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Feedback on Pioneer DVR-K06 Drive Reliability
Reports last Updated: 3/27/2008



This page has recent reports on Pioneer DVR-K06 reliability, after posting this reader mail (from 5/21/2007 news) on repeated failures of a K06 in a PowerBook G4.

(from 5/21/2007 news page)
" Mike - I wanted to update you on my experiences with the Pioneer DVR-K06 slot load DVD burner. (In a 17in PowerBook G4.) I have just had my third drive fail immediately after burning a CD-RW disc. The first two drives lasted five months each, and were replaced under warranty by the vendor I purchased them from (Meritline.com). Both drives were dated April 2006. I don't burn too many CDs. I primarily burn DVDs. When I received my third drive from Meritline, it was dated March 2007. Because of the previous failures, I made an effort to burn more CDs in the drive to see if it would fail. After three weeks of use, the third drive also failed, again after burning a CD-RW.The CD-RW discs I have been using are Verbatim 93961, 650 Mb, 4-10x. These discs are not new as I purchased them in July 2002. I have been using a mix of used and unused discs. I use these same discs in my other burners without any issues. I contacted Pioneer tech support and they have no record of any major issues with this drive. The tech did not feel the discs could cause any damage to the drive, and declined to have me send in any samples for testing. Pioneer will replace the drive under warranty. I have also contacted Verbatim, but I have not heard back from them. I will probably have Meritline replace the drive again, as Pioneer takes three weeks or longer to process warranty returns.

The first two drives failed completely. The third drive only fails to recognize CDs. (likely a CD laser failure, but sometimes cleaning the drive can 'resurrect' it, but usually to do it well requires taking the drive apart. Some readers with "failed" desktop drives said that although "Cleaning discs" didn't help, a manual cleaning of the laser did. If the drive hasn't had a laser or other hardware failure of course.) I did a Google search and a search on the Apple Discussions, and I have only found two mentions of a similar problem (drives failing to recognize CDs.) I would be interested if anyone else has had trouble with this Pioneer drive...
Thanks, Mike J. "

About 20 readers as of May 2007 had sent reports for the drive database on installing a DVR-K06 drive in their Mac but later follow-ups are often rare. Normally media doesn't contribute to drive failures although there was an issue many years ago with the original DVR-103/A03 and 104/A04 desktop drives where they needed a firmware update to prevent a drive hang/laser failure if used with 4x DVD-R media (which was new back then - 4x at the time was the highest rated DVD-R media). Pioneer released a firmware update/alert (as did Apple) for that issue.

Other DVR-K06 Owner Replies to the above post: (later reports first)
If you've owned a DVR-K06, let me know what you've seen as far as reliability (Include how long you've owned it/appx. how many discs you've burned with it (and type) and the mac model you're using it in. The DVR-K06 was also an OEM drive in some Macs.)

(added 3/27/2008)
"Hi, Mike, We have a DVR-K06 in a Mapower external USB2 case. It was built in October 2007 and we have been using it since December, mainly with our 2.16 Core Duo Macbook Pro. It has also been used occasionally with several other Macs, from our old DA G4 to a friend's new 24" iMac, running several versions of Tiger and Leopard. System Profiler reports it as "Apple Shipping Drive". Firmware version is 1.01.

This drive is mainly used with Verbatim DVD+R DL disks. I estimate it has burned 35-40 and perhaps 20 DVD-R. It has not burned more than a half-dozen CDs and no -RWs of any type. After reading the reports, we will just avoid rewritable media altogether. Almost all the burning has been with Toast 8. We also use it to read DVD-RAM.

A pleasant surprise is that it has burned our old Verbatim 2.4X DL disks at 4X and some 4X DVD-Rs at 8x. (Verify passed OK?-Mike) It has yet to produce a coaster. It never gets very hot at all, even when burning double sided DVDs. Limited by the USB interface, it is not noticeably faster than than the Matshita UJ-857 in the MBP. It is also very slow compared to our 20X Firewire burners, but far quieter and fits in a laptop bag. Only four months, but so far so very good.
(a later mail said)
We verify every disk we burn. We usually just let Toast select the "best" speed, and noticed that the maximum speed on the 2.4X DVDs was reaching 4X. The average speed was under 3X. These disks perform that way in our full size burners, but the K06 was still a surprise. It was purchased for portability not performance. We have been in business since 1985 and have CD-Rs that are that old and are all still reading perfectly. Of course we don't rely on such old disks, but have decided that we don't have to re-record them every year as we did back then. We think we are safe to re-record our archived data every five years, since the quality of the media is much improved.
-Jo Ann & Webb"

There's been notes (and concern) in the past regarding data longevity/quality with desktop drives/DVDs burned at high speeds (i.e. some are 16x, 18x even 20x max rated now). I had one batch of JVC branded 8x DVD+Rs fail verify even at their 8x rated speeds (reducing to 4x passed) in my G5 tower (pioneer DVR-109 drive IIRC) - normally I use Verbatim media though. (I wish I had the notes/link handy on the concerns about very high speed DVD burns handy from a past news/drive db report - but again that was with much faster desktop drives.)


