The Dreadful LG Burner Strikes Again

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20760 As I’ve blogged about before, the DVD writer I bought from LG last year was giving me nothing else but coasters and headaches. But now I suspect I have some clues about the problem.

With this LG GSA-H22N DVD WRITER, I’ve encountered writing problems mostly burning to Sony and Nipponic media. (I’ve also had reading problems when I was using Windows XP x64 Edition, but they seem to begone since I’ve installed the common 32-bit version of Windows XP Professional with SP3).

Usually, the problems occur when the media is recorded using anything more than 4x, even if the media supports higher speeds. But it takes roughly 40 minutes to record a DVD, which is unacceptable in most ocasions. After I insert one of these coaster discs I receive the "X:/ not accessible – Incorrect Function" error under Windows Explorer.

 

 

But yesterday, my brother popped up one of those coasters on his notebook and -  guess what – it worked! It hasn’t worked even on my other desktop, which has a respectable Pioneer DVR-110D, but worked on his notebook, and also on a friend’s notebook. I suspect its either the way discs are hold in notebook drives that is enabling them to be read, or their drives have a higher error tolerance than my other desktop drives. Maybe my LG recorder fails to write a proper DVD-R Lead-In on those media and perhaps that only the Toshiba internal optical drives from their notebooks were able to read. In either case, I think it’s still LG’s fault for producing such crappy hardware.

GSA-T20N_HITypically, in the notebook kind of optical drives the discs are hold tightly through a small clip in the center of the tray, rather than loosely attached to the rotor like in conventional drives. I’ve noticed the discs also make a noise, like if they are unbalanced or something. The disc holder could be misaligned, and some media may aggravate the problem making burning (and/or reading) unreliable. Since the discs cannot be read from the start (isn’t like some files are corrupted), the problem must certainly be occuring during the writing of the Lead-In section of the disc.

 

 

While I can’t discover the real source of the problem, I think I will keep writing in painful 4x speeds.

 

Tips

Below are some other tips I found around to try to avoid the problem (I don’t know if they really make a difference, but nearly anything is worth trying at this point)

1. Disable Built-In Windows CD Burning

The original burning method that comes with Windows (the one that lets you drag and drop files directly to your DVD Drive under Windows Explorer) was not really meant to work with DVDs. It works, but I would not advice you to use it. Instead, grab some specialized media burning software like Nero or CDBurnerXP (I’ve been using the former lately, and it has been doing its job well).

  • Go to Start Menu > Run, type gpedit.msc then press Enter
  • Go to User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Windows Components > Windows Explorer
  • Find "Remove CD Burning Features", double click it, click "Enabled" then press OK. This will disable the built in CD Burning on Windows (remember you will no longer be able to drag and drop files to your media from explorer, but will have to use a third part media burning software instead).

2. Disable Digital Audio Output for your Drive

Some people reported the digital audio output was causing problems for some drives. I’m bit skeptcal about that, but since disabling it has no major drawbacks, this tip is worth a try.

  • Go to Start Menu > Control Panel > System > "Hardware" Tab > Device Manager.
  • Now find your optical drive on the device tree, double click it, then go to the Properties tab and uncheck the box "Enable digital CD audio for this CD-ROM device".

3. Update your firmware

I’ve updated the GSA-H22N firmware to the 1.02 version already; but it didn’t help. New LG firmwares can be downloaded from http://ca.lgservice.com. But be sure to select the right one for your drive or you may cause irreversible damage to your writer.

 

Links

Some useful links to continue reading.

http://club.cdfreaks.com/f105/sh-s182d-dvd-r-lead-217594/
Thread depicting a similar problem with Lead-In writing with some burners.

http://www.dvdinfopro.com/
A commercial software which can read data outsite the Data Zone of DVD discs and can be used to debug the problem.

http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=dvd+incorrect+function
Similar entries on Google about the "Incorrect Function" problem.

http://www.fixya.com/support/t244977-lg_gsa_h22n_dvd_rw_dual_layer
Nice thread depicting all the love customers have had for this drive.

Building a Hexadecimal Display using AHDL

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Here is the code for a Binary-to-Hexadecimal Decoder for seven-segment displays implemented on Altera’s Hardware Decription Language (AHDL), the language for building logic blocks inside Altera’s Quartus II.

An optional invert input (named N) is provided to invert the decoder outputs, which is often necessary if you plan to emulate your device using a FPGA and it happens to have its output display with inverted logic activation. This code also serves as a example on how to program a logic function by using its truth table directly in AHDL.

