Sticky eject tray mechanism, Lite-On LH-20A1P/A_DH-20A4P

Note, this is a cross-flashed drive now using a CK version of firmware 9P59.
I have owned this drive two years now I think and the first year it worked fine. I have been using it mostly as a DQ scanner, a reader/ripper, bit-setting DVD+RW, and burning the odd DL disc. A bit loud at times, but I mostly have no major complaints. During the second year of ownership I began having the “sticky tray” on trying to eject using the button on the drive. At first the unresponsive tray was quite seldom. But over time (about 8 months) it has gotten worse. Now there are occasions when at least 5 or 6 presses are necessary to eject the tray. Because this problem has gradually worsened over time I assumed all along that this was purely a mechanical problem–poor manufacturing or assembly or maybe a design flaw. I now think this last assumption may not be completely correct, and the problem is also possibly a code (software) conflict or corruption.

Below are two screen shots of windows displayed when using IsoBuster to eject the tray instead of physically pressing the button on the drive. The “Other Application has locked the drive” window occurs first and the tray remains closed. I then press the button in IsoBuster a second time and the “Unexpected Error and Retry Exhausted” window is displayed and the tray still remains closed. I then press the button in IsoBuster a third time and the tray opens with no error displayed. The weird thing is that after performing this whole operation with IsoBuster, the tray is no longer sticky–whether using software or physically pressing the eject button on the drive. It will open practically every time afterwards during that boot of the OS and often on reboots the drive tray will not stick at all. :confused:
(By the way, I have never installed Packet Writing Software on my current install of XP SP3–I haven’t installed Nero, Sony software, or any other app with packet writing features–I don’t believe ImgBurn has this.)

Is it possible that a conflict arising from some software in my system is causing this? I experimented with this idea. After opening ImgBurn and using the “Lock Tray” and “Unlock Tray” options in ImgBurn/Tools/Drive/ , I noticed the sound made by the drive tray once I have locked the tray and then pressed the eject button is exactly the same as when the drive tray is in “sticky” mode.:doh:

Is it possible that after using some software installed on my system, the tray is locked and left that way? Causing the tray to be stuck thereafter.
What I would like to do is perform a test whenever the tray goes into sticky mode. Is there any software that can send a command to the drive to query if the tray is locked or not? I have done this with IsoBuster, but would like a second opinion from other software.

Also, if another member with this drive and the same problem could test this and post their findings that would be great.:slight_smile:


I’ve got the same problem, its gradually gotten worse.

However, I’ve drawn a different conclusion to urs.
It does seem mechanical.

I’ve got mine connected to just the power, when the drive is enclosed, it will not eject.
However, if I remove the top enclosure, it will eject and close no problems.

I’ve removed the face to inspect what could be the problem during ejection when fully enclosed. But cannot come up with a conclusive reason at the moment. But definetly something is jamming up the wheels during ejection when the fully enclosed.

Will find out more soon…

Ok, it seems that the enclosure has a white cap on top of it, it seems the metal inside this plastic cap has a magnet in it, and its providing too much resistance for the motor to release the spindle.
So does this mean the motor is borked?

I fixed it by adding a plastic buffer in the inside ring of the cap/spindle, weakend the magnetic pull enough so that it ejects fine now.

Hi All

I don’t have a model like yours, mines a Sony DVD RW DRU-810A.

It also seems to have this sticky tray issue. I’m a bit of a novice when it comes to my pc so im not to keen to go poking around, however they way it was described it seems like it should be a pretty easy fault to fix, provided it is the same problem.

My drive does stick on ejection and on release, however if i manually change the angle of the tray, sometimes the gears catch and the drive tray goes back in.

Quite bizarre. Any one got an idea for a quick solution?

Get rid of the packet writing software.


I don’t have your optical unit but I do have some HW experience with optical storage. What you’re describing is usually a mechanical issue ( the tray mechanism is driven by a combination of a motor and plastic wheels via a rubber belt and over time this rubber belt loosens and starts skipping ). Usually there is nothing wrong with the rest of the tray mechanics ( motor, wheels, etc ), only that rubber belt needs replacement. When you replace that rubber belt be carefull not to use a rubber belt which is way smaller than the original one ( you’ll be wearing out the bearings of the motor/wheels/etc and create more problems later ).
Small disclamer : there are optical drives which do not use any belt in the drive mechanism ( they use only plastic wheels instead ). I don’t know what mechanism your drive is using but i’m more than confident it’s belt drive ( the wheels only drive seems to be used on older drives - I think it was dropped either because of higher manufacturing cost or due to higher noise while ejecting/closing ).

Best regards and good luck :slight_smile:

PS: I hope I got myself understood, i’m not a native English speaker :slight_smile:

Hi, my DVD has the same problem. the DVD drive does not eject until after around 5 times of pressing the eject button. But later i found the solution:
Always have a disc inserted ( i recommend a Blank CD) in the drive when not in use which will make the drive open with just one press of the button when you want to insert another disc.

I have two LH-20A1H drives. I recently had a similar problem and found a solution that worked on both drives. Did this happen after cleaning out your PC or when there was a lot of dust for some reason? These drives apparently have a very finicky eject mechanism and gearing. Even the slightest contamination will stop them in their tracks.

The first time this happened it was my bottom drive and I chocked it up to a bad drive but didn’t worry too much since the top drive still worked flawlessly. I just blew out my pc again (monthly maintenance) and suddenly the top drive started doing the same thing. That’s when it dawned on me that the first drive started acting funny just after blowing out my PC just a month or so ago. I kept ejecting and it continued to get worse until it wouldn’t eject at all without a paper clip to assist.

