How to Repair an Optical Drive on a DVD CD-ROM

Written by marshal m. rosenthal
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A DVD/CD-ROM drive is designed to read optical discs using a laser. The amount of current is set at the factory and regulated to provide just enough for the laser to function correctly. Disc errors are often caused by the optical drive no longer being correctly calibrated to read optical discs. Repairing the optical drive on a DVD/CD-ROM requires adjusting the potentiometer ("pot") so that the optical drive is again calibrated correctly for reading optical discs. The procedure requires opening the computer's case, removing the DVD/CD-ROM drive and opening it up so as to access the "pot."

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Phillips jeweller's screwdriver
  • Multimeter

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  1. 1

    Turn off the computer and unplug the power cord. Open the computer's case. Remove the screws holding the DVD/CD-ROM drive to the drive bay with the Phillips jeweller's screwdriver. Pull the DVD/CD-ROM drive out of the drive bay.

  2. 2

    Use the Phillips screwdriver to remove all of the screws from the side and bottom of the DVD/CD-ROM drive. Pull the top case of the DVD/CD-ROM drive off the bottom case to reveal the electronic circuit board inside the bottom case.

  3. 3

    Locate the "pot," which is the silver screw that is lying on the brown copper metal connector. Set the multimeter's knob to "2000."

  4. 4

    Touch the left pin connector of the multimeter to the screw of the "pot." Touch the right pin connector of the multimeter to the top of the "pot" above the screw. Make a mental note of the setting that is displayed on the multimeter, as anything over "1000" is not proper for use.

  5. 5

    Use the Phillips jeweller's screwdriver to turn the screw of the "pot" a very, very tiny bit clockwise. Reattach the left and right pin connectors of the multimeter and take a reading. Continue turning the screw and reading the results with the multimeter until the reading is as close to "800" as possible.

  6. 6

    Reassemble the DVD/CD-ROM drive and put it back into the drive bay. Close the computer and plug in the power cord. Turn the computer on and return to using the DVD/CD-ROM drive that has been fixed to once again read optical discs.

Tips and warnings

  • Let the computer cool down for at least two hours before opening it up.
  • Do not under any circumstances work on a DVD/CD-ROM drive that is connected inside a computer's case when the computer is on.

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