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Laptop DVD burner makes grinding noises, doesn't load dvds


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#1 korniceman3000

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Posted 12 July 2011 - 02:39 PM

Hi Everyone,

Hope you won't mind helping me with this problem I seem to be having with my laptop DVD burner/drive. I own a Gateway UC7300 series laptop that uses an Optiarc DVD RW AD-7640S slot loaded burner/drive (Driver: c:\windows\system32\drivers\cdrom.sys, 6.00.6002.18005 (English), 4/10/2009 21:39:18, 67072 bytes). I am running on Windows Vista™ Home Premium (6.0, Build 6002) Service Pack 2 (6002.vistasp2_gdr.101014-0432)

Recently, I have been hearing a lot of clicking and grinding noises when I try to load a dvd or cd. It makes high pitched buzzing and squealing noises with loud clicks and often doesn't seem to load dvds if they contain lots of data. Sometimes it will load but in other occasions, it won't even recognize that there is a disc inside the drive. Also, when I try to load the disc, there seems to be a lot of heat be released by the fan along with a smell of hot plastic. I went to the device manager to check but it states that "This device is working properly."

I'm very concerned because it often doesn't load discs/takes a very long time to load discs/makes lots of grinding, clicking, movement noises. Also, it still burns data discs and movie dvds but isn't able to read them afterwards.

Is there a software or diagnostic test that can check to see if the dvd burner is functioning properly and whether there is some kind of mechanical failure or error causing the dvd burner to malfunction?

Please advise on what I can do to resolve this problem. Thank you very much for your help! It is greatly appreciated.
Best regards!

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#2 MrBruce1959

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 01:34 AM

Hello and welcome to Bleepingcomputer.

First off, DVD burners have a short life span regardless of brand or model number.

Lasers have to burn into a layer of aluminum and to do that it requires a lot of heat.
Lasers which are diodes, tend to lose their strength after a number of burns. There is no set number for the diodes to start losing their powerful laser beam ability.

The first sign of failure is when you notice that the tracks burnt into a disk are not deep or defined as they once were.

The laser has to produce much more of a powerful beam of light to burn a disk, then it does to read a disk.
You say the drive burns DVDs, but the real question is how defined and deep are the tracks it burns?
Examine the disks and compare them to commercially burned disks to see how deep the layers are.
Drives are also made up of plastic and metal parts, the trays can warp over time, the lubricating grease on moving parts wears thin over time, the trays can get stuck on the disk hub during ejection, because the center of the tray sags and hangs up on the hub.

Noise such as you mentioned could be a stuck lost disk inside the drive, this is probably unlikely since you say the drive still burns disks, so what we are looking at here is the CD or DVD is most likely spinning and hitting something above or below it.
This can happen to if the disk its self is warped or if the tray is warped.

Diagnostic programs can only do one thing with drives such as these, they measure the spin up time and that is all.

Bruce.

Edited by MrBruce1959, 13 July 2011 - 01:52 AM.

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#3 korniceman3000

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 01:21 PM

Hi Bruce and thank you so much for the detailed explanation! It is greatly appreciated.

So I'm guessing that the DVD burner in my laptop may need to be replaced due to possible mechanical failure during spinning which is causing the grinding noise? I noticed that when I insert a blank disc with no data, I don't hear any grinding noise but if the disc contains content (specifically a dvd movie) it tends to make the grinding and high pitched shrill squealing noise and often doesn't load the dvd movie (whether store bought or self made). It still loads data discs and cds but the noise, grinding, and failure to load occurs when the DVD requires something such as Windows Media Player to activate.

Any suggestions or ideas as to what might be causing this to happen?

Your help and advice is greatly appreciated!
Thank you and best regards!

#4 MrBruce1959

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Posted 13 July 2011 - 05:41 PM

The only thing I can suggest is the noise you hear with a written disk is being caused by the fact that the laser is attempting to read the data on the written disk, to do so it has to spin up to a certain RPM and the laser has to read the index area of the disk.
A blank disk has no data or index, therefore until such data exists on the disk, the drive does not have to spin up to a certain RPM to read the data.
The drive may also lack lubrication on moving parts, or a worn spindle bushing.
Perhaps one very small drop of machine oil might correct that issue.

You might have a foreign object that someone stuck in the drive, be sure you check the disks to see if the laser might be impacting the disk and leaving a trail around the disk. I have seen some disks that were damaged by the laser raising up to read the disk and and actually impacting the disk surface in the process.

Bruce.
Welcome to Bleeping Computer! :welcome:
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My Career Involves 37 Years as an Electronics Repair Technician, to Which I am Currently Retired From.

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