To use this code in your Quartus II project, open up your project, then click

“File -> New”,

choose “AHDL File”, copy and paste this code and then click

“File -> Create / Update -> Create Symbol Files for Current File”

to create its symbol file. After that, you may add the decoder to your schematics as if you were adding a common component to your circuit using the Symbol Tool dialog. The symbol should be located under the Project library.

For more information about using AHDL and Quartus, you may read this guide, Using AHDL in the Quartus II Software. There is a lot of other resources available online teaching how to use Quartus II out there. Some of them can be found on the following links:



Altera, The Programmable Solutions Company, the stylized Altera logo,
specific device designations, and all other words that are identified
as trademarks and/or service marks are, unless noted otherwise, the
trademarks and service marks of
Altera Corporation in the U.S. and
other countries. Other linked content from here are copyrighted from its respective owners. The AHDL code provided above belongs to the
public domain.

Lojas de Componentes Eletrônicos em São Carlos

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Adoro o Google.

Hoje, enquanto observava no Google Analytics o que as pessoas estavam procurando no Google quando caiam nesse blog, encontrei alguém procurando pelas keywords são carlos componentes eletrônicos. Bem, sei que esta pessoa poderia estar procurando por qualquer outro tipo de coisa, mas esta query me fez perceber que são poucos os lugares listando lojas do gênero da região. Pois bem, aqui está uma curta referência às lojas onde geralmente compramos componentes aqui na cidade de São Carlos:

Eletrônica Pinhé
Rua General Osório, 67, São Carlos-SP
Fone: (16) 3372-7207 Site: http://www.pinhe.com.br/

Para quem está ruim de mapa, fica perto da Estação Ferroviária. Se quiser ir de ônibus, pegue qualquer um que pare na Praça da Estação, procure a Rua General Osório e suba, passando pela linha do trem. Mudaram de endereço recentemente, e não tenho certeza se este endereço é o antigo ou o mais atual. De qualquer modo, o novo endereço é apenas alguns metros adiante do antigo.

CaAndMa
Av. Grécia, 700, São Carlos-SP
Fone: (16) 3375-7778

Ótima loja de componentes eletrônicos, acho que é a mais completa por aqui. A única coisa que atrapalha é a localização, e não tenho conhecimento dos ônibus que passam ali por perto. Componentes ativos, passivos, microcontroladores, telas lcd, enclosures, conectores, cabos… Infelizmente, perdi a nota fiscal com endereço e telefone e estou sem uma lista telefônica para buscá-la novamente. Fica de esquina com a Rua Henrique Grégori, na Vila Prado.

Eletrônica Gaspar
Av. São Carlos, 2615, São Carlos-SP
Fone: (16) 3371-4014 / 3371-3412

Não é exatamente uma loja de componentes eletrônicos, mas possui vários tipos de conectores, inclusive o plug P1 stereo que não encontrava em nenhum lugar. Não sei se trabalham com componentes eletrônicos propriamente ditos, é melhor telefonar antes e perguntar.

Universidade Federal de São Carlos
Departamento de Computação

Se você é aluno da federal e precisa de alguns poucos componentes para algum projeto acadêmico, vá até o Departamento de Computação e converse com algum funcionário, explique seu projeto e veja se eles não podem fornecer alguns para você. Mas não abuse. Provavelmente a USP São Carlos, vulgo CAASO (argh!) pode ter uma oferta semelhante, mas não pude confirmar.

PS: Além destas, num próximo post listarei as principais lojas virtuais de componentes eletrônicos nas quais comprei e tenho confiança, e colocarei o link para o post aqui.

Note to self: Never buy anything from LG again

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For the rest of my life I’m sticking with Pioneer. This ain’t the first and probably wont be the last optical drive from LG that gives me headaches in less than one year after I bought it. Apparently, this drive chokes reading some burned DVDs, even DVDs burned by itself, while other computers could read them without a hitch.

The internet is full of complaints for this drive, the GSA-H22N, and I remember well the experience I had working in a school full of computers with LG drives in the past also wasn’t exactly the most troubleless ever.

But the world is weird, isn’t it? Turns out the best writable CD media I’ve ever bought in my life was also branded by LG. For years I’ve used this media with my Pioneer 110D, the most fast, reliable, cool and affordable DVD±R burner I have ever bought.