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  1. #1

    Default Macbook Pro will not burn DVDs

    Hi,

    My 2 year old Macbook Pro will no longer burn DVDs even though it is a superdrive. I get an error saying:

    "The disc can't be burned, because the device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media."

    CDs burn fine. I thought maybe it was software related and waited till I upgraded to Leopard and had a fresh install of the OS but no luck. Sounds like it hardware related but though I might ask someone much more smarter than me? Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance,
    George.

  2. #2

    Join Date
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    Default

    Yup, sounds like a hardware problem.

    Have you tried different brands of media first though? :-)

    I believe I had this problem quite a while ago on one of my LiteOn drives in Windose, and can't remember whether different Media helped.
    MacBook Unibody 2.4GHz // iPhone 4 32GB (Telstra) // iPad 2 64GB Wifi+3G
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  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by zagas View Post
    Hi,

    My 2 year old Macbook Pro will no longer burn DVDs even though it is a superdrive. I get an error saying:

    "The disc can't be burned, because the device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media."

    CDs burn fine. I thought maybe it was software related and waited till I upgraded to Leopard and had a fresh install of the OS but no luck. Sounds like it hardware related but though I might ask someone much more smarter than me? Any ideas?

    Thanks in advance,
    George.
    I get the same thing when trying DVD's on my MacBook with SuperDrive. I have been meaning to ask before I send it in for a claim for another issue - am keen to hear some opinions

  4. #4

    Join Date
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    Most people don't know this, but there are actually two pairs of lasers in a DVD-writer, one for CD media, the other for DVD media. One laser in each pair is for reading, one is for writing. The read lasers in each pair run between 3 and 5 mW, the CD write laser runs at 80 to 180 mW, the DVD write laser from 100 to 250 mW. The faster you burn a disc, the more power the write laser requires.

    Where the problem lies in modern DVD writers is that the focus lenses are no longer made of glass, but of plastic, and the more power the write laser pushes through them, the faster the plastic lens degrades due to heat build-up. The writer's electronics are self-adapting to a point, and will increase power as the plastic starts to fog, but eventially even at maximum power output the lens is too far degraded to get an accurate write.

    This problem has become more commonplace in the last three years as DVD writer speeds have increased, along with the fact that build quality has declined, with optical drives becoming virtually a consumable.

    I can only assume that the posters who have had this power error problem pop up have been burning a lot of DVDs at maximum (x16) speed.

    if you want your DVD burner to last the distance, do not burn at the media or the drive's maximum capability.

  5. #5

    Default

    This is very helpful post... but I'm using my Superdrive for the first time -- trying to burn a dual layer DVD. The computer's a year old, but I'm getting this error message. I'm using Memorex DVD+R DL. Any other ideas for me?

  6. #6

    Default

    I had this problem on my GF's MacBook 2.0 - trying to burn CDs from iTunes gave the error, as well as burning DVDs from Toast. Turns out the Superdrive had come off its internal mounting along with a few other issues related to the integrity of the laptop casing. It was repaired under warranty even though they tried to claim drop damage. Fought them for 3 months and they did it all under warranty.

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
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    Geelong, Vic
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    Default

    My macbook has been having this problem too. The thing is, it went in for a new keyboard and new hd only a few months ago. Shouldn't compnow have picked up all problems? Or is it a case of not knowing there is a problem until you burn a disk? For the record I don't burn that many dvds. I went through about 5 last night though that had to keep getting chucked. One thing I have noticed is the drive speeds up and the fan sounds louder just before there is an error. And it;s always at a different part of the burn. I got as far as 2/3rds of the way through without an error for one disk.

    Anyway, back to the shop again I guess. I'm glad I have applecare. I have had: my keyboard and trackpad replaced twice, my power brick replaced, and a new hard drive. Worth the $300.

  8. #8

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    May 2008
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    I am getting "burn errors" when trying to burn a Dual Layer TDK +R disk. It is happening at the 50% mark both in Toast and Disk Utility.

    I am using a 15 MBP (unibody)...No problems with a CD or a DVD.

    Any suggestions on what media is successful? I will try the Verbatim tomorrow...

  9. #9

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    Verbatims are the testing 'reference standard' disc for most burner manufacturers.

    If you're getting a failure part-way through the burn, it means the write laser is thermalling out. Faster speed burns need more power into the laser, which heats things up quicker.

    As I said in the older post in this thread, try and do a burn at a slow speed, never at maximum.

  10. #10

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    Thanks Brains..

    Used a Verbatim +R DL disc and burned at "2" times speed which was successful.

  11. #11

    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Melbourne
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    Default

    Both myself and my housemate are having this issue aswell... is it possible it was brought on by a recent software upgrade or something... it seems to be around a lot ot the moment

  12. #12

    Default

    There was a superdrive firmware update a couple of months ago. I've not heard of it causing problems, though it did resolve a few.

