Disc Read Error FAQ by Col_Sandoz / XShady

Version: 0.75 | Updated: 12/13/02 | Printable Version




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The Disc Read Error PS2 FAQ
By Col_Sandoz & XShady

Version 0.75 (Febuary 20, 2002)

Please ditribute this FAQ freely, as long as no changes are made without
our permission.

Newest version of this FAQ always available at:


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1. Intro
2. Warnings
3. Cleaning the Laser
4. Do I need to adjust the voltage?
5. Adjusting the Voltage
6. Disclaimer
7. Contact
8. Credits



You might wonder why your PS2 isnít working. Well, if youíre getting
Disc Read Errors on multiple discs, all of which appear to be in good
condition, then you most likely have one of two common problems. Either
your laser is being obstructed by dirt and dust, or the laser's voltage
is not properly adjusted.

Note that this FAQ was written for people with little or no knowlege of
electronics. The technical-speak has been highly simplified for those
without the electronic know-how.

If you are WELL versed in electronics and own an oscilloscope, and a
10:1 test probe with ground clamp, see MrB / DNA's very detailed FAQ. it
includes directions for adjusting laser voltage, and replacing the laser



The Playstation 2 is a precise gaming console. Fixing the console yourself
should not be done unless completely necessary. You may also risk electric
shock, so do anything within your power to remain safe while attempting
these repairs.

If you can, use an anti-static wrist band to ground yourself. This device
is available at any electronics store (Radio Shack.)

These repairs require opening the case, which WILL void your warranty. If
your console is still under warranty think twice about cracking the seal.

Adjusting the laser's voltage requires some precision, being too rough can
cause damage which you will not be able to fix. Be very careful when doing
this process!!! Be prepared to pay Sony over $120 to fix this part if you
damage it!!!


---Cleaning the Laser---

Materials needed:
-Normal phillips head screwdriver
-Jewelry (Small) phillips head screwdrivver
-Rubbing Alcohol (Isopropyl)
-Can of Air
-Butter knife

Taking the PS2 apart is fairly simple, nothing too complicating.  All
that youíre basically going to do is remove the upper shell, remove the
lens cover, clean the lens, and put everything back together again.  Just
be sure to follow the steps, and read through each step and understand it
before going through with it.  Sometimes the instructions may seem a little
too in depth or complicating, but just use your common sense and you should
understand what Iím trying to say.  Itís a lot easier if you print it out,
as well.

1. Make sure that you have a neat, clean area set aside for taking the PS2
apart.  A small box or cup to put screws in wouldnít hurt, either.  Flip
your PS2 over so that the bottom (horizontally speaking) is facing up.
There should be 6 screw covers, 4 plastic and 2 rubber, that need to be
removed.  You can use the butter knife for this, or your nails, whichever
is easier.  Screws should be uncovered under them.  There should be 2-4
more screw covers on the outer side of the base, underneath the controller
ports (where the system goes out a few inches from the base).
The older model PS2ís have 4 screw covers, while the newer ones have only 2.
Remove them all, and you should now have a total of 8-10 screws unveiled.
Set the screw covers aside.

2.  Using the normal sized phillips head screwdriver, remove all of the
screws.  REMEMBER where the longer screws go, or mark the holes with a
piece of tape or anything that will remind you of which holes the long
screws go into.  If you do not remember where the long screws go, you
could put a hole through a circuit board by trying to force the long
screw in where it is not supposed to be.  Make sure all of the screws are
removed, and put them aside.

3.  The PS2 shell should now be ready to remove.  ONLY the UPPER side
(with the PS2 logo) needs to be removed to clean the lens - Leave the
BOTTOM side on.  But, be very careful when taking the upper shell off,
or you could damage the PS2.  To take the shell off, you first  should
place the PS2 horizontally, with the PS2 logo facing up.  Next, you need to
move the side of the shell out a little, sideways, so that the Eject/Reset
buttons are not blocking the shell, and it can be lifted off.  Just play
around with it a little and you should get it.  Then, lift it at an angle,
like opening the cover of a book.  Take the bottom (Vertically speaking)
of the shell, with the PS2 logo on it, and lift it an angle.  You should
notice a small wire around the area where the Reset/Eject buttons are.
The wire should be taped to the top of the Lens cover.  Remove the tape,
and then carefully lift the cover so that it is laying flat, and the PS2
is open like a book, connected at the middle by the wire.  The Lens is
now almost accessible.

4.  To gain access to the lens, you need to remove the lens cover.  The
lens cover is located right in the area where the PS2 ejects the tray out,
just above the tray.  Itís square shaped, and has a small white circle
piece on it.  To remove the lens cover, simply take out the 2-4 screws
located on the side with the Jewelry screw driver.  Place the screws aside,
and lift the lens cover.  You should now see the lens, a small circular
glass piece located in the back of the disc tray.

Now comes the optional part.  If you have a Can of compressed Air, you can
use that to get all of the dust out of the PS2.  Spray all around the area,
especially the fan.  You donít need to remove anything, just spray.  When
it seems that the dust is removed, go on to step 5.

5.  Now, the lens can finally be cleaned.  Take the Q-Tip and swab it
generously in the rubbing alcohol, but make sure that thereís not too
much on it so that itís dripping.  Take the Q-Tip and carefully yet firmly
rub the lens in a circular motion for a good 30 seconds.  Then, flip the
Q-Tip over to the dry side and dry it off in the same circular motions.
The lens should now be clean.

