Is my CD drive fixable?

All of a sudden, my CD burner drive on my computer won’t read any CDs. I’ve tried commercial discs, burned discs and blank discs. The green light comes on and flickers, but it won’t even acknowledge that there is a disc in the drive. Is there some possible easy fix for a computer dummy like me? Or is the whole drive hooped?

Check that the cables are firmly seated at each end - if they weren’t loose, the drive may well be kaput. Happily, CD-RW drives have edged into the “disposably cheap and not worth mucking with” category of $25 or so.

It is never worth actually repairing any piece of computer equipment. The people with the skills and tools to actually repair stuff like this will cost you far more than just replacing the item in question (not to mention not all faults are even repairable). Even if you sent your equipment back to the manufacturer for repair they invariably just replace whatever it is that is broken.

Welcome to the disposable world.

Possibly it is just dirty. Buy a CD cleaner and run it in your CD Player. If that doesn’t work, just get a new one, they are cheap.

Whack-a-Mole: Cupholders seem to be at least in theory buildable from parts, however. Doesn’t anyone sell the right lasers and motors to hobbyists and extremely low-volume vendors?

(I know that the motors and lasers aren’t usable without the PCBs that actually contain the device’s intelligence, but those could be sold by someone as well. I hope.)

Ah, how times change. Recently, while throwing out some old magazines, I found a 1995 issue of PC Magazine with the a story about “consumer level” CDROM drives.

The price? $2500!
Blank discs? $10! EACH!

Thanks guys. I guess I’ll just get a new one. I tried cleaning out the drive, but it didn’t do anything. Good to hear they are so cheap these days, at least!

      • I am not certain about CD-drives, but I read an article about a year ago that said that now there is only one factory left making DVD-drive mechanisms, located in China. Every DVD player and recorder now made uses a drawer mechanism from this one factory.

  • I just looked a couple days ago for someone, and (online) a (whitebox/OEM) low-end CD-RW drive is only like $25 now, and a dual-layer DVD-RW drive costs like $40.

I honestly do not know. If you re the tinkering type and have a drive headed for the trash anyway have at it. I’d be surprised however if much of anything could be fixed (replace a broken tray or something perhaps). In general though paying someone else to do much of anything repair wise will almost certainly cost more than buying a new drive.

I routinely fix broken CD-ROM and CR-RW drives. (As well as a couple of DVD players.) Typical problems besides dirty lenses include:

-The disc not “catching” on the rotor base. Dirt and such can cause it to slip.

-The drive loading mechanism is messed up. A gear is slipped and the tray is not synched up right for loading, things like that.

-General dirt, loose connectors, etc.

It really isn’t practical to replace parts unless you have a duplicate junker drive handy.

Don’t use lens cleaner discs. Or if you do, only use them “dry”, not with the solution. Proper lens cleaning is done by hand.

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