DVD Drive - Possible Repair

I had a problem with a DVD drive. Put a disk in the drive and it would not see it or it would make noises trying to read it but not succeeding. After burning two frizzby DVDs, only fit for the bin, I gave up. Then I tried something simple - an audio CD. The drive made the usual noises struggling to read it; at least it knew it was there. After a few goes of opening and closing the drawer it started to play the first track. The music played for a while then stopped as the drive failed to read the disk.

This problem had been around for some time. I had tried all the usual things: removing the mains power from the computer, uninstalling the drivers and restarting to put them back. Nothing worked.

It was then, having nothing to lose, I took the DVD drive out of the computer and removed the bottom. Here are two pictures of the inside. I expect most makes have a similar interior.


 
 

In the top picture the reading head is in the home position and in the bottom picture it has been moved, by hand, to the right; the far out position.

The items to note are the two carrier rails and the head moving, threaded rod. On initial inspection they looked a little dusty and the threaded rod had something on it.

With the aid of some cotton buds soaked in a cleaning fluid – Industrial Methylated Spirit in my case (you need a licence to buy it in the UK) – the optics were cleaned. This was a bit fiddly as you cannot see the reading head; it is upside down. As the CD tray is in the way you need to get it out. On the front there is a little hole and you need to push a wire into it. A decent paper clip will do. The three rods were also cleaned; moving the head backwards and forwards to clean all the working length. Finally a cotton bud was soaked in a little WD-40, something like that, and rubbed onto the three rods.

Finally the drive was attached to the computer leads with the drive lying on top of the PC. With the computer up and running the button to open the drawer was pushed and the tray came out in a positive way. Opening and closing seemed much better. In went the audio CD and up came Media Player, or maybe something else in your case, and the music started playing. Letting it run for a while gave no problems so, getting at the track list, various tracks were selected and each track instantly played; the head moving to the correct location on the disk.

The next operation was to attempt burning the DVD again. Great! No problem.

I am making this web page as it may help. The clue is I don’t use the drives very often – I have three in this computer - and now I realise they have been a problem for some time.

Now put the drive back together and install in the computer. Then get another one out and repeat the process. There are now two reliable drives in my PC.

The 3rd drive? It is an old Asus and I don't use it. Well spotted. When I am bored one day I might take it to bits.

 
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