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Thunderbird98

I'm a little afraid to burn games

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So I got my first DC about a year and a half ago. I wanted to burn games for it, and after much trial and error, I succeeded in making a burned copy of Army Men. However, I think I did it wrong. After about a month, the DC's laser died. I bought another DC earlier this year and haven't used it much because I'm afraid to burn disks. There must be a right way to do it, I just haven't found it out. I think my three mistakes were: 1. I burned it at too fast of a speed. 2. I used Diskjuggler (not Imgburn), and 3. I used cheap disks. I want to know:
What are the absolute BEST brand of CD-Rs to buy, and should I use Imgburn, and at what speed should I burn?

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Not a DC expert. But nonetheless and interesting mode of failure. I could take a guess and say that a CD-R's reflectivity isn't as great as a factory-pressed disc. And that means a laser mechanism has to output more power to reliably read the data.

 

These consoles are old and have some mileage on them. Wonder if that increased power output is enough to shorten the life of the laser emitter?

 

Conversely, if the reflectivity is too high, could the more intense reflection be damaging the detection diode?

 

Additionally, could a burned disc not be as accurate as what comes from the factory? In this situation, could the tracking motor and the coils be overworked?

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I gave up on burning DC discs.  Adjusting the eye did work for a while, but it just seemed to be a foolish thing to pursue as I had more problems even with original disks after a short time.

 

I eventually went the GD EMU route and it works great.

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Gd emu is very easy. You can do it without any permanent modifications.

 

No way to do it via serial port that I know of.

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Isn't Gd emu the one where you remove the gd-rom and replace it with a hdd or sd card slot? I don't want to do that. If I had a DC with a dead laser, I might consider that, but not with my good working one.
Someone connected a hard drive to the DC's expansion port back in the day, but I can't find much info on how to build one.
This is all I could find http://www.fuzzymuzzle.com/Kiyoshi/IDE_HDD.htm

 

I'm looking for something like that.

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Back in 2000, I bought a Dreamcast along with a GameShark CDX and a lifetime license for Alcohol 120% and have used those to successfully burn 428 games with all types of file formats (ISO, CCD, BIN-CUE, you name it) and it always works. I have used every brand of CD-R you can imagine, from cheap Chinese to not so cheap with no problems what so ever and now Alcohol 120% is 100% free https://www.alcohol-soft.com/designzoo/downloada120fe.html.

Edited by cedropoole
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After much research, I decided to go with JVC Taiyo Yuden, not CMC Taiyo Yuden. Apparently Taiyo Yuden stopped making CD-Rs in 2016 and CMC made "with TY technology" Cd-Rs that are actually trash. I went on Ebay and bought an unopened 100 pack of JVC Taiyo Yudens for around 30 dollars.
Now about the burning. I needed a slow, old CD writer to burn disks. Although my Taiyo Yudens haven't arrived yet, I tested this out with some cheap CDs. My modern DVD/CD burner only supported burning at speeds greater than 8X. I tried burning games with Imgburn and Diskjuggler at 8X and my Dreamcast wouldn't read them. Then I went to my computer recycling center and picked up a USB Iomega ZipCD 650 (not related to Zip disks, its just an old CD burner.)  It supports writing at 2X speed. When I tried burning with Imgburn, I got errors (probably because the ZipCD is so old.) However, when I tried Diskjuggler burning at 2X speed, CD-XA mode, and raw write, the DC was able to play the burned game just fine. It did take around 45 minutes to burn, but it was worth the wait. I will still wait for my Taiyo Yudens to arrive in the mail.
So, I might be wrong, but it looks like the best way to burn DC games is on high quality CDs with very low burn speeds. That's just what I have observed.

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"Trash" is a strong word. Where exactly are you getting this info?

 

My personal experience has been the opposite. Out of a couple hundred burns at a minimum, I've only had a few bad discs from the CMC spools (bought earlier this year), and those edge cases could have been the result of a poor ISO or my burner. That's also when burned at 16x (the lowest my drive supports). Both my Dreamcast and CD-i 220 basically went from not reading burns at all to reading them flawlessly with these discs.

Edited by Austin

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Saw several reviews saying that there was a quality difference between CMC and JVC Taiyo Yudens (Taiwan vs Japan.) Didn't hear anything bad about JVC. Didn't want to risk it. I could be totally wrong about that though.

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My CD-R drive also has a minimum of 16x and everything I've ever burned with Alcohol 120% was at 16x. I've even inadvertantly burned at 48x and the game worked although I don't reccomend it. As for disc quality, I've always bought the cheapest CD-Rs I could find, even factory reject  CD-Rs, Memorex, and every other cheap brand and they all worked the same for me.

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23 hours ago, Thunderbird98 said:

I wonder why your DC was able to read at 16X. What software did you use?