(added 3/24/2008)
"The DVR-K06 in my 24" inch iMac worked ok for 15 months burning cd cdrw dvd and dvdrw. One day a disc got stuck and wouldn't eject. It was an ordinary music-cd. The drive made eject noises but nothing came out. I forced the disc out with a metal strip and two sided adhesive tape.
After hearing the price of a replacement I decided to take it apart first. The spindle had a groove worn into the plastic. After sanding away the groove the drive worked fine for some weeks. Then it all happened again. The real problem seems to be some sort of timing mismatch, causing the spinning disc to brake too early or too late, making it slip and damage the spindle.

After the second repair I must have left some debris behind, for the drive behaves eratically now. Recognizing dvd's all the time but not always cd's.
Maybe I'll try a replacement drive, the Apple original is 6 times the price of an "ordinary" K06.
-Gerard B."

The most common failure of K06s (based on reports here) are CD Laser related (from the comments - i.e. may be ok with DVD but not CD/CDR).


(added 2/22/2008)
"Mike, I am on my third DVR-K06 that all of a sudden failed to recognize a DVD blank. While still with Pioneer USA to manage a warranty replace for the original purchase back in October of 2007, the Pioneer rep told me that they released a firmware update on the K06. I remarked that it does me no good because I am using it on a Mac. He asked if this is the first time I am informing them that the drive was being used on an Apple. I said that no one ever asked. He continues on saying that their drives are not meant to go into a Mac. Apple uses their drives, but does things to them such to make it work by using a special firmware. Pioneer actually does not support any use of their drives into a Mac and that is why some things may not work. (that's BS...) Part of it may be why it all of a sudden i fails to recognize a DVD blank. He also said that they will probably cease production on slot load units. I guess when that happens, I will be back to using external burners full sized burner where I have absolutely no problems. I just can't believe how much trouble slot load has cause me. I will have to contact Newegg for another replacement and hopefully the one from Pioneer comes in soon.
-Raymond C."


(added 2/18/2008)
"I have read about this page before making my purchase, due to the fact that DVR-K06 is pretty much the only slim slot-loading drive I can purchase (short of resorting to eBay). I was hoping the incidences reported were just rare occurrences.

Today, when this drive was just starting to burn its fourth CD (only 3 weeks after purchase), this error was reported:
Write (10), block: 416, count: 32 -> 3/0C/00 Medium Error, Write error

and then this error:
Burn sense: 3/0C/00 Medium Error, Write errorv Burn error: 0x8002006E The burn failed because of a medium write error.

Afterwards, the drive will no longer burn or read any CDs (both burned and pressed ones). It still reads (and probably burns) any DVDs.

The Pioneer support person I talked to suggested incompatibility between the generic firmware (mine was version 1.01) and OS X, which of course doesn't explain the fact the drive worked with OS X in the first place (I consider it to be a tactic to push off their responsibilities).

CD laser failures have occurred with other Pioneer drives (http://preview.tinyurl.com/342xhy) and I believe the repeated failures reported on this page indicate that the problem is anything but sporadic. If this is not a design issue with the drive, then it has to be bad batch (mine was produced in January, 2007)
-"

I initially thought it was a specific build related (i.e. a specific laser component brand used in a specific build) but the build date of the drive itself does not seem to be a common factor (based on reports here from a very long period of time). My gut still feels it's an issue with the specific laser they use... (which I had hoped would change over time.)


(added 2/18/2008 - from Jan 18th, 2008 mail I'd missed initially)
" I just found your article after my 3 week old MacMini's (Intel, 2GHz Core2Duo) K06 started rejecting CD's. I mounted about 5 CD's at most, and some Video DVD's (maybe also 5 or so?) for viewing them. DVD's still work fine, both writing and reading, but CD's won't (it doesn't matter if its an audio, data or a burnt CD-R - the only thing I haven't tried were CD-RW). It began when I was trying to write a CD from the Finder, the write failed, and since then no CD is recognized - for about 30-60 seconds the Mac tries to figure out the CD, and then spits it back out.

Resetting the SMC/PRAM, repairing permissions (as suggested by some articles on apples forum) and reinstalling (both Leopard and Tiger), I'd say that the drive is gone - I will RMA the machine on monday. (whereas the K05 drive I installed in an old iBook nearly two years ago is still working like a charm... go figure - newer is not always better)
-Mike I."


(added 2/11/2008)
"Thought I'd toss in my experience on a K06.
I bough a white 20" imac new from Amazon in November (a leftover - didn't want to deal with the aluminum screen). The drive seemed shaky from the start, sometimes seemed like there was a disc already inserted and crashed with iTunes playing a CD. I hoped it was a firmware and/or itunes issue (running Leopard). Updated iTunes and it no longer crashed, but started spitting discs out without reading them, then effectively shutting down (trying to reinsert would feel like the entire computer was off). System profiler would show no drive installed at all. A reboot would sometimes bring it back, and it might work for one or two discs, but then it would drop trow again and would eat a disc and either just stop working or spit it out and shut itself off.

