My Dreamcast won't read discs...

Discuss modifications you have done or plan to do to your Dreamcast or any other hardware, or discuss devices you want to build. If your console does not work or is acting up, ask about fixing it in here.
Post Reply
Stryfe
Psychotic DCEmu
Psychotic DCEmu
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:34 am
Location: Nowhere U.S.A.

My Dreamcast won't read discs...

Post by Stryfe » Sat Sep 26, 2009 7:54 am

Well, my second Dreamcast I've owned has finally stopped reading both gd-r and cd-r discs. Back in the day before I had even heard of homebrew or hardware mods/repairs, I got rid of my original DC.

While the DC starts up, I can hear the discs spinning, but they all end up reverting back to the DC's menu.

Does anyone here know what my best option would be? Should I attempt to adjust the laser proximity, or are there some other troubleshooting techniques I could use?
ImageImageImageImage
User avatar
DCDayDreamer
DCEmu Respected
DCEmu Respected
Posts: 445
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2004 6:59 pm

Re: My Dreamcast won't read discs...

Post by DCDayDreamer » Sat Sep 26, 2009 4:01 pm

Sorry to hear it, do you maintain the console at all?.

Adjusting the laser is the last thing you should do (especially if you don't know what you are doing), it's always been the 'easy fix' for users over the years, but it has inevitably caused more problems for Dreamcasts than anything else. I have never adjusted the laser on any one of my consoles after initial or periodic maintenance, the DC that sits under my TV has been in use since I bought it eight years ago, it's been running for hours on end with games, it has booted thousands upon thousands of CDR's, and is still in good shape today. Having said that, the only DC that struggles reading discs that I have was bought that way (it was adjusted on numerous occasions by the previous owner after counterfeiting thousands of games, sadly there's nothing that can be done with it apart from replacement). Every second-hand console I have bought has had a complete strip down for maintenance, and not one has ever had any laser adjustment (tested but never adjusted).

I have seriously considered creating an A to Z of Dreamcast maintenance and repair, but until such a time comes, this General FAQ should be useful for information before you start stripping down your DC. There is plenty of other info out there for general maintenance and repair but the FAQ should be a good starting point for you. I would suggest reading the FAQ thoroughly, look up how the Dreamcast is assembled, strip it down, do the checks, do the maintenace, put it back together and test.

Good luck!.
Across the Universe
Stryfe
Psychotic DCEmu
Psychotic DCEmu
Posts: 577
Joined: Mon Aug 11, 2008 9:34 am
Location: Nowhere U.S.A.

Re: My Dreamcast won't read discs...

Post by Stryfe » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:07 am

It was the second DC I've owned, and I bought it off of my younger brother. He had no idea it could run cd-rs, so it wasn't that.

Is there any way a battery failure, or something like a corrupt flash could cause this?

Thanks for the link, I'll have to dig through it.
ImageImageImageImage
User avatar
Quzar
Dream Coder
Dream Coder
Posts: 7474
Joined: Wed Jul 31, 2002 12:14 am
Location: Miami, FL
Contact:

Re: My Dreamcast won't read discs...

Post by Quzar » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:22 am

There are typically three reasons that discs stop being read: laser miscalibration/aging or one of the two motors stopping. The first might be fixed by a bit of cleaning around the lens (a generic procedure which would be in an FAQ, but basically just wiping it down with alcohol) or by careful readjustment of the potentiometer controlling power to the laser. By your account the disc spinning motor is functioning (although I've had a few where they will give one strong spin then die, so it will seem as though it is working) so the sled motor would be the only concern. You can check if this is working best by taking apart the DC and manually setting off the 'door closed' switch with no disc in. You'll be able to see if the laser moves at all. If it's not working there are a number of things that could be wrong. The sled could be stuck off the gear, the fix for this would be to gently turn the gear and move the sled until it is reseated. The gear may be 'gummed up' needing to be wiped down and given a bit of lubrication (WD40 works but a lighter weight oil, like that which might be used for an electric razor, would be best). It may also be the case that the motor is simply dead.

The last, someone different sort of thing would just be to take the whole thing apart and put it back together. It could be that somehow the ribbon cable from the laser sled to the controller board became unseated, or the connector between the GD module and the motherboard has.

Maybe a thorough pictorial repair guide would be a good site project...
"When you post fewer lines of text than your signature, consider not posting at all." - A Wise Man
User avatar
Eviltaco64X
DCEmu Mega Poster
DCEmu Mega Poster
Posts: 1606
Joined: Wed Jun 25, 2008 7:12 pm

Re: My Dreamcast won't read discs...

Post by Eviltaco64X » Sun Sep 27, 2009 9:45 am

Yeah, sometimes it is the ribbon cable. I got a cheap broken Dreamcast around a year ago to merge with my other broken DC. My old drive eventually kicked the bucket and the one I bought had a dead GD-drive and just refused to read anything.

Taking it apart, I found that almost all the ribbon cables' contact points were broken. I replaced it with my other ribbon cable (which was in mint condition), cleaned the lens with rubbing alcohol and a q-tip, and slightly calibrated it. The best it could do then was partially read the disc and go to the CD player. :/

I'm going to play around with my old one again and see if I can get that one to work.
Post Reply