Question CD drive spins only when I spin the CD - what's at fault?

Sep 11, 2019
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Hey folks,

I'm troubleshooting a 24 year old CD drive. 1x speed (fast!) It has trouble reading certain CDs (for example, it doesn't read any CD that has been burned from a .iso image) and has a weird little behavior. Here it goes:

When I put a CD in, it starts moving, then stops. Then again, and again, until I put my finger in and give the CD a spin with it. The drive then whirrs into full speed and loads the CD!

Sometimes, even, the CD doesn't spin at all. It only starts to move (and eventually read fine) when I spin it myself with my finger.

What's at fault? The stepper motor, or the spindle is flaky? The CD, when in motion, reads fine - I have a DOS app called "CheckCD" and tested five CDs with no access or checksum errors. The drive has also been thoroughly cleaned and I used IPA to clean the lens - I don't have any silicon grease at hand, but the rails seem well lubricated.

Cheers and thanks for your replies.
 

Karadjgne

Titan
Herald
There's like 5-10 different motors/actuators in a cd/DVD drive above and beyond the main spindle motor. All it takes is one to go bad and the whole thing is toast. And that's not including some of the drives that don't use gearing, but black rubber bands to drive alternate spindles/gears.

Artificial magnets de-polarize, insulation on windings gets brittle/cracks/flakes causing loss of voltage, dust/dirt buildup in bushings, plenty of reasons why electronic motors go bunk.

As far as reading certain cds, that sounds like a firmware inability to use/recognise certain codecs that are far newer than what was originally intended for the purpose.
 
Last edited:
Sep 11, 2019
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Roger. On its way to the bin, then. Thanks. Finding a replacement is going to be hard candy (proprietary power connector + BIOS only recognizes certain hard-coded CD drive models) but oh well, sometimes it's like that.
 

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