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  1. Hello, and welcome to TechMayhem.

    I am very passionate about hardware experiments, building and repairs. I have got a huge collection of computer hardware parts.
    I decided to create a thread about today's incident here too, because on Quora, unfortunately, optical discs are considered as obsolete technology, which they are actually not. They still serve purposes. Archival, safe data storage, reliability, no accidental deletions, etc.


    I have an old Sharp DV-RW250 (technically identical to Pioneer DVR-RT300S and ORION VDR-4003) from my childhood, 2004. It worked (almost) perfectly until today. It had the following problems:


    Because it had trouble reading some discs, I adjusted (increased) the trimmer by opening the casing of the DVD recorder, and then the drive. I turned the trimmer to the left slightly.
    Here is, how a disc drive's trimmer/potentiometer looks like: http://www.quora.com/How-can-the-laser-performance-of-old-disc-drives-be-restored/answ...Ferenc-Valenta

    First the sheet with all facts prior to my adjustment:
    • Internal DVD recording drive: Pioneer DVR-R07OR.

    • DVD tests:
    • DVD-Original: ALWAYS worked.
    • DVD-Original dual layer: Struggles to read, but fails. Unknown Disc C104.
    • DVD-RW: readable; detected as DVD-RW.
    • DVD-R video: attempts to read for 30s, but fails. Then: "Unknown Disc C104". Worked just fine more than 10 years ago.
    • DVD-R blank: detected sometimes.
    • DVD-R DL: does not work, no matter empty or with data.
    • DVD-ROM with PC software: Detected as DVD. But nothing to play.
    • DVD+R: Unknown Disc C104.
    • DVD+RW: not tried
    • CD tests:
    • CD-Original: Works perfectly fine, as always.
    • CD-Original (damaged): Playback possible, but with noise caused by scratched. That's normal, also on other devices.
    • CD-R: Always worked. Detected as CD-Original if finalized. Else: CD-R.
    • CD-RW: "No disc". (too less reflectivity for the drive to detect CD-RW to ATTEMPT reading. Disc does not move at all.)
    • According to user manual,, DVD+R/RW and -RAM are unsupported. Supported: CD-R,RW; DVD-R,RW.
    • DVD-RAM: never tried.

    The drive DVR-R07OR fortunately only has one trimmer for both CD and DVD.
    I thought: This drive is surely capable of reading CD-RW. It just does not try hard enough to detect.

    After adjustment: DVD-Original dual layer and DVD-R video (detected as DVD original), CD-RW and even DVD+R were perfectly playable without any errors. Everything else works too. Happily surprised.
    DVD+RW and DVD-RAM: not tried.


    I have tested many discs then.

    Then, the same scratched audio CD (original, not -R/-RW) that was played before.
    The disc drive first made loud struggling sounds, as usual, when trying to play back. It played a few seconds, not smooth at all. Then, the drive switched off. I disconnected the device from the power outlet. Then, I connected it back in. The DVD recorder started normally, but did not detect any discs. The drive can still be ejected, however.

    But now, every disc I put in was not detected (even undamaged audio CD), except DVD original (not -R). This ended up into another C104 Unknown Disc error. And it detects the DVD-original once in ten tries. In every other case, the response of the DVD recorder is just no disc.
    This proves, that the laser is not completely dead.
    However: The sound, that the drive makes on start up (lens movement) is still there. But the tiny sound, which it usually makes when trying to detect a disc, is now nearly completely silent.
    Plugging and unplugging the device from the power outlet did not help.


    Now I ask myself: How can an ordinary audio CD suddenly destroy a DVD recording drive? It was not physically broken, only scratched. So the disc drive effectly destroyed itself using the laser. No physical contact to the disc.
    The drive was very loud prior to the probable death of the OPU (optical pickup unit). Louder than on DVD recording.
    But the OPU is stressed much more during DVD recording. Playing and recording DVD-RW surprisingly worked even prior to the trimmer adjustment, which should cover CD-RW and DVD-R. Probably, their software is faulty for reading DVD-R. CD-RW was the drive's fault.


    If the laser from 2004 was aging and wearing out, that destruction process would not have happened in the matter of seconds, but over months or even years.

    How exactly can an audio CD render a DVD recorder useless? What exactly did happen? What are some ways to repair that damage?

    This is actually the first time, that this has ever happened. And the audio CD, which destroyed the Pioneer DVR-R07OR, did not destroy any other drive.

    Thank you for taking time to read this thread. I would highly appreciate, if the community of powerful users considers to provide some helpful clues.
    Twitter: @LordGalaxy7
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  2. I would like to know, what exactly happened. What exactly lead to the malfunctioning of the DVD laser?
    • How exactly was the device damaged?
    • What exact component has physically changed, and how?
    • How can it possibly be repaired?
    • If a replacement of the OPU (optical pickup unit) is necessary, how do I identify the model number?

    Possible solutions, other than buying a new replacement recording device:
    • Purchasing a new drive: possible, but not available on stock at the moment.
    • Replacing new OPU: model number unknown.
    • Repairing the damage: I don't even know, how exactly the OPU was probably internally damaged.

    The OPU does not appear any different from outside.
    Last edited by TechLord; 9th Sep 2017 at 15:09. Reason: Adding a new sentence: What exactly lead to the malfunctioning of the DVD laser?. + typo correction.
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  3. The DVD drive just fixed itself out of nowhere.
    I found a replacement OPU for over EUR 600 on a french computer parts vendor, but now, the DVD drive JUST WORKS again.