6.  All thatís left now is putting the PS2 back together, which should be
fairly easy.  Place the lens cover back on, making sure that itís tight and
snug in position.  Screw it in place. Then, tape the wire back onto the lens
cover and flip the shell back into place on the PS2. Screw the screws back
in, making sure the longer screws are going into the correct holes. The
screws donít all have to be tight, so donít sweat it if 1 or 2 of them
arenít seeming to fit into the holes all of the way, as long as theyíre
in the right holes.  Put the screw covers back into place, and youíre done.
Congratulations, your PS2 is now cleaned, and working like new, without
having to spend a dime!  Feel free to repeat this process in the future,
as well, if Disc Read Errors ever occur again.


---Do I Need to Adjust the Voltage?---

To determine whether or not these repairs are necessary, read the following

You may need to adjust the voltage if:
1. Your PS2 reads games on DVDs but will not read games on CDs
2. Your PS2 reads games on CDs but will not read games on DVDs
3. Your PS2 will read no games, you have already cleaned the laser and
you are using undamaged discs

Do not adjust the voltage if:
1. You do not receive the message "Disc Read Error" in the browser screen
when trying to load problem discs
2. You have a Playstation 2 Version 4... This is a PS2 with 8 screw covers
on the bottom rather than 10
3. Your PS2 only gets errors on certain CD or DVD games, not All CD or DVD
4. You hear LOUD clicking noises followed by a Disc Read Error. Quiet
clicking is normal.

please note that fine tuning may be needed if your PS2 reads CD games but
not audio/PS1 CDs (or vice versa)... Or if your PS2 reads DVD games but not
DVD movies (or vice versa)... Personally I don't suggest fine tuning without
a voltage meter.


---Adjusting the Voltage---

Read these instruction all the way through, and make sure you understand
all the steps before doing anything!

1. Remove your warranty sticker, located next to the power cord. Take off
the cover to the expansion bay.

2. Remove the screw covers on the very bottom of your playstation 2. There
are six total. Four of them will be rubberized and two will be plastic. You
may need a flat head screwdriver to remove the plastic ones. Ignore the
extra 4 plastic covers on the raised, upper portion of the underside of your
PS2, these are for removing the top shell.

3. With a phillips-head screwdriver remove the six screws under the covers
you just took off. Four short and two long.

4. Pull up on the bottom portion of the case to remove it.

5. Remove the metal shield covering the circuit board (the shiny one). With
the front of the PS2 facing toward you, it is on the right. There is only
one screw holding it in place, it has an arrow pointing toward it.

6. Remove the expansion bay plate (the dull one with holes). With the front
of the PS2 facing toward you, it will be on your left. Once again there is
only one screw holding it in place with an arrow pointing toward it.

7. Lift out the expansion bay housing. It is attached to the circuit board
by a short ribbon cable. Under this are the laser control screws.

8. The laser control screws are on a small amber circuit board slightly
recessed in the plastic case. You will be adjusting one or both of the two
small silver screws with a black screw inbetween them.
   With the front of the PS2 facing you, the silver screw on the LEFT
controls the voltage for the CD reading. The silver screw on the RIGHT
controls the voltage for the DVD reading.
   I suggest putting a small dot, with a sharpie pen, in the 12 o'clock
position of each screw to help with the adjusting process...

9. Stand the PS2 on it's side (vertically, memory cards at bottom, power
button at top) at a slight angle. You wont be able to stand it at this angle
unless it is done on carpet floor. Having a friend hold it in position might
be better. Make sure that the expansion bay housing does not come in contact
with the curcuit board, as you will be turning it on, and you dont want the
metal housing to short out the board. Let it hang down, away from the board.

10. With the PS2 plugged in (power and video) turn it on. You are ready to
adjust the voltage for the laser. Only adjust the screw for the type of
disc you are having problems with. If you are having problems with both,
do them one at a time. Remember, now that the unit is on its side the CD
voltage control screw is above the DVD control screw.
    If at all posible use a non-metalic screwdriver, as static electicity
can ruin this portion of your PS2 (a $65+ part!)...

11. Turning the screw clockwise increases the voltage, counter-clockwise
decreases the voltage. Because you risk of blowing the laser if you give
it too much voltage, always start by decreasing voltage. In my experience,
you generally have to add voltage, but for safetey, I suggest you reduce
voltage first.
    Using a small screw-driver (non-magnetic & non-metallic) turn the
appropriate screw counter-clockwise two degrees. Load in the CD and wait,
if you still get a disc read error move the screw another two degrees.
Repeat the process...
    If you still get disc read errors after about 20 degrees of rotation,
put the screw back to the 12 o'clock position and start moving the screw
clockwise two degrees at a time.
    It may take a while, but you will most likely find the sweet spot where
your discs begin to read again. I have never had to move the screw more
than 30 degrees, although I have heard as much as 180 degrees are needed
for a modded PS2 to play backup CD-Rs.

12. Try a few different trouble discs before re-assembly to make sure you
dont need more fine adjustment. As well, hold the PS2 elevated in the
horizontal position and make sure it reads while in this position. I have
found that slightly more voltage (2-6 degrees) is needed to run discs in
the horizontal position than the vertical position.

13. Turn off the PS2 and re-assemble it.



Col_Sandoz, XShady, nor anyone that hosts this document are in any way
respossible for any damage you may do to your Playstation 2 while
attempting the procedures within this document.

Please note that this FAQ is not guaranteed to fix your PS2, you may
acctually end up doing more damage!



If you wish to contact us with any information, comments, or questions
please do so at:

Col_Sandoz: DJYAYO@ignmail.com
XShady: limpbizkit1081@hotmail.com



Laser voltage adjustment written by Col_Sandoz, based on many message
board posts.

Laser cleaning written by XShady based on the original developed plan
of AndyRose2000.