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Burning the PlexDisc CD-R discs on some Slim IDE drives

Burning the PlexDisc CD-R discs on some Slim IDE drives

Hi everyone,

Today, we’ll see how well my 3 optical IDE slim drives handles the PlexDisc 700MB CD-R discs. The units we’ll be testing against this disc are the Optiarc AD-7561A, Teach DW-224E-C, and the Toshiba SD-R6252.

Toshiba SD-R6252

Let’s start with the Toshiba SD-R6252. You may recall this drive failed to burn successfully the Verbatim CD-RW some time ago.

The drive detects the disc just fine and gives us a burning speed of up to 16x:

PlexDisc CD-R on TOSHIBA ODD-DVD SD-R6252

Starting to burn the disc in “Test Mode” appears to be fine:

But ultimately gives errors when burning it for real:

Interestingly, the drive either thinks the disc is blank afterwards or can’t recover the Table of Content (TOC):

Result: Failure

TEAC DW-224E-C

Because the disc is reported as “Empty” on the Toshiba drive, I’ll give it another go. There’s 2 things that can happen here: The first one is that it actually writes the data, and the second one is that it overwrites already written data, making a junk disc. This disc, however, visually looked like there was no data written in it, therefore, I assume the Toshiba laser is worn out and does not have the required power to actually write any data.

ImgBurn is unable to report writing speeds on the Teac drive, for some reason:

PlexDisc CD-R on TEAC DW-224E-C Failed Burned Toshiba Disc 2

However, it can be written at up to 24x in this drive. Test mode was successful in it:

And so was the real burn, but it never actually went up to 24x. Instead, it stayed at around 17x:

Result: Success!

Optiarc AD-7561A

ImgBurn reports a maximum burning speed of up to 24x:

PlexDisc CD-R on Optiarc AD-7561A

Test mode was successful:

And again, so was the real burn:

Result: Success!

Quality Scans

Next, we’ll scan the discs on a variety of drives to verify how well they were burned.

Disc burned in the TEAC DW-224E-C drive

Scanned on the LG WH16NS58:

PlexDisc CD-R on TEAC DW-224E-C Scanned on LG WH16NS58 Graph

Scanned on the LiteOn iHAS524 A:

Scanned on the LiteOn iHBS112 2:

Scanned on the Optiarc AD-7561A:

Scanned on the Pioneer BDR-2212. This drive has issues scanning CD-Rs:

Scanned on the Samsung SN-208AB. This drive always reports 0 C1 and C2 errors. It seems it can’t scan CD-Rs:

Disc burned in the Optiarc AD-7561A drive

Scanned on the LG WH16NS58:

PlexDisc CD-R on Optiarc AD7561A Scanned on LG WH16NS58 Graph

Scanned on the LiteOn iHAS524 A:

Scanned on the LiteOn iHBS112 2:

Scanned on the Optiarc AD-7561A:

Scanned on the Pioneer BDR-2212. This drive has issues scanning CD-Rs:

Scanned on the Samsung SN-208AB. This drive always reports 0 C1 and C2 errors. It seems it can’t scan CD-Rs:

Conclusion

Unfortunately, my Toshiba drive could not write them. However, the TEAC and Optiarc drives can successfully burn these discs flawlessly and provides good quality burns. I’d recommend this media for your data and music storage needs. It is very cheap and proved to work well on these old drives.

You can get these discs on Amazon at the following link:

Burning a Verbatim CD-RW on some old Slim IDE drives

Burning a Verbatim CD-RW on some old Slim IDE drives

Hi everyone,

In this post, We’ll be looking at some Slim IDE drives and how well they work with a Verbatim CD-RW disc. The drives we will be seeing are the Optiarc AD-7561A, Teach DW-224E-C, and the Toshiba SD-R6252.

I started first with the Toshiba SD-R6252 which is the drive with the oldest manufacturing date:

This drive was manufactured on July 2004. In my tests, it seems to read DVDs fine, but it fails to read CD-Rs, often with an “Unable to Recover TOC” message in ImgBurn. This drive supports CD and DVD writing.

