Solution: How to fix "Focus or Tracking Errors" on LG Drives

Hi everyone,

My first post here. But I thought it would be of help. I have an LG-4082B that worked perfectly for about a year, and then all of a sudden started giving me “Focus or tracking error” in Nero and wouldn’t burn anymore. I searched a lot on the internet and found no solution. So I opened up the drive and discovered the problem.

LG uses very cheap grease on the railings. After about a year, the cheap grease dries up and the lens mechanism can no longer slide properly… thus giving you tracking errors.

This is how you fix it. It worked for my 4082, so I suspect it would work for other LG brand drives as well (assuming they use the same type of railing grease on multiple models):

Steps:

  1. Open your dvd drive tray
  2. Power off your computer and turn off the power supply
  3. Remove the dvd drive from your computer
  4. Remove the 4 screws on the button of the Dvd drive
  5. Remove the bottom metal plate from the dvd drive. This should expose a green circuit board.
  6. Pop out the front faceplate by sticking a screwdriver into the 2 plastic lock-latches on either side of the drive casing
  7. Slide the faceplate out, and now lift the entire drive out of it’s casing
  8. There are 3 locations you must grease: 1) There is a spiral shaped copper railings on the left hand side. 2 & 3) Then there are 2 chrome railings holding the lens mechanism that you must grease

Don’t use too much grease or it will drip off the railings, onto your circuit board and cause damage to the drive**

I used sewing machine oil and a Q-tip to grease the 3 railings. I put 1 drop of grease on, then I would slide the mechanism up and down to distribute the grease evenly. I was very careful in applying the grease and removed any excess with the Q-tip.

  1. Double check one more time to make sure there’s no excess grease that would drip off of the rails after you close this drive up.

Reverse the steps, close your dvd drive and reinstall the drive. It should solve your focus-or-tracking error problems.

Sincerely,
luminos.

Actually, all drives do dry up after a while, just regreased my Liteon burner (just a year old and this is the 2nd time! 1st time around, I just loosened it with some full reads.) and my ancient Philips 2x dvdrom recently. Compared to you, I am more reckless cos I spray contact cleaner generously on the mechanicals but carefully avoiding the PUH, of course …

This is really a note for anyone else reading this, rather than you Mac : some kinds of contact cleaner MELT PLASTIC. If you’re going to try spraying it around like that, make sure you don’t use that kind of contact cleaner! I paid a good keyboard to learn that lesson, after trying to clean the key contacts with that kind of contact cleaner.

luminos : thanks for the detailed info! I don’t have a problem with my 4163B but I’ve wanted to do this for some time as part of maintenance. I had a rough idea on how to do it, but you’re instructions cleared up any doubts.

Agree with you on that, I have used Philips Contact Cleaner (no financial interest, hee hee…:smiley: ) on PC parts for years without problems of plastic damage but other lubs may not be as kind. For example, I am kinda wary using WD40 on plastics.

btw luminos, it’s indeed a great description on the job but I am just posting to point out LG isn’t the only ones with lub problems (theoretically all lub jobs will dry up one day). Wonder if anyone had been kind enough to do a blow by blow pictorial guide yet cos I can forsee lots of ODDs ending up in dumps due to simple lub problems. With current prices being so low, ODDs are now use and throw commodities… rather ungreen though.

:slight_smile:

PS: which contact cleaner did you use?

This page does say WD40 is plastic friendly which is nice to know but I am still wary of it. :slight_smile:
http://www.wd40.com/Brands/wd40_faqs.html

hmmm cant you give it back to your retailer… warranty?

Hi,

That was my first line of action, but the tech support told me my warranty had expired. In retrospect, regreasing the railings is very easy to do and is preferable to sending in and exchanging the drive!

Sincerely,
luminos

Hi MacChipper,

Thanks for the reply. That is a great idea, I might be able to work on a pic-by-pic tutorial after exams are finished and I have some more time.

As for the contact cleaner, I just used some lubricant made for sewing machines that I had lying around the house. It works well for now, but I am unsure of the long term complications that might result. I’ll post a follow-up report when the timing seems appropriate to document any problems with corrosion or malfunction. I don’t anticipate any problems.

Sincerely,
luminos

Yes, I have a strong suspicion that WD40 is petroleum-based (judging from the smell of the stuff). I would stay away from the stuff as well.

Heheh, I have used the said Philips cleaner on my mobo PCI slots, video/sound cards, AV equipment contacts for the past few years without adverse effects AFAIK. Its small nozzle (esp. earlier batches with a long thin straw nozzle) allows me to reach areas which are otherwise impossible with a cotton bud.

Check this site on for their opinion of WD40, something which I believe to be true too.

http://www.hoslotcarracing.com/Chemistry.html
“WD-40 will however destroy plastic over time, so take care to apply it to the metal power rails only.”

And here’s wishing you the best in your exams, it’s really nice of you to volunteer to do a pictorial guide. :slight_smile:

I was in Australia at the time. I borrowed a friend’s can of contact cleaner. It was from Dick Smith Electronics and it was their own brand of contact cleaner. Only after using it did I realise the can had a warning message on it indicating that it eats plastic. This wasn’t a case of gradually corroding plastic. The parts of the keyboard I sprayed it on completely melted into a soft paste.

I only lost a keyboard out of that. My friend used it on one of the sensors in his car. It killed that too and it cost him several hundred dollars to get a replacement.

@luminos:

Thanks for this tip. I just used it to restore my LG 4163B, which I had discarded because the burns it made showed terrible error scan results. After lubricating, the scans (made with a BenQ) are back to excellent. See here. :smiley:

i opened up my 4120b, but I can’t see any 1)spiral shaped copper railing? :frowning:

strange, i cant edit my post???

anyway, found the spiral copper already :o

Just for reference, this is NOT just an LG problem. Many manufacturers have this problem, and it’s been around since at least the days of the CD writers. I remember back in the days of 2x CD writers, Philips came out with their SCSI Omniwriter/00 drive. Only had to regrease it about every 6 months, and that was with high quality grease. I suppose it was just poor design of the hardware, and it extended to other models of that era as well. It was an EXTREMELY common complaint amongst internet users at the time, and actually did lead to a class action lawsuit against Philips, though I’m not sure what the outcome was.

Hey Xterminator I was wondering what speed you burned the TY G02’s at after you re-greased the rails?

Always at 8x for best results. I would try 12x but that is not available for -r media with the LG 4163B.

Hello,

I also seem to have a problem with my now 2 years old LG GSA-4163B (A105).
Always burned DVDs very reliable and had very good PIE/PIF scans on quality media.
But when I did two burns on Verbatims a few days ago, the PIE/PIF scans were really bad. :frowning:

Could this also be a symptom for the almost dried up grease problem?

Attached the quality scans of the burns. Used Verbatim branded 16x DVD+R (Made in India), MCC 004.

first burn @16x resulted practically in a coaster,
second burn @8x shows also some bad PIE spikes which never happened before.

Media should be OK, from the same spindle I did a burn in my Litey SHM-165H6S (HS0E). Have a look: http://club.cdfreaks.com/showpost.php?p=1788411&postcount=21

Most of the time, my computer is powered on - maybe the heat could also cause an accelerated grease dry-up.

Do you think I should try to “re-grease” my LG?

Thanks,
Megodin





Hi [B]Megodin[/B]!
Made in India Verbatim is generally considered to be less consistant so what about trying your luck with some other media, maybe Made in Taiwan Verbatim or MIJ Taiyo Yuden?

Also, I would have rather expected slowly worsening scans, but I haven’t experienced such things with my LGs myself yet.