Bad Disc? No, Drive Laser Lens Dirty.

Discussion in 'AnyDVD HD (Blu-ray issues)' started by thefrog, Mar 9, 2018.

  1. thefrog

    thefrog Well-Known Member

    Any time you get read errors from the drive, the first thought should be the Disc is bad. Usually that means the disc is dirty. Sometimes it means the disc is a bad pressing. Sometimes, the drive will not read a bad Disc at all.

    In a first-time-ever, I had a new permutation. The Laser for DVD and BluRay are different. I have had drives that had one or the other go bad. But recently I had a few BluRay Discs that would not read on the drive while others would. Since the 'bad' Discs read on a different (older and slower) drive, I was puzzled. Since the drive that would not read is a slimline drive, the read heads are there to see and I noticed that from one side the head looked dim and from the other the head looked shiny.

    I wiped the heads carefully with a microfiber cleaning cloth and low-and-behold.. two of the 'problem' BluRay Discs now work.

    I thought I would share this to help others. I was pretty surprised that it would read other BluRay Discs fine -- not even having reported bad sectors.
  2. MK-Slinky

    MK-Slinky Well-Known Member

    If I might also add to the above, disc read errors can often be associated with greasy deposits which build up on the centre spindle upon which the disc sits. Grease and other contaminants from mishandling discs can build up in the centre hole of the disc which then gets transferred to the centre spindle inside the burner causing the disc to slip when being read.

    I have experience of that very issue myself with my old DVD player which sometimes would display a read error code. Eventually I decided to lift the lid on my player and look into the guts of the player itself. Looking at the centre spindle I noticed a dirty greasy film had developed on the spindle itself. I wiped this off with Isopropyl Alcohol and it solved the problem completely, no more disc errors at all.

    I always recommend that people handle the disc by the edges only, NEVER the centre spindle hole.

    I also wrote an article about how to clean the centre spindle on another website - the procedure of which applies to nearly all players and/or writers/burners.

    Here's how...

    !!!!!!Before you attempt this make sure to remove the power lead!!!!!

    1. Remove the outer top lid from your machine and proceed as follows

    2. Remove the securing screws from the top cover of the BD Player unit shown by the red arrows below.

    (All manufacturers devices/models differ slightly but the bit we will be cleaning are all essentially the same)


    3. After removing the lid from the BD Player unit itself you should see something similar to the photo below.

    4. Using a clean cotton bud lightly moisten it with Isopropyl Alcohol and then gently wipe the centre spindle as shown. You need to wipe all the way around the circular part as shown and also the raised central button.

    As you can see this one is quite dirty. This dirt is what often causes discs to spin without reading correctly. Basically the dirt causes the disc to slip which results in failure to read errors.


    5. After cleaning use another cotton bud but use this one dry just to remove any remaining moisture.

    6. Check that no cotton fibres have been left on the spindle during cleaning.

    7. Refit all covers checking they are correctly seated and tighten all screws.

    8. Now plug your machine back in again and test.

    Hopefully this will solve your problems and you can once again enjoy trouble free playback.

    Good luck!


    To avoid this issue happening in the future only handle discs by the outer edges. Never put your finger through the centre hole as this causes greasy contaminants to enter your player. It's also advisable to wipe the centre hole on any discs which you might be having problems with.
    thefrog and el Filou like this.
  3. thefrog

    thefrog Well-Known Member

    @MK-Slinky Thanks. I am going to disassemble my slot-load BD drive that doesn't work and clean it. The only drive I had that would read blu rays was the one that caught on fire.

    (EDIT: unable to fix the image link.. attached a file instead)


    Attached Files:

  4. MK-Slinky

    MK-Slinky Well-Known Member

    You're welcome.., I hope it helps (y) So long as you remember how to put it back together you should be good to go.

    Crikey, that burned out drive looks scary!!!!!!! Did it do any other damage to your PC?
  5. Woodbuilder

    Woodbuilder Member

    Is this even possible in practice? I just tried with some discs and to get the disc out of the blu-ray amaray holder I have to push into the middle and am already touching the centre hole. And it's near to impossible to balance the disc all the way from the packaging to the blu-ray player slot without the constant risk that the disc slips away when I am only holding to the outer edges.
  6. MK-Slinky

    MK-Slinky Well-Known Member


    This isn't intended as a preaching exercise, it's merely a recommendation. Yes we do have to press the button to release the disc from the case but it's not difficult holding the disc by the outer edges unless you have very small hands or missing digits. We all have our preferred way of holding discs and who am I to say what is right or wrong, it's merely my recommendation based on experience of what grease buildup can do. Take it or leave it it's your choice ;)

    Holding DVD.jpg
  7. thefrog

    thefrog Well-Known Member

    The drive works fine. I had to replace a Molex to SATA power cable that was the cause of the problem. The PC was fine, I switched to a smaller/quieter PC for the living room .. which was the only reason I am not still using it. Maybe I should get a 5.25 1/2 bay enclosure for it ;) The small PC had a slot load BRD that doesn't work for BluRay, the external, tray-load, slim-line BluRay drive, is very very finicky, but has done about 400 discs a year.

    PS. Virtual Machines hate ripping BluRay Discs -- this is why I have a physical PC.

    Attached Files:

  8. MK-Slinky

    MK-Slinky Well-Known Member

    Blimey, that surprises me, I would have thought it was toast for sure judging by the burn marks. I'm glad PC manufacturers are moving away from Molex plugs, I've never liked them myself as it's far too easy to connect them and not have one pin making full contact. At least we don't have that issue with SATA connectors. I wonder if it might be worth checking inside that drive case just in case the heat transferred through and caused any internal damage of the wiring, especially the protective outer sheathing.