The drive detects the disc and gives us burning speeds of 4x and 10x:

Verbatim CD-RW 12x

I initiated the burning process at 10x. It was able to erase the disc, but was surprised at the following message it gave me:

Verbatim CD-RW 12x 11

For some reason, it thinks the disc is 0 MB. However, pressing OK makes the disc burn successfully, or so I thought. Turns out this drive seem to ignore ImgBurn’s request to cycle the tray, and when the verification starts, it just freezes and starts making seek noises. This drive was also the noisiest drive. It seems the laser makes some noises when burning. Ultimately, I ejected the drive manually by disconnecting and reconnecting the USB cable. Then, ImgBurn somehow say the disc is “empty” yet it shows the old Table of Contents of the disc:

Verbatim CD-RW 12x 2

Maybe the drive couldn’t handle burning at 10x, so I restarted it at 4x:

Verbatim CD-RW 12x 4

But again, it froze at verification:

Verbatim CD-RW 12x 3

The disc seems to be lightly burned:

IDE Drive 4

The result is a failure for this drive. It isn’t able to correctly burn these discs. But maybe it’s the drive that’s somehow dead for CD’s, since it has issues reading most of them but reads fine CD-ROMs.

My next attempt is to use my TEAC DW-224E-C. Here, initially the drive is unable to read the disc as the Toshiba drive corrupted it.

Verbatim CD-RW 12x 5

It does not let me do anything as it doesn’t read it. I had to jump to the Optiarc drive which was successful at detecting the disc and allowing me to burn it.

This unit was successful at burning and verifying the disc.

IDE Drive 10

You can see that the lighter burned area is now darker.

I then placed the disc in the TEAC drive where it was able to read and verify it successfully too:

Verbatim CD-RW 12x 8

It also allows us to burn the disc again, so even when it was written, I performed an erase operation first, which blanked the disc:

IDE Drive 11

And then fired the burning process:

Verbatim CD-RW 12x 10

It was able to burn and verify it too.

Verbatim CD-RW 12x 9

The final disc played fine in my new Oakcastle Portable CD Player, which states it can read CD-RW.

Conclusion

From the above drives, only the Toshiba SD-R6252 failed to burn it. Both the TEAC and Optiarc drives were able to burn and verify it fine. Maybe the Toshiba drive is bad, as it fails to read CD-Rs correctly, sometimes unable to read the Table of Contents and sometimes failing to properly seek. However, that same drive is able to read DVDs without any issues, so maybe the CD laser is bad.

For the TEAC and Optiarc drives, the final result is a working, playable disc. The Optiarc drive is able to burn these discs at 4x and 10x. I didn’t test burning it at 4x. The TEAC drive does not show the supported burning speeds on ImgBurn like it did for the other 2 drives, but in reality, it burns it at the expected 10x.

The Oakcastle CD100 Portable CD Player with Bluetooth

The Oakcastle CD100 Portable CD Player with Bluetooth

Hi everyone,

Today, I’ll present you the Oakcastle CD100 Portable CD Player. Yes, a CD Player, and this one has Bluetooth in it. As you may know, nowadays people use streaming services to listen to music, which includes services with lossless audio quality. However, some people also prefer to buy CDs and listen to them, as some may argue that CDs offer better quality than lossless streaming services. Others buy them to collect them.

I’m one of the few who prefer to listen to Audio CDs, collecting them if I find it worth it after listening to them on streaming services. I do listen to them, but on my PC, as I didn’t have a CD player. My last one died lots of years ago, probably due to battery leakage. Thankfully, CD players are still being made and now comes with a rechargeable built-in battery, but the biggest new feature that’s coming to them is Bluetooth audio transmission. This is really important because, in a world that has shifted toward digital streaming and Bluetooth headphones, this means we can pair them to this CD player. It also means we can pair it to cars that no longer have an internal CD player.

Unboxing

I was suprised by the small, simple box.

Opening and starting to take out what’s inside, we first see the instruction manual and the CD player behind:

The box on the left contains all of the cables and the included in-ear headphone:

The CD player is very well protected with a foam container:

Let’s take a look at the CD optics:

First impressions

This CD player states that it can read Audio CD, CD-R, CD-RW, and discs containing MP3 files. I have tested it with some burned CD-Rs and can say that it works flawlessly. My discs are specially burned because I tend to create a LabelTag label on the data side. These discs are therefore considered multisession discs, as the label counts as a session on the disc structure. The CD player could read it without any issues at all.

Oakcastle CD100 15

The audio quality is very good, both when connected to the 3.5mm jack and when using Bluetooth.

Oakcastle CD100 13

The volume is very loud, so the IFI IEMatch comes in handy here, to reduce the volume by -24db. The Bluetooth sound is very clear. The difference I noticed is that the bass is a bit less present. It’s there, but it’s just not as dynamic as when using the headphone jack. The treble, on the other hand, seems to be the star of the show, along with crystal clear vocals. Maybe it’s the treble that may be shadowing the bass. Overall, everything sounds finer, even considering that it only transmits audio using the SBC codec.

