Published byJeff McCloy on 2004-05-23 Category: Repairs | Page Views: 29,559
If your Xbox is freezing during games or returning the Dirty Disc Error you have a DVD drive problem.
If this all sounds like too much work you can always buy a replacement drive
First off, DO NOT BLOW CANNED AIR INTO THE DRIVE WITHOUT OPENING IT!
This will almost certainly make things worse, you just assure that the dust will be redistributed evenly inside the drive and this includes a coating on the optics you are trying to clean.
Steps to take in order to resolve Dirty Disk Errors-
1. Use a standard CD/DVD Cleaner, they look like a normal CD but with two miniature brushes on them. This will only clean the lens. Sometimes this is all you need to be up and running.
If you are getting constant dirty disk errors, what do you have to lose, give this a try. The majority of the drives are not really dirty and cleaning it will not fix the problem, they are getting out of adjustment or just getting weak. However, if your xbox is in a smoke filled environment, cleaning may be the answer.
Magnetized Philips #1 or screw grabber
Words of advice before we begin, leave the small ribbon cables that connect components within the drive alone. If you feel you must disconnect and reconnect a few while you are in there, note that there is a brown wedge in each of the sockets that needs to be pulled out to allow the ribbon to be released.
There are four screws that need to be removed. Two in the rear and two in the top, mid drive. Remove all four screws, the ones mid drive are a little hard to get out, screw grabber makes it easy, shaking the drive upside down works too.
Remove the bottom tray first, flip the drive so the bottom is facing up. You need to pull the metal tab in the back over the IDE connector and then it will then slip off. Pull out then up.
Now remove the top, you have to push in two catches near the front on either side of the drive to allow you to tip up the front of the top panel. Now you have access to both the lens and the mirror.
Blast the optics with canned air, then continue on to the blast the rest of the DVD chassis trying to blow the remainder of the dust away from the optics. Using a Q-tip, clean the mirror and the lens with a high quality lens cleaner. I like to use anti static lens cleaner but any glass cleaner should work, I have even heard of plain alcohol being used. The goal is to leave a streak free finish and use one end of the wetted q-tip to clean an the other to dry. BE CAREFUL NOT TO SCRATCH THE MIRROR
Re-assembly is the reverse of assembly, start with the top and then attach the bottom. If you do not have a handy screw grabber or magnetized screw driver, have fun getting the top two back in place. You will probably need to pinch the top and bottom together and shift them back and fourth to get the screw holes to line up perfectly. Finish off with the rear screws, re-assemble the Xbox and hope you made things better rather than worse.
Thompson Laser Installation:
Begin with a replacement Thomson Laser. Remove your Thomson DVD drive from your Xbox. Once you have access to your DVD drive you will need to remove the top cover and open the tray. Helpful articles for those activities Laser Cleaning also you can use the xbox to eject the tray and then unplug the main power cord, this will leave the tray open, the console can then be disassembled with the tray open.
Our first activities will be to remove the ribbon cable that attaches to the Laser by moving the clip towards the rear of the drive see the arrows in this picture. The ribbon cable comes out freely once the clip has been released. You should not have to use any force at all to remove the ribbon cable.
Next we remove the four screws circled in green above. These are in there tight, it is ESSENTIAL to use a good Phillips #0 screw driver and use plenty of down force to see that they do not strip out. (if a cheap or well used screw driver is used with not enough down force it is likely to skip and waller out the inside of the screw where the driver grips, then things get tough so use a good driver and be careful) Also if you lose one if these screws you will have a terrible time finding a replacement so think about working on a flat surface and have a magnet or something to put them on. (they get lost in carpeting instantly)
Note: when the tray is opened the laser is not meant to move freely along the rails if you slide it back and fourth you will hear a gears grinding awful sound, it is actually a little wheel with slots in it, part of an optical motion sensing system for the laser position. Regardless this is normal and you shouldn't get too worried. Try not to slide it around too much.
Now that the screws have been removed, take out the upper rail in this photo. There is still a gear that is holding the laser in place so it cannot be lifted straight up, 1 raise the laser slightly and then 2 move it away from the bottom rail and it should come right out.
Re-assembly is pretty much the same, remove the rail from the old laser, install it in the new one, put it back in place making sure the gear is fitting into place. See that the bottom rail fits in place between the two "bumps" on either end. These are just little raised knobs of metal that create a bit of a trough for the rails to reside. Once the bottom rail is in place then install the top, also noting that it fits into the little trough. Now just install the four screws (torque them down well), reconnect the ribbon cable, install the top tray, put the console back together, and get ready to be impressed!
Note: Some lasers ship with static protection enabled, a solder blob must be removed for normal operation. Use a 15Watt or other low temperature soldering iron to wipe the solder away. We remove these prior to shipment but on occasion we have missed one and shipped with static protection enabled. For the drive to function normally the solder must be removed from the point circled in green.
Phillips Laser Installation
What You'll need:
Phillips Xbox DVD drive with failing laser
Phillips #1, #0, #00
Regular precision drivers for prying
15W soldering iron
Prepare your laser, Llamma lasers are shipped in a static protected state. Always use ESD (electrostatic discharge) precautions when working on electronics. Note the two blobs of solder that exist in the green circle on the left but are removed in the laser on the right (You can see a dark line that forms between the two solder pads once the solder is removed).
