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      CommentAuthorlegendre
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    I need to clean the lens in a DVD drive, and I'm finding lots of conflicting info on what is and isn't safe. There are three main concerns - not removing the lens coating, not dissolving the plastic from which the lens is made and not scratching anything.

    I've read that 90% isopropyl is exactly the best and worst thing to use (for the coating). Also, water (which I think would leave spots & streaks) and Windex have been suggested. It's also been suggested to use a Q-tip for the cleaning, but this seems way too abrasive to me. Others suggest using lens paper, microfiber cloth..

    One big problem with the drive in question, is that the laser unit is pretty well sealed up; screws set with JB weld among other things. So, I really have no way of directly cleaning the backside of the lens, the sensor, the mirror etc. Guess I use an air duster and pray for rain.

    Anyone familiar with servicing optical drives?
    • CommentAuthorscience
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    nope not me
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010 edited
     
    How expensive and irreplaceable is the item? Isopropyl straight 70% out of the bottle on a Q tip or slightly diluted with water usually handles these jobs fine. Not so wet as to drip into the circuits. Isopropanol and ethyl alcohol don't injure either quartz or glass though they can cause fogginess in plastics. I wouldn't think the lens is plastic but nowadays who knows? From China it could be lead.

    And we all know that ethyl alcohol can cause fogginess in minds of which Sean is the poster example.

    Oh... you can also buy commercially made cleaning CD's, sometimes they come with solutions, others are used dry with cleaning software. I forget where I last saw that but it was about 2 years ago for a Panasonic DVD-RAM R/W cartridge (nifty tech that is).
  1.  
    Even the "air" in duster cans can mess things up, especially if you let a little of the freezing liquid get on the work. If you have real air, dry, that's good.
    I wouldn't use anything but a good quality water-based optical lens cleaning solvent. Nothing containing any alcohol whatsoever, even though many commercial cleaners have isopropyl in them.
    Rexton Optyl 7 is my preferred magic goo,and a fine grade of lens paper from the camera store. You can't tell what's in a Q-tip these days, I've even had them come apart or get all gummy from some adhesive in them.
    I might try the microfiber cloth, if I could be assured it's really really clean with no sizing or other residue on it.
    But commercial lens paper is your best bet; it won't have the stray abrasive particles in it that normal paper has.
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      CommentAuthoralsetalokin
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010 edited
     
    The problem with the alcohol is that you don't know what the lens and the mounts are made of. At least I don't. And many alcohols that you might buy are denatured with stuff that you would not want on your lens coatings anyway. If you can get reagent grade isopropyl alcohol that's different, you could probably use that on a glass lens safely. But alcohols in general craze and fog certain plastics and I would not use them on plastic mechanical or optical parts unless I was absolutely sure about compatibility.

    Even a Sharpie Marker line on acrylic plastic will cause crazing, cracking and eventual weakening and failure, from the alcohol solvent.
    • CommentAuthorlennyhome
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010 edited
     
    I do it with toilet paper and a drop of water. Just the outside, lightly, one or two passes. Distilled water and better paper is a plus but I wouldn't risk using any alcohol because it's hard to know what the lens is made of.

    Here's how I do it. I make no guarantees even though for me it works beautifully. I open the drive and expose the lens, just the side that faces the disk. Sometimes you only need to remove the cover of the drive. I pick a piece of toilet paper, make a cone, dip the tip of the cone in water, apply the wet part to the lens. Pressing gently you'll find out that it is suspended on wires. If it goes down a millimeter because of the pressure it's ok but no more than that. Poke around a little bit, let it dry for a minute.

    I used to trash a CD reader on my PC every 6 months before I discovered I could just do that.
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      CommentAuthorlegendre
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    @my

    It's an optical drive from a video game system, proprietary hardware, replacements are not generally available.

    @all

    I'm not sure what the lens is made of, but if I had to guess, I'd say polycarbonate. The touchy part is the coating.. if that goes away, the laser assy is junk. Oh, and the other touchy part is the voice coil / suspension.
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      CommentAuthorterry1094
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010 edited
     
    A Q-tip and Everclear. Take a big swig of Everclear to steady your hand and gently wipe the lens with a Q-tip. There should be no solvent required. You should only have dust accumulation unless you are a smoker or use your drive in the kitchen while making fish and chips.

    edit: Keep a chaser nearby for the Everclear (190 proof).
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    Based on our practice in the '90's making optical fibre components: reagent grade ethanol and Q-tips, many of them, use once. We can't be responsible for effects of ethanol on glues, etc. but generally not too bad.

    Or the other method: old newspaper and Windex, with a light scrubbing using fine sand. Then the phone call to the customer service department.
    • CommentAuthorYAFFP
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010 edited
     
    What is it dirty from?

    Dust and cigarette smoke require different approaches.

    If just dust then it just needs some gentle tiny tip soft paintbrush.

    If tar and dust it will require a glass cleaner.

    Once upon a time in the good old days it was freon by the bucket.

    BTW cotton tips (Q tips) are very abrasive compared to other things (soft brush hair or even a fingertip) so it is not a good idea to use them on optics.
  2.  
    Hell, just spit on your cleanest finger and give the thang a wipe.
    • CommentAuthorYAFFP
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    Posted By: alsetalokinHell, just spit on your cleanest finger and give the thang a wipe.


    exactly what I edited my post to read, though spit may not be the best if you chaw tobaccy.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    reagent grade ethanol
    Wasteful. Rather add vanilla ice cream to make "snow balls", a great seduction assist for both genders. Actually for all four.
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      CommentAuthorAngus
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    Posted By: maryyugo
    reagent grade ethanol
    Wasteful. Rather add vanilla ice cream to make "snow balls", a great seduction assist for both genders. Actually for all four.


    Five, actually. And then there's Lenny.
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      CommentAuthormaryyugo
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    Uhhun. Thanks. What's the 5th? And what's a "Lenny"?
    • CommentAuthorlennyhome
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    It's a me.
  3.  
    Five? I can tell you haven't been to Toronto in a while.

    What's a Lenny?
    Lenny means different things to different people. For me, the first thing that comes to mind (sorry, Lenny) is altocumulus lenticularis.
    • CommentAuthorlennyhome
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    There is no coupling between me and that thing.
    • CommentAuthorLakes
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    Buy a new one and keep the old one for parts... :)
    • CommentAuthorMileHigh
    • CommentTimeJan 31st 2010
     
    Just get a new Orbo-powered DVD player