Skipping CDs

Cecil wrote that skipping CDs were due to dirt.
I first noticed skipping CDs on virgin (whatever plastic they’re made from) right from the jewel case. Certain tracks would skip no matter how much the CD was cleaned. The answer is a lot deeper than dirt.

Laser lens needs cleaning too, it gets dirt on it. Open the cd door, look for a little round glass thingy. Clean every so gently with a qtip and some alcohol [not colored]. Cause it gets dirt on it. But either dirt on that lens or cd makes that laser bounce around too much.

Cotton swabs sometimes shred, I always clean delicate electrical equipment with foam swabs, the type they sell in drug stores to apply eye makeup. But it is a matter of personal preference.

I heard tequila is ok to use in cleaning the laser aperture, but not mescal or pulque.


If your CD always skips in tha same place, then it’s the CD, not the laser. CD’s can skip straight from the jewel case, though it’s rare. It depends on the nature of the damage. One of the causes is due to stray adhesives from packing materials. This can usually be cleaned or polished off - don’t use solvents or abrasives - soap and water and a soft cloth is usually all that is required. When you clean your CDs, always use either a small circular motion or straight movements along the radius of the CD - never wipe around the CD as you might a phonograph record (if you even know what those are). Some problems are due to pits in the media (under the outer protective plastic coating). If the defect is from the factory, then no amount of cleaning or polishing is going to correct it. CDs are supposed to be self correcting, but I’ve seen some pretty tiny defects cause some pretty major errors. To find the defect is usually not too tricky, once you know that CDs play from the inside out. In other words, if the skip happens early on, then it is more likely to be caused by a defect towards the inner ring and later skips are closer to the outer edge. Most defects are visible to the naked eye…

If all your CDs skip and at random places, then you’ve probably got a problem with you laser diode.

Nickrz wrote:

No offense, but I think this is a bad idea. Any alcohol could act as a solvent. Your best bet is to use one of those soft yellow polishing cloths. They should clean off just about any material and repair light scratches. If you’ve got more serious scratches that are causing your problem and you really get desparate, use a polishing cloth with a small dab of toothpaste. I’ve managed to repair two damaged CDs this way. Again, none of this does any good for defects in the media (under the clear protective plastic coating).

Another cause of skipping is a misaligned laser. Alot of the early CD players developed this problem after a year or two. It was most economical at the time (and even more so now) to get a new CD player.

I used to manage a CD store a few years back, and what we used to clean the laser (and our customers agreed it worked best) was denatured alcohol.

Denatured alcohol is great, a bit over done though. I used a little spit on a qtip when I couldnt find anything else around.

As for alignment, I got a free music box cause the cd player wouldn’t play but when we cleaned it, pushing that lens down a little bit, it worked. Apparently just a little motion on it restores alignment, even if its temporary, you can do it again. Much better than throwing them out but great way to get a free one and do that to it.

fatnick wrote:

There’s a number of things you need to know before you decide to clean your laser with alcohol.

(1) Laser diodes are made of plastic.
(2) Alcohol is a solvent that melts some plastics.
(3) Melting plastic may distort the beam.
(4) The most ordinary kind of contaminant on the laser diode is dust.
(5) Dust does not require a solvent to remove.

The good news is that manufacturers of laser diodes know that sound mavens like to clean their equipment with denatured alcohol, so they have probably chosen a plastic that is resistant to solvents… then again, why chance it.

Denatured alcohol was important for cleaning tape heads because the buildup from tapes sometimes required a solvent and you needed one with a low water content to prevent oxidation on the heads.

However, the best way to clean your laser diode is to use the little padded makeup sticks as recommended earlier. Use a dry one at first, but if this doesn’t work (sometimes the dust is attracted to the plastic by static electricity) then use a slightly damp one. If you’ve got gunk on your laser diode that this won’t clean, then you’ve really screwed up somewhere…

[[I heard tequila is ok to use in cleaning the laser aperture, but not mescal or pulque.]]

And the worm is added because it’s less abrasive and doesn’t leave fibers, like cotton cloths do.