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14 , 2001
the Pioneer DVR-A03 on a G4
step by step guide
by Paulo de
Now that Pioneer's
DVR-A03 DVD-R/RW drive can be found for sale on the Internet, retail
stores and VARs, many G4 owners will certainly want to upgrade their
present G4s to Superdrive status. That's exactly what I have done
to my 533 MHz Mac. Even though this is a pretty straightforward process,
I thought it would be a good idea to walk you through all the necessary
steps and help you avoid a few mistakes.
DVR-A03 drive is the same drive that Apple calls the Superdrive,
which ships with the 733MHz G4 as well as the newer models. OS
9.1 fully supports this drive, and so does Apple's built-in burning
software. Just pop a blank disk into the A03 and the Mac prompts
you to give it a name. Once that's done, you are ready to burn!
If you haven't upgraded to 9.1, yet, the A03 is a great reason
to do so. Besides burning DVD-R/RWs, Pioneer's drive burns CD-Rs
and CD-RWs and plays back DVDs.
first thing you must do is pretty obvious: open the G4's case.
Oops! Not really. Before you open the case, unplug your computer
from the power outlet. With the current electricity crisis, the
last thing we want is our readers to waste precious Kilowatts
electrocuting themselves. Now, back to opening the case. The tools
necessary for that? One standard issue human finger. Size is not
that important, as long as you can pull the plastic ring on the
Depending on how old your G4 is, it has shipped with a DVD ROM
or a CD-R/RW drive. Either drive will be located in the metal
enclosure pointed at by the arrow.
find no screws inside the case holding the drive assembly. The
G4's neat design keeps them at the most logical location - the
front of the computer, cleverly hidden away by the case's drive
door. In order to gain access to them, all you need to do is gently
push the plastic tabs outlined in the picture, located next to
the drive's metal enclosure. Once you have pushed them in, push
them forward and the front plastic assembly will come off easily.
Remember, these are plastic tabs and they can break, so be gentle.
you remove the plastic drive door assembly you'll be able to see
a couple of Phillips head screws. They are all that holds the
drive assembly in place. Use a #2 Phillips screwdriver to remove
them and then push the drive assembly forward, from the back.
It should slide off very easily. Don't try to yank it out completely,
though. You'll have to deal with some cables before you can do
the nice engineers at Apple... How much cooler can they be? The
drive assembly is totally shielded to avoid interference. This
helps to keep your audio and video very clean. I wish most PC
manufacturers did the same thing.
In order to make the shielding perfect, an adhesive metallic strip
grounds the main connector to the drive assembly. Carefully lift
this strip because you'll reuse it later. Once it has been completely
lifted, pull the large drive connector by the white tab and the
small drive connector by the plastic connector itself. The assembly
should now be free and you can pull it entirely out.
the drive assembly upside down and you'll see four screws holding
the original drive in place. Use the same Phillips screwdriver
to remove them.
The picture only shows two of the screws. The other two, obviously,
are located on the other side. Once the screws have been removed,
pull the original drive out of the metal enclosure.
original drive is configured as "master" by Apple and
you should make sure that the A03 is, too. Just look at the back
of the drive. If the jumper is in the same position as in the
picture, you are ready to go. Otherwise, just configure the jumper
where my mistakes can save you time. When I first inserted the
A03 in the drive enclosure, it wouldn't fit. So I tried over and
over until I looked at the metal cover at the rear of the enclosure.
It must have slid in when I wasn't looking. I swear I didn't touch
So I pulled it back and took this picture to serve as your guide
for proper positioning. Keep an eye on that sucker because it
moves on its own!
Once the drive is properly inserted, you can screw it in place.
the G4 drive cables to the new drive then reattach the adhesive
metallic strip to the rear of the enclosure. Push the drive assembly
all the way in, from the front, like in the picture. Use the two
screws to tighten the whole thing in place.
the G4 case's plastic drive cover in place by first inserting
the left end and then pushing the right side in. The tabs should
snap into place. Close the case and fire up your G4. You now have
a Superdrive and are ready to burn your first DVD! Watch out for
future articles on DVD authoring right here on this site.
Now, between you and me, isn't this a beautiful sight? Too bad
my wife gave me such a hard time when I placed the G4 with the
drive door held open, just like in the picture, by our front window
for all our neighbors to see. I don't understand it! I even lit
the computer with four 500 watt work lights so that it could be
seen a block away. Why was she so upset?
That's OK, though. I have a few ideas for our Christmas decorations...
Paulo de Andrade is the
producer of DMNTV, DVD
Creation and Film
and Video Magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].