The Lite-On LTN-24102M CD-RW Drive to an LTN-24102B
page discusses applying the firmware from a Lite-On IT
optical drive to the LTN-24102M model. I purchased two of these drives
on eBay for approximately $8 and shipping. And then I began to wonder
why Lite-On IT didn't have any firmware for these drives at their web
Before we get too far, however, there is the following WARNING:
The actions discussed within this page must be done with care and only
after following the directions. It's quite possible to damage your Lite
On CD burner beyond all means of economical repair (or any repair at
all). Firmware is the lifeblood of your optical drive, and if damaged
or destroyed, recovery may become impossible. This must be kept firmly
in mind--so if you're not sure, DON'T.
If you are working on a drive that you do not own, DON'T.
If you choose to do anything described on this page, YOU ARE
RESPONSIBLE FOR ALL THE RESULTS whether good or bad. That means that if
you break your drive, it is YOUR problem. Don't come crying to me about
it. If you have questions, always feel free to drop an e-mail. I'll do
my best to help if you have problems, but I am guaranteeing nothing and
will accept no responsibility for what you do.
If your computer system or Lite On optical drive is under warranty, you
would be well advised to consider not doing any of this. You will void
your warranty, at least in theory (and if you're honest). Do not expect
that Dell Computer or Lite-On will help you. If you call Dell, they'll
probably say "firm-what?". I don't know what Lite-On would do.
Although this information is presented in good faith, there is no
guarantee that it is 100% accurate or that it will work for you. Please
keep this in mind before proceeding, if you choose to proceed.
What Is the LTN-24102M?
By all accounts, the Lite-On LTN-24102M is an OEM drive produced
specifically for Dell Computer. Searching around the web seems to
reveal that it was used primarily in the Dell Dimension 4600 personal
computer. It's fairly likely that this drive also saw use in the
closely related Dimension 2400, 3000, and OptiPlex 170L if the
purchaser ordered a CD-RW.
It seems highly likely that this model was produced exclusively for
Dell, as there are notations on the optical sled in the drive that have
the Dell name printed on them.
Dell no longer supports any of the computers that may have used this
drive. As such, it is very unlikely that Dell will issue any further
updates or improvements to this drive. Lite-On does not produce any
updates for this drive because it is an OEM model produced especially
for Dell. The closest drive that Lite-On offers support for is the
If you needed more
It is hard to guess why
custom firmware for this drive. Maybe they just didn't want users
messing their drives up, or maybe Lite-On IT didn't want to support
drives that Dell had shipped.
- The Dell firmware is
out of date at version 4DS7 (as compared to Lite-On's 5S5A). Some of the
revisions may be useful and improve the performance of your drive. Compatibility with certain types of media may be improved.
- Both drives are
identical outside of the model number and firmware, making the move a
very low risk concept.
- Lite-On optical drives
very well. While they began life as a cheap and relatively unknown
brand, the oldest Lite-On drives I have are still running.
- If you plan to use the
drive in a Macintosh, it won't work with any level of Dell supplied
firmware. (At least that was the case when I tried it
with a Power
Macintosh Quicksilver 2002 G4 and a USB/Firewire combination enclosure
based on the Prolifc Technology PL-3507 bridge. The drive did not work
over USB (with EHCI errors* cited in the console) or Firewire until the
firmware had been updated to Lite-On's 5S5A release. Yes, I know the
PL-3507 is a buggy device, but I doubt it was to blame here.)
LTN-24102B is shown to be a
drive that Apple used in some of their systems--Apple System Prolifer
reports it to be supported for CD burning as an Apple shipped device.
If you need a new CD-burner for your Macintosh, this drive could be a
good choice as it ought to drop right in once the firmware has been
On With The Show
I strongly suggest you
read and print this in its entirety BEFORE you flash new firmware to
So now that we've talked about why you'd crossflash your drive, let's
get to it. Again, please
understand that this can be a very risky process. You can end up
"bricking" your drive and having to buy a new one. People
around the Internet say it's unlikely that you can really "brick" a
Lite On (or MediaTek based) drive all that easily, but I don't know how
true that is. Therefore, read ALL the directions and don't be stupid.
Make SURE your drive model is one of the two discussed in this article.
Print this page out, or at least consider printing the relevant portion
unless you have another computer to read this on.
The Lite-On firmware updater won't work to update this drive's
firmware, as it is hardwired to look for a LTN-24102B model number. The
work has to be done manually, using some specific purpose tools that
will happily write almost anything you want to the flash ROM in the
drive. (However, you really only want to write valid firmware to the
drive. Anything else will brick your drive!)
You need a few things: MTKFLASH,
a DOS boot disk (see
instructions if you
download this and have no idea what to do with it), a
blank 1.44MB floppy
diskette (yes, really), and the 5S5A
binary firmware update file. If
you have Windows XP (or possibly later, although I don't know this for
certain) you can make a boot disk right from the My Computer window, by
right clicking on the drive and choosing the "Format..." option.
However you make your boot diskette, keep it minimal. You don't need to
bother with high memory drivers or CD-ROM drivers. You probably don't want to
bother with those things, lest one of them interfere with the firmware
Whether you use a new or old floppy diskette is up to you. I'd strongly
advise that you format the diskette (without making it bootable, and
preferably from the command line in Windows) to assure that it is good.
