Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Upgrading an IDE compatible DVD-RW...

This one's for the Piemer:

First off- the gameplan:
The idea is to pull the cover of your computer off - and pull out your CD drive to replace it with something better. Here's a good site of what you should probably buy:

-See, about $20.

There are two kinds of disc drives. One plugs into your computer's motherboard with a cable called an IDE. It's an older kind of cable - but still in a lot of computers. The newer ones use a SATA cable. And they can get more expensive - $40 or so. Mine was still only $20 and it's a SATA. I understand that Lite-On makes pretty good ones too. You don't have to buy the one above - the key thing is that you buy one that is an IDE- not a SATA. Check the reviews if you want to get picky.

If you look at the back of this disc drive - you'll see why you need to be IDE:
Hopefully you can see the line where it's pointing to the IDE/PATA connection. The SATA connection is dinky and kinda "L" shaped. So if you buy the wrong one - you'd know it.

Notice also the 4-pin power connection. You'll need to worry about those two plugs. The stuff on the left is just fancy - and I don't think I'd even plug it in - unless it's obvious where it goes.

Secondly - the process:

Removing the case:

Since your case is exactly like mine - this should be easy.

You'll see four little screws holding in the two side-plates of the computer. You'll want to remove all four and take off both plates.

This is the plate most nerds take off - because this side faces into the motherboard (not the back of the motherboard). It will just slide out.

Locating the Drive, Power Converter, and Connection to the Motherboard:

Here's the target. Think of where the disc drive opens from - this is the whole thing. In my picture, it's a lighter gray box with two wirings coming out of it. The banded wire that's red is my SATA. And the other bundle is my power supply. See- only two wirings to worry about.

Here's a closer look at those two wires. Instead of the red (kinda looks pink in this photo), you'll have a wide band of wires. (Look at the picture of the drive from Newegg up above- see how wide the IDE port is?) But the other colored bundle will plug into yours just like mine. That's your 4-pin power. Most of those power harnesses are white, though. Mine is just black and fancy looking because I actually had to buy another power converter.

Which is what this is. See the box with the slots in in and a whole bunch of wires coming out of it? That's my power converter. Yours will be slightly smaller and probably have white ends to the bundles instead of black ones like mine. When you wire things - it's a good idea to get those zip-ties. Loose wires can foul things up if the fans can move them. Also - anything that has fins on it is going to be hot. (I recommend you pull yours apart with the power off - I screw around with mine while it's on all the time - but that's because I'm an idiot.)

Switching out the disc drives:

If you look closely in this photo - you'll see two tiny screws that hold the drive in place. You'll have to take out the two on this side and the two on the other.

Then you'll have to flip up the plastic tabs on each side (3 per side) and slide the front cover off. It's not too tricky. With the front cover off and the side screws out - you can unplug your disc drive and slide it out.

This would be a good time to use some computer-cleaner. It's usually compressed air with some type of nonsense that will freeze your hand and turn white if you flip the bottle up-side down. Tetraflourethane is the common chemical - but they're using other ethanes now. Anyway- you can find this stuff at Lins or anywhere. You'd probably want to pick some up while you're waiting for your Newegg part. You can spray anything with it and it won't hurt it. It's made mostly for the fans and fins. When they get older, they build up dust and don't cool as well. So blast away!

Once you slide your new one in - you'll have to plug it in. Mine plugs in as seen above. Yours will be different - mainly because you've got an IDE port instead of a SATA. See those two red bands? That's my DVD burner and my hard-drive. (I've got two empty slots under those two that are filled.) The big ASUS band that's black and blue is the old drive that you had in this computer. It's an IDE drive. So yours will clip in to a longer slot like the blue plug I've got now. You'll probably have a few slots. If there's more than one - you'll probably want it in a #2 or so. Typically your hard-drive is in the first slot so it can more easily boot first. -Sorry, lost control of the nerdliness. One other thing to notice in this picture, is that the band in the blue plug actually has a plug half-way down the band. It's reflecting light and has the tag attached to it that says ASUS. These bands used to have one plug that would connect to your motherboard, and then TWO other ones (sometimes called the slave and the master, or the slave and the primary) - anyway, where you're only plugging one drive in - just use the two plugs on the ends of the band. Skip the middle one.

(The easiest way to make sure you've got things plugged where they need to is to just use your old wires. You don't have to use the new ones unless you notice a vast difference [some of the 40-wire bands are now 80-wire for better speed]. The power cable will probably have a plug along the middle of the wires. Really, either of them will work. I think I've got a couple drives plugged into the same power bundle in mine right now.)

Piecing it back together:

When you're connected to the power (remember the photos above?) and your motherboard, you should put the front plate back on and slide up your drive to where you want it before you tighten your side screws. Make sure all loose wiring is taken care of.

I'd turn the sucker back on, and make sure you can read a cd before I'd put the whole case back on. There's a chance you may have it plugged in wrong or so. It's better to check before you put all the cosmetics back.

So after that, just put the two sides back in, and screw them in the back. Don't give the old drive to the duffer - it has a laser in it that can be focussed for longer-distance destruction. (Ask Alex Chamberlain about popping balloons with a CD laser from across the room.)

Finally - the burning:

By now you should have an operating DVD burner (it does CDs too- it's kinda implied now) for your computer. There might be a disc that it comes with that will install the software. (Each new piece of hardware has a "driver" that tells the computer what it is, and how it works. So the driver for your DVD burner will need to be installed.) Sometimes Windows XP will just find the driver it needs, and you're sweet. Other times, you've got to put the disc in. No big deal.

After it's done installing the software (it will usually ask you to restart your computer once or twice [this has to do with the booting - something called the computer's bios]), you should be able to burn. It might come with a fancy burning suite or it might not. Either way, you should be able to right-click the drive and tell it to set-up to burn. Or most likely - just plop an empty disc in there, and it'll know what to start. Drag, Drop, Click "Burn". And you're done.

Oh - one side-note about burning discs. Most of the music ones are done with a "close" option set automatically. A disc might not play in your DVD player or your CD player if it hasn't been "closed". It'll work on a computer - and seem like it's burned fine, but it won't work elsewhere. Closing is like sealing the disc - meaning that you won't add any more to it. Even Re-Writable discs can be closed - then they can't be re-written to. So keep an eye out for that if you start having problems with them playing in different places.

Ya! Reedee Romp.


Janalee said...

So I'm a little tired after work and hoping that I will understand a little better tomorrow. . .

Min and Mary said...

WOW! You could write a manual. I think she should just wait for you to do it for her:)

Eli Wilson said...

If I were Piemer, I'd just have Kody do it. He'll understand my techo-jibberish.

Joe said...

Eli!! You are nuts, that looks pretty difficult. We need to play tennis again soon.

bethany said...

Give up this techincal, robotic lifestyle and move home. You can just sell hotdogs for a living. Seriously, holmes.