Some of the earliest DVD burners went in to the +iMac (Flat Panel)+ model Macs and many users are now reporting problems with their original drives.
Your initial fault finding should include:
- Using a drive cleaning disc to ensure there isn't dust build up on the lens.
- Try functionality in another OS X user account.
- Ensure that the media you are using is suitable. For example, the maximum write speed for the original drives is 4x DVD-R and these drive cannot burn DVD+R or DVD+RW media.
- Revert to a recent, known good, clone of your system (i.e. from a previous software state).
If it becomes apparent that a replacement is required outside warranty there are two broad options:
Most replacement optical drive models should work under Tiger/Leopard fine. Patchburn will enable operation in Panther/Jaguar.
The DVR-115 (20x DVD±RW DL for $35) has been proved good by several users and is great value.
It's fiddly to work inside an iMac G4 so you must be very cautious, especially around the video cable. Always take anti-static precautions. Here are two options for guiding you through the procedure:
There are also some additional photos which you can find here.
Its worth reading the reports on the xlr8yourmac drive database to get other people's experiences before you commence.
You must replace the Thermal Paste when you close the iMac up or it will overheat.
It's probably worth replacing the PRAM Battery whilst you're in there as these have a finite life (once they fail to re-charge you may start to run into problems - it's only a $5 part).
Certainly a whole lot less effort to install. Should you upgrade to an Intel iMac / Mac Mini / MacBook / MacBook Pro / MacBook Air in the future you'll have access to this faster desktop-spec tray loading drive rather than the slower laptop-spec slot drive installed in these current Macs. This means you'll get 20x burning versus 8x and be able to use small-size and mis-shapen discs.
Here's one example - 20x DVD±RW DL burner again:
Links provided are examples and not specific recommendations of a particular product or retailer.