Oakcastle CD100 12

The CD player charges via USB at a max of 1 amp. This basically allows you to use any USB charger you may have around. You can also use it while charging it.

Oakcastle CD100 16

Conclusion

My first impressions of this product are very positive. I’m pleased with the sound quality, both wired and on Bluetooth. It paired easily with my FiiO BTR5 and Hiby W3, both of which use a Qualcomm chipset. This means it should theoretically pair with headphones and receivers having one of their chips.

This CD player can also read MP3 files, and it worked really well on these discs too. It does take a second or two to load it, but works, and the audio quality is also very, very good. I just wish the next generation of players can read FLAC files directly too.

Regarding the battery life, I’ll play audio CDs non-stop to know how much time I can listen to music without having to recharge it.

UPDATE 3/26/2021: This CD Player can also play WMA files.

So far, I’m really impressed with it.

You can order this CD player on Amazon at the following link:

The Kolude KD-k1 All-In-One Keyboard

The Kolude KD-k1 All-In-One Keyboard

Hi everyone,

Today, I will be showing you the Kolude KD-k1 All-In-One keyboard.

Kolude KD-k1 All-In-One Keyboard 1

It is a USB-C keyboard that also acts as a USB hub, having 4 USB 3 ports, SD and Micro SD Card reader, Power Delivery, and an HDMI port.

Kolude KD-k1 All-In-One Keyboard 2

The keyboard contains the entire layout as well as the numeric pad keys, which is great for those who prefer to use them.

Kolude KD-k1 All-In-One Keyboard 3

It is made of aluminum and the keys have a great typing feeling.

Kolude KD-k1 All-In-One Keyboard 4

It also comes with a long USB-C cable that we can use to plug it on a Desktop PC. Is is really long.

Kolude KD-k1 All-In-One Keyboard 5

The keyboard layout is strange. It seems to be designed primarily to be used on Macs, as we can see on the layout that before the space bar we have the Command key followed by the Alt key. On a Windows layout keyboard, you would have the Windows key first, then the Alt key, followed by the Space bar.

Kolude KD-k1 All-In-One Keyboard 6

The amount of USB ports on the keyboard means we can easily plug our devices, like a USB mouse dongle, for example. Also, for photographers, it’s good to know it has the SD and Micro SD card readers right there.

Kolude KD-k1 All-In-One Keyboard 7

Kolude released a firmware update for the keyboard that improves compatibility with Windows machines and switches the Alt and Command keys for Windows users. However, I thought the keyboard was reversing itself to the Mac mode. Turns out there are some keyboard shortcuts to alternate between the 2:

  • fn + A switches to the Mac mode.
  • fn + S switched to the Windows mode.

Because of this, I switched the Alt and Command keycaps to better fit my setup. It’s way easier to use now than it was before that firmware update. Also, the function keys now work as expected on Windows too. Just press the fn key followed by one of the function keys.

Kolude KD-k1 All-In-One Keyboard 8

It’s been almost 9 months since I received it and I can say it is my very favorite keyboard. My previous one was a basic Wireless Logitech keyboard but this one really improves the typing experience, since I’m used to laptop-style keys. The hub feature is also very convenient as I can easily plug my devices. The supplied cable is connected to the back of my AMD desktop machine, which also has a USB-C port. Of course, it only works for data, so the HDMI port doesn’t work with it and I get the “Limited connectivity” message, which is expected.

This keyboard was launched on Kickstarter last year, in February 2020. I’d say this project was prompt in delivering the finished product and the compatibility firmware was also released in a timely manner. They now have the KD-k2 keyboard which is almost the same, with the difference of it not having the numeric pad. You can order one of these keyboards on their website.

Disclaimer: I haven’t purchased a product on their website. However, my kickstarted experience was very positive.

My 2nd Batch of Used BDXL discs

My 2nd Batch of Used BDXL discs

On the past days, I wrote about having purchased an used spindle of 10 Verbatim BDXL discs. I mentioned that I had also ordered the same item again, but the used condition mentioned was “Like New”. Today, we’ll see my experience this time, which may or may not surprise you.