Discard any diskette that has errors after formatting. The "make a
system boot disk" option blindly writes a disk image file to your
diskette and DOES NOT perform any kind of "surface test" on it. Nothing
will irritate you more (or potentially ruin your day) than having the
flash utility program your drive with damaged firmware because there
was a read error. It will also prove infuriating to find that your
firmware backup (which you'll make later) was stored on a bad spot of
Prepare your boot diskette and put both the new 5S5A firmware file and
MTKFLASH tool on it. Disconnect all other optical drives in your
system, leaving only the Lite-On drive that you will be flashing
attached. I don't believe you'll have to disconnect your hard drives,
but if you feel it can't hurt, go ahead and unplug those as well. I
didn't and had no problems. I would strongly suggest that you not
attempt doing this through any sort of bridge such as a USB, Firewire or
SATA bridge/enclosure. Play it safe, hook the drive up to an PATA/IDE
channel. If you don't have one in your computer, find a computer that
does. Jumper the drive to use MASTER or SLAVE, don't leave it at CABLE
Remove any discs from the Lite-On drive and start your computer from
the boot disk you made.
When your computer has booted from the diskette, start by backing up your drive's
This way, should you lose your nerve or find a problem with the new
firmware, you will have a way to go back to the stock firmware. (And
while there is a firmware backup
available for download here, back
yours up anyway. Do it because I'm telling you to if you won't do it
for yourself.) This can be done by issuing a command like the following:
3 R /B /M backup.bin
The number "3" above indicates the position of your drive on the IDE
channels within the system. The numbers mean the following, and they
can vary depending upon how your drive is hooked up:
Indicates a drive connected as PRIMARY
Indicates a drive connected as PRIMARY
Indicates a drive connected as SECONDARY
Indicates a drive connected as SECONDARY
Other than the number above, what you have typed should look identical
to the above. When you are ready, press ENTER or RETURN on your
keyboard. The MTKFLASH tool will begin to read the flash ROM inside
your Lite-On optical drive and it will save a copy of the contents to
your disk, in a file called backup.bin.
It may take a LONG time
for this process to complete.
On both of my drives, MTKFLASH took nearly five minutes to write a
firmware backup. Just be patient and wait until the DOS prompt finally
If you're feeling really cautious, reboot your computer into its normal
operating system and copy the backup.bin
file to your hard drive. Otherwise, or after you've done that, proceed.
Take a deep breath. It's time to flash the new firmware, which you'll
do with a command like this:
3 W /B 5S5A.BIN
Keep in mind the drive "position" numbering that is outlined above and
change the number (3) as needed to fit your configuration.
(Those who have been paying attention will note at this
that they are flashing a 256KB firmware image in place of a 512KB one.
I don't know what the difference is, as I haven't investigated each
firmware file in depth. Perhaps one is compressed, or later drives only
had a 256KB ROM. Maybe it's both...one interesting difference is that
the later Lite-On firmware has an HP copyright in it with a note
stating that a license is available. What little I found on this seems
to suggest it has something to do with UDF/packet writing. Maybe the
Dell firmware didn't support that?)
Press ENTER or RETURN and let the MTKFLASH tool do its thing. Don't
(Those of you who ran the MTKFLASH program without command line options
to see what it would do should be swatted for not following directions.
So swat yourself if you did that, and DO NOT concern yourself with the
"erase" command line option. You don't need to erase the flash ROM, and
you may be sorry if you do.)
If you see any "error" notices on the screen while the flash image is being written, don't flip out and don't
worry. Just let the process complete, and when it does, wait a few
moments. Then just shut your computer off. Don't reboot it--you
actually need to remove power from the optical drive so that it will be
forced to start up with its new firmware.
When your computer boots into its operating system, try reading a CD.
If the drive functions, you're probably in the clear. Try burning a
CD-R and a CD-RW disc if you really want to be sure. Congratulate
yourself on a job well done.
What If It Didn't Work?
Did you follow all the directions? I don't say that to be smart...if
you skipped a step or didn't prepare something quite correctly, you can
run into problems. Go over everything carefully and just try again.
Should all else fail, you can reflash your backup firmware file (which
you did make, right?) or you can download the backup file that I made.
(Swat yourself for not having made a backup, just so you really
understand why you will make a backup of your current firmware for any
future firmware fiddling.)
Send me e-mail if you
2010 William R.
Walsh. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to produce this
original composition or include portions of in other works, as long as
credit is given and a link back to this page. This material or portions
of it may not be displayed alongside advertising of any sort type. No
fee may be charged to access this information or any portion of it,
outside of fees required to cover the costs of printing materials or
connection time/data usage.
The Lite-On 5S5A binary firmware image and MTKFLASH came from somewhere
within myce.com originally. I can't find the source now, but I felt
that attribution was appropriate. These instructions are based on the
general binary firmware flash procedure found here.
The firmware files and firmware
flashing utilities are the copyrighted property of the companies and
people who created them. They are provided merely as a courtesy to
assist those with the optical drives discussed in this article to
accomplish a crossflash-type firmware upgrade. No profit is made from
the distribution of these files, they are offered only as a public
* Mac OS X is an "EHCI error". I have yet to find ANY USB
2.0 PCI controller (tried NEC, VIA, and Acer Labs) that works 100%
properly on Mac OS X 10.4 or 10.5.