[ltp] 770X CD-ROM drive and CD-RW media

Wright, Corey A linux-thinkpad@www.bm-soft.com
Thu, 20 Sep 2001 15:13:08 -0500

I have tried two 24x CD-ROM drives (FRU P/N 02K0515) with my 770x and both
have difficulty reading the last half of CD-RW discs or whenever the
drive/media has warmed-up.  Am I the only one with this problem (and just
happened to end up with two bad drives) or is this common?

I recently purchased a reconditioned ThinkPad 770X 9549-72U (with a 90-day
warranty).  Both Windows 98 and Debian GNU/Linux are installed on the laptop
(well, Windows 98 WAS installed on the laptop, but only for
setting-up/testing/diagnosing the hardware, so when I finished with it I
saved the entire FAT-16 partition to a file and now use the partition for
the DOS TP utilities and my hibernation file, but anyways...) and the CD-ROM
exhibits the same problem under both OSes.

The 24x CD-ROM that came with the laptop had problems reading CD-RW media,
specifically the last half of the discs and whenever the drive/media have
warmed-up.  I have received three replacement drives since then: one is the
same model and exhibits the same problem and two were the wrong model (20x
FRU P/N 12J0424, which definitely doesn't read CD-RW media).

The drive can read the table of contents, displaying the volume name and the
root directory listing, and can usually read the whole directory structure,
but whenever I try to read files later on the disc or after I've had the
drive/disc spinning for a while, the system begins to spew errors.  In Linux
the system log records kernel messages about the drive returning errors,
timing out, and not being ready, and under Windows explorer sputters, hangs,
and/or blue-screens.

For the curious my current test CD-RW consists of 65 identical files
(containing 10 MB of hexadecimal zeros) and I md5sum (i.e. "hash") the
files, which means that every byte of the files gets read.  I can get
through the first half or so of all the files the first time through, but
every subsequent time after that I can only get through a few files before
the system errors begin.  If I let the drive and media cool off (the drive
and disc get warmer than when I use either of my desktop CD-ROM drives),
then the process repeats itself: first time gets half-way, subsequent times
get almost no where.

CD-ROMs and CD-Rs work great.  CD-RWs, whether single or multisession,
written TAO or DAO under Windows or Linux, whatever brand, have trouble
being read.  Conclusion: it's not the media.

Am I the only one or can anybody with this drive model empathize with me?

Both specimen of this model were manufactured in late 1998, when multiread
(able to read CD-ROM/R/RW) drives were just becoming widespread, so maybe
the multiread technology in these drives isn't perfect.  Maybe time has
taken a toll on the hardware and the drives are performing just a little bit
too far out of spec.

I've scanned the net (google.com and groups.google.com) and can't find
anyone else with this problem (or even reading CD-RW media at all with this
drive).  And I'm sure the company who I bought this from is getting tired of
me hassling them for yet another replacement drive.  So is this behavior
normal and I should just accept it, or is there hope and I should just keep
asking for yet another replacement?

Here's the technical specs for the drive from IBM:

Internal 10X-24X CD-Rom Drive
FRU P/N 02K0515

Can anybody tell me whether this model's inability to read CD-RWs is
"normal" or not?

Corey Wright

PS I'm also experiencing the "no system suspend with pcmcia nic and ac
power" which was mentioned here
<http://www.bm-soft.com/~bm/archives/200101/msg00111.html> and am curious if
a solution (i.e. BIOS update) was ever published/found.  BTW, I'm running
the latest BIOS for the 770X, v1.09.  I hate having to briefly remove the AC
power adapter to perform a system suspend.

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