Removing the solder is best accomplished by wiping a clean 15Watt or other low temperature soldering iron across the pads, the iron picks up the solder.
Remove four Phillips #1 screws. One of them is under the warranty void if seal damaged sticker. Remove the top cover.
The CD/DVD tray must now be extended to gain access to the laser. By sliding the actuator the tray moves about a 1/4 inch forward and can be opened the rest of the way just by pulling on it and it will slide freely.
Now with the tray all the way open you will see the laser and the green PCB. There are two silver parallel rails the laser moves on. One of the rails must be removed to gain access to the laser itself. The rail on the left of the drive can stay in place.
The rail is held in place by a small metal spring loaded tab. The metal is in the shape of a number seven (7) the small leg presses against the plastic and holds the rail from escaping, to remove we need to elevate the metal tab over the plastic so it can slide to the left. You will also notice a small bead of rubbery glue holding the metal tab down, use a pic or screw driver to scrape this off making removal easier.
Getting the tab over the plastic is a two handed operation. I used two small regular precision screw drivers to lift and one to leverage to the side. In this photo you can see the tab is lifted over the plastic riser, and held in place by a screw driver, the rail can now be lifted up.
In this photo the rail has been freed but the front is still attached, pulling the rail about a quarter inch back releases the front. and the opposite side is also free since there is a U shaped holder that touches the rail. With the laser removed we must swap over the gear and springs, a single Phillips #00 holds this in place. Keep in mind if using one of the Llamma's lasers they are brand new and you will be cutting threads when in stalling this screw so it may be a bit harder than expected to insert.
Now that the gear and rail has been swapped over to the new laser it is time to re-install the laser and rail. Start by fitting the laser U shaped notch back into the lower rail in this photo. Next insert the top rail into the standoff at the top right in this picture. You will now have the only rear top standoff, and rail holder to contend with. Using the same lifting/pressure method as before we need to push the metal tab out of the way. The rail can then be pushed into place. Note that the rail is in its spot but sitting there loosely. The metal tab has yet to be locked in place. Using a precision screw driver, depress the tab so it is below the plastic, you may want to also replace the glue that holds the metal in its place.
Reassemble and install in your Xbox!
Samsung laser install
To slide out the tray either use the emergency eject from the front of the drive or flip it over and slide this white thing in the direction of the arrow. It will be a easier task if a mini screwdriver is used.
Removing the DVD tray, two clips need to be depressed on either side of the front of the DVD to allow its removal if you are having tray eject issues the nub on the white plastic part that holds the gear and belt has most likely jumped out of the trough it fits in at the bottom of the tray. When reassembling the tray be sure this fits back into the trough on the bottom of the tray.
Removing the laser assembly. Remove the two screws where the blue circle is in this photo (screws already removed in photo) the back of the assembly lifts off easily. The front is held by two rubber grommets.
With the laser loose I find this is a good time to remove the circuit board to gain easy access to the ribbon cables. The cables are attached to their socket with some tape. There are no wedges to hold them in place like on other drives. These could also be removed before the laser is removed, that would probably make things a bit easier.
PCB removal, you will find two black clips on the bottom of the board that hold the PCB in place, push on these in the proper direction, apply a little pressure to the circuit board, and it pops right off. You should now have a pile of parts.
Install the laser assembly back into the chassis, put the shaft of a small screwdriver through the hole in the center of the rubber grommet and push it into place Note the large headed screws on the left in this picture have been installed.
Lay the PCB on top of the chassis and reconnect two ribbon cables. The PCB is held in place by two back plastic clips circled below, press the board into place. Flip the drive into the upright position. On the top, install the ribbon cable that attaches to the laser. Once the ribbon cable is installed snap the brown clip into the locked position. Put on the top and bottom cover and you are done!
3. You can also just try to clean the lens manually instead of replacing. Just see the above directions for gaining access. I would try cleaning first.
4. If none of the above options revive your drive, you can rest assured you have tried it all... Get a new drive, they do go dead and its probably not your fault or the fault of your younger sibling-relative-friend that was messing with your xbox without your permission (yes I hear that a lot). Replacement Xbox DVD Drives
You may notice that some of your games play fine while others do not. This is usually because some games are on DVD media and some are on CD media. CD's are single layer media while DVD's are multi layer media. This means it is easier to read a CD than it is to read a DVD. The concept of a DVD is to have several semi transparent layers of data. It is sort of like taking a few CD's stacking them together and smooshing them into a single disc. To read the 2-4 layers of data you must ignore the previous layers and pay attention to ones deeper in the disc. Obviously this is a more complex task and more subject to read errors.
For instance the double disk of Jet Set Radio Future and Sega GT 2003 is a CD while Munch's Oddysee/Halo is on a DVD. Most often you will notice the bottom of the media is one of two colors, gold DVD's and Silver CD's. It is not 100% that gold=DVD and silver=CD so if you find this rule of thumb to not be true in every case... that's life.
If you know you have a DVD problem because the drive will not open or close, stay opened or closed or makes grinding and popping noises...
The number one quick fix for the DVD drive is to re-align the tray. This is common with CD players, CD changers as well. Many times just from normal use a gear will skip or something will jump track, unless all the pieces are in the right place at the time it powers up it will not work. So by removing the tray, aligning the internal parts to their starting position and re-inserting the tray you can often bring a drive back from the dead Thompson DVD Drive Tray Alignment Procedure
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