13 Replies Latest reply: Nov 8, 2007 5:11 PM by sohl1
chicago mike Level 1 (0 points)
Using my "new" used 20inch-iMac G5, I just successfully burned my first music cd.

Moments later, I tried (repeatedly, with a half-dozen different blank cds) to burn a second music cd, and got the following message each time:

"The attempt to burn a disc failed. The device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media."

1) What does that message mean?
2) What should I do next to fix the problem?

thank you

20inch-iMac G5, Mac OS X (10.4.10)
  • Kay Marczoch Level 7 (21,685 points)
    Before burning starts there will be a test on how many laser energy is needed to burn that certain disk - if that test fails ...
    #1 bad (batch) of blank(s) - try another brand
    - if it fails again there might be
    #2 dust on your drives lens
  • paulgovern Level 1 (0 points)
    I've had this problem since febuary of this year,as have many many others on here.All i did was update and it simply stopped burning cd's completely.The exact same error message every time....

    "The attempt to burn a disc failed. The device failed to calibrate the laser power level for this media."

    I've tried every suggestion possible with no success,tried no less than 6 different brands of cdr (including sony which apparently are one of the only brands that seem to be working),have cleaned the lense,lowered the burn speed etc.etc.etc.....

    Neither of these are the problem yet i see these same futile suggestions on here everyday from people who should clearly know better,its just not right and is costing people money aswell trying all these different brands of cd.And even so,you should be able to burn a cd with ANY brand of cd and at ANY burn speed with itunes,certainly did before with no problems.

    Apple need to sort their software out or at least give us some sort of easier solution to revert back to an older version that actually works...
  • javatoid Level 3 (670 points)
    Unfortunately, this is a common problem that has been known for some time. As I just posted last night in this thread, common suggestions of switching media, cleaning the lens, changing the burn speed, etc. do not work.

    Other users have suggested that the issue seems to be an iTunes software problem, because burning from Finder works fine.

    I don't know of any solution -- or even what the true cause is. I just wish Apple would address this.
  • javatoid Level 3 (670 points)
    paulgovern: ... Neither of these are the problem yet i see these same futile suggestions on here everyday from people who should clearly know better, its just not right...

    Yes, that's frustrating too. A lot of responses in these forums just seem to be grasping for "helpful/solved" credit. But I think it's been well established that these suggestions don't work for this particular problem.
  • javatoid Level 3 (670 points)
    I'm really getting tired of this, so I decided to bit the bullet and try to get it fixed. (Note that I'm talking about a 2-year old G5 iMac.)


    Apple store genius bars see this error "a lot" (even just this week), and it's usually the optical drive that needs to be replaced.


    In Apple's article Do It Yourself iMac G5 parts you can install, they say, "iMac G5 computers are designed to make it easy for you to install replacement parts if you need to. These parts are known as Do It Yourself (DIY) parts." Listed among these parts is the optical drive. Apple even provides a PDF manual describing the simple process of replacing the optical drive.


    An Apple store will NOT sell you this part, even at their high price of $221. They insist on doing the installation. And the price for this 10-minute procedure -- described in their online manual as sliding the drive into place and replacing the screws -- is an additional $130 (and I'm guessing they won't do it while you wait). That seems to be a labor rate of around $780 per hour for a "Do It Yourself" replacement that they won't let you do yourself.

    So Apple's $351 price to (maybe) get an old G5 iMac burning CDs again is almost 1/3 of what a brand new aluminum Core 2 Duo iMac costs.


    Online third parties will sell you a "genuine Apple" super drive for around $145 (or a combo drive for $95) to install yourself. (Use Google to search for "imac g5 optical drive replacement cost.")
  • javatoid Level 3 (670 points)
    chicago mike wrote:
    Using my "new" used 20inch-iMac G5, I just successfully burned my first music cd.

    Moments later, I tried (repeatedly, with a half-dozen different blank cds) to burn a second music cd...

