Xbox:DVDROM

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The DVD drive logic board is a necessary part in order for an unmodified or softmodded Xbox to boot up. In hardmodded systems that use a custom BIOS, the drive check will be skipped, allowing your console to function normally without it.

Xbox DVD Drive Brands

You can identify your current DVD drive without opening the console by looking at the disc tray and comparing it to this image.

DVDROM.png

Generally, the drives appear in Xboxes as follows:

DVD-ROM Brand Revision
Thomson 1.0-1.4
Philips 1.1-1.6b
Samsung Any
Hitachi 1.6, 1.6b


Replacing

Some drives, especially Thomson drives that came with the first two Xbox versions (1.0 and 1.1), may present you with a "dirty disc" error; requiring the drive to be repaired or replaced. DVD drives are interchangeable, allowing you to put any drive from another Xbox into your own. Philips and Hitachi drives appear to have the lowest rate of failure, but due to their age, all drives have fairly high failure rates now, though ones that were manufactured later in the Xbox's production cycle could potentially last longer due to possibly having less wear.

Any non-Xbox IDE DVD drive can be used in the system, but it will only be able to read burned media and the Xbox will no longer be able to detect a disc inserted or eject from the dashboard. A workaround for this is to press the eject button, insert the disc, then reboot the Xbox at which point it will load up the disc.

A Samsung SDG-605B, SD-616F, or SD-616T drive; or an LG GDR-8163B can be flashed with custom firmware to be able to read Xbox games. Guides are linked on this page.


Repairing

Cleaning/Replacing the Gear Band

If your drive won't open at all, you can manually eject the drive. With the Xbox off, insert a paperclip into the small hole beneath the drive and press it in. The drive will pop open, and you can look into the drive and see a small belt and gears. Remove the belt using tweezers and clean it with a cloth. You can clean the gears using rubbing alcohol and a cotton swab. After it is dry, loop the belt back over the gears and see if it will open and close using the Eject button. If it doesn't, you will need to replace the belt with a new one.

The size of the drive belt varies across drive brands and are as follows:

DVD-ROM Brand Folded Length (mm)
Thomson 55
Philips ?
Samsung ?
Hitachi ?
Cleaning the Laser Lens

If you notice that your drive is spinning the discs, but not reading them, you can clean the lens of the laser either thoroughly by disassembling your DVD drive and swabbing the lens with 91% or higher isopropyl alcohol and a cotton swab, or by using a DVD cleaning disc which has soft bristles that remove dust from the lens.

FPC cables

Some people might have broken FPC cables, these flat mostly white cables connect front PCB with the main pcb, a motor PCB with the mainboard and most commonly, the laser assembly connects with a flat FPC cable. These can rip, break or corrode and if needed, replaced.

for the Thomson for example, the main laser assembly cable has 20 pins, is 0.5mm spaced and is 7cm long. the contacts are on the same side. These details can help replace a cable by ordering them online. Thus, for any of these flat cables, measure the spacing, count the amount of lanes (signals, pins) and length, altho, sometimes getting a slightly longer cable would work if your size isnt sold.

Pot Tweak
Warning This is a potentially dangerous procedure, as turning the laser up too much can destroy your discs or damage your laser.

If you suspect that the drive is spinning the disc, but not reading them, and you've already tried cleaning the laser lens, you can attempt a potentiometer tweak (or "pot tweak"). This involves opening your DVD drive and turning a screw slightly in order to increase the strength of the laser. This process will not be covered here, as there are many tutorials on how to pot tweak a DVD drive, but you should decrement by 100ohm each try or approximately 1/12th of a turn. It's highly recommended to use a multimeter.

Normal resistance values are as follows:

Drive Brand Minimum Safe Value
Thomson 800 ohm
Philips 500 ohm
Samsung ?
Hitatchi ?

DVD Drive Sub-Models

The drive models are further broken down into sub revisions depending on when they were made.

Media Compatibility

Media Type Thomson Pre-2003 Thomson 2003+ Philips VAD6011/21 Philips VAD6035/21 Samsung SDG-605B (Ver. B) Samsung SDG-605F (Ver. A) Hitachi GDR-8050L
CD-R - o o + + - -**
CD-RW o + o + + o o
DVD-R o + + + + + +
DVD-RW + + + + + o +
DVD+R + + + + -* + +
DVD+RW + + + + -* + +
Legend
* Media can be read if bitset to DVD-ROM
** Can be modified to read CD-R media
-  Doesn't work with most media
o Works with some media
+  Works with most media
? Two verified tests

The original copy of this chart can be found here or as a mirrored copy on imgur.