Here’s what I did to fix the issue. I grabbed a few cotton swabs and a bottle of 91% rubbing alcohol. Opening the tray is simple enough. Straighten out a paper clip and insert it into the small hole on the lower left of the tray opening. While applying a slight pressure with the paper clip push the eject button. You will feel the paper clip move inward with the mechanism and with some assistance it will open. You have to be fast with this but you will get the hang of it. Now that the drive door is open, grab your cotton swab and 91% alcohol. Saturate your swab (wet and dripping) and apply it to the drive belt and pulleys. Saturate this as good as you can. It should be pretty saturated and dripping (the alcohol wont hurt anything). Now open and close the tray repeating the process until the belt and pulleys are completely clean. I manually grabbed the tray and forced it open and closed without letting it close completely. Be careful not to be too forceful! Open, saturate, close and open, and so on. Don’t give up yet because it’s isn’t quite ready. Now Clean up the slides on both sides of the tray (top, side and bottom) the same way you just did the belt and pulleys. Saturate, operate the mechanism, repeat. Grease is necessary but it attracts dirt and gets sticky so it needs to be removed before lubricating the tray again. Grab a flashlight and inspect throughly. All visible gearing and anything you can see that moves. Look for contamination such as hair or dust. One small hair can stop this thing in it’s tracks. Clean it up, re-lube the parts (NOT THE BELT OR PULLEYS) and with enough persistence you will have a working drive again (at least thats what worked for me on both drives).

This process took me about an hour and a half of cleaning and working the eject trays in and out on both drives. [I]I probably could have done this quicker if I had just removed the drives and taken them apart.[/I] They both work flawlessly now without any hesitation. I guess time will tell how long this lasts.

Thanks nylox2004,

I will give that a try as this problem has gotten to the point where I have to manually eject every time I want to use the drive. Better than simply tossing the drive, because it is a good reader.

[QUOTE=uSerKey;2451435]Thanks nylox2004,

I will give that a try as this problem has gotten to the point where I have to manually eject every time I want to use the drive. Better than simply tossing the drive, because it is a good reader.[/QUOTE]

No Problem uSerKey: I hope this works for you. I forgot to mention in my post that I was able to eject the drive from windows explorer but not with the eject button on the drive. I also thought it was a software or firmware issue. It eventually got so bad that it wouldn’t eject with either. That’s when I decided to do the thorough cleaning and all is well.

No gain, but no loss.

I had free time today so I spent an hour trying carefully to clean the tray sliding mechanism. Because this drive is almost two years out of warranty I decided to remove the cover casing and do a thorough cleaning job on all areas where contact is made during the tray’s slide when opening and closing. After reassembling the drive everything is the same as prior to the cleaning. Nothing changed. I still must manually eject the tray every single time.

I did learn something though. With the casing of the drive open, I used the manual ejection “push” control to initiate the drive opening while doing the cleaning. I noticed that it is the manual drive ejection mechanism which is most likely a factor in my drive’s no longer opening properly. This mechanism seems to get stuck in a very slightly wrong “position”, causing the problem. I couldn’t see any way to remedy this. Is this the same mechanism that locks the drive while writing a disc perhaps?

I didn’t mention in my previous posts that I have never had a problem with the drive tray closing once it has been opened. I guess the push/pull action to close the drive is much easier for the mechanism to initiate than the push/pull action to initiate opening the tray.

I am a dirtbag, cheapskate though and will continue to use the drive as long as it reads, scans and writes discs.

Get rid off incd. Read the warning the program gave you.


Never had Nero, InCD, or any other packet writing software installed on my system.

I have concluded that the IsoBuster error window is a false alarm, and that the problem is mechanical–somehow related to the manual eject mechanism. The manual eject still works but it is preventing the drive from opening with both the eject button and software-based opening(ImgBurn/IsoBuster), somehow.

I have 7 Lite on drives with the same ejection problem lite on is giving shit for our money

w0w i thought i was alone in this situation, i also have 2 liteons with the same problem…LH 20A1S and Lh 20A1H…
No more litey’s for me… suming the problem that both burners can’t read burned dvd+r… it’s detected as dvd+rw and with all free space.

FWIW my 20A1H has this same eject problem. Takes a number of presses to get it to work. Still reads and writes discs like a charm though, so I’ll keep using it until it dies for good.

[QUOTE=reptile;2470651]FWIW my 20A1H has this same eject problem. Takes a number of presses to get it to work. Still reads and writes discs like a charm though, so I’ll keep using it until it dies for good.[/QUOTE]

Opened my 20A1S and did some cleaning and placed some lubricant on the flywhells and now it opens like a charm.
Still doesn’t read any dvd+r @ dvd-rom

I have a computer lab with 20 Gateway PCs that all have the Lite-On SOHD167T. They are all having the sticking tray problem. I brought one of them home this weekend to take a look. I had previously noted that the data side of the CDs that we keep in place all had a sticky substance near the center hole but did not put 2 and 2 together.

Now that I have taken one of these apart I have noticed that the spindle non-skid ring must be the problem. I think over time and with a little heat it has deteriorated and has become very sticky. This must be just enough to keep the tray motor from opening the tray.

We cannot afford to replace all 20 drives at this time, so I am hoping to find some type of a solution. Either cleaning the non-skid ring with some type of cleaner or replacing it, or putting some type of shield on it.

Has anyone heard of any ideas or solutions that have worked. How about putting some type of dust or powder on the non-skid ring to make it less sticky??? I’ve read that Lite-on is of no help.

Thanks, Bruce

In post #4 NoCarrier posted he added a plastic buffer.
My litey is sticky too.Not to the point most of the posters in this topic have .