    However, what happened is still mysterious.
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  5. Originally Posted by TechLord View Post
    Hello, and welcome to TechMayhem.

    I am very passionate about hardware experiments, building and repairs. I have got a huge collection of computer hardware parts.
    I decided to create a thread about today's incident here too, because on Quora, unfortunately, optical discs are considered as obsolete technology, which they are actually not. They still serve purposes. Archival, safe data storage, reliability, no accidental deletions, etc.


    I have an old Sharp DV-RW250 (technically identical to Pioneer DVR-RT300S and ORION VDR-4003) from my childhood, 2004. It worked (almost) perfectly until today. It had the following problems:


    Because it had trouble reading some discs, I adjusted (increased) the trimmer by opening the casing of the DVD recorder, and then the drive. I turned the trimmer to the left slightly.
    Here is, how a disc drive's trimmer/potentiometer looks like: http://www.quora.com/How-can-the-laser-performance-of-old-disc-drives-be-restored/answ...Ferenc-Valenta

    First the sheet with all facts prior to my adjustment:
    • Internal DVD recording drive: Pioneer DVR-R07OR.

    • DVD tests:
    • DVD-Original: ALWAYS worked.
    • DVD-Original dual layer: Struggles to read, but fails. Unknown Disc C104.
    • DVD-RW: readable; detected as DVD-RW.
    • DVD-R video: attempts to read for 30s, but fails. Then: "Unknown Disc C104". Worked just fine more than 10 years ago.
    • DVD-R blank: detected sometimes.
    • DVD-R DL: does not work, no matter empty or with data.
    • DVD-ROM with PC software: Detected as DVD. But nothing to play.
    • DVD+R: Unknown Disc C104.
    • DVD+RW: not tried
    • CD tests:
    • CD-Original: Works perfectly fine, as always.
    • CD-Original (damaged): Playback possible, but with noise caused by scratched. That's normal, also on other devices.
    • CD-R: Always worked. Detected as CD-Original if finalized. Else: CD-R.
    • CD-RW: "No disc". (too less reflectivity for the drive to detect CD-RW to ATTEMPT reading. Disc does not move at all.)
    • According to user manual,, DVD+R/RW and -RAM are unsupported. Supported: CD-R,RW; DVD-R,RW.
    • DVD-RAM: never tried.

    The drive DVR-R07OR fortunately only has one trimmer for both CD and DVD.
    I thought: This drive is surely capable of reading CD-RW. It just does not try hard enough to detect.

    After adjustment: DVD-Original dual layer and DVD-R video (detected as DVD original), CD-RW and even DVD+R were perfectly playable without any errors. Everything else works too. Happily surprised.
    DVD+RW and DVD-RAM: not tried.


    I have tested many discs then.

    Then, the same scratched audio CD (original, not -R/-RW) that was played before.
    The disc drive first made loud struggling sounds, as usual, when trying to play back. It played a few seconds, not smooth at all. Then, the drive switched off. I disconnected the device from the power outlet. Then, I connected it back in. The DVD recorder started normally, but did not detect any discs. The drive can still be ejected, however.

    But now, every disc I put in was not detected (even undamaged audio CD), except DVD original (not -R). This ended up into another C104 Unknown Disc error. And it detects the DVD-original once in ten tries. In every other case, the response of the DVD recorder is just no disc.
    This proves, that the laser is not completely dead.
    However: The sound, that the drive makes on start up (lens movement) is still there. But the tiny sound, which it usually makes when trying to detect a disc, is now nearly completely silent.
    Plugging and unplugging the device from the power outlet did not help.


    Now I ask myself: How can an ordinary audio CD suddenly destroy a DVD recording drive? It was not physically broken, only scratched. So the disc drive effectly destroyed itself using the laser. No physical contact to the disc.
    The drive was very loud prior to the probable death of the OPU (optical pickup unit). Louder than on DVD recording.
    But the OPU is stressed much more during DVD recording. Playing and recording DVD-RW surprisingly worked even prior to the trimmer adjustment, which should cover CD-RW and DVD-R. Probably, their software is faulty for reading DVD-R. CD-RW was the drive's fault.


    If the laser from 2004 was aging and wearing out, that destruction process would not have happened in the matter of seconds, but over months or even years.

    How exactly can an audio CD render a DVD recorder useless? What exactly did happen? What are some ways to repair that damage?

    This is actually the first time, that this has ever happened. And the audio CD, which destroyed the Pioneer DVR-R07OR, did not destroy any other drive.

    Thank you for taking time to read this thread. I would highly appreciate, if the community of powerful users considers to provide some helpful clues.
    Twitter: @LordGalaxy7
    Hello, I've just found your thread because I've the same device that is starting to refuse to read and write DVDs. I'd like to fix it so thinking of disassembling the DVD and first clean the lens and then if not enough to increase the power trim as you did. I'm not a powerful user so I'm asking if you can provide more info and even pictures of this process. I don't want to destroy the DVD as they are impossible to find new... Thank you
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  6. Mod Neophyte Super Moderator redwudz's Avatar
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    You can try cleaning it, but DVD players are cheap, less than $20 US sometimes, so you may end up replacing it anyway.
    If it's in a laptop, then fairly difficult to replace, but easier to clean.

    And welcome to our forums.

    The laser looks something like this:
    Image Attached Images  
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  7. Important remark - DVD use different laser than CD as such it can be possible that CD and DVD behave differently.
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  8. Dear all, thank you for the replies, I have the exactly the same device of the thread Sharp DV-RW250.
    I'm trying to understand WHERE is the trim to adjust the laser power...

    Thanks
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