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One way to use an unsupported DVD burner Storage Devices
When buying a new DVD burning unit, I didn't waste a second on compatibility issues with Mac OS 10.5. Instead, I bought the first DVD burner available for around 20 Euros: A LG Electronics GH-22NP20. I attached it externally with an Delock Converter USB 2.0 to SATA/IDE.

First tests works quite well -- DVD and CD reading, and even CD burning, works with Mac OS 10.5's integrated software and drivers. But serious problems occurred when trying to burn a standard DVD: The burning software, in my case, ends with an error stating the disk capacity is exceeded, regardless of the size of the files to burn. There are a lot of fine burning apps for free on the market, but non of them seem to work.

After digging around in the net, I came to the conclusion that this burner is incompatible to Mac OS 10.5. A lot of users have the same problems -- take a look at this Apple Discussions thread, for example. The only solution that seems to work: buy a version of Toast. I know this is an excellent piece of software, but really, buying software for about 100 Euros to run hardware that cost 20 Euros?

My first thought was to replace the LG drive with another Mac OS X-compatible one. But then I remembered a solution coming from the UNIX-side of Mac OS X. I gave it a try and it worked. Don't fear the Terminal (located in the Utilities folder in the Applications folder!). Read on for the solution in detail.

Here's how to get your unsupported drive working in OS X.
  1. You have to install MacPorts. I think Fink should also work, but I prefer MacPorts.
  2. Using MacPorts, install the cdrtools package.
  3. Next install the growisofs package.
These are the apps that you will need to run nearly any burning unit. Maybe it sounds horrible in the first moment, but it is much easier than you maybe think! MacPorts comes with a nice installer. The main commands you need for MacPorts are list and install. So for installing the cdrtools-package, simply type this in Terminal:
sudo port install cdrtools
Always remember to run the port command as root when installing software -- this is done with the sudo command before the port command. Then install the growisofs package in the same manner:
sudo port install growisofs
After installing the necessary software, you are nearly done, but it is important to restart the computer before using the new software. After the restart, you need to find out what device ID is connected to your external burning unit. Doing this is not too hard. Fire up Terminal. Be sure that the DVD slot of the burning device is empty.

Now type ls -la /dev/rdisk*, and copy (or just remember) the items on that list. Then insert a fresh and empty DVD and retype the above command. There should be an additional item in the list. For me, it is listed as /dev/rdisk1. Be sure that there is set no action when a new DVD is inserted in the CDs and DVDs panel of System Preferences.

Now you are ready to burn anything to the DVD. In Terminal, type this:
growisofs -dvd-compat -Z /dev/rdisk1 -hfs -V NameOFDVD /any/folder/or/files
Note that /dev/rdisk1 must be replaced by the device info you found earlier. NameOFDVD is any name you choose for the new DVD volume and /any/folder/or/files can be any files or folders on your hard drive. Tip: Simply drag the files or folders from the Finder onto the window of the Terminal. That's it!

The only inconvenience I have discovered so far: The USB bus system seems to be interrupted by the Delock converter a little bit. But it only happens when a new disk has been inserted, so this is OK for me.
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One way to use an unsupported DVD burner
Authored by: asmeurer on Jul 28, '09 10:07:03AM

growisofs doesn't seem to be included with fink. cdrtools is however.

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It's inefficient to use an unsupported DVD burner
Authored by: Dr. T on Jul 28, '09 10:07:28AM

This is another geeky but inefficient hint. A quick internet search can tell you which DVD burners are compatible with Macs running OS X. There are many, and some are nearly as low cost as the one cschaefer bought. When you factor in the cost of the converter, the time and effort needed to get the unsupported DVD burner to work, and the interruptions to normal USB bus functioning, I can't see how you've gained anything.

[ Reply to This | # ]
Try to look the other way ...
Authored by: tice on Jul 28, '09 03:10:01PM

What if you get it for free from a friend? I think tips like this are alway worth it! Thanks for sharing cschaefer. : )

[ Reply to This | # ]