Results 1 to 8 of 8
  1. #1
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    5,016
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Cleaning CD readers

    I have a problem with a CD reader on one machine that is unable to read any of the CDs I burn on another machine. It will read various CDs from other sources though.
    The burning machine also has a CD reader (separate from the burner) which can read the ones I burn perfectly.
    I can only assume that my burnt CDs are not as "deeply burned" or something as, say, CDs from magazines (that might be pure BS too!) and/ or that the problem CD reader is not reading well because it needs cleaning. Regardless, I was going to try this as a first step.

    I have heard of special cleaning CDs - are these any good? I've also heard of physically cleaning the lens. Can somebody tell me the steps required to do this and any precautions? Would I need to disassemble anything? I don't even know how to open the tray of a disconnected unit. Any step-by-step instructions, or a link to a dummies-style guide would be appreciated; as would any other suggestions as to the potential cause of this problem.

  2. #2
    Gold Lounger Rebel's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2001
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    3,024
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Cleaning CD readers

    This article may help.
    John
    A Child's Mind, Once Stretched by Imagination...
    Never Regains Its Original Dimensions

  3. #3
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    5,016
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Cleaning CD readers

    Thanks John. I'd seen that article before - it's one of a very few on the web I could find on the subject. I was hoping to find even a diagram or exploded view of a CD reader, showing the location of the lens I'm trying to clean. There seems to be pitifully few practical sites around on these issues.

    Alan

  4. #4
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,089
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Cleaning CD readers

    Let's think about this logically for a moment.

    CDs spin at high speeds. The media itself is flat. The laser does travel up and down some to focus the beam on the surface of the disc.

    But, if there are "brushes" on the media, there will be no light reflected to the laser unit. Thus, as far as the reader is concerned, the media is empty and it will not attempt to read further after initially failing. Secondly, and more important, given the spin speed, would you want something touching the surface of a precision optical lens? I think the possibility of screwing it up is far greater - and by that, I mean physically damaging the lens through scratches or something similar. This is assuming of course that the "brushes" on the media do not cause the CD drive to see it as non-readable media. Remember: CD media uses precise optical components that are not intended to be user-serviceable.

    Cleaning CDs? I'm very dubious, at best. Even if they somehow work I would never use one; there is too much possibility of screwing things up beyond repair.

    A temporary solution that may help is to get a can of compressed air and blast it into the guts with the tray open. It might clear debris from the lens surface, but more likely it will just blow the dust around inside of the closed case and some will settle back on the lens. Still, this has worked for me as a stop-gap measure, but it has had little permanence in practice.

    I think you may be dealing with a drive that would be better replaced. Given how cheaply you can find optical drives, the damage potential and time invested in opening and cleaning a unit is offset by getting a new unit without problems. If the problem only exists with CDs created by another unit, then the problem is likely the media itself. Writeable CDs depend on light being reflected back to the lens. This is why CD-RW media is usually less reliable in other playback devices, they reflect less light (because of the dye that is used on the disc). Pre-pressed CDs reflect the most light of any media since they do not use dyes, the substrate is created in a different manner.

    Avoid cleaning. Replace the unit if it's troublesome. Optical drives, like all things with moving parts, wear out after a time, and were never meant to last for years and years.
    -Mark

  5. #5
    Platinum Lounger
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Location
    Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
    Posts
    5,016
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Cleaning CD readers

    Thanks for that information and advice Mark. One problem with your "replacement approach" is that the person who now has the old box has a limited (very limited) amount to spend and has already gone over their budget. The other trouble, more generally, is that I've had 8 such devices over the years and 7 have packed up, in some way or other, in a very short time. I have no faith in this technology - both brandname and generic media and drives - and based on its track record with me, I consider it false economy to go the replacement route. I would quite agree with you if we were talking hard drives, which have evolved into quite reliable and durable technologies. Optical stuff seems to have gone in the opposite direction, with improved specs appearing at the expense of dependability rather than performance and reliability improving in unison.

    I'll consider the compressed air option as a temporary measure, but figure I might as well have a go at manual cleaning, since the drive will be effectively useless for its intended purpose in its current condition anyway. I might even end up using a second HD as a data transfer medium. The fact that I may have to resort to this probably sums up the relative esteems in which I hold these two technologies.

    Alan

  6. #6
    Uranium Lounger
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    7,089
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 0 Times in 0 Posts

    Re: Cleaning CD readers

    Understood.

    Just keep in mind that a cleaning CD is most likely a waste of funds that are apparently not available. All things considered, I would strongly consider the media type, which can have a major impact upon user experience.

    Good luck with it, and let us know how you make out.
    -Mark

  7. #7
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    6,308
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Cleaning CD readers

    Alan,


    I don't have a specific fix for you. I'm more inclined to think that your problem in not cleaning but a formatting or driver clash in the two machines. I know I have used Nero or InCD from Nero to burn a CD and then have it unreadable or show a zero file content to it. when put in another reader. When put back in the original machine, it reads perfectly. When I installed Nero on the other machine, there was all the data in good shape.

    This clip from the Nero site gives a little more info to digest, but it seems to follow the same lines.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Interplay between Nero and other CD burner programs
    As a general rule, it is not advisable to install more than one program for CD burning in a system, as the drivers often interfere with each other. On many systems there is no problem if several CD burner programs are installed, but on numerous systems there is a problem.

    On some systems Nero and e.g. Easy CD / DirectCD can coexist only if the file SCSI1HLP.VXD is removed from the system.

    Either all programs are deinstalled apart from the one you want to use at the moment or you need to use a Bootmenu (in Windows 95/98).

    Re deinstallation: Unfortunately not all the pertinent drivers are also removed on deinstalling. Therefore this should be checked. Further information on solving this problem: See drivers of other CD burner programs

    Re Bootmenu: With the aid of Bootmenus, on booting you can choose between the drivers of Nero and the drivers of other CD Writer programs. Bootmenus like this have already been prepared and can be downloaded.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------

    Just a start, but I do think it's the route to follow to solve the problem, not cleaning. Even if you aren't using Nero, the possibllity exists that there are similar clashes with other burners.
    BOB
    http://lounge.windowssecrets.com/S/flags/USA.gif http://lounge.windowssecrets.com/S/f...sachusetts.gif


    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

  8. #8
    Uranium Lounger viking33's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2002
    Location
    Cape Cod, Massachusetts, USA
    Posts
    6,308
    Thanks
    0
    Thanked 1 Time in 1 Post

    Re: Cleaning CD readers

    Just ran into another site that has a lot of good suggestions in it.

    Go to :Readers
    BOB
    http://lounge.windowssecrets.com/S/flags/USA.gif http://lounge.windowssecrets.com/S/f...sachusetts.gif


    Long ago, there was a time when men cursed and beat on the ground with sticks. It was called witchcraft.
    Today it is called golf!

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •