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Breath new life into your old dead optical drives :)

Discussion in 'DVD / Blu-ray drives' started by NteStlKr, May 15, 2011.

  1. NteStlKr

    NteStlKr Member

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    I came across this while fixing game console drives a while back, and earlier today it finally hit me-- why not try to fix old dead pc optical drives the same way? so I tried it.

    Optical drives are mechanical devices that have moving parts. Also, electrical parts of the drives don't last forever either. They can die or degrade over time.

    I had about a dozen optical drives that all worked wonderfully and had long, productive lives, but eventually got shelved due to read/write errors. So I took them all out and did some mechanical maintenance (cleaning with alcohol, Q-tips, and greasing any points of movement, even where grease was not originally). I've had some luck with just doing that in the past, but it was very hit-and-miss.

    But what I did different this time was calibrate the potentiometers leading the the laser diodes. While this does increase laser power, relatively speaking, a more accurate way of describing it is calibrating the laser's power to more normal levels. Since diodes degrade, power to the laser is reduced, so reducing resistance (increasing power) brings it back up to normal.

    It is really simple. Just take apart your optical drive, locate the diode potentiometer, and reduce resistance. You will have to tweak the potentiometer one way and then measure resistance to see which way is which first, of course. Then, once you do, just tweak it to about 500 ohms less than what it was before. Put the drive back together, and then test the drive to see if it works now. :) Most diodes apparently don't last long without a certain resistance (3-3.5k ohms seems common), so be careful. Just lower it as much as you need to, and no more. Do all this at your own risk! and do your research first, if you can find info for your drive(s). Most of mine were set to about 4-7kohms, and most worked well after one 500 ohm adjustment, but some needed more. All drives work like new now. I sure would have saved a lot of money on new drives if I'd have known about this sooner. :( I tried it DVD ROMS and DVD writers (+, -, and +/-). I've never had a regular CD ROM or writer go bad, so I can't vouch for this on them, but I don't see any reason why it wouldn't work.

    AFAIAC, if the drive is dead already, there's nothing to lose lol
     
  2. attar

    attar Senior member

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    How about an image?
     
  3. NteStlKr

    NteStlKr Member

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    well, I thought about posting one, but I don't really think it will help because the laser diode potentiometers are in different places, orientations, and can turn either way, all depending on the brand. Even then, there are often at least two potentiometers on the laser assembly, and the one to the dvd diode varies in orientation with regard to the other one(s) as well. So, posting one example might cause some people who don't read thoroughly to kill their drive. And so far I've only ever had problems out of the dvd diodes, I guess because more current goes through them, and they are used more.

    That being said, there are lots of pics of (optical disc laser) potentiometers on google. They all look pretty much the same, but it takes some more info (or testing with a multimeter) to determine which potentiometer to move and which way to move it.

    But, here is an example from google. Though it varies, all of mine had the dvd one on the left when looked at from this perspective as well.

    [​IMG]
     

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