    Have you disassembled that 'Slot Load Drive' yet? Interested to know if the above cleaning method worked?
  9. thefrog

    thefrog Well-Known Member

    I have a Zotac ZBOX HD-ID33BR. I had to completely disassemble this box to get to the slotloading BD Drive inside of it. I disassembled the slot-load also (this was much easier than getting to it) and re-assembled it. I am ripping a blu-ray with it right now to test. I have included before/after pictures.

    The spindle was clean, but the heads were very dusty (as was the entire interior of the slot)

    Attached Files:

  10. Krawk

    Krawk Well-Known Member

    In my opinion, the best way to handle the discs themselves is NEVER with your hands at all. Holding the edges of the discs is a very common practice but the oils in your fingers and the PH of said oils could ruin the disc over time. The edges of the disc might not be sealed well. Many people never see any problems because it is quite uncommon for the data on the disc to be out to the edge of the disc.
  11. thefrog

    thefrog Well-Known Member

    I hate handling the disc, I hate people handling my discs. I rip them and put them in their case and then in a box full of other BDs and DVDs and tape them closed and store them. Done right, they only get touched twice.. into the drive.. out of the drive.
  12. MK-Slinky

    MK-Slinky Well-Known Member


    LOL.., I've never heard of that brand, it sounds like a character from Flash Gordon! I'm guessing from your reply this is a standalone player as opposed to a PC BD drive? Oh wait I just checked on Google :) Yes disassembling the outer box is usually much more fiddly than the drive itself though it sounds like it was time well spent if it was that dirty. Lets hope it has the desired effect.
  13. MK-Slinky

    MK-Slinky Well-Known Member


    I agree that some discs might not always be sealed at the edges properly. I've got a couple of CD's that developed that problem and you can actually see where the contaminants have entered between the polycarbonate layers and onto the recorded metal surface. The last track on those two discs doesn't play at all.
  14. Krawk

    Krawk Well-Known Member

    I just recently opened up and ripped the Cheers tv show, UK box set. All 43 discs had hand prints on the tops of the discs!! WTF? I might understand someone coming back from lunch and forgetting to wash their hands and when they pack the discs, the handprints would progressively fade. This was not the case, every single disc had the same nasty handprints on them. I used a tv screen cleaner and a microfiber cloth on each one. Anyway, back to the topic at hand - Just think of all the grime on a disc that makes its way into your player, hub and such. And of course the disc spinning - that's a centrifuge when you think about it. Back of the package of this box set says Made in Mexico - I thought it common practice that discs are usually made somewhere on the continent they were intended for. My region A/1 discs would be expected to be Mexico or USA made. Guess the facilities that make discs are not as clean as they should be and some have pretty low QC standards, so a "new out of the package" product doesn't mean a damn thing. Maybe this particular factory doubled as a lard packaging facility as well, that's the only explanation. Or the person was expect to work thru their lunch so their grimy hands continued to do so.
  15. MK-Slinky

    MK-Slinky Well-Known Member

    I could perhaps understand that happening if they were rental discs but new...? I'd have sent them a rude email for sure! That was my biggest bug-bear with now dead 'Amazon LoveFilm', they should have renamed that service 'LoveSnacks' as nearly all the discs I received had the remnants of someones takeaway on it. The problem got so bad that they even started issuing disc polishing cloths, not that it helped with the scratches.

    Ordinarily if you handle your discs properly I see no reason why the drive interior should ever get dirty but there's no accounting for what other people do with our discs. Personally I prefer not to lend discs for that very reason.
  16. Homeworld

    Homeworld Well-Known Member

    I ordered Ninja Scroll [blu-ray] from Amazon UK, there was a big freaking thumb print on it. Definitely brand new sealed. I selected to return it and Amazon gave it to me for free. I think the person packing it was lazy but it's just like finding a pubic hair in your soup for me.

    I'd imagine that standing there and filling a box set with the correct 43 discs is a boring, repetitive and painful task. That's probably why the discs in these sets are often scratched etc. I bet the employees would love for Cheers to be on blu-ray instead
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2018
  17. MK-Slinky

    MK-Slinky Well-Known Member

    Well it would save on flossing after that's for sure! :eek: At least you didn't find soup in your pubes :sneaky:
  18. thefrog

    thefrog Well-Known Member

    I have a few sets I received new that have scratched discs. There are supposedly ways to clean and buff the scratch out, but I have yet to attempt it.
  19. wayne1938

    wayne1938 Well-Known Member

    I ware pair of cotton gloves I got from Amazon when handling any disc . I was using them for pictures when I was shooting weddings and found they work great with disc and no chance of fingerprints.
  20. MK-Slinky

    MK-Slinky Well-Known Member


    If those scratches cause errors when playing have you ever tried a disc restorer polish? I use one marketed by 'BIB' - Compact Disc Polish 7 ml. It's a tiny bottle but you only use one drop which goes a long way. I bought my bottle about 20 years ago and It's still 3/4 full. It's really good at making scratched discs play again. The polish fills the scratches making them easier to read.

    Looks like they still make it as well...


    Product Description
    The CD Restorer Polish manufactured by BIB is ideal for treating lightly scratched CDs. Simply squirt a couple of drops of the Restorer Polish onto the disc and using the cloth provided, gently wipe away from the centre until no solution remains.

    Works on any CD, CD-Rom or DVD. Particularly suited for Playstation discs where the disc will not load properly