How to Repair XBox Laser Problems
By Marshal M. Rosenthal
Updated September 22, 2017
Items you will need
Flat edged screwdriver
T6 Allen-head screwdriver
T8 Allen-head screwdriver
The Xbox 360 DVD drive uses a laser to read the game discs that are inserted into it. The standard setting of the intensity of the laser is set too high. This can cause the laser to read discs irregularly and burn out faster than it should. Adjusting the laser to a lower number is not a casual repair, but it will result in the laser functioning more correctly over the lifetime of the DVD drive.
Opening the Xbox 360 Case
Remove the power plug and audio-video cables from the Xbox 360. Put the console onto a clean cloth on a work surface horizontally. Put a hand inside the door covering the USB ports and the other squeezing the top and bottom of the faceplate. Pull off the faceplate.
Bend the gray ventilation shield on the console's right side so you can see the gray piece of plastic inside. Take the long thin stick and insert it through the white holes where the clips attach to the shield. Pull out the gray pieces attached to the clips so that the plastic comes loose.
Press the button on the front of the Xbox 360. Repeat the procedure to remove the gray plastic on the left side. Turn the Xbox 360 upside down. Take the flat-edged screwdriver and pry off the four clips holding the top sheet of the console to the bottom. Lift the front of the bottom shelf so you can see inside.
Use the Torx screwdrivers to remove the 14 silver screws and the eight black screws inside of the Xbox 360 console. Turn the console right side up and lift off the outer shell.
Removing and Opening the DVD Drive
Locate the DVD drive. Take the Phillips screwdriver and remove the screws holding the DVD drive. Pick up the DVD drive and remove the power plug and data cables from the connectors by pulling them straight out.
Take the DVD player and put it down on the work surface with the warranty sticker facing up. Remove the sticker to expose the screws. Use the T6 Allen wrench screwdriver to remove the four screws on each side of the DVD drive.
Turn the DVD drive over and pull off the top while holding onto the flat bottom of the case. Use the T8 Allen wrench to remove the four screws holding the heat shield to the case. Remove the heat shield.
Pull out the serial connector attached to the case and slide out the DVD drive mechanism from the case.
Repairing the Laser of the DVD Drive
Put the DVD drive mechanism down with the circuit boards facing up. Loosen the bottom of the circuit board by jiggling it gently so that you can lift it up. Remove the ribbon cables by pulling them out from the connector so that you can see the potentiometer (pot). There are three contact screws on the pot. Position the drive so that it is facing you with the single contact on the left.
Take the multimeter and set the impedance setting to 200. Place the two wire contacts of the multimeter on the lower left and the lower right pot contacts. Record the initial reading of the multimeter.
Take the Exacto knife and carefully scrape the glue away from the contact screw at the upper right. Take the eyeglass screwdriver and adjust the screw counterclockwise.
Take a reading with the multimeter and continue to adjust the screw until the multimeter reads 1000.
Attach the ribbon cables to the circuit board and replace the circuit board to its position covering the pot.
Putting the DVD Drive Back
Take the DVD drive mechanism and slide it back into the DVD case. Attach the serial connector to the end of the case.
Take the T8 Allen wrench screwdriver and put the four screws back into the heat shield which is placed over the DVD drive mechanism. Put the top of the case back onto the DVD drive mechanism and replace the eight screws using the T6 Allen wrench screwdriver.
Put the DVD drive down into the casing of the Xbox 360 console. Attach the power cable and the data cable from the circuit board into the connectors on the DVD drive.
Take the Phillips screwdriver and replace the screws back into the DVD drive to hold it to the Xbox 360 case.
Clsoing the Xbox 360 Case
Replace the outer shell of the Xbox 360 console back onto the case. Screw back in the 14 silver screws and the eight black screws into the outer shell using the Torx screwdrivers. Position the four clips jutting out from the outer shell back into position to the bottom of the case.
Insert the left piece of gray plastic back into the Xbox 360 console and then insert the right piece of gray plastic back into the console. Move the gray ventilation shield on the right side back to its original position.
Put the faceplate back onto the front of the Xbox 360 console by pushing it on until it clicks into position.
Plug the power cord back into the Xbox 360 console. Attach the audio and video cables back into the Xbox 360 console. Turn on the Xbox 360 and insert a game disc and play it.
Take great care when working inside of the DVD drive, as there are delicate components that must not be disturbed.
Wear a static electricity strap to remove any static electricity so that you do not damage any of the Xbox 360's electronics.
Opening the Xbox voids the warranty, as does working on the DVD drive. This could cause an authorized dealer or Microsoft to refuse to do another kind of repair, even if it has nothing to do with the DVD drive.
Marshal M. Rosenthal is a technology maven with more than 15 years of editorial experience. A graduate of Brooks Institute of Photography with a Bachelor of Arts in photographic arts, his editorial work has appeared both domestically as well as internationally in publications such as "Home Theater," "Electronic House," "eGear," "Computer and Video Games" and "Digitrends."