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|  |___        |       |       |       |       |  |_|  |       |       |
|______|       |___|\__\       |___|\__\       |_______|       |___|\__\

PlayStation 2 Disc Read Error FAQ
By LordAtomic
Current Version: 0.5
http://www.sonicquest.cjb.net

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INDEX
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(Use CTRL + F to quickly and easily find any portion of this FAQ)

1.  Revision history
2.  Introduction
3.  Why aren't my games working?
4.  Quick fixes for Disc Read Errors
    - 4.1.  Cleaning your discs
    - 4.2.  Diagnosis mode
    - 4.3.  Rotating the system
    - 4.4.  Scotch tape method
5.  If your PS2 is filled with dust...
    - 5.1.  Using a lens cleaning CD
    - 5.2.  Vaccuming the machine
    - 5.3.  Manually cleaning the laser
6.  If your laser lens needs to be realigned...
    - 6.1.  Adjusting the voltage
    - 6.2.  Adjusting the voltage for PS2 model SCPH-30001 (Version 4)
7.  Sending your machine to Sony
8.  General Questions (FAQ)
9.  Thank You's
10.  Final Notes

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1.  REVISION HISTORY
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Version 0.5 - First version.  FAQ is nearly complete.

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2.  INTRODUCTION
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Ah, the dreaded PlayStation 2 Disc Read Error.  Taking one step into the
GameFAQs.com "PlayStation2 General" message board sends plenty of "I have a
Disc Read Error, please help!!!" messages flying onto your screen.  Hopefully,
this FAQ will change all of that.

If you clicked on this FAQ, you are likely suffering from Disc Read Errors (or
"DREs", as the PlayStation2 General board lovingly refers to them as).  But for
those not in the know, a Disc Read Error is when the PlayStation 2 refuses to
play a certain game.  The game won't load, and the PS2's browser screen will
display the tragic message of "Disc Read Error."

This FAQ details every method that I know of to repair DREs.  I RECOMMEND (but
not demand) that people using this FAQ should perform all of the repair methods
in the order that I've set them as in the Index section.  Meaning, start with
the "Quick Fixes for Disc Read Errors", and if those don't help, move to the
"If your PS2 is filled with dust..." section, etc.

Before we begin, I'd like to say that I take no responsibility if you destroy
your console using any method depicted in this FAQ.

Good luck!

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3.  WHY AREN'T MY GAMES WORKING?
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Your PS2 is having trouble reading discs for one of two reasons.  Either the
lens is filled with dust, or the amount of voltage going to the laser isn't
balanced.  However, repairing these problems can often cost either money or
time, sometimes both.  That's why I recommend you starting with the "Quick
Fixes for Disc Read Errors" section before anything else.  These usually will
not fix your machine to the perfect working order that it was when you
purchased it, but the Quick Fixes take almost no time and no money.

You may also be wondering why your CD games work, but not your DVD games, or
vice-versa.  If not all of your collection of games is giving you trouble, then
you most likely have a voltage problem, although the other methods I describe
in this FAQ can also help.  Why do some games work while others don't?  Because
the PS2 has to spin CDs much faster than DVDs, both disc formats require a
different amount of precision control from the laser.  If you don't know if
your game is a CD or DVD, look on the disc's packaging for either a "DVD-ROM"
label (for DVDs) or a "Compact DISC" label (for CDs.)

(Just a note, all PSOne games are CD-based)

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4.  QUICK FIXES FOR DISC READ ERRORS
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Quick, cheap, and easy, these methods are useful for the "gamers on a budget"
that cannot afford to buy tools or perform big operations of their consoles.

4.1 - CLEANING YOUR DISCS
Cost efficiency - 4.5/5
Convenience - 5/5
Effectiveness - 4/5

Tools you will need:
1.  The problem disc.
2.  Lint-free cloth.
3.  Rubbing alcohol (optional).

Ever since CDs replaced casettes as the main audio format, discs have gotten
dirty.  And dusty.  And grimey.  And this oftentimes can lead to problems
reading said discs.

I've developed an effective way to clean discs.  Take any lint-free cloth (such
as CD wipes that are sold in record stores) and use it to cover the lid of an
opened bottle of rubbing alcohol.  Turn the bottle upside-down so that the
alcohol spills into the cloth.  Now, crumple the cloth in your hands, so that
the alcohol spreads across the cloth without making it soaking wet.  Use this
moist cloth to wipe your disc.  You should move the cloth from the inside of
the disc (where the CD hole is) to the outside when you wipe.  Circular motions
are very dangerous and can scratch your disc.

4.2 - DIAGNOSIS MODE
Cost efficiency - 5/5
Convenience - 3/5
Effectiveness - 2/5

Tools you will need:
None

When you e-mail Sony about your Disc Read Error problems, they are guaranteed
to say two things when they respond to you.  The first is that "Disc Read
Errors on our console aren't common, the PS2 is omnipotent and you are not." 
The second is that Diagnosis mode could be the solution.