Apple sent a tech to my house because the delay at my local store was 12 days - tech replaced it with the older, slower UJ-846. Not knowing about the ongoing K06 problems I asked that they put a K06 back in, as that's what came with it. Now though, Apple says it wasn't spec'd with the K06 and they can't put it in and I have to keep the 846. Maybe it's a blessing in disguise...
-Brad S."

A reader replied to Brad's post:

" hey, Mike, I have a suggestion for the most recent report of the K06 drive from "Brad S." (above) Look for a K05. I found a guy on ebay, selling them new or refurbed (i can't remember)from Hong Kong. quite possibly from this dude: (Ebay link)
I might have mentioned it in my drive compatibility report, I thought it was an retail Pioneer drive, but it came with an Apple logo on it. it was a bear to get into my early 2006 iMac, but it works like a dream...
Sometimes, it'll report a dvd-r is only 2x, but if I eject it, and reinsert it, it reports correctly. Also, I can't let the drive go to sleep, else it stops responding until i reboot... and on a rare occasion it'll fail ejecting, likes its getting stuck, but trying again usually pops it out... Boy, maybe add all that to my last report. :)
(drive sleep problems are not uncommon (esp. common if a disc left in the drive for long periods of idle time - old issue noted many years ago in the FAQ here - sometimes setting Energy Saver to not allow sleep helped, but not always)-Mike)
Brand definitely DOES NOT want to keep the UJ-846. I even email the big Steve about that one, and even got a response (an assistant offered me a pack of DVD's, and wanted examples of discs that I was using for testing). The UJ846 is extremly picky on media, or is just crap. I never got better than 2x dvd with it, or better than 4x cd write speeds.
Great job on the site. It's a godsend.
-Bryan B."

I asked Bryan if he remembered the firmware version of his UJ-846 (in case like many burners, some later firmware versions may have improvements for some media issues). I remember going back a few years that many slotted DVD burner (notebook types) complained over 2x max speeds (can't recall the models now though)


(added 2/5/2008)
"I just purchased a Pioneer DVR-K06 drive in the past week for my Mac Mini PPC G4 to replace the original combo drive. Straight out of the box I burned a DVD+R data disc using OS and then proceeded to burn DVD-R, DVD+R and DVD+RDL DVD video disks using Roxio Popcorn. After initially not recognizing the blank media, upon re-booting the Mac, all the DVD movies burned just fine and fairly quickly (about 6.5 min).
When I went into iTunes to try the CD part, I imported several CD's fine and it burned a couple CD's from my playlist. Then on my third burn, iTunes hung up on the writing part and progress bar never moved. I had to force quit Itunes and when checking disk found all 18 tracks listed but when playing them only heard noise.

After researching the problem on the Internet I tried Patchburn (What OS X version are you running? Patchburn typically isn't needed for OS X 10.4 or later - and apple shipped some macs w/K06s so it should even show as "Apple" supported for later OS X tiger versions IIRC. Check Apple System Profiler info on the drive (without patchburn installed). If you're running OS X Tiger or later, I'd remove Patchburn (and reboot). I think the installer allows that option.-Mike) but then iTunes and OS wouldn't recognize CD's at all anymore, blank or commercial.
However DVD's would still mount, play and could still burn using Popcorn. Then I had a system crash and had to boot from Apple startup disk and amazingly disc read fine and loaded OS. But after booting, the OS and iTunes still wouldn't recognize blank or recorded CD media. The drive spins and makes noises for a while as if reading then ejects the CD. Upon inquiry, Pioneer customer support sent me an e-mail back saying they will not support the K-06 at all in Macs only in PC's.
(I wrote him with the above comments about not needing Patchburn, what OS version used, etc.)
I'm running 10.4.11 and had already de-installed Patchburn to see of it caused the crash and freezing up. The drive stopped writing before I installed Patchburn. The version of Patchburn I downloaded, v4.0.5 was specifically for MAC OS v10.4.x (yes, but again it's typically not needed however - and again the K06 should be "apple supported" in later Tiger versions. I'd -never- want to use a 3rd party profile for a drive that's natively supported. Patchburn has been noted here since the first release for OS X 10.2.x (before it I was posting manually edited drive support files for OS X 10.2.x, etc. - and Patchburn 3 was needed for most all modern drives in OS X Leopard/10.3.x (unless apple shipped the drive in a Mac during that OS era) - but for OS X tiger, it's typically not needed, and I'd not install it for a drive that should be shown as "Apple shipped/supported" in later versions of TIger (and in Leopard).-Mike).

I had noticed in Patchup expert mode that the existing drive profile said it did not support some functions so I installed Patchburn and they were then listed as supported. But Mac still wouldn't read CD's and crashed after I ran Leopard Cleaner to repair permissions, etc. (Assuming you're using a version that's compatible with OS X tiger (10.4.x) also - not just Leopard (10.3.x)) Computer wouldn't even boot up then but I was able to boot from Apple's startup disk (strange that computer would boot from CD disk but not recognize it after booting . . hmmmmm) Then I upgraded back to v10.4.11 but iTunes v7.5 instead of v7.6 but still no go for CD's. DVD's however read and write fine. Very perplexing!
-Peter E."

