Optical Drive Testing
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- Select a drive to test. Check for the following:
- Interface type and functionality - If the drive is IDE without DVD/RW, recycle it!
- Damage and dirt - Is anything broken or missing? If so, recycle it! Is it filthy? Try to clean it up, but if it would take a herculean cleaning effort to get it into a condition that you would consider saleable then just recycle it.
- Manufacture date - If the drive is IDE and was manufactured in 2006 or earlier, recycle it!
- Jumpers (IDE Only) - Make sure the jumpers are configured so the device is set to Master. On most drives this is accomplished by placing a single jumper vertically over the pins closest to the IDE connection, though other configurations are possible. Often times a chart will be present on the drive's label.
- Make sure that the testing station is powered off, then attach the drive to the testing station's IDE or SATA data and Molex or SATA power cables. If the device requires a SATA power connector you may need to attach the converter to the standard molex power connector.
- Boot the system into Xubuntu. Note that the current testing station has BIOS settings for expected drives and may complain that it has not detected all expected drives; this message can be bypassed with a keypress (though is grounds for current considerations of testing system replacement).
Pay close attention to the capabilities of the drives you are testing.
There are many different types of drives with many different combinations of functions that you need to be aware of when you are testing optical drives.
-The basic features on the drives we test: CD-R, CD-RW, DVD-R, DVD-RW, DVD+RW, and DVD ram -These features are often combined into a combo drive, examples: CD-R/DVD-RW, CD-RW/DVD-R, CD-R/DVD+RW.
- Insert an audio CD into the disc drive and Parole (media player) should start automatically.
- If Parole doesn't start, go to 'Menu' → 'Multimedia' → 'Parole'. When it opens, look for the testing audio CD under 'Media' on the left and select it.
- Allow the music to play for for at least 15 seconds to make sure there is no skipping during playback. If you encounter skipping be sure to check the CD and try another one in case it's just a scratch on the media.
- Skip to a later track on the disc and let the music play for 15 seconds again, still listening for skipping.
- Exit Parole and eject the disc. If there were no playback issues then proceed with testing! If the audio skipped or a track could not be played then recycle the drive.
- Insert a video DVD into the disc drive and VLC media player should start automatically.
- If VLC doesn't start, go to 'Menu' → 'Multimedia' → 'VLC media player'. When it opens, look for the testing video DVD by (if needed, clicking the 'Playlist' button), expanding 'Devices', selecting 'Disks', expanding 'DVD' and double clicking on the disk name.
- Let it play for for at least 15 seconds to make sure there is no skipping during playback. If you encounter skipping be sure to check the DVD and try another one in case it's just a scratch on the media.
- Exit VLC and eject the disc. If there were no playback issues then proceed with testing! If there were, recycle the drive.
If you have an Optical Drive with CD-RW function, Test CD Writing
- Insert a CD-RW disc into the drive and open Brasero (or K3b) (under Menu >>> Multimedia >>> Brasero.) Select Data project, click on the plus sign,then navigate to File System >>> USR >>> Share >>> Sounds,select a sound file (.ogg or .wav file) and click Add. Click Burn in the lower right-hand corner. A new window will pop-up with a few options. If available, select Use burnfree and click Burn. When the disc is done, click close and verify that it contains the examples file by re-inserting the disc and seeing what pops up on the desktop.
- Blank the disc using Brasero by selecting Tools >>> Blank and Close when it's done and re-insert the disk to verify that it was blanked. Close Brasero and remove the disk. If blanking does not work, the drive may still be completely functional! Ask your instructor about software bug workarounds.
If you have an Optical Drive with DVD-RW function, Test DVD Writing
- Insert a DVD-RW disc into the drive and in the Basero file browser follow the same steps as above to burn a data project. Except, when blanking, if available, uncheck the "Fast Blanking" option.
Initial one of the special optical drive labels and cross-out any of the four functions the drive doesn't have. Put the drive in the appropriate basket (according to interface type) near the memory testing stations.