrade to latest OS release; regenerate the iDVD project from iMovie after deleting a few frames; reboot; power down and let the drive cool off overnight; bleed a chicken; etc.

Lacking any other ideas, I guess I'll just keep trying until I run out the rest of this 50-pack on the off chance that there's one good disc in there. So far these DVD-Rs are costing me around $7 each, I think, and take an average of 2.5 days to burn. That's a hit rate of around 28%. Color me unimpressed.

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13 Responses:

  1. scosol says:

    "encoding assets" hahah

    it sounds like your drive itself is flaky, like theres something mechanically wrong with the seek/focus mechanisms
    i remember when CDR first came out,a dn it was the same thing- the initial media was very touchy, and without a perfect drive results were sportty at best.

  2. baconmonkey says:

    you should create a category of LJ "Memories" just for the DVD hell chronicles.

    affecting the accent of my ancestors, I'm beginning to guess DVD stands for

    "Doesn't Verk, Damnit!"

  3. jcurious says:

    or has only be registered in the past year.. try calling 1-800-SOS-APPLE (note the O in SOS is the letter O.. if you use the number 0 you will get a sex line)...

    as always.. best of luck.. appricate the updates.. I'm thinking of going with a PC based solution after having read your trials...

  4. jcurious says:

    doubt this will fix your issue.. but imovie 3.0.2 update came out:
    iMovie 3.0.2 update provides improved performance and stability. If you have iMovie 3.0 or 3.0.1 installed, please update to iMovie 3.0.2.
    (upper right hand corner)

  5. jlindquist says:

    I've burned just under a dozen DVDs with (knock wood) no coasters. I read through the MacInTouch report on people's iDVD problems anyways. If you haven't seen that, it seems one of the more successful tricks has been to disable "Put the hard disk to sleep when possible" in the Energy Saver control panel. I also go so far as to disable the screen savereffects.

    I'm using Ritek media I bought on a spool from A friend had bought the cheaper Leda brand spool that goes now for $85, which worked fine on his Windows system; I paid a little extra (then $100, now $115) as I've had a few bad experiences with cheap CD-R media.

    I poked around my .dvjproj directories, and I see no disc image files there. Perhaps iDVD saves them in /private/tmp, and deletes them after you burn your last disc?

    A couple of discs I've burned have been straight from Disk Copy, which also had no problems. (Images produced in a process to bring video off the TiVo.) All this was done on a Power Mac G4/933, built-in (Pioneer) SuperDrive, running 10.2.3.

    • ronbar says:

      Weren't Apple's high-density floppy drives called SuperDrives too, when they first came out?

      • jlindquist says:

        They sure were. My first comment when I read a blurb about such a machine was, "I thought Apple killed floppy drives?" I'm sure in another twelve years, they'll bestow the label on the ultraviolet-laser body-art-storage writer too. Just think, the "POOR IMPULSE CONTROL" tattoo on one's forehead will actually contain data! :-)

  6. omni_ferret says:

    Have you checked the manufacturer of the DVDs in the 50-pack? In a new DVD writer box, there was a chart with compatibility information. I can't find anything like that for the Matshita UJ-815 yet, though.

    I have access to another DVD burner, if you want to check the media. I think the drive - Pioneer DVR-105 - is well-supported on OS X.

    • jwz says:

      Like I said, the 25 pack and the 50 pack were the same brand, bought at the same store, less than a week apart.

      Ashley's taking his Mac back to the store today to try and get them to replace the drive, in case that's the problem.

      • omni_ferret says:

        I was thinking about querying the media, something like (checks) "cdrecord -atip" (which fails here). I've heard of brands switching manufacturers. It would be strange and unusual, but, well, it would fit right into this story.

      • Did you ever figure out what the problem was? The drive or the flakyness of the new technology?

        I'm thinking about buying a DVD Writer, but I don't want to get one if they're still immature.