Does Apple system profier show CDR/CDRW burn support in the media listing? (but then CD laser failures are not uncommon for the K06 based on reports here) Checked your burning prefs in iTunes? (drive shown there OK? tried lowering write speeds/changing media brand?) - He late wrote ASP did list CDR/CDRW media support - but the drive doesn't even read CDs anymore - sounds like another CD laser failure.


(added 2/1/2008)
"Concerning the reliability of the Pioneer drive here is my experience:
I have bought a new Mac Mini 2 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo in november 2007 equipped with the Pioneer DVR-K06 drive. Until a few days ago i had only used the pioneer DVR-K06 (firmware version Q609) for reading and rewriting cd's. I have burned around 20 cd's so far with no problems.

The drive reads most DVD's but with a few discs, recorded on a different writer, it has a lot of difficulty. When i popped in the very first blank recordable DVD (Emtec DVD+R DL) it immediately gave me a failed burn. It did burn the disk but while finishing the disk it failed.

When i tried to erase a DVD+RW the exact same thing happened, it tries to erase the disk but before the process is even finished the disc ejects while the program (Roxio Toast Titanium 8) is still erasing.
The same thing happened when i tried Mac OS X Disc Utility

Now it will not even start to write a DVD and gives me a error message straight away.
No matter what i have tried it will not (re)write any DVD.
Regards, Roy"


(added 1/23/2008)
"Mike, I wrote to you regarding a DVR-K06 that I purchased back in October of 2007 that failed around Christmas. I went ahead and purchased another one from Newegg before sending the failed unit to Pioneer. Guess what, the one I bought as a replacement failed yesterday while trying to burn a DVD. It will not accept blank media now. It will whirl and then spit it out. It will still read CDs and DVDs.

I finally found a box and had the time to ship the previous failed burner to Pioneer last week. I called them today to see what the time status will be for the repair or replacement. They told me it would take 4 to 5 weeks once they logged it into their system. They told me to contact Newegg for a replacement of the second unit especially if it is recent. I did not expect the poor reliability of this model. I'll let you know if there are problems with the replacements.
-Raymond C."


(added 1/9/2008)
"I found your Pioneer DVR-K06 report after my drive failed after trying to burn a Sony CD-R. I have a PowerBook G4 12" and have had the DVR-K06 for about a year, but I never burn CDs (only DVDs). As I said I tried burning a CD-R using Mac OS X burn utility, and in the middle of the burn I got an error message. After that it started rejecting all CDs of any kind (I cannot even read them), but there is no problem with DVDs. It seems this is a common issue. If there is a fix for this problem I would love to know, even if it is just fixing reading the CDs.
Thanks, Ana S."

It's believed this is a failure of the CD laser (which is not user repairable/replaceable). As a test (to rule out any issue with the OS X install/corrupted files, etc.) - see if the drive will boot from a (bootable) CD holding down the option key at power-up. (Assuming it will keep a CD in the drive and not eject it after failing to read it.)


(added 1/9/2008)
"I own a failed DVR-K06 as well. My purchase was in October of 2007 with a manufacture date of April. I had successfully burned CDs and DVDs prior to the failure. I tried to burn a CD around Christmas and got an error message from Toast 8. It would not read any CDs after that. It still will read and burn DVDs.

The unit was purchased from Meritline and I thought about contacting them, but they no longer had the unit in stock when I looked online. I contacted Pioneer instead. The tech I talked with said that it sounded like a mechanical failure and they asked me to send it in. I needed a replacement so I ordered another one from Newegg. I have the failed drive packaged, but I have not sent it into Pioneer yet. Since these failures are pretty common, I felt that it would not be a bad idea to have an extra one lying around.
-Raymond C."


(added 10/9/2007)
"I installed a DVR-K06 into my 1.42 GHz PPC Mac Mini, and the first one I got was DOA - wouldn't eject discs via OS X or the eject button. NewEgg promptly replaced it, and after that, it worked flawlessly for about 5 months, after which I sold the upgraded Mini. Apple Disc Burning was fully supported with the K06, and it was a great little drive. (On a side note: my K05 has been rock solid for two years in my 1.25 GHz 15" Alu PB G4.) Awesome site! Keep it up!
-Collin A."


(added 10/8/2007)
" My DVR-K06 installed to iMac G5 is broken after 1 month of using. First it stopped recognize CD-RW, CD-R (even Audio discs factory printed). And shortly afterwards it stopped recognizing DVD-RW, DVD-R. Now it's completely broken. Trying to change it to OPTIARC.
-E."


