Teardown: Old DVD burner.

Loyal Reader, I would like to present a new somewhat regular thing: Teardown Tuesday, where I indulge in a rather weird personal pleasure–taking things apart–and torment you with bad pictures of the process.

I hope that, eventually, my pictures will get better.

This Tuesday’s item is the humble DVD-RW. I don’t know what brand or model–it might be on the label visible in one of the pictures, but I don’t think it matters. If I manage to keep doing this, I will try to be better about brands and model numbers.


If you’ve ever wondered what these look like on the inside, you’re in luck. Especially if you’ve ever wondered what these things look like on the inside in a slightly murky room with weird lighting.

Step One: Remove visible screws.
Step Two: Start pulling to reveal hidden screws.


There were no hidden screws, which meant diverting to ‘pry on anything that looks like a clip’. I removed the faceplate/bezel thing, accidentally taking the tray along for the ride.


Yup. That’s the tray. I don’t think it’ll come out at this stage. In one piece, anyway.


Off comes the metal shell. The bottom, that is. Hey, look, insides. Nifty. There’s a green thing and a wheel-looking thing, and another, smaller green thing.


But things are getting too interesting. I’d better flip it over and, hey, more case. Which actually came right off. Because, obviously, nothing was holding it on.


This is what it looks like without the metal case, but from the top this time.

Let’s get that tray out of the way, because everyone’s seen that tray.

What you might not have seen [and what you won’t see here, because I was taking pictures with a potato I stored next to an onion] is how the tray works. When you push that eject button, the tray comes out, right? It comes out because of these little gears, and a belt-driven wheel. Seriously, there’s a tiny little belt in there.


That’s the laser. That’s what burns the DVDs and reads them.


This board, as far as I can tell, is what controls everything. It’s where the power goes in, and where the data transfer between computer and drive happens.


The other side of the board. It’s connected to the laser with that flat white cable.


Once I’ve got that board detached, everything’s pretty much over.


So let’s look at this thing again.


See that ridged, screw-looking thing on the right? That’s how the laser moves. It really is a screw. It turns [the big thing at the top is probably a small electric motor], and, depending on the direction it turns, the laser [more visible in the picture just above this one] moves toward the front or the rear of the device.

And that’s what a DVD-RW looks like on the inside.

Go on, say something....