July 31, 2003
My Powerbook, affectionately known as Eeyore developed a nasty problem with its CD-RW/DVD drive late last week. On Thursday I was burning a series of CD-RWs, transferring a Red Hat distribution I had downloaded to disk. The first 4 burns when perfectly. The fifth stopped about a third of the way into the burn with an error. At the time I thought it was just a bad CD-RW.
Over the weekend I tried several times to complete the task with no luck. In fact I discovered that I was unable to read any CD, much less burn a new one. Oddly enough, DVD reading still worked. I did some searching via Sherlock and found a couple of knowledge base entries about reseting the PRAM and NVRAM. I attempted the PRAM reset with no effect on the CD-RW portion of the drive.
On Tuesday I called Apple Care. My 90 day phone coverage had expired in April so I had to agree to pay $50 if the problem was software related. If the problem turned out to be hardware I wouldn't be charged as it would be covered under the warranty.
Following their instructions over the phone I again reset the PRAM and this time used the Option-Apple-O-F keystroke boot option to boot into the open firmware page. Reseting the NVRAM and then rebooting didn't help the drive at all. Next we tried booting into OS 9. Still no CD-RW. Apple arranged to send me a box to ship the unit to them for repairs. They also put me in touch with the local certified repair shop.
Calling them I was able to schedule an appointment to diagnose the machine and order the necessary part(s). They said the parts would be available Wednesday afternoon. I took Eeyore back about 2:30 in the afternoon and it was ready for me when I returned at 4:30.
Everything works perfectly now. Eeyore has a new tail.
Even though I was disappointed to have the drive fail after only 7 months of ownership, I was pleased at the speed Apple moved to fix my problem. I have had CD drives fail in the past, so I know hardware isn't forever. All in all not a bad experience.
The bill, before the warranty kicked in, $504. Maybe I'll spring for the extended Apple Care option and buy 2 1/2 more years of peace of mind.