  13. #13

    Default Brains got brains

    Quote Originally Posted by Brains View Post
    Most people don't know this, but there are actually two pairs of lasers in a DVD-writer, one for CD media, the other for DVD media. One laser in each pair is for reading, one is for writing. The read lasers in each pair run between 3 and 5 mW, the CD write laser runs at 80 to 180 mW, the DVD write laser from 100 to 250 mW. The faster you burn a disc, the more power the write laser requires.

    Where the problem lies in modern DVD writers is that the focus lenses are no longer made of glass, but of plastic, and the more power the write laser pushes through them, the faster the plastic lens degrades due to heat build-up. The writer's electronics are self-adapting to a point, and will increase power as the plastic starts to fog, but eventially even at maximum power output the lens is too far degraded to get an accurate write.

    This problem has become more commonplace in the last three years as DVD writer speeds have increased, along with the fact that build quality has declined, with optical drives becoming virtually a consumable.

    I can only assume that the posters who have had this power error problem pop up have been burning a lot of DVDs at maximum (x16) speed.

    if you want your DVD burner to last the distance, do not burn at the media or the drive's maximum capability.
    What brains wrote back in 2008 has solved a problem I have had for months. I have a MacBook Pro and every time I burned a DVD that irritating message came up. I have googled that message so many times and today I found the post above and after reading it, I put on another blank DVD and changed the burn speed from the default one (Maximum speed 8x) to 2x and now I am burning DVDs for my clients albeit at a slower rate but burning nonetheless. It was that simple. Thanks Brains.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by joaquimbarreto View Post
    What brains wrote back in 2008 has solved a problem I have had for months. I have a MacBook Pro and every time I burned a DVD that irritating message came up. I have googled that message so many times and today I found the post above and after reading it, I put on another blank DVD and changed the burn speed from the default one (Maximum speed 8x) to 2x and now I am burning DVDs for my clients albeit at a slower rate but burning nonetheless. It was that simple. Thanks Brains.
    Didn't work for me

  15. #15

    Default

    I have had the same problem with Mac Mini's and Macbook Pro, after about 18 months to 2 years they just pack it in. Work fine for reading but the burning just starts to fail more and more regularly.

    I always burn slow, always use the same burning methods and always use the same media.. then they will just stop working. Have found many others who have experienced it on the Macbook's too. At one stage I was convinced it was media so I bought 4 or 5 brands of blanks (+ and -) and every single time I still got the calibration error. Also convinced it's not software as I tried multiple burning packages in OSX and the Macbook Pro was dual booted into Linux and just spat out coasters.

    You can get a replacement drive on eBay fairly cheaply but it's just as easy to go and buy an external USB burner (Lacie etc.) and chuck it in the laptop bag. Since switching to an external USB burner I haven't had a single problem... but the fact you need to use 2 USB ports for the power requirements of the external drive makes it a little annoying.

    Have read a few theories too, mainly around either lens degradation over time or just that the lens gets dirty, which goes towards explaining why higher speed burns start to fail first and why lowering the speed works for some people (I am sure you will be back reporting more problems in future!)

    This site has some interesting info and experiences with a failing drive / cleaning the lense
    How to clean the lens of a slot-loading optical drive (a MacBook Pro's SuperDrive) | monline

    I am yet to try the credit card + iPhone cleaning cloth mentioned in the comments but it looks to be a quick fix that has worked for quite a few people.

    He finds that he gets about 20 months of use before it needs a clean which matches up to the time period that I find they start to fail.
    Last edited by bzchi; 5th July 2010 at 10:54 AM.

  16. #16

    Join Date
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    1

    Default DVD/CD Burn Error solution:

    I was able to solve this problem simply enough by getting a can of compressed air with a tube, and sticking it in the drive slot and blowing out all of the dust.

    That being said, I must say I am disappointed in apple's customer support.

    And I am no Win fanboy, so don't go there. My First computer was an Apple ][, and I actually was lucky enough to be asked my Bill Merrill @ Beacon Micro Center in Ames IA to come to work for him as a tech support person in 1982.

    I have since had a love/hate relationship with apple, and although both me and my parents own a fair amount of stock in aapl, and I have a MBP, I must say, it's trending on the side of hate more than love.

    1>The os is convoluted to say the least.

    2>The company's desire to have a choke-hold on it's customers in the name of "stability" is a joke.

    3>The fact that a company of this size charges $100 bucks extra for "apple care" for a 2K computer, then is only available only from 9AM to 9PM instead of 24/7 is unfathomable.

    I'm sorry, I'm sure I'll get ripped a good one, but that's how I truly feel, as a very long term user of many os'es.

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