Into an xbox 360

We’ve been suffering through constant “DVD Read Error” messages every time one of the kids tries loading up a game on the used Xbox 360 console we got a little over a year ago. Now that the warranty from Gamestop is expired I finally worked up the courage to crack the box open and perform some old fashioned DVD player lens cleanup.

The thing that really made the task possible was this tool:

xbox360_tool.jpg

Got it from Amazon (sold by Amermedia, whoever they are). Tool itself was less than 5 bucks, but with two-day shipping at $7 the whole order cost around $12.

I’d already tried the “spray the crap out of the thing with canned air” approach without success, so ripping it apart was really a last resort (well, actually the last resort would be — might still be — replacing the DVD drive).

The simple tutorials for opening the case, and dissecting the drive were a big help. Nice fairly hi-res pictures for someone with old eyes like mine to go by. I used Isopropyl alcohol (like back in the good old days of devices like the Ampex 2-inch video tape recorder) to clean the lens and surrounding area. A pair of fingernails were employed to extract what were clearly hairs of some kind from around the spindle. I used up the rest of the canned air giving it a once-over before closing things up.

Proof my efforts were worth it came quickly. Kids stuck one of the problem game discs in as soon as the 360 booted and voila, it loaded on the first try.

Thank God.