How do I know if my CD writer is dying. - Hardware

This is a discussion on How do I know if my CD writer is dying. - Hardware ; I recently upgraded to debian etch and my sole means of backup, an HP M820 external CD writer (SCSI/pcmcia) no longer works as reliably as it used to. The wodim cdrecord replacement hangs just before it says "fixating" .. and ...

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Thread: How do I know if my CD writer is dying.

  1. How do I know if my CD writer is dying.

    I recently upgraded to debian etch and my sole means of backup, an HP
    M820 external CD writer (SCSI/pcmcia) no longer works as reliably as it
    used to.

    The wodim cdrecord replacement hangs just before it says "fixating" ..
    and eventually barfs a million error messages before croaking on a
    "segfault".

    I have a feeling this has nothing to do with pcmcia or scsi
    configuration .. or an (always possible) bug in wodim that would affect
    just my particular hardware .. but rather this may be a symptom of this
    5-year old device gently dying on me.

    Is there any way I could confirm this before I replace it?

    Do CD writers just die and you have to buy another one .. or is there
    ways to give them a second life?

    Thanks,
    cga


  2. Re: How do I know if my CD writer is dying.

    cga2000 staggered into the Black Sun and said:
    > my sole means of backup, an HP M820 external CD writer (SCSI/pcmcia)
    > no longer works as reliably as it used to. The wodim cdrecord
    > replacement hangs just before it says "fixating" .. and eventually
    > barfs a million error messages


    Install cdrecord (or growisofs) and try that, just to make sure it's not
    a hardware problem. Joerg keeps saying wodim has bugs. He might
    have a point there.

    > I have a feeling this has nothing to do with pcmcia or scsi
    > configuration, or a bug in wodim that would affect just my particular
    > hardware, but [is] a symptom of this 5-year old device gently dying.
    > Is there any way I could confirm this before I replace it?


    See above, and take a look at dmesg's output. You *might* see sensible
    error messages if this is an actual SCSI device and you have verbose
    SCSI error reporting turned on. If it's IDE or USB, the odds of
    sensible error messages go down, but you might see something useful in
    the dump.

    > Do CD writers just die and [then] you have to buy another one, or
    > [are] there ways to give them a second life?


    This depends on what exactly has failed. Certain problems can
    apparently be fixed by fiddling with the laser power level, but problems
    with the mechanical parts typically mean it's time to replace the drive.
    The last CD-RW drive that died on me (2.5 years after the warranty
    expired, much longer than any other CD-RW I'd owned, yay Plextor)
    displayed complete and total catatonia. YDriveMV.

    --
    The squirrels now live in fear of the magic exploding compost heap.
    --Dan Holdsworth
    Matt G|There is no Darkness in Eternity/But only Light too dim for us to see

  3. Re: How do I know if my CD writer is dying.

    On Tue, 30 Oct 2007 01:44:36 GMT, Dances With Crows wrote:
    > cga2000 staggered into the Black Sun and said:
    >> my sole means of backup, an HP M820 external CD writer (SCSI/pcmcia)
    >> no longer works as reliably as it used to. The wodim cdrecord
    >> replacement hangs just before it says "fixating" .. and eventually
    >> barfs a million error messages

    >
    > Install cdrecord (or growisofs) and try that, just to make sure it's not
    > a hardware problem. Joerg keeps saying wodim has bugs. He might
    > have a point there.


    I was going to try that.. after I remembered some rather heated
    exchanges between Joerg and the debian-user crowd.

    But actually, since I don't believe in magic, it turns out that I had
    upgraded by installing debian etch on different partitions and kept my
    old sarge handy just in case. So I rebooted my old sarge system where
    the HP M820 worked w/o problems and tried to write the same iso file I
    was trying to write via wodim to a CD-R with the old cderecord from 2-3
    year ago and got exactly the same result.

    Now I know that this used to work and I can't thing of anything that
    might have changed on this old system.

    So after running this test, I thought I wouldn't bother installing
    Joerg's version. Although, come to think of it, I might get better
    support from him than I did on the debian lists.

    >> I have a feeling this has nothing to do with pcmcia or scsi
    >> configuration, or a bug in wodim that would affect just my particular
    >> hardware, but [is] a symptom of this 5-year old device gently dying.
    >> Is there any way I could confirm this before I replace it?

    >
    > See above, and take a look at dmesg's output. You *might* see
    > sensible error messages if this is an actual SCSI device


    It definitely is. I get all the scsi messages and sense codes .. but
    when the problem occurs all I get is a hang and /var/log/messages has
    this:

    Oct 28 22:09:59 turki kernel: [ 703.061864] sr 1:0:4:0: scsi: Device
    offlined - not ready after error recovery
    Oct 28 22:10:01 turki kernel: [ 704.834626] wodim[5560]: segfault at
    bf56efdc eip b7e305b9 esp bf56efb8 error 6

    If I have the time next weekend, maybe I should look for a scsi manual
    with all the sense codes.

    > and you have verbose SCSI error reporting turned on.


    I'll read the man page and see how I can activate more verbose
    messaging.

    > If it's IDE or USB, the odds of sensible error messages go down, but
    > you might see something useful in the dump.


    >> Do CD writers just die and [then] you have to buy another one, or
    >> [are] there ways to give them a second life?

    >
    > This depends on what exactly has failed.


    I'd bet on the "laser" .. i.e. I was experiencing problems with it over
    the last month or so .. and eventually was able to write a
    mountable/usable copy of the latest xubuntu by blowing canned air and
    (later) applying rubbing alcohol at
    what looks to be the "lens".

    But this is pure speculation .. what kinda bothers me is that I would
    have expected this type of component to just die and never come back.

    Here, I get the OPC message .. fine .. then wodim/cdrecord write for
    quite a while -- I think something like 750KB/s or thereabout .. and
    I'm looking at over 500MB .. fine again .. everything appear to be
    working ..

    And it's right at the end .. when it should perform the "fixating" part
    of the operation that it borks. Makes me think of a surgeon having
    successfully performed his 7th appendectomy of the day suddenly dying of
    a massive heart attack just when he's about to sew his patient back up.

    > Certain problems can apparently be fixed by fiddling with the laser
    > power level,


    The device appears to get his power off of his own little P.U.
    connected to the same outlet as the laptop. And power seems to be
    pretty stable in my area.

    > but problems with the mechanical parts


    It does appear to be noisier than it used to be. Like it's humming when
    it comes up while booting. But then you get used to these things anyway
    ... so I'm not even sure.

    > typically mean it's time to replace the drive.


    I have seen some bare drives that supposedly are compatible with this
    old laptop -- IDE .. better than this pcmcia/scsi contraption, perhaps?

    The trouble is that I would need a caddy to plug them into the laptop
    and these appear to be rather hard to find.

    > The last CD-RW drive that died on me (2.5 years after the warranty
    > expired, much longer than any other CD-RW I'd owned, yay Plextor)
    > displayed complete and total catatonia. YDriveMV.


    A sensible solution would probably be to setup a desktop/server
    machine with a DVD writer (the ~700MB limitation is quite a pain when
    your partitions are some 3-4GB)and have it backup the laptop remotely.

    Considering I paid something like $300.00 for this HP M820 5-6 years
    ago and that scsi over pcmcia strikes me as rather complicated I have a
    feeling it may not be worth investigating further.

    Thanks much for your comments.

    cga

































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