Lite-On drive reads DVDs okay but has stopped reading CDs. Why?



I have a really old Lite-On drive, model LDW-451S. It worked fine for a very long time but recently it has come to my attention that it will only read DVDs now and it will no longer read CDs. My question is, what has failed mechanically in the Lite-On drive that would cause this kind of preferential behavior towards successfully reading DVDs but not CDs? They are both read using the same laser, right? I have never ever once cleaned my drive using a CD/DVD cleaning kit. Could doing this possibly restore the ability to read CDs again? Does cleaning CD/DVD drives extend the life or again, in this case, restore lost functionality of the drive? Or is it just a con to sell more cleaning products?


It is possible that it could need to be cleaned, but a drive like that more then likely uses 2 laser diodes, one for CDs and one for DVDs, the diode for the CD part may have failed, I have a DVD player that does the opposite, reads CDs fine, DVDs don’t work at all.


RCM, thanks for reply. Very helpful. I was not aware that the two different disc formats used two different laser diodes in a single drive. Thought they shared the same laser… So that more than likely is exactly the problem. One question leads to another with me it seems. Do you have any idea how much a replacement diode would cost and how much trouble would it be to replace the new part with the failed part? I know the easy solution is to either accept the fact that the drive reads DVDs only or to replace it with a new one. But I think it would be fun to try and repair on my own for the challenge if its not too difficult.


If you wanted to try, it would have to be EXACTLY the same, laser diodes can be killed easily if they get just a TINY bit of too much power, you can try, but don’t know how much luck you will have with it.