(added 10/8/2007 - from Aug 30th mail originally)
" I just purchased an Intel Mac mini - 2 GHz Core 2 Duo - not 2 days ago. Just put in a Verbatim 16x compatible DVD-R that I had burned on my old G4 using a Pioneer DVD burner, and the disk won't mount on the desktop. Thought of using Disk Utility to mount it, but the only option I have from Disk Utility is to unmount or eject. Pretty annoying to say the least!
-Bob S.
Guitarist, El Viento Flamenco
www.elvientoflamenco.com
Winner ECMA 2007: Best Roots/Traditional Group Recording "


(added 10/8/2007)
" I purchased a second Intel Mac Mini core 2 duo and it has this drive in it. I use boot camp and Win XP and work with audio often. I noticed the digital audio extraction from this drive to be very poor and not very reliable. (what are you using to extract audio from it?-Mike) Lots of digital drop outs and skips if the extracted audio files are played back from the HDD after extraction. The drive in the first Mac Mini I purchased well over a year ago still performs very well and I can still make error free masters for the pressing plant, but not from the newer one with that Pioneer drive in it. I'm thinking of replacing it with a MATSHITA DVD-R UJ-857 which has been so reliable. Seems as though that Pioneer drive needs to go back to the drawing board and Apple should not use in their computers.
-Ron R. "


(added 7/31/2007)
" You asked for experiences with the Pioneer DVD-RW DVR-K06. I have one in a 24" Intel iMac. It was installed today to replace a 7-month-old Panasonic drive that had failed.

The Pioneer read two CD's, then the eject mechanism failed. It nows ejects the CD part way, but won't let go. It feels as though the spindle won't disengage. The disk will go back in and work fine, but, short of disassembling the machine, that disk isn't going to come out. It's a prerecorded CD in pristine condition, so that's not causing the problem.
I'm having it replaced under warranty.
- Bob W."

IIRC some drives have an adjustment screw for disk eject but never had a K06 model. (See below for a previous report from a 17in PB owner that said the stock mtg screws were too long and caused interference/affected disc insertion)


(added 7/23/2007)
" I wanted to pass it on to you that my newly installed Pioneer DVR-K06 drive has failed. I have a Mac Mini, modified a bit. First changed to an Intel Core 2 Duo 2.0GHz CPU (chip swap) and Hitachi 160GB hard drive. No problems.
Then I changed the combo drive - working fine - to the Pioneer K06 DVD drive. The K06 worked fine for about 2 weeks, reading cd's and dvd's and burning dvd's. My first attempt to burn a cd froze Toast 8.0.1 as the blank cd just spun and spun. I don't think it even burned the disc, it accepted the blank cd-r, spun the disc, then Toast froze with the 'time remaining' window showing. I forced Toast to close and tried it again. Since the second attempt at burning a cd-r, it has just spun the cd, for under a minute, spit it out and asked for another blank cd. Repeat, repeat repeat.

Now my drive won't read cd's; commercial music, burnt, nor blank. It spins the cd for a while and ejects it. Nothing else. It does continue to read and burn dvd's. I haven't tried or used any rewritable discs, so don't know if they'll work or not.

I've tried restoring permissions, changing various programs' cd/dvd settings, but i still have the same problem. I'm going to try using a cd/dvd cleaning disc, as I read somewhere that it did solve this problem with one drive. I'll let you know what happens. (If the laser (or other hardware) has failed, that won't help but in the past some desktop drive owners mentioned cleaning discs didn't help, but a manual laser cleaning did. But you noted problems after only a couple weeks and I doubt a laser could have gotten that dirty that quickly.-Mike)

I'd like to find a reliable slot loading drive for my mini - to keep it a 'mini' - but I may have to resort to an external drive. It seems that there are quite a few people with the same problem, both Mac and pc owners. My previous G3 iBook's combo drive never had a problem, with over 800 cd's ripped, and over a hundred burnt. Are there any differences between the K06 drives that Apple ships in it's computers and the K06 drives sold commercially? Has there been any problems with the K06 drives that are original equipment?
-rg "

The hardware should be the same, although Apple shipped drives often has a different firmware version. The K06 shipped in some macs but most that wrote on failures here mention their drive was an upgrade.


(6/30/2007)
" I'm using a Powerbook Ti (15in, 1GHz, Bootrom 4.5.3f2). Since the original Superdrive wasn't working properly any longer I bought a DVR-K06 last year. Acutally I tried 4, because everyone wasn't working again, after burning an Audio-CD out of Toast - strange, isn't it?

But this year - I gave my Ti a last chance and ordered a K06 again. This time it works fine - more or less.