ImgBurn.

1 hour ago, Thunderbird98 said:

Interesting. I have read that the DC should read at 16X, but when I burn at 16X, my DC wont read it.

There's a lot of factors involved. Quality of discs, quality of your burner, and the quality of your Dreamcast's disc drive are all going to matter. To that last point, Dreamcast GD-ROM drives aren't getting any younger, and the things haven't been known to be the most reliable drives out there to begin with. Your mileage may vary.

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I've gone through 2 DCs. The first one was a '99 model and my current one is a '00 model. My current one is pretty shiny, but I got it off of Craigslist so I don't know how it was used.
Do you know if burning with diskjuggler is bad for the DC? I would burn with ImgBurn, but my old CD writer isn't supported.

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I found my coaster ratio went down to nearly zero when I stuck with slow burns. Back in the day it was easy to find IDE burners that would go down to 2x or 1x but they've gotten extremely hard to find. I eventually settled on an old external memorex flip-top usb (2.0?) burner that will go down to 4x and that seems to do the job--I like it so much I bought extras for the coming decades.  I'm pretty sure anything that will go slow will work just as well, but I've included a picture of the ones I use anyway.

 

I regularly burn DC, SegaCD/32xCD, PS1 and Saturn.  Historically it's also done Neo Geo CD and 3do well for me too.  Usually when a burn fails on it, I see it coming first--either the buffer runs out during the burn (for whatever reason), or it starts making this weird 'seeking' noise and the software reports a burn failure. 

 

For software I use ImgBurn v2.5.7.0 (if version even matters).  I'm personally not choosy about disc brands as long as it's a major brand name. I also don't believe your GDRom failure had anything to do with burned discs.  Generally when they go it's either the power supply or the gdrom, so make sure you keep that one for spare parts because you might just find one with a dead psu out there, and can swap around.  I also *HIGHLY* recommend a gdemu or mode. Gdemu is annoying to load but there is software to help and it is dirt cheap (in clone form anyway).

 

My burner looks like this, they go for cheap, but make sure it comes with the power supply. They also take printer-style (a to b) usb cables. 

 

Q1ZGY0nm.png

Edited by Reaperman

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My ZipCD is also a USB burner, but I can't get it to work with ImgBurn. I might eventually look for another one, but this one seems to work fine with Diskjuggler. I would either buy a Dreamcast clone (I don't think they exist) or keep playing off of disks. I like to preserve original hardware and hate to mod a perfectly working system. If my DC laser dies again, I might consider GDemu, but even then I might just get a replacement.

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I've gone through 3DCs since they were released and in each case they all started the same way. Games would lockup and I would then start to hear the DC seeking to read. Even had to do the old put it sideways trick to get it to read games and that was how I eventually got through Grandia. 

 

I have 3 DCs with 2 I know of fully working GDrom drives. One is in my DC Kiosk and the other is my daily driver Sports edition. I decided over the summer that playing my actual discs on the DC was awesome! But I also knew that all the GDrom drives are a ticking time bomb and so I stuck a MODE into that sports edition when the first batch of those went on sale. I've got the GDrom drive stored away but I don't see myself ever going back to using my discs to play my DC now. Just way more convenient and easier to software reset from the controller and pick a new game.

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On 11/25/2020 at 9:40 PM, Thunderbird98 said:

I've gone through 2 DCs. The first one was a '99 model and my current one is a '00 model. My current one is pretty shiny, but I got it off of Craigslist so I don't know how it was used.
Do you know if burning with diskjuggler is bad for the DC? I would burn with ImgBurn, but my old CD writer isn't supported.

I used to burn games. Then I stopped. I always got the settings right and some games worked flawlessly, others would stress the crap out of my console. Sounded like it would blow up. 

 

Im going to suggest 3 things from experience. 

 

1. Stop burning games, it ruins your DC some games will play fine. Others will not. Some games require specific settings to be just right and in those cases you waste 5 CD-R's or more trying to get it right. You've been through how many DC's?

 

2. Buy all of your games. I did this. Expensive yes. But 300 bucks bought me most of the games I wanted to play.... around 60. Im missing 3 or 4. They are expensive . Maybe will get high quality repro. Those people exist.

 

3. The best and most practical option. GDEmu or Terra Onion. TO works with Sega Saturn and Dreamcast. You open console, disconnect ribbon cable. Unscrew disc drive, place the device in, attach ribbon cable, screw it all down and now you play all of your games off either a hard drive or an SD card. Its 250-300 bucks some places have it cheaper give or take.  But if you want to save your console, have all your games in one place and not have to worry about ruining consoles and buying discs and stressing over settings and $#!+...... go this route.

 

Installation is really easy.

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