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Name That Dread-Inspiring Sound

I’m still hoping that someone out there will be able to help me diagnose what’s wrong with my internal combo drive. To that end, here’s another clue: I have posted an MP3 of the sound it makes (with helpful narration!) If this brings any of you any closer to an understanding of what’s going wrong, please let me know; I’d be eternally grateful.

Thanks again to Roger for his suggestion… maybe I’m being too squeamish, but I haven’t been able to pry off the slot cover.


  1. Roger wrote:

    Don’t try to pry off just the colored-plastic CD slot — that will not come off by itself. The whole front panel has to come off at once.

    The sound seems periodic with the spinning disk, so it’s probably either (a) an internal balance problem in the drive that you can’t do anything about except replace the whole drive, or (b) the whole drive vibrating against something next to it, which you could pad. I guess I’d open it up to have a look if I felt brave, and take it to a shop if not.

    Apropos of nothing, here’s a really frightening prospect: ID chips permanently embedded in our clothes.

    Getting a loom ready now, just in case…

    Wednesday, March 12, 2003 at 1:41 pm | Permalink
  2. Robert wrote:

    Hmmmm….I’m not sure I agree. The repeated noise is too slow for it to be related to the CD spinning, i.e. balance. (The noise would be much faster if the drive were off balance to the degree that the disc made contact with some part of the casing. But maybe I don’t understand what Roger’s saying.)

    It sounds to me like the lens/laser assembly is hunting around for the first track of the CD. When it can’t find anything, there are two ways it moves as it desperately searches: The assembly moves on a horizontal plane (like the tonearm on a turntable moves across a record), and the lens itself moves on a vertical plane (focus). When wonky CD players or CD-ROM drives get lost, they revert to this search pattern and often get stuck. So…

    Have you tried the simple solution of cleaning the lens? The drive in my iBook gave me some similar problems a year ago, and it turned out that too much dust had accumulated on the lens for it to read less than perfect CDs. Since you have a slot-loader, you’d have to get a cleaning disc for this (and I’m not sure how well those work). Beyond that I would suggest replacing the drive; I bet you could find one used from someone that’s parted out their iMac. At some point, you have to learn how to take the machine apart. It’s less scary than you think.

    I have also found, after much experience taking machines apart and putting them back together, that Vaseline works wonders for all sorts of mechanical maladies. Try coating your favorite CD in the pleasant smelling goo and then inserting it into the slot.

    Good luck,

    Thursday, March 13, 2003 at 2:09 am | Permalink
  3. gus wrote:

    Postscript: After cleaning the drive, which didn’t go too well, I hauled the machine into Tekserve. They’re replacing the drive for $149.

    Robert: was that *flavored* Vaseline? All I have is flavored, the kind they sell as a bagel schmear.

    Saturday, April 5, 2003 at 5:51 pm | Permalink

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