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Installing the Pioneer DVR-A03 on a G4
A step by step guide

by Paulo de Andrade
[email protected]

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.

Pioneer's 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.

The 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 case.

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.

You'll 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.

Once 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 that.

Oh, 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.

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Paulo de Andrade is the producer of DMNTV, DVD Creation and Film and Video Magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].