What should the life of a CD-RW be?

  Tj_El 16:21 28 Apr 2004


My Liteon CD-RW has died a death - refuses to read anything. :-(

I thought the lifespan of these devices would be more than 2 years - that's how long I have had it, a lousy 2 years! Something must be wrong here surely...?



  Stuartli 16:32 28 Apr 2004

The longevity of a rewriter is not as high as that of a CD/DVD-ROM type drive - that's why I always recommend that a rewriter is used for the sole task of burning.

Manufacturers, even those that rebadge other makles' products, usually indicate the anticipated minimum life span of their drives.

But there's no average - one drive might last 18 months, another two years and a third pack up in the first year.

My first CD-RW drive was a TDK Velox 12x10x24 (actually a rebadged Plextor, one of the best makes around), which packed up within four months despite minimal use.

TDK replaced it and that auffered exactly the same problem after a few weeks; the replacement for the second proved to be a TDK CyClone with 24x write speed as the Velox had been discontinued.

Price of the orignal rewriter was £68 - the then new CyClone was £189 at dabs...:-) TDK didn't make any money (the two earlier ones went back to its Luxembourg HQ and back at TDK's expense), but the customer service was fantastic.

Thankfully the CyClone is still doing sterling service.

  Stuartli 16:36 28 Apr 2004

This extract may prove of interest (written before the current era of 48x/52x models):

"How long do CD recorders last?

"The MTBF (Mean Time Between Failures) on these drives is typically 50,000 to 100,000 hours, and they come with a 1 year warranty. Compare that to hard drives rated at between 500,000 and 1,000,000 hours with a 3 or 5 year warranty and that should give you some idea.

"Most of the drives available today weren't meant for mass production of CD-Rs. The only exceptions are the venerable Philips CDD 522, Kodak PCD 600, and Sony CDW-900E.

"Incidentally, MTBF is not an estimate of how long the drive will last. Rather, it's an estimate of the failure rate of the drives during the expected lifetime of the device. Once you exceed the expected lifetime, which is often on the order of a couple of years, the anticipated failure rate increases.

"If you have new drives with an MTBF of 25,000 hours, and you run 1000 units for 100 hours, you can expect to see four of them fail. It does NOT mean you can expect them to run for 2.8 years and then all fail at once."

  Stuartli 16:39 28 Apr 2004

Despite the advice of crx1600, dust is unlikely to be a cause - drives are very well sealed and the only time they are exposed is when you open and close the tray.

It might be worth Removing the rewriter in Device Manager and rebooting, which will allow Windows to Detect New Hardware and install the basic CDROM driver (all that is required).

  Tj_El 17:00 28 Apr 2004

hmmm?! Stuartli, that's interesting that I can remove the rewriter via 'Device manager' and install the basic CD-ROM driver. Never knew that could be done!

Pray tell, how to accomplish this? I'd be very grateful.

I also have not really used the burning facility of the drive as much as the basic playing so I was really surprised that it failed to read my CD's.

I had already bought a CD/DVD cleaner on a friend’s suggestion that the lens might need a clean although I did at the time think it rather strange that it would not play at all. At the very least I would have expected it to play but skip while playing if dirt was the cause. Anyway on the plus side I now have a CD cleaner... :-))

Thanks for the info on performing the basic CD-ROM install.


  Stuartli 09:26 29 Apr 2004

It's nothing new in the slightest - Windows detects your rewriter (if you Remove it from Device Manager and then reboot) and then installs the basic CDROM driver; the driver serves CD/DVD-ROM and CD-RW rewriter drives (almost certainly DVD rewriters as well).

If you go to System Information and look up your drive(s) you will see the Windows CDROM driver listed against it(them).

Often people get confused with drivers and firmware for drives - it's the latter that can often be updated from the manufacturer's website, although it's a practice to be approached with great care and only if absolutely necessary.

In the case of your rewriter it could well be that the laser has given up the ghost - a new top brand model featuring the highest available write, rewrite and read speeds can be acquired for between £20 and £30 these days.

  Tj_El 19:10 25 Nov 2004

New device bought.

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