In my opinion often it took a very long time until a dvd is mounted - sometimes 1 to 2 Minutes...
And more annoying - from time to time the recorder disappears - the only way to get it back is to reseting the parameter ram by pressing the small button under the keyboard (just close to the start-button). (Is the drive going to sleep? (was a disc left in the drive for long idle periods? Is Energy saver set to never allow drive sleep? (doesn't always help with this, and on a notebook some want to allow drives to spin down)-Mike) Maybe this is because of the master and slave-topic?
Here are the specs for my: PIONEER DVD-RW DVR-K06:

    Firmware-Version: 1.01
    Verbindungstyp: ATAPI
    Brennen mšglich: Ja (Geliefert/UnterstŸtzt von Apple)
    Cache: 2000 KB
    DVD lesen: Ja
    Beschreibbare CD: -R, -RW
    Beschreibbare DVD: -R, -RAM, -RW, +R, +RW, +R DL
    Schutz vor Pufferunterschreitung beim Brennen von CDs: Ja
    Schutz vor Pufferunterschreitung beim Brennen von DVDs: Ja
    Schreibstrategien: CD-TAO, CD-SAO, CD-Raw, DVD-DAO

BTW: I just tried to burn 3.1 GB data on a CD-RW. I doesn't work. (3.1GB won't fit on a CD-RW- do you mean DVD-RW?-Mike) See the enclosed error-message (what is exactly those, that I got, before the K06 from last year died... but this one overcomes... burning on a CD-R works properly.
-Felix S. "


(added 6/20/2007)
" I saw your Pioneer K06 problem page and wanted to let you know that mine has also started to fail. Like many others it seems that my CD laser is going bad.

I've used my Pioneer for 1-2 years by now so it's lasted a little while, though not long enough in my opinion. It was originally in my upgraded G4 Cube but now it's in my Mac Mini.

I just burned a couple of CDR's (TDK brand) and found them both to have errors when reading them back on the Pioneer drive. I was able to read one of them back on another computer (with retries) but not the other one.

I had just burned a couple DVDs with the K06 and they appear to be fine.

Does anybody make a good slot-loading, slim DVD burner? I guess I'll have to put the crappy Matsushita drive back in my Mini :(
-Greg D."


(added 6/19/2007)
"Purchased June 2006 as an upgrade for G4 Mac Mini Combodrive from Newegg. They tell me it's no longer under warranty (at least from them...I haven't tried contacting Pioneer). (I suspect they don't warranty it and the Pioneer warranty is likely only 1 year.)

It worked beautifully until a week ago. It still mounts DVDs without a hitch, but no longer mounts music CDs or blank CD-Rs. I have ripped dozens of music CDs, burned about 60-70 CD-Rs, and burned ~30 DVDs (single layer only). I have never used a CDRW disc in this drive. Attempts to clean the laser with a lens cleaning disc didn't help.

I posted this issue on a couple of forums including Apple's Support site. No one has offered up any kind of thoughtful solution or troubleshooting tips. This is the first site I found documenting my same problems. I was about to purchase a new K06, but now I'm not sure what to do. Is there another OEM brand/model that you might recommend? (search the drive database here for other reports on slotted DVD burners.)

I intend to take the drive apart and try a proper cleaning. I will also check the "born on date" to see when it was made.
Thanks, Mark"


(added 6/13/2007)
"I too have had three of these drives fail over a year in a G5 iMac.
Usually the CD side fails - no read, no write - but the DVD write/ read is OK.
Now with the latest failure both functions are dead.
Barrie S."


Note on PB Mtg Bracket Screws Too Long: (from a drive database report June 11th)

" (PowerBook G4 17in running OS X 10.4.9)
Mike, This is about the experience of replacing the original Apple UJ-816-C with a Pioneer DVR-K06. The old drive was still working fine, but could not be used to burn some of the DVD-R blanks available today; they are usually no less than 8X.

Two specific problems had to be overcome. First there was some interference between two tabs on the front of the drive with the steel bezel in the computer. The Apple drive had similar tabs, but in slightly different locations. The symptom of this was that the top cover that holds the keyboard and the touchpad was impossible to install. This was solved by disassembling the bezel and grinding it with a Dremel tool. The bezel has similar recesses to accommodate the original drive.

The second problem was much more insidious. After installation of the drive, it refused to pull in the DVD blank. I could hear the load motor run, and then it appeared to bog down. Then the disk was ejected. After multiple disassemblies looking for mechanical problems or problems in the connectors I finally resorted to removing the top cover of the drive to take a look (this and subsequent actions undoubtedly canceled any warranty that may have existed). I immediately saw some wear debris, plastic shavings, from the long plastic part on the right of the drive that contains many of the cams that operate the disk loading and ejection arms. It turned out that the wear was caused by the ends of two of the screws that attach the custom Apple bracket to the drive. After shimming under the screw heads to make them protrude less into the drive I was able to burn a DVD.
Before all this work I had already contacted the supplier of the drive for possible exchange. He suggested to try this drive on a Windows machine, something that I don't have access to, to determine if the problem was the drive or an incompatibility with the Powerbook. Sure enough, the drive was incompatible with two screws! It's a good thing that the vendor did not immediately consent to the exchange because the same problem would have happened again.

I still have not done the previously suggested cable fix to make the drive be the master on the bus and my never do so depending on my future experience with the computer. xlr8yourmac was instrumental in encouraging me to try this conversion. Thanks for providing it.
Sincerely, Harald "

Thanks for the note on the screw lengths - this may be why some other PB owners had problems with the drive not mounting disks.


