Thursday, May 10, 2007

homemade CD lens cleaner

I am not pleased with the state of CD lens cleaners in the world. They just don't work as advertised. I've tried a few different ones and only one made any notable effect. When my first Playstation 2 stopped working because of a dirty laser lens I cracked it open to clean it by hand because nothing else was working. In the end I had a clean lens, but the alignment was never right again. I got a new one.

Last summer, when I was living in my office, my new PS2 tried doing the same thing. I started experimenting with alternate methods of cleaning the lens. Sometimes it works to just flip the disk and make the CD/DVD/game player read the back of the disk a few times. Sometimes it doesn't.

I wound up making my own lens cleaner that works better than anything else I've tried.


Get a CD you don't want. An AOL disk or that Yanni album or something.


Apply a spray adhesive. You can try other adhesives, but this would probably be the least lumpy glue.


Put a paper towel on the CD.


Trim away any paper towel that sticks over the edge of the CD. Xacto knives or some such blade work well for this.


Now cut through the paper towel on the CD. Break it into eight sections as shown here.


Peel or scrape off every other section of paper towel. Try to clean off the exposed areas as best as possible.


My initial prototype was just a paper towel glued to a CD. But since the paper towel doesn't reflect the laser the machine almost immediately rejected it. I had to reveal some CD so the machine would keep trying to read it. By revealing half the disk at regular intervals the machine keeps thinking "I see it! No I don't! But wait! No. There it is! Gone again." etc. etc. It's just enough to keep the machine trying to read the disk until it times out. This whole time the disk keeps moving the lens up and down trying to get the laser in focus. It keeps hitting the paper towel and wiping off whatever crud is on the lens.
It's not perfect. I have to run this every 2-4 months. Sometimes I have to run it two or three times. But in the end it still works better than other stuff I've tried.

7 comments:

JP said...

worked for me... good info

Ibid said...

Wooo! I rawk!

Rachel Matteson said...

Amazing how you were able to find that out on your own. Excellent job. I'll try it and hope it works.
- Opti-Max.net

lorihm said...

I improvised a bit using a thin layer of tacky glue that I spread on with my finger and cut bits of a swiffer cloth to place on the glue. Worked like a charm and saved me from buying a new player! Thanks for the info!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for idea!!!! it worked by my chrysler 300c navigation DVD drive... one difference..I used not paper towel but piece of fabric...
worked!!!!

Ibid said...

Good thinking with the Swiffer cloth. I'll try that next time.

Angela Morgons said...

It’s a great blog and very useful in lens cleaning. My friend was asking about the same problem. Now I can refer your blog. CD Replication Scotland