Load your PS2 without a disc inside and wait until you get to the main menu. 
Press Triangle and highlight "Console", then press Triangle again and set
"Diagnosis" to ON.  What does this setting do?  Basically, it focuses the laser
on the disc so that it has an easier time reading discs.  This trick has never
worked for me personally, and I rarely ever hear of it being a success.  In
addition, you must turn this setting on EVERY time you load your PS2, as the
PS2's system settings are never saved when you turn off your console.  Boo.

4.3 - ROTATING THE SYSTEM
Cost efficiency - 5/5
Convenience - 5/5
Effectiveness - 3/5

Tools you will need:
None

Remember how the original PlayStation had a much better time playing CG videos
and music properly when it was turned onto it's side?  This method is a lot
like that.  Basically, the PS2 seems to have an easier time reading discs when
it's in the vertical position than in the horizontal position.  Yep, it's that
simple.  Don't worry if you don't have the PS2 vertical stand - you really
don't need it.

This trick has never worked for me personally, but has been reported as a big
help on the GameFAQs PlayStation2 General board.

4.4 - SCOTCH TAPE METHOD
Cost efficiency - 5/5
Convenience - 5/5
Effectiveness - 2/5

Tools you will need:
1.  The problematic disc.
2.  Scotch tape.

This was the trick that personally fixed all of my problem discs.

I first heard of this trick in the September 2002 issue of GamePro.  In every
issue of GamePro, they have a one-page section called "Buyers Beware", which is
a Q&A section where readers write in if they're having a problem with their
games.  As you might expect, a common problem in previous issues of GamePro has
been the PS2's Disc Read Error.  But in this issue, a reader named "Jim M."
wrote the following letter to Buyer's Beware.

Jim's tactic involved placing scotch tape on the face of the actual discs.  By
taking two 1-inch long pieces of scotch tape and putting them on opposite sides
of the CD (as close to the CD hole as possible), the PS2 suddenly has an easier
time reading discs.  How is this possible, you ask?  The disc is using the two
symmetric pieces of tape to balance itself on the laser, making the disc easier
to be read by the laser.  According to Jim, an offset of balance on the disc
can occur when dust builds on the magnetic rubber device that holds the disc in
place.  The tape fixes this.

However, this trick didn't work for me...right away.  After pondering for
awhile, I took Jim's tactic one step further, and added TWO MORE strips of tape
onto the two sides of the disc that previously had no tape on them.  Lo and
behold, it works!  These two new strips of tape should still be 1-inch long and
should still be as close to the CD hole as possible.

I understand that these instructions may be confusing, without a diagram, so I
made a little picture that will hopefully explain it better, which can be
viewed at www.geocities.com/sonicquestcomic/ps2tapemethod.bmp.

While this trick definitely worked for me, it doesn't work for everyone. 
Namely, I've heard that this trick only works for CD-based media, and not
DVD-based media.

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5.  IF YOUR PS2 IS FILLED WITH DUST...
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If you're reading this section, then obviously, the "Quick Fixes for Disc Read
Errors" didn't help you.  If this is the case, then your PlayStation2's laser
lens is likely clogged with dust.  Here are the known methods for fixing this.

5.1 - USING A LENS CLEANING CD
Cost efficiency - 3.5/5
Convenience - 5/5
Effectiveness - 3/5

Tools you will need:
1.  A lens cleaning CD

Available at several electronics stores are "Lens cleaning CDs."  These discs
are made for all disc-based electronic equipment.  On the bottom side of these
discs (the side that is usually read by laser lenses) is a small cleaning
brush.  As the disc spins, the cleaning brush wipes the laser lens clean,
freeing it of any dirt or dust that may have accumulated on it.  If your PS2 is
suffering from a Disc Read Error because of excess dust, this will almost
definitely fix it.

Sony claims that these things can scratch the PS2's laser, but this is simply
not true.  The cleaning brush is made of very light string, just like the
string you could find on a kite.

5.2 - VACCUMING THE MACHINE
Cost efficiency - 3/5
Convenience - 2/5
Effectiveness - 4.5/5

Tools you will need:
1.  A vaccum cleaner.
2.  Tube extension for vaccum cleaner.

Using the tube extension on your vaccum cleaner (which most every household
has), take the vaccum to the PS2 and let that bad boy go!  The front vents,
ejected disc tray, and back fan should all be targeted.  This will definitely
suck a lot of dust out of the inner workings of the machine, as the PS2 is not
an airtight piece of machinery.

5.3 - MANUALLY CLEANING THE LASER

Section forthcoming...

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6.  IF YOUR LASER LENS NEEDS TO BE REALIGNED...
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If dust isn't the problem, then an inproper amount of voltage going to your
PS2's laser is.  You must fix this by finding two silver screws nestled deep
within the PS2's inner workings.  One of these screws alters the amount of CD
voltage, and the other alters the amount of DVD voltage.  If your PS2 only has
problems with CD-based games, you'll only want to tamper with the CD screw, and
vice-versa if your DVD games don't work.  If your PS2 won't play anything,
you'll have to tamper with both!

However, this method for repairing the problem depends on which model number
your PS2 has.  To find out what model number your PS2 is, read the General
Questions section.  If your model number has "SCPH-30001" *ANYWHERE* in it, go
to section 6.2.  If not, read on...

