How to Take the Laser Diode Out of a DVD Burner

Written by joshua benjamin
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How to Take the Laser Diode Out of a DVD Burner
A good DVD burner is also an excellent source of laser-makin' parts. (dvd image by Jose Juan Castellano from

DVD burners actually contain two different laser diodes: an infrared diode used for writing to CD media, and a second diode that uses visual-spectrum lasers to write to DVD media. Both diodes are attached to the same housing, however, so extracting one means extracting the other. Attempting to extract the diodes from the burner for repair purposes is impossible because the removal process destroys portions of the burner, so there really is only one reason to extract the diodes: to create a home-made laser pointer out of them. While this is possible--and even fairly easy to do--one needs to actually get the diodes out first before any beam-shooting can take place.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • DVD burner
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • Jeweller's screwdriver
  • Wire cutters or scissors

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  1. 1

    Turn over the DVD burner and remove the screws from the bottom of the case.

  2. 2

    Remove the case. All DVD burners will be slightly different from here on out. Unhook any visible ribbon cables and power cords, and release any locks that might be keeping the large circuit board attached.

  3. 3

    Remove the circuit board and disconnect any ribbon cables that might have been attached to the underside.

  4. 4

    Find the optical assembly. It will be attached to two rails. You will need to detach the rails so you can slide the optical assembly off. This may be accomplished either by finding the screws keeping it attached to the rest of the burner, or by simply forcing the rails to detach by applying torque with a flathead screwdriver.

  5. 5

    Slide the optical assembly off of the rails. You may now discard the rest of the DVD drive.

  6. 6

    Remove all the screws you can find. The actual number of screws will be different for each DVD burner. You will also want to cut away any cables you see so as to make the removal of the actual diodes easier.

  7. 7

    Use a small flathead screwdriver to pry the DVD-burner diode--it is the red one--from the board. Do this very carefully, otherwise you may damage the diode. There may also be a cable attached to the diode; cut this cable once you have pried the diode loose.

Tips and warnings

  • Make sure you have no static electricity build-up on you before you attempt to remove the diode, as the sudden release--called an electrostatic discharge, or ESD--can damage the laser diode.
  • By following this article, you will be voiding the warranty of your DVD burner.

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