DVD tray sticks closed

By sol1109
Dec 27, 2010
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  1. I have a Lite-On LH-20A1H drive that is 4 years old. The tray sticks and usually requires the manual release to be used to unlock the tray. I took the drive apart and have noticed that without the tray present the motor has no problem moving the mechanism and for awhile the tray will move when reassembled. But if you leave the unit unused for several minutes it starts to stick again.

    I was able to find some information on the INTERNET about the motor used for operating the tray. It uses rubber magnets instead of ceramic. My experience with rubber magnets is they weaken over time and I suspect the motor has become too weak to move the mass of the tray and interlocking hardware.

    Has anyone else come to this same conclusion? Do you know a source of replacement motors? The one used does not appear on the manufacturers active list. The motor is a RF-300EH-1D390 made by MABUCHI MOTOR.
  2. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    I think your best bet is just to replace the drive, you can get a new one for less than $20.

    If you are really set on fixing it you can probably get one out of another drive.
  3. sol1109

    sol1109 TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    I know replacement is not that expensive but I am one of those engineers who hates to see perfectly good electronics fall to some incompetent bean counters decision to use cheap components that fail before the product outlives its usefulness.

    I find the older CD only drives seem to have better motors but then they did charge more in those days.
  4. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    I'm one of those Engineers too, but working on $20 optical drives other than replacing them is a waste of time. The drive motor would cost more than a new optical drive
  5. brucethetech

    brucethetech TS Enthusiast Posts: 229

    lol right on.
  6. sol1109

    sol1109 TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    I know but it is a shame. I got into engineering because as a kid I used to open up everything that was broken and learn (or try my best) to fix it. Our throwaway mentality is causing less kids to be interested in what makes things tick. I have three boys and all they seem to do is break stuff then expect us to by new stuff. But you can't ignore the logic of the cost benefit analysis I guess.
  7. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    I read somewhere (I think it might have been in a Newegg product review) that someone found that their sticking tray was because the magnets that hold the disk were too strong and were not releasing. Evidently, when the tray was empty, the magnets contacted directly or something. He attached a paper that was cut to size on each magnet and the thickness weakened the magnets enough so the tray could now open. I'm not sure what kind of adhesive was used to attach the paper. It might have been an adhesive backed label. Anyway, I don't know if the solution is technically correct but that's what I recall, more or less.

    Since you're going to replace it anyway, if you want to tinker with it, maybe you can try it. Maybe it won't work but what the heck.
  8. Benny26

    Benny26 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,533   +48

    I have an Aopen combo drive that does this. I'll never get rid of it because it's the only remaning piece of my first PC.

    But honestly, i've tried everything to unstick the tray so it opens properly...The only solution that ever worked for it, was a good smack in the mouth :haha:

    Nah...There's no need to put up with it really when there cheap enough to buy new like everybody says.
  9. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    I finally replaced a Plextor 740A because if there wasn't a disk in it it took about 100 pushes of the button before it would open (eject command in Windows wouldn't work either). The tray would try to open but immediately hang up. The solution was to never shut the tray without a disk in it. If there was a disk, it would open first time every time.
  10. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    Plextor was the most expensive CD writer many years ago. I think $200 for one once. Now they still are expensive compared to most other brands. I use LG optical writers and I have burned over 500 DVD's with them, and they still perform like new. They were around $25
  11. Benny26

    Benny26 TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,533   +48

    Phew!, i'm glad you said that. The new drive i bought a few month ago is an LG's working a treat so far.

    They can have suspicious ways of breaking dvd drives. My previous Lite on just one day decided to stop burning dvd's on me, but still be ok with cd's (?).

    Anyway, it looks like i might have bought a keeper then with this LG.
  12. SNGX1275

    SNGX1275 TS Forces Special Posts: 10,689   +395

    I bought the Plextor after having a 2 Lite-Ons fail within about 2 months of use. That was several years ago, the Plextor 740A I bought probably burned over 1000 dvds and maybe 200 cds, still worked fine except the tray bit. In the years that have passed since the Plextor I've bought a few more inexpensive drives (lite-on, samsung, I think even a cheap Sony) and haven't had any problems with them.
    So maybe just early on in the DVD-RW drive making the cheaper ones were more likely to fail, or I just got unlucky.
  13. sol1109

    sol1109 TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    You have me confused on this one. The CD/DVD disks are non magnetic and I have never seen a magnet involved in the tray of any player I have taken apart except as part of a motor.

