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I'm not sure that replacing the laser is going to solve the problem, or that you'll end up with a working DVD drive after installing and aligning it.

I'd like to replace the laser in my DVD player because it no longer plays anything: old or new. I suspect that the laser is failing. My question is where can I find a place that sells that sort of part? I've looked high and low but I can't find much. Any help would be appreciated.

In this excerpt from Answercast #65, I look at replacing a DVD drive vs. trying to repair one.

Laser replacement parts

Well, I don't know have a specific solution for you. I don't have a specific place to send you.

In your shoes, I would simply Google "replacement DVD laser," or check places like Amazon or eBay. I'm not sure that you'll find many.

Get a new drive!

It's not something that people generally replace. And in all honesty, the reason that they probably don't replace them is that for the cost of replacing the laser, you can probably end up getting a whole new drive.

In fact, I'm not sure that replacing the laser is going to solve the problem or that (even if the laser is the problem) getting the laser properly aligned after you install it will end up with a working DVD drive.

So, my actual strong recommendation is to avoid that path completely and simply replace the drive.

End of Answercast #65 Back to - Audio Segment

Article C5972 - October 29, 2012 « »

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Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

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5 Comments
Jim Hand
October 30, 2012 3:20 PM

Even if you found a laser you'd never get it properly aligned. And that's assuming it is the laser that's the problem. It could be a power supply or power transistor that drives it that has failed or isn't putting out enough power.It could be mechanical wear or failure. As a long time audiophile I can also tell you many disc drives for any type of disks are made with plastic gears and gear tracks which will wear and cause mispositioning of the head resulting in skipping, not reading/writing, etc. It could be something in the control circuitry that moves the laser. It could be in the motor circuitry as well. If the discs spin too slowly they won't work. (Years ago that's what that Starforce DRM that came out with some PC games did when it sensed a CD writer- it somehow altered the firmware or something and slowed the drive down for the write function so that the drive failed. They killed a number of CD burners, one of mine among them The backlash deservedly buried that company as game publishers universally dropped them.)

The bottom line is nobody fixes these things down to the component level. It isn't worth the time. Most electronic repair places have a minimum labor charge which would be more that double what a new drive would cost. I know with mid and high-end audio gear they just swap out the drive mechanism and lasers as a unit. Budget and inexpensive stuff you throw away and buy a new one. Those aren't made to be taken apart.

As inexpensive as they are, especially computer drives, why would you even bother wanting to change a laser or try to fix anything with it? I have a pair of multi player/writers in my PC that do everything from CDs, CD-Rs, regular DVDs, and Blu Ray discs. They were like $30.00.

John Servis
October 30, 2012 8:11 PM

Hey, If its an HP, or Dell, I've got a stack of them.
CD/DVD/RW with LightScribe & all softwear.
$20. shipped.
If you play the auction game, EBay's got 'em for $15 - $45.00.
Just make sure the part #'s match or the door won't close properly.

Tom R.
November 1, 2012 10:48 AM

A couple of years ago I purchased a very reasonably priced CD/DVD RW with Lightscribe for about $25 from NewEgg. A quick check told me that for about the same price you can get your hands on a CD/DVD/Blu-ray for about the same price.

No reason at all to attempt to repair a broken drive.

Joe F
November 2, 2012 12:35 PM

Try cleaning first!

When a CD/DVD drive works intermittently, the laser could simply be dusty. The first thing I would do is try using a cleaning disc (read the instructions on the package, usually you just insert the disk and it runs).

If that doesn't work, remove the cover and *gently* clean the laser with a soft brush (go buy your wife/gf a new makeup brush and use her old one - I keep one of those in my toolbox for that purpose), or use a Q-tip if you must, but be extra gentle, as the laser is a delicate part. (That's why it's not practical to replace it.)

The first CD player I bought (1985) needs cleaning about every 10 years - it starts skipping. I've had to clean it twice - still working!

GREG JACKSON
November 8, 2012 10:58 PM

Slightly off topic...
Many "How-to" sites show that these DVD lasers are much stronger than the common pocket lasers, and can be used for other devious devices that move it out of the realm of "fun-type hobby" projects.

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