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A 8x Superdrive +/-R slot-in in a Pismo (light version)

Tête Philippe Helman
Philippe Helman

(webmaster's note: As usual, I cannot be responsible for any damage to your machines when you will experiment the following tutorial.)

Very easy mod this time.

No welding, no machining...

Almost not a mod, finally, rather a feedback of the installation steps.

Let's go!!!

Target: to install a 4x DVD+/-R burner (and RW, of course!!) internally in a Pismo, replacing a standard DVD reader.

Why: not for iDVD, neither for tuning, but for the fun... and for my best client, Alain B.!!

Which burner: Alain chooses a Panasonic 4x DVD+/-R (it is a Matshita, both makers joined) UJ-825 slot-in. Burns CD-R at 24x, and CD-RW at 10x speed. It is the (almost) identical model in the PowerBook G4 Alu. Almost because the firmware is different, and this OEM burner is made to go in a Windoze laptop.

A 8x or a 4x?

After 2 weeks delay, the burner arrived at the shop, and once at the desk, I realized it was an UJ-835 (easy, it's written on it!!!). 8x burner instead of 4x, same CD-R/RW burning speed, and... same price as the UJ-825!!! Great start!!!


The installation

Very easy when we have the right tools (= quality screwdrivers, I personally use Facom AEFP.00 and AEP.000). The 4 side screws position is standard. Be careful, the 2 screws on the plastic side are a little longer than the 2 screws on the metal side. 000 screwdriver for these 4 ones, but a good 00 should work. Please don't tight as a fool, M2 screw torque is 2 Nm.



I personally prefer to remove the 2 screws on the top cover, to remove the printed board, and mainly to ensure that this board is correctly connected at re-installation.


And, of course, put back the bay in the Pismo.


Black original flat cover, not the same beautiful black as original Apple, sh…. And as it is a slot-in, the original curved cover can't be adapted.


System Profiler and Boot

Once started, System Profiler shows the burner as a Matshita DVD-RAM UJ-835S, not supported by Apple for burning (thanks, Apple!!!).


G100 firmware (UJ-825 OEM firmware is D100, different from UJ-825 of PowerBook G4 Alu DAM5 firmware, and from the iMacs G5 DBN7 firmware).

Master (0) as the original DVD reader, it will boot without firmware hack and without printed board modification.


Toast 6 immediately recognizes it.


To directly burn from within the iApps (Finder, iTunes, Disk Utility), just use the fabulous PatchBurn 3 ("http://www.patchburn.de"), freeware generating the right "profile" at the right place.





System Profiler now recognizes (after reboot) the UJ-835 as "vendor supported".


iTunes does it as well, and I can burn a big disk image directly from within Disk Utility.

I don't have a 8x-certified DVD (and I don't want to buy expensive Apple ones). I successfully try a 4x-certified Imation DVD+R.

On the other hand, a "low-price" 4x-certified DVD+R failed and was allowed at 2x speed. Quality has a price.


I insert a OS9.1 CD, shut down and restart with C key. Bingo, it boots on CD, no problem.

DVD Region free

I "push" the Gladiator DVD, and the movie starts.

At the time I write this, there is no region free firmware flash directly from the Mac. Neither in PC ("http://www.rpc1.org"). As this one has a PC firmware, it should not last too long, but you'll have to use a PC... Qu'en conclure?


The Pismo is a wonderful machine, and easy to upgrade (you already understood it, I love my Pismo G3 900 Mhz PowerLogix!!! ("http://www.sterpin.net/pismologixuk.htm") !

The UJ-835 is fully working in the Pismo, and would be welcome as well:

In a PowerBook G4 without Superdrive, if the faceplate can fit

In an iBook slot-in except master/slave configuration problem (hard disk is master and combo is slave, we will have to set this) and faceplate fitting

Ther are also 8x Superdrives tray-loading (Toshiba, Pioneer, TEAC, LG) and also double-layer DVD Superdrives (NEC). For now, double layers are uneasy to find and also very expensive, so such a burner capabilities are not fully used.

Original curved faceplate adaptation is still THE challenge. With a slot-in, no way at all. I did adapt the original LG faceplate to a Toshiba SD-R2312 combodrive and, a little more tricky, on a SD-R2412. I quit trying with the TEAC DW-224E-A combo and even with a LG combo (stupidly, fixing points differs even with the same maker). God, if the manufacturers could ALSO standardize the faceplate fixing points (outside rectangular dimensions are!!!), what a paradize!!!

I really would buy a SD-R6472 Toshiba, tray-loading, to try the faceplate mod.

Finally, a 8x or 4x Superdrive in a Pismo is only interesting if you burn data DVDs, or movies, as direct burn from latest Apple apps will fail (when these apps even fail to install on a G3). Maybe the first versions will do... Upgrade your Pismo with a Daystar G4/500 or 550 might lead in a too-low processor speed range for the apps. Even if hacking the installation could succeed, the needed power would not make it useable.

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