The Xbox 360 is one awesome gaming console from Microsoft. An important hardware part is the disc drive, which can play game discs, DVD drives and audio CDs. This part of the console is the most used but rarely remembered part until something goes wrong with it, like not reading a CD or if it's stuck shut. At those times, the disc drive bears the maximum of your anger. But don't resort to extreme measures, like tapping the top of the console very hard (a great way to vent frustration but it destroys the console!). In this article, learn more about the disc drive model in your Xbox 360 and how to fix common disc errors.
Xbox 360 Disc Drive Identification
The Xbox 360 disc drive is a DVD player, with support for audio CDs' as well. There are 2 models of the DVD-ROM drive, the Hitachi GDR-3120L and the Toshiba/Samsung TS-H943A. For the Elite and Arcade versions of the Xbox 360, a Philips BENQ VAD6038 is the featured built-in drive. To identify which model of DVD-ROM is installed in your Xbox 360, perform the following steps:
- Remove the Xbox 360 front face plate. There is a small key shaped hole below the DVD drive.
- In the hole, look for a small colored wire. A white wire means a BENQ drive, red is the Samsung model. If you can't see any colored wires and there is plastic covering the hole, the DVD-ROM is a Hitachi device.
- To check the firmware number of the drive, open the top plate of the console and look at the printed information, near a yellow hazard box. The firmware model number is printed near or below the bar code sticker.
Possible Disc Problems
These are some of the common error codes with steps on resolving them:
☛ "Reading" Followed by an "Open Tray" Message
The above message can appear on the Xbox 360 dashboard or the disc might simply spin in your drive, without any activity on the console. The following steps are progressive in nature, i.e if the first doesn't work, then try the second. Do not perform all the steps in one go.
- Check if there are scratches or smudges on the non labeled side of the disc. Too many scratches can render a disc unreadable. You can use a clean, slightly damp cloth to wipe the CD, starting from the center and going outwards. Make sure the disc is dry, before inserting it in the drive.
- Check with another disc or CD. It could be a problem with the CD itself. Try with another media type of CD, for example if a DVD is not working, try an audio CD. Make sure the media type and the regional code of the disc are compatible with your Xbox 360 version.
- Try emptying your system cache. Go to My Xbox → System Settings. Select the Memory option and in that select any storage drive and press the Y option on your controller. Then select Clear System Cache
- Power off your console and disconnect any memory drives or USB drives plugged in to it. Power the console up, wait it for start and try to run the disc.
☛ Error: This Disc is Unreadable
With this error, the fixing steps are made up of 2 parts, part 1 is the above steps, which deal with the disc. Part 2 steps are:
- Turn off your console, wait for 10 minutes and then power it back on.
- Check if all the wires and connections are tightly connected. No connections should be loose.
- If you have a hard drive inserted in the Xbox 360, remove it and then insert it once again.
- If the same error code appears, the Xbox 360 disc drive has failed and needs to be replaced or repaired.
☛ Xbox 360 Disc Drive Won't Open
If you press the eject button below the disc drive, the tray refuses to open or eject the disc.
- Turn off the console's power and disconnect all cables connected to the Xbox 360.
- Take a paper clip and uncoil it, such that it becomes a poking tool.
- Make the console horizontal in position, like a DVD player.
- Remove the faceplate from the console. There is a small hole, below the disc drive on the right. Insert the paper clip's straight end into the hole, till it gets blocked.
- The tray should pop out slightly. Using your fingers, gently pull the tray out till it is completely open. Take out the disc if any from the tray.
- Connect the power supply to the Xbox 360 and turn it on. Press the eject button to close the tray. Press it again to see if the tray opens automatically. If it works normally, then attach the faceplate back onto the console.
In most cases, a scratched game or DVD disc is the real culprit behind disc reading problems. Scratches can be single, deep grooves or they can be minute scratches along the curve of the CD. There are some ways to repair or fix a scratched disc, so you can use the CD again. But sometimes with multiple and deep scratches, nothing much can be done.
If the disc drive on your console repeatedly has issues with running CDs or scratches CDs while playing them, then you might need a replacement. The replacement procedure can be performed by Microsoft, if your console is within the warranty or you could approach a third-party vendor. You can try to fix it yourself with the help of an online Xbox 360 repair guide or manual but please do so only if you know your way around the console or have done it before. Fiddling with the internal parts of the Xbox 360 is not an easy matter, you might end up doing more harm than good!