" I have 2 DVR-K06's that failed to recognize cd's.
One was a replacement in a Powerbook G4 1GHz the second in an iMac G5.
Both were working for about half a year - then suddenly stopped reading cd's (any kind). DVD's (any kind) continue working. (sounds like a CD laser failure)

Before that I never had any problems with both drives. Mostly burned CD's (never -RW) and a few DVD's.
(Any idea of how many CDs and DVDs you burned in total?-Mike)
roundabout 200 I think... (each)
Personally I think it's a bad batch of cd-pickups (laser) because a few pc-notebook-forums mentioned the problem, too
regards, Franz "

Looks like you had a lot longer life (in burns) than some did. A laser failure (CD laser) seems the most common failure mode on these. Although any drive will eventually fail, some of the reports here noted repeated 'infant' (early) failures. The first report above mentioned 2 drives that failed were made in April 2006, the last one that failed had a March 2007 build date. (Although it may be there are more than one source for the laser and any build could have a laser from either of the sources. It would be interesting if Pioneer would do a failure analysis on that to determine the root cause - i.e. could it be traced to one specific mfr's laser for instance?) However I suspect unless there's a huge number of failures of this model, Pioneer would consider it cheaper to just replace the drive than do a detailed failure analysis. (I used to work for a company that designed/built electronics for the military and we were required to do a failure analysis on every assembly that failed. The assembly's parts list contains items that were usually available from more than one source (a std. device/component with multiple mfr's of it) and in some cases problems were traced to a specific mfr's part.) That may not be the case for the K06 failures, but just a FYI.


" Mike, I replaced the combo drive in my MacMini (PPC, 1.5GHz, 10.4.9) with the DVR-K06 (firmware v1.01) bought from OWC. I've been burning CD-RW discs (4x and 10x) without any problem at all. DVD +/- RW discs work fine as well.

How long have you had the drive?
I installed it in the MacMini sometime in January 07.

How many CDRWs have you burned (or erased)?
A few dozen. To test it I just burned an Imation 650mb 4x and an Emtec 700mb 10x with a bunch of MP3 files. Both worked fine. The MacMini is able to mount and access the files when I reinsert the CDs. Using Toast 8.01 to burn discs.

I should add that on occasion (two or three times?) the K06 has made a commotion trying to mount/read a disc -- a lot of whirring mechanical noise. It eventually spits the disc out and inserting it the next time works fine. A sign of trouble brewing? Who knows.
-Lewis "

Another K06 owner had also mentioned that (in his original drive database report), saying it happened at times (had to reinsert a disc again) although one K06 owner (PB G4) said 3 drives he had wouldn't mount any discs.


" I am currently in the exact same issue with my K06 that I installed in my intel iMac a year ago. I sent it off 3 months ago to Pioneer for warranty replacement and still don't have a resolution.
At first they said they would probably replace it with a K07 but then said that they didn't know when there next batch of K07's or 06's would arrive so they offered me a refund of my purchase price for the drive.
It has been three months since I sent it off and I still don't have my check. They said it would arrive last week. I think something is very wrong at Pioneer. I was going to replace with another K06 but now I will not.
-Michael V. "

Some K06 owners however said they've not had any failures and this is a very small sample size considering the number sold/in use, although some mentioned repeated failures (in a short term), which isn't typical.


A Mac Mini owner wrote he's using the drive for about a year for weekly backups to DVD-RW:

" How long you've owned it: 1 year, From OWC
How often you use it for burning discs: Weekly DVD-RW backup - 8 gigs
Used in: Mac Mini 1.4 G4, OS X 10.4.9
Firmware version from System Profiler: 1.01

Biggest complaint - With the System Preference set - "Put the hard disk to sleep when possible", if you leave a disk in the drive, after the drives sleep, you can never access the disk/drive again. (this is also a fairly common issue seen with other drives (going back many years) - most desktop owners at least set Energy Saver to not allow drive sleep as a fix (in most cases), otherwise avoid leaving a disc in the drive for long idle periods.-Mike)
If you try to click on the desktop drive icon, a lots of errors are generated in the log, and sometimes it actaully freezes OS X. Work around was to eject the disk after the backup, but, that's annoying to me (cron job runs in the middle of the night).
(no name given) "


(follow-up to April 16th, 2007 drive db report)
"My 1st drive also failed after erasing a CDRW disk. It was a slow, old 4x only one. After that it would no longer mount CDs. Laser died. My suggestion is to go for Lite-on drive instead. (but see later comments below) I have a replaced K06 but I have burned only 2 CDs on it so far. Drive firmware revision: 1.01
Wonder where can I find some info about k06's compatible CD speeds list. (see below)
It may be a good idea to warn readers about using old CDRW media in those newer slot load drives.
BTW the friend who was upgrading my PB said that the Lite-on Slot-loads have problems with their engines (it tends to fail also) :)
-Grzegorz"

I searched and found the Pioneer specs page for the K06. (Pioneer's K06 page) - It does list CDRW, High-Speed CDRW and Ultra-Speed CDRW:

    "CD-R 700 (type 80), 650MB (type 74), CD-RW, Highspeed CD-RW, Ultraspeed CD-RW"
    ... Write speeds: CD-RW: 24x, 20x, 16x, 10x, 4x

But after these first 2 reports on failures after using CDRWs, it almost makes me leery of using them with this drive. (Granted maybe just random/coincidence it failed after a CDRW but the PB owner that had 3 drives fail in a row said each time the failure happened after erasing/burning a CDRW and was confident that was a factor although it shouldn't be.)