6.1 - Adjusting the voltage
Section forthcoming...

6.2 - Adjusting the voltage for PS2 model SCPH-30001 (Version 4)
Cost efficiency - 4/5
Convenience - 1/5
Effectiveness - 5/5

Tools you will need:
1.  Phillips screwdriver
2.  Very small Phillips screwdriver (same as above)
3.  Exacto knife

First, unplug all of the PS2's cables, and take the back expansion bay cover
off of your PS2 and flip your console upside-down.  Take all of the screw
covers off of the bottom of your machine.  If you're having trouble getting
some of the screw covers off, use a flathead screwdriver to pry them off.  Now,
take the screws out.  Not all of the screws are the same sizes as each other,
so try to remember where they originally went.  Now, you'll notice that you
cannot take the system apart because of a large sticker on the backside of the
machine.  DO NOT TAKE THIS STICKER OFF!  If you do, it will leave "Void" marks
all over your machine where the sticker once was.  Use your exacto knife to cut
the grooves in this sticker so that the system can come apart.  Now, remove the
bottom part of the PS2 (the smaller part) from the top part.  Be very careful
when doing this, as there's a ribbon wire connecting the two pieces together
that will ruin the machine if it is ripped or torn.  Now, there are two screws
that hold a metal cover and the expansion bay down.  Remove the screws and the
metal cover and expansion bay.  The expansion bay cannot be removed entirely
because of another ribbon wire.  Now, here's the hard part.  While you are
still holding the expansion bay, you have to adjust the two silver screws. 
They are recessed inside a cover but you can see them and get to them with the
screwdriver.  One of them and adjusts the CD voltage and one of them adjusts
the DVD voltage.  How do you tell them apart?  If the front of the PS2 is
facing you, the left screw is the CD screw.  Turn the screw you want about two
degrees clockwise, then plug everything back in, load the problem disc and turn
the PS2's power on.  If the game still doesn't work, power everything down,
unplug everything, and turn the screw and additional two degrees to the right
and try the problem disc again.  Keep repeating this method until you find the
right spot.  When your games work, put everything back together and enjoy!

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7.  SENDING YOUR MACHINE TO SONY
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Section forthcoming...

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8.  GENERAL QUESTIONS (FAQ)
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Q.  Why are these Disc Read Errors so prevalent?
A.  Simply put, the PlayStation 2 uses very cheap parts to keep production
costs low.  The PS2's laser is arguably the cheapest part in the entire
machine, and really shouldn't be given awards for it's quality.

Q.  Does any specific PlayStation 2 model seem to have more problems than the
others?
A.  I've found that most Disc Read Errors are on SCPH-30001 (Version 4)
machines.  This is the model for machines that were purchased in early-2001
(not 2002).  In mid-2002, however, Sony announced that they would be dropping
the price of the PlayStation 2 to $200, and with it, would be removing a lot of
"excess" or "uneeded" parts from the machine.  I've found that these machines
usually do NOT get Disc Read Errors.  If you purchased your machines after
mid-2002, you should be fine.

Q.  How do I determine what model my PS2 is?
A.
1.  On the bottom right-hand corner of the front of the PS2 box.
2.  On the dark-gray label on the back of the machine, to the right of the Sony
logo and to the left of the barcode.
Your PS2's model number is "SCPH-", followed by several numbers.

Q.  Are Japanese machines more likely to get Disc Read Errors than American
units, or vice-versa?
A.  I've never heard of anyone getting a Disc Read Error on a Japanese machine.

Q.  Will your strategies for solving Disc Read Errors work on Japanese
machines.
A.  IIRC, Japanese machines have different internal workings than American
machines, so I doubt it.  You're welcome to try it, though.

Q.  OMG, I LIEK HAVE A DISK READ ERROR!!!!!!!!!1111  WAHT DO I LIEK DO TO FIX
IT?????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!1111
A.  You read my FAQ, duh.

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9.  THANK YOU'S GO TO...
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- Jeff "CJayC" Veasey, for hosting this FAQ.
- Sony, for creating the PS2.  They may make a cheap product, but they make a
FUN cheap product.
- Nintendo, for making long-lasting machines.

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10.  FINAL NOTES
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- I am no longer giving help through email.  Don't email me telling me about
how you don't understand something in this FAQ, because I really don't want to
hear about it.  After receiving daily "HELP ME!" emails from people who won't
even read the damned FAQ, as well as receiving emails from people asking me
about help with other PS2 related peripherals (GameSharks, etc.), I really
don't care anymore.  All emails sent to me requesting help will be ignored.
- If this FAQ helped you at all and you want to repay me in some way, the best
thing that you can do is to rate this FAQ as "Helpful" by clicking the "Rate"
link next to this FAQ on the PlayStation 2 FAQ listing.  Really, that's all I
ask.
- Again, I take no responsibility if any of the methods described in this FAQ
kill your PS2.
- Copy my FAQ in any way without my permission and you die.
- Visit my website!  It may have nothing to do with the PS2, but it's cool.
- Go buy DDRMAX.  Konami has never released a greater product.

Have fun with your PS2s.
- LordAtomic