The first thing is I received this item on an “Amazon Renewed” bag. The sticker is different from the “Amazon Inspected” one from my previous order:

"Verbatim" BDXL Used Discs 1

Visually looking, we can see that the spindle looks fine itself:

"Verbatim" BDXL Used Discs 2

Taking the spindle out of the packaging also doesn’t bring any serious alarm, except that the Verbatim label is broken:

"Verbatim" BDXL Used Discs 3

Now, after opening it, is where I noticed something weird. Looking at the data side, it looks more “purple”:

"Verbatim" BDXL Used Discs 6

Indeed, inserting this on one of my Blu-Ray drives indicates these are regular 25GB discs. It also has another media code unrelated to Verbatim itself: UMEBDR-016-000

"Verbatim" BDXL Used Discs 8

The real Verbatim BDXL discs have a Media ID of VERBAT-IMk-000:

ImgBurn Panasonic UJ260 1

This is how a Verbatim BDXL disc should look:

"Verbatim" BDXL Used Discs 7

And here they are side by side. See the difference?

"Verbatim" BDXL Used Discs 5

The fact that the label was broken is also sketchy. Here are both spindles closed side by side:

"Verbatim" BDXL Used Discs 4

My theory is that the previous owner kept the 100GB discs and exchanged them with regular 25GB printable discs and returned them. I went ahead and started the return process, stating this fact, and returned this item to my nearest UPS Store. At this time, all I can say is be careful when purchasing used discs. My previous experience was positive, but not this one.

The “Used” Verbatim BDXL discs

The “Used” Verbatim BDXL discs

Hi everyone,

Yesterday afternoon, I received the “Used – Good” Verbatim BDXL discs that I purchased last week. Today, we’ll see exactly what these discs really mean and if they are really used.

First, we see the item arrived on a bag. Visually inspecting it from the bag it seems the packaging itself looks good.

Verbatim BDXL Used-Good 1

Indeed, it all looks good, except it isn’t really wrapped like new items are, so the spindle was actually opened already.

Verbatim BDXL Used-Good 2

The spindle package looks so good that there are not even damages to it, which contradicts Amazon’s description of “Used – Good” items since it claimed that there were some damages.

Verbatim BDXL Used-Good 3

Taking a look at the discs itself, they also look good. There are no imperfections on it, which also contradicts their definition of the “Used – Good” condition.

Verbatim BDXL Used-Good 4

Even the data side looks fine. No disc have been burned either, so they are “brand new”.

Verbatim BDXL Used-Good 5

What I did notice, however, was a bit of dust in them, but that was it. No scratches or imperfections were found in them. As of now, I’m currently burning these discs, gently cleaning them before attempting to burn them to clear any dust they may have. Last night, the first 2 discs burned successfully. I’m burning my 3rd one as of this writing, and it’s going good so far, using my Panasonic UJ-260 ABPU-B.

For the price, this was a really good deal!

Get this item on Amazon below:

Buying Used BDXL discs. What to expect?

Buying Used BDXL discs. What to expect?

On the past few days, I ordered several quantities of BDXL discs to backup my recorded videos from the past years. These projects have varying sizes and some goes up to 1TB. This means I need several of these BDXL discs to back them up.

When looking at the BDXL media on Amazon, I noticed they can be purchased “Used” straight from the Amazon Warehouse seller. A spindle of 10 discs cost $41.88, while the Used condition was at $36.85.

It’s going to be interesting to see the definition of “Used” for these discs. The description says the packaging is damaged, and Amazon’s definition for “Used – Good” items say that they may be missing items. The order description talks about some “imperfections”, which will be interesting to see exactly what it means. While the price certainly is lower, maybe it may have 8 or 9 out of 10 discs, or maybe it’s just the packaging that’s bad and that’s it. In either way, tomorrow I’ll get to know for sure once it is delivered to me.

Today, before writing this post, I noticed Amazon Warehouse had the same product, this time listed as “Used – Like New”. The price was $39.79, which is $2 and some cents off the original new price. The description says that just the packaging is damaged, which is manageable if that’s the case. The most important part for me is that the discs are fine by themselves. This item will arrive on February 6 or sooner.

While I wait for these items to arrive, I’m compressing and splitting my projects into 23.3GB parts. This allows me to store 4 of those on a single BDXL disc. I’m burning these using my old Panasonic UJ-260 slim Blu-Ray writer since my LG WH14NS40 seems to have failures sometimes. I’ve wasted some discs already due to issues with that drive, while my Panasonic drive burns them flawlessly, although at just 2x, taking about 3 hours to burn and 2 hours to verify. While the burning time is long, the important part is that these discs are burning fine and can be read back correctly. I’m burning these discs with Nero 2017 using the SecurDisc compilation option.