The reader that originally reported the 3 failed K06s sent a follow-up:

(Last updated May 29th, 2007)
" I can say for certain that every failure has come immediately after writing or erasing a CD-RW disc. (Mine are all 10x.) With my most recent drive I burned 30 or 40 CDs, and about 2 CD-RWs over the last three weeks. The third CD-RW erase and burn seemed to kill it. It's harder to say about my previous drives as I wasn't paying as much attention. The second drive died after burning a CD-RW, but I don't know how many others I burned over the five months I had it. The first died after burning a CD, I'm not positive it was a RW or not.

I have noticed the drive gets especially warm when burning CD-RWs and the discs get warm, too. I haven't noticed this with DVDs. (I see that also with DVDs here (any burned disc, especially in my PB G4 (matshita drive) and I wonder about DVD RWs with the K06 drive now-Mike)

To clarify, all of my failures have been after burning one disc and not during a session of burning many discs.

(I suggested he ask Pioneer about laser power use when erasing RW discs the next time he spoke with them)
I will call Pioneer again today and ask specifically about CD-RW discs and use of the drive in a PowerBook. I will let you know what happens. When I get my replacement, I may just put it in an external case and see if that helps any.

(he later wrote)
I have spoke with both Verbatim and Pioneer today, but I haven't learned anything new. Verbatim says there is no way a disc can "kill" a drive. Despite the age of the media I am using, Verbatim says they should be fine to use until the drive rejects them. The discs I am using were designed to last 40 years.

I spoke with Pioneer again. CD-RWs should not be an issue. They do not track issues with laptop/drive compatibility. The do track some drive/media problems, but they have no history on problems with the DVR-K06. I was told the OEM DVR-K06 drives I have been using were designed for the Windows market, but there should be no reason they should not work in a PowerBook. (Pioneer supplies the same drives to Apple with special Apple firmware. I wonder how those drives are performing? Is there something different in firmware?) I was also told that heat should not be an issue. The only advice offered was to continue using the drives and have them replaced as they fail. Maybe they will learn something from the failed drives. Unfortunately, since I have been having my vendor swap the drives, I don't even know if Pioneer has gotten any of the failed units back.

The only other advice was to wait until the DVR-K07 comes out. (If it does come out.)

(On May 29th, 2007 he sent an update)
I received my replacement Pioneer DVR-K06 today. This one was built in April 2007. Same firmware, v1.01. I have decided to not install this one in my PowerBook. I have a USB case, and I will install the drive in it for the time being. (I am getting tired of pulling my PowerBook apart.) If it works in the USB case for a while, I will install it in the PowerBook.

I got a reply to an e-mail to Verbatim. They were interested in the problem. They have heard of no problems and said my media should be supported in the Pioneer DVR-K06. They asked about what burning software I used. I use Toast most of the time, and Disk Utility and the Finder to a lesser degree.

This did bring up a revelation that all of my drive failures have occurred after burning a CD-RW with Toast. (I did a search at the Roxio forums, but I found nothing.) Thanks and I'll keep you updated. . .
-Mike J."

I wonder if there's an issue with power calibration on erase or write with CDRWs with the drive. (Although not everyone has seen the problem with this drive and CDRWs.)

Another PB G4 owner wrote he's had 3 K06 drives that wouldn't mount discs (Grzegorz had mentioned originally his K06 would sometimes not mount a disc on the first try)

" I've replaced the original drive in my G4 PB 17" 1.5 with a DVR-K06 3 times. I've gone through 3 of them so far and couldn't get any of them to mount a disc, they either didn't make any attempt to take it in (like there wasn't any power getting to it) or just spat it out after a few seconds. I had my local AppleCentre look at the machine, it checked out OK and worked fine with an expensive genuine Apple replacement drive.

I've just given up, I burn everything on my Powermac G5. Makes me think that it was a bad batch from Pioneer or there's something in my machines firmware to make only "genuine Apple" drives work properly... but that's just being silly... isn't it?
Cheers, Jason "

It should work ok with a replacement drive (in 10.4.x no patchburn is usually needed either) - although many PB owners with K06/K05/K04 drives noted they configured as slaves (Apple System profiler ID=1, vs 0) and may not boot from disc with the C key (option key should work). Some did the cable mod to force master mode (article here from several years back on that mod)
Did Apple system profiler report the drive correctly? Did you try playing just a (comml) DVD movie? (with new drives the region code is set when you first play a comml DVD movie)

If you've owned a DVR-K06, let me know what you've seen as far as reliability - especially if you use CDRW discs. (Note how long you've owned it, how often you use it for burning discs, etc. also include the Mac model you're using it in.) The K06 was an OEM drive in some macs also.





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