    That's interesting, because I usually find that the first disc burns with no problem. After that, it's no go.

    For example, last night, I burned a CD with no problem. Then I repeatedly tried a second CD, but couldn't get it to work. Even after restarting -- and even after letting the computer sleep for a few hours -- I kept getting that same error. But after staying shut down overnight, this morning the CD burned fine on the first attempt (same media with the same playlist). After that, it's back to not working.

    I don't know what this means. It could be coincidence.
  • paulgovern Level 1 (0 points)
    Strange indeed.I downloaded that 'Liquid CD' software that was posted on here the other day and it burned the first cd i tried no problem,then it stopped working again.Also,if you use a re-writable disc it works no problem(in itunes) although they play in very few players and they cost a fortune.

    There is something very fishy about all this,i mean,is it really a coincidence that thousands of burner's are going at the same time? I doubt it very much,and if the burners did need replaced then surely it would'nt burn when using a re-writable?
  • javatoid Level 3 (670 points)
    My guess is that there is something different about calibrating the laser power for a RW disc as compared to a R disc. But the reason I burn audio CDs is to play them in different audio players, so switching to RW is not a viable option.

    I understand that parts wear out. But when my drive started this behavior, I had burned less than a dozen CDs (and have never burned any DVDs). That's not a very impressive life span, and this is why I was disappointed that the new iMacs still use Matshita drives.

    But I'm more upset about Apple claiming that the iMac has easily replaceable "Do It Yourself (DIY) parts," but then refusing to sell these parts. How does this make it "easy for you to install replacement parts"?

    This all reminds me of my wireless Mighty Mouse problems, when Apple kept insisting it was a Bluetooth problem with my computer and wouldn't exchange the mouse. Finally, I got Best Buy to switch it, and it's worked perfectly ever since. Here again, this was a common issue reported in these forums (the secondary button failing), and while most users were blaming mysterious Bluetooth "interference," the real problem was defective mice. When Apple has problems, they need to admit it, rather than keeping quiet and forcing customers to run in circles trying to fix it themselves.

    (Meanwhile, I'm pursuing the replacement drive. I've sent email inquiries to a couple of vendors, and will probably order one next week.)
  • Darryl Claps Level 1 (45 points)
    my imac G5 is only 2 years old and i've had the cd burner replaced TWICE in order to solve the cd burning problem. (thanks to warranties and applecare, it hasn't cost me). I am ready to resort to an external burner, but I have no guarantee that will solve the problem.
  • javatoid Level 3 (670 points)
    My SOLUTION...

    The good news is that I'm burning CDs again with no problems! (It had deteriorated to the point of not being able to burn at all.)

    The bad news is that the problem was the optical drive. So to anyone who's already tried the obvious steps of trying different CD medium, cleaning the lens, etc., then you might need to consider replacing this hardware. That's probably not what you want to hear, but at least I can tell you this worked for me.

    I purchased my new super drive (a genuine Apple part) from a third party for less than half the cost of what Apple quoted me for the part and installation.

    Perhaps because I purchased from a third party, my part was only the drive, and it did not include the mounting bracket, interface plug, or plastic edge piece. As a result, the process was more involved than what's described in Apple's "Do-It-Yourself" manual (see my post above regarding the good news, the bad news, etc.). So in addition to the cross-recess screwdriver, I needed a tiny allen wrench (0.05) to switch the bracket and interface. But even with this snag, the entire process only took 20 minutes from the time I started unplugging everything to when my computer was up and running again. Everything fit nicely and was easily accessible.
  • arijitbr Level 1 (0 points)
    Hey I've been getting this message trying to burn CD-R music discs... I-tunes spitting discs .. but Roxio Toast burns without any problems....

  • I LOVE MACS827 Level 1 (35 points)
    I just updated to Itunes 7.5 and my burn problem was solved. I had the same problem you did so maybe that might work
  • sohl1 Level 1 (0 points)
    itunes 7.5 - yup. seems to have solved problem.