    My first CD writer was a Plextor and yes it was expensive. I do not feel that I got my monies worth out of it as it stopped reading what it had recorded after about two years and then would write new disks that could not be read by it's replacement.
  14. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    The spindle in a notebook CD/DVD drive that holds the optical media has spring clips that compress and release when the media is loaded or unloaded from the tray manually. Desktop/external optical CD/DVD drives use a motorized spindle that raises and lowers through a hole in the loading tray. If this spindle sticks anywhere in the loading or raising sequence, the tray will not open. The spindle motor sends a signal or sets a switched signal to the tray opening/closing motor telling it to operate. Rubber belts are often used to drive the loading tray.The motors are DC motors and they have magnets... Simple?
  15. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 6,964   +355

    The magnets the person wrote about don't stick to the disk, of course, but to each other, as in clamping together to hold the disk. However, I have never taken an optical drive apart myself so I only relied on what someone else said in case it might help. If not, never mind. :)
  16. sol1109

    sol1109 TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 43

    Did not think about Netbooks using a different approach. Have never taken one of those apart. The magnets in the motors that I was referring to earlier in my post are in the DC motor that drives the belt moving the tray and raising the spindle. What I believe is happening is in order to shave a few cents off the cost of the motor the Chinese manufacturer is using rubberized magnets like you find used for refrigerator pizza delivery numbers. These tend to loose some of the magnetic force over time unlike better grade ceramic magnets.

    Since I am going junk this I think I will find out.
  17. I'm an old retired aerospace engineer and not an expert on DVD recorders. I have a work around or what we used to call a "jury rig fix" for this problem. I recently bought a used LiteOn Lightscribe DVD/CD iHAS424-98
    DVD/CD with a sticking trey door.that won't open reliably but does open often but not reliable with a blank DVD media inserted in drive trey. Someone else posted that quick fix and it works somewhat.
    My jury rig fix is real simple and easy to do if you can get a small flat magnet (I used a 1 inch Rare Earth Neodymium magnet) but other magnets may work equally well. By positioning the magnet off center on top of your drive you can alter the internal DVD's magnet field so it can help free up a sticking DVD trey that won't open the trey reliably. My magnet is positioned just off center near the front of my DVD at about the just right of the 6 o'clock position looking at front of DVD. Trial and error positioning is required to get the best trey open/close results. It never can be in the center of the DVD, fouls up the spindle lift. The door open/close trey click sounds also changes from strong to weak to a perceived perfect sound (strong open close sound). Try both magnetic poles on your magnet but not sure if it matters any. When final trial and error positioning is found to be positioned correctly and working reliably, add a strip of tape to hold magnet to top drive plate permanently. The extra magnet does not affect the read/write abilities but I can not say what it does to the overall longevity and belt ware using this drive fix. You normally have three choices. Fix it correctly (very expensive), Fix it yourself (cheaply) or maybe just throw it away. But you also have one last choice to keep your drive working, like try a great jury rig fix I proposed herein.

    So save a DVD's life, don't throw away a salvageable, fixable DVD if it can still perform after a jury rig fix.. May also help the environment a little. Most people already have a home magnet to try out this fix, the one I used cost less than $2 and was 2X stronger then needed. Besides I have been using another exact DVD model for several years and only created one (1) coaster in over 300 DVD/CD media's. So I do like this drive. But like many here don't want to spend money to repair it correctly, may cost more to fix it then buy a new or used one. Get a magnet off your frig and try it, it may work.
  18. Tmagic650

    Tmagic650 TS Ambassador Posts: 17,233   +234

    I've used magnet assemblies from old hard drives for a lot of things. I'll keep this in mind:)

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