How to fix a dead DVD player
My super-cheap DVD player stopped working. It powered-up but it wouldn’t recognising any disks. I inserted a movie and always returned a disk error
The player was a gonner. I was about to throw it in a recycle bin but changed my mind and decided to try and fix it.
I had nothing to lose after all.
First unscrew everything that is unscrewable. Did I mention unplugging it from the mains? No? Whatever…
Sometimes some of the screws are hiding beneath stickers or rubber pads.
Once you get on the inside goodies, you have to locate the eye of the beast. A.K.A the DVD lens. Take a cotton swab, dip the tip in alcohol and gently wipe the lens clean. re-assemble, pray to the gods of electronics, and take it for a spin. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it’s a matter of re-calibrating the lens assembly. Some DVD players have 2 tiny screws for lens fine-tuning. Mine did. They where located under the tray, near the lens.
I had to unscrew and remove the whole tray assembly to get to them. It’s easier than it sounds. On other models the tuning screws may be on a different easily accessible spot. Look around.
You should have two screws. One for DVD calibration, and one for CD calibration. If they’re not labelled, you’re in for a treat. You have to guess. I got lucky as I randomly started with the upper right and it was the DVD one. The methodology is you slightly turn the screw clockwise, put a DVD in the tray and see if it starts. If your unit has an LCD status screen, you can quickly see whether it starts or throws an error. If you don’t, you’ll have to connect it to your TV.
After some unsuccessful efforts, I stopped waiting for the lens to finish, and tweaked the screw on the fly. Somewhat dangerous because of the live current, and the eye-blinding laser beam. If the lens keeps going up and down on the same spot, means that it can’t read jack. Turn the screw a little further. When you hit the spot, the lens will stop moving, the disk will keep on spinning, and the LCD will display the sweet-sweet playback time.
This part took me 2 days. I found the sweet spot near the end of the clockwise turns. The problem was that just as I found the spot that reads correctly some DVDs, it wouldn’t read some others. It takes very small movements of the screw to mess it up. Finally after 2 days of fiddling I found the spot where it reads most of my DVDs. I didn’t bother calibrating the CD lens as I never use it anyway.