CDROM & DVDROM problems are often noticed by the "dirty disc" problem. This doesn't always mean the disc is dirty. I often notice drives spinning up and spinning down as they try to access the data. (1) Always look at this disc itself for any major scratches, dust or grease. On the surface of the disc or near the centre hole. Clean the disc if dirty and then try the disc again. If it doesn't work do you get the same problem with different discs? (2) Use your cd or dvd lens cleaner, the one that looks like a standard cd or dvd. Try to access the problem disc(s) again, or try it in a different unit. (3) Is the drive a highspeed drive (ie +24x CDROM, or +2x DVDROM), and does it play standard media fine? How does a music CD sound or DVD? If it plays regular media fine, it could be the spindle motor is dying, the laser is jittering or the catch mechanism is wobbling or not quite grabbing. If your drive is still acting funny, you have to decide will I void the warrantee or replace. If you feel you're not clumsy and can safely handle delicate parts, now's the time we dismantle the computer to access the drive assembly. If you're replacing, I expect you know what to do.
  • (A) Remove unit from computer case, and prepare a work surface.
  • (B) If your unit has a pin hole to manually eject the disc, eject the platter mechanism to simplify removing shielding.
  • (C) Remove screws from cdrom/dvdrom case to remove metal shielding. Be aware of warnings listed on case, they are valid.
  • (D) Now that the external case has been removed, you should see the disc is simply held between 2 metal discs by a magnet. Also notice, the discs often have a rubber coating to help hold the disc firmly.
  • (E) Clean the rubber coating gently with a cotton swab, to remove any grease or other dirt.
  • (F) Gently draw the platter to it's fullest extension. At this stage you will be looking to see how the laser lens assembly rides backward and forward. You may see parallel metal rods, metal riding on metal or plastic riding on plastic. This is often the failure point. As most people know, you wouldn't drive your car without oil in the engine. These rails, if dry, will often cause the laser to jump or jitter as it is trying to track. This jittering will cause a unit to be unable to read a disc reliably. A little grease on these rails will do wonders.
  • (G) Reassemble.
  • (H) Throw in a problem disc and try reading it again, if it works great! If it still doesn't seem to work, don't worry, insert a favourite music CD or DVD and let it play for a bit, then shuffle some tracks. Often the grease needs to be worked in, with the problem often going away after a bit. The above works in general for almost all CD or DVD based equipment. Check the back for extra jumpers, some units have factory jumpers that "downgrade" the drive (ie 52x to 48x), thus preventing the drive from spinning up to maximum speed, where they may be less reliable as they get older. If the problem still persists, the likely problem is the spindle motor. As I have been told by someone in the repair industry, replacing a spindle is often going to cost in excess of $50, plus labor, and is rarely worth the effort. This doesn't necessarily mean all is lost, my first generation DVD player, makes a great MP3, SVCD, VCD and audio CD player. If you think this is crap, this has reliably repaired at least 10 different cdroms and 3 cd-writers (including a $500 SCSI CD burner). To return <-- Article by Slam, Last Updated June 2004