Xbox 360 and Xbox 360 Slim Disc Read Errors

You finally picked up that new game you’ve been wanting to buy and it’s been that kind of week, you just need to get away. There is no better escape than melting into your favorite chair, grabbing your favorite snack and beverage of choice and then flipping on the Xbox 360 console for some game time. You carefully tear off the clear plastic wrap on your new Xbox 360 game, pop out the disc and place it in the DVD tray. You hit the close button, sit down with great anticipation and then “gasp”, nothing. The game disc isn’t loading, the onscreen menu just shows “reading” and then it stops attempting to read and shows “open tray”. You get up, annoyed and hit the eject button and then hit the button again to close the tray, but again it just shows “reading” and then goes to “open tray”.

This most aggravating problem is commonly known as “disc read error”. Even though it is very fixable it is nonetheless a major interference in your game play. The cost to get this repaired is around $50.00 USD and about one day turn around depending on whether you can find someone local to do the repair. If you have to ship it out for repair, the time and cost will definitely increase. To find someone you can either check your local Craigslist ads or do a Google search for local repairs. You will want to find someone with verifiable electronics repair experience who has a legitimate business license and insurance. There are no actual Xbox 360 Repair Certifications since there are no programs offered by Microsoft to repair the Xbox 360.

Once you have found someone to repair your Xbox 360 for the disc read error, then you will be back on the road to game play recovery. But, what if you cannot find someone local that you are willing to pay to repair your disc read error on your Xbox 360? There is always the possibility that you may want to try and repair this problem yourself. It could be just a dirty laser lens; the repair would take about a half hour to an hour to repair yourself. (We do not recommend this repair to anyone who is not experienced with repairing electronics) The first thing you will need to do in order to repair the disc read error problem is break open the Xbox 360; this link will walk you through opening your Xbox 360 console (you can search for disassembly of the Xbox 360 console). Once you have opened the Xbox 360 you will need remove and open the DVD Drive. We are assuming at this point that you have know-how in opening your drive. Now that you have opened the DVD Drive you can clean the laser lens with a Q-tip and a very small amount of rubbing alcohol. Put the drive back together and you will want to test the drive before you put the console back together.

If after you have cleaned the laser you are still getting the “open tray” on your monitor or TV you will need to determine if the laser is bad or if something else is wrong with the DVD Drive. Most of the time the laser will be the culprit that stops working. But, just to make sure it is the laser you are going to want to test a couple of other parts on the drive first. With the top and bottom DVD Drive cover removed, and the DVD tray in the closed position, move the laser forward and then backwards to see if the worm motor is moving freely. If the lasers moves back and forth smoothly, then you can assume that the worm motor is working properly. Next we want to test the disc spindle motor, this is the motor that spins the disc when the drive is engaged and reading your DVD’s. Again, with the tray in the closed position you will find the spindle motor in front of the laser and manually spin the motor using your finger. If the motor is spinning smoothly then you can assume that the spindle motor is operating properly. The last thing you will want to check is the spindle magnet on the top of the top drive cover to check to ensure that the spindle is not damaged and isn’t stuck. If it isn’t damaged or does not feels stuck then you can assume that it is functioning properly.

At this point we have eliminated everything except for the laser. Where to get a laser for your Xbox 360 DVD Drive? First we have to determine what laser we need; here is a link to determine the drive that you have: (you should find a guide on the internet that will help in Identifying your DVD Drive). One drive missing from this list is the Phillips LiteOn drive, but it looks just like the Phillips BenQ drive and takes the same laser; the internal drive is different but as stated uses the same laser. If your Xbox 360 has the Samsung or the Hitatchi DVD Drive, you will need to find and purchase the HD63 Laser Lens, if your Xbox 360 console has the Phillips BenQ or the Phillips LiteOn drive you will need the iHop-141x Laser Lens. To purchase one of these lasers you can search eBay or Amazon, the cost will be around $6.00 USD to $15.00 USD.

One thing that you cannot do with the Xbox 360 DVD Drive is swap the DVD Drives due to a keycode that is on the drive controller board which is married to the motherboard. The keycode on the controller board will only work with that motherboard and if you do swap the drives then your Xbox 360 will not read any Xbox 360 Game Discs, it will only read DVD’s at this point. If you do decide to purchase a new drive, you can purchase the same drive that you currently have and take the drive controller board out of the original drive and install the controller board into the new same drive. The Samsung and Hitachi drives do not require any soldering, but to swap the controller boards of the Phillips BenQ or the Phillips LiteOn Drives you will need to desolder the original board and solder to the new same drive. The last alternative is to copy the keycode from DVD controller board via your computer and some special software and serial card and install the keycode onto any working drive made for the Xbox 360.

Note: Using a different drive than the original drive with the Xbox 360 may keep you from updating your console with Xbox live or updates from game discs.

One last bit of information is you choose to try calibrating the pots on the Laser this will be the easiest way of getting your console up and running. You will have to do a search for “calibrating pots on the Xbox 360 drive” to get the information and walkthrough.