The Avantree DG80 USB Bluetooth Audio Transmitter

The Avantree DG80 USB Bluetooth Audio Transmitter

Hi everyone,

Today, I’ll show you the Avantree DG80 Bluetooth USB Audio Transmitter:

Avantree DG80 - 1

This is a Bluetooth adapter that works as a PC audio card. It transmits audio via Bluetooth using the SBC, FastStream, aptX, or aptX Low Latency codec, depending on which codecc your headphone or adapter supports. Having the aptX codec provides us with a better audio experience.

The aptX Low Latency codec allows us to watch movies and videos without any audio delay. Most Bluetooth receivers today support this codec and having a transmitter with it makes us take advantage of this.

Avantree DG80 - 2

Unboxing

The DG80 packaging is small and simple.

Avantree DG80 - 3

We can see the adapter along with its manual and documentation behind.

We can see the transmitter is really small.

Finally, we have the included documentation.

Avantree DG80 - 9

Package content:

Avantree DG80 - 10

Using the transmitter

Using this transmitter is as simple as plugging it into a USB port and going into pairing mode.

Avantree DG80 - 11

We can see Windows detects it as Avantree DG80.

Avantree DG80 Settings 2

The transmitter has a bit depth and sample rate of 16bit/48khz, which is common with these adapters.

Avantree DG80 Settings 3

I paired it with my Fiio BTR5 and we can see it is using the aptX Low Latency codec.

Avantree DG80 - 12

Here’s a video of the pairing process of the adapter:

Audio Quality

Becuase this transmitter uses a Qualcomm chipset, the sound quality is realy great, thanks to its support of the aptX and aptX Low Latency codecs.

Signal strength

Avantree claims the adapter will work up to 30 meters or 100 feet. This may be true unless there are some obstacles in the way. In my tests with the Whooshi adapter, known to have signal issues, I was able to listen to music while I was in the same room. However, going away I could hear the audio getting cut. If you’re looking for the best signal range, the Avantree DG60 is a better choice.

Conclusion

If you still do not have a USB Bluetooth audio transmitter, the Avantree DG80 is a good start. It’s small, portable, and cheap. It also supports the aptX and aptX Low Latency codecs to provide excellent audio quality.

Embalses de Puerto Rico v1.9 introduces new Dark Mode

Embalses de Puerto Rico v1.9 introduces new Dark Mode

Hi everyone

Yesterday, I published the version 1.9 of Embalses de Puerto Rico, which adds support for Dark Mode:

Now, the app will use Dark mode if your device is set to that mode.

If you want to force the app to use Light or Dark mode, regardless of the system setting, you can do that by using the all-new Theme setting:

This will override the system setting unless the System default option is selected.

Light mode is unmodified for those who would like to continue using it:

Embalses PR Light Theme Reservoir Page - Spanish

You can download or update this app in the Google Play Store, here.

With this mode, I hope your experience using the app is improved and allows you to continue monitoring the reservoir levels during these times of drought.

The OWC Mercury Pro 5.25″ External Optical Drive Enclosure

The OWC Mercury Pro 5.25″ External Optical Drive Enclosure

Hi everyone,

Today, I’ll show you the OWC Mercury Pro 5.25″ External Optical Drive Enclosure:

OWC Mercury Pro 1

This is an enclosure designed for Internal 5.25″ CD, DVD, and Blu-Ray drives. It uses a USB 3.1 Gen 1 connection to transfer files faster than when using USB 2.0. This mainly applies to Blu-Ray discs since they can have a very high transfer rate when compared to CD or DVD, hence having a USB 3.1 Gen 1 connection allows us to benefit by having faster transfer speeds.

Unboxing

The enclosure comes in a simple box where when opened, we see a box that contains the power and USB cable as well as the screws needed to mount the drive:

We then see the enclosure below:

OWC Mercury Pro 6

It comes protected inside a plastic bag:

Once we take it out of the bag, we can see the shiny metal enclosure:

Inside, we can see the board and SATA cables:

OWC Mercury Pro 12

Installation

I took out my LG WH14NS40 Blu-Ray drive from my desktop so I can use in the enclosure on all of my computers:

Installation was very easy. The drive was inserted and the screws were installed on the sides and bottom. The result is very nice looking portable desktop drive:

OWC Mercury Pro 19

Windows 10 detects it as Mercury Pro Optical and lets us know that it is connected via USB 3.0:

OWC Mercury Pro 20

So far, the enclosure has been working very great.

Now, I need another enclosure for my LiteOn iHAS524 drive, which is still my preferred drive to read and write CD and DVD.