"Power Calibration Error" (Possible Remedy) (for all drive models)

Thought I’d draw attention to something that worked for me on my Plextor PX-716A TLA#03xx, TLA0304 when I bought it. This worked on the Plextor drive first, then on 2 other xbox1 DVD-ROM drives, then a 2nd Plextor PX-716A with TLA#02xx. Chances are if this works it means that the ribbon cable’s inner wires is damaged or the contacts at the end of the ribbon cable could have become squeezed so flat that they’re too thin to make a close enough touch resulting in a few “unconnected” lines, between the ribbon cable and the socket, when the laser moves back and forth. We are talking about paper thin metal wires. My remedy seems to basicly make the unit reset the laser power settings like a cold boot on your computer.

“Power Calibration Error” with Plextor (Possible Remedy)

I ordered a dead PX-716A TLA#02xx from a guy that couldn’t get it to read anything. I tried too and it wouldn’t read a single disc at all. Then I opened it and cleaned the lens with a Q-tip and 70% solution rubbing alcohol. That still didn’t help. So then I did what I linked above and immediately that worked. Since then the drive is reading everything with even, I believe, less delay than my TLA#03xx drive was doing back when the TLA#03xx started to act up. I’ve burned a few Memorex 16X (RICOHJPN R03 and PRODISC R04 media codes) and a CD audio disc I think was Ritek type7. No problems. I’ve had a dvd data disc sitting in the TLA#02xx drive for a month without using the disc (I know it’s not recommended to do so) even during standby and hibernate modes. My computer with the TLA#02xx drive has been running for 1.5-2months without shutting down at all and still no problems with the drive. So the second PX-716A has been working fine since summer of 2006.

I’ve seen the same thing happen on newer Sony audio CD players. The sockets used are of the type that just holds the ribbon cable onto the circuit board and its only a matter of time before they either oxidize or work lose enough to cause problems.

Be careful how you remove the lead to the laser unit though - the cable is very thin and easily damaged, and the pickup units are static sensitive.

Yeah I think I have some serious damage (not from performing these quick fixes) to my first TLA#03xx drive but all 3 of the other drives I worked on are working fine still. The serious damage wasn’t my fault though, I went through 3 drives with Plextor RMAs and I’m told when Plextor sends you an RMA drive it’s actually a refurbished one not a new drive so it has an even lower life expectantcy. If only knew about this trick with the very first drive that I had bought out of the box I probably would have voided the warranty and repaired it myself and it would have worked better than their refurbished replacements.

My xbox dvd-rom drive is from the refurbished xbox1 I bought back in 2003 anyway and that xbox survived a 3 foot free fall with no problems :eek: . So now every once in a while the that xbox dvd-rom drive makes 2 clicks or 2 grind noises when you first load a disc into the drive but it never makes that noise again until you reload a disc. It sounds like a gear slipping and I believe it’s the laser “losing track” of where to read or having a loss of connection from the ribbon cable for a split second causing it to halt or jerk. The noise goes away when I follow those quick remedy steps. Power off, remove ribbon cable, power on, power off, reconnect ribbon cable, power on and everything is fine again until the next good while to a few months.

I always try to be as careful as possible because I know about static, I avoided touching the laser or the ribbon contacts, I held it by the white plastic or by the side edges like a disc. Also removing and replacing these ribbon cables are easy, they almost always have a flip clamp. So you flip a piece up or out and the cable is loose. Then you hold the cable in place and flip it back. I also clean the lens by soaking a Q-tip in 70% rubbing alcohol and very gently wipe the lens. Gently like if you’re brushing a fly’s wings. I’m going to add this detail to my post. I would make better instructions but I’m so swamped at the moment so later I’ll post something more instructional instead of recital.

You mentioned that you tried this method on an Xbox but do you think that this method would also work for PS2 lenses that are also displaying similar symptoms?

I don’t have a lot of experience with PS2 consoles. The one time a PS2 I was around was skipping when playing DVD movies and certain games were continually skipping at the same places; I opened that one up and cleaned the lens with a Q-Tip soaked in 70% rubbing alcohol not dripping wet but soaked. They say the higher the percent the safer and cleaner/better for electronics. Alcohol is a grease remover so if you have your system in a smoking environment or a dusty environment then after a while the lens will need to clean. A friend of mine that smokes cigs and weed in his home was having problems with his xbox reading and when I opened it there was black and dark grey residue around various edges and the lens too had some residue on the outer rim. I cleaned it and it worked perfect again.

As for the PS2 I don’t believe it would hurt to try, good luck and be careful. You need to have patience when opening and cleaning these devices and when you rub the lens treat it like if you’re stroking a hair trigger gun pointed at your head. Pressure can scratch the lens so you just want to gently get the lens wet and wipe off what could be a nearly invisible minute spec of dust. As for handling the cable, be careful not to yank it out, the cable is very thin strips of metal and yanking could scrape it even thinner making even less contact with the connector. Look for a release flap and if there’s absolutely none then pull the ribbon out of the socket slowly and also wipe the ribbon contacts with some rubbing alcohol too. I have PS1 controller who’s buttons don’t respond fully but immediately after wiping the contacts with rubbing alcohol it works perfect for a short while. Controller was dropped too many times is all.

Once you get this trick down you will have no need for those lens cleaning discs as many of them do more damage than good because dry bristles can scratch the lens. What is supposed to be good to use are the lens demagnetizing discs, apparently over time the laser gets magnetized and that will bend the laser light differently.