PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

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paulkakanis
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PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by paulkakanis » August 4th, 2020, 1:31 pm

Hi All,

Wanted to put this post here so as not to get the Development Thread off track.
Takehaniyasubiko wrote:
August 4th, 2020, 11:10 am
For now, I only think about finally completing my PS1 games with no issues. I couldn't do it before because those stupid PS1 CD-ROMs would keep dying during long playthroughs, especially with JRPGs (I had to use two to beat Persona 1 in full). I hope PSIO will finally open the gates to the PS1 heaven.
I know there have been some heated discussions in the past regarding the PS1 laser, and I absolutely do not want to get into that type of debate in this thread, but I do want to share my experience, which is pretty much the opposite of yours.

I got my first Playstation for Christmas in 1998. It was a 7501 Dual Shock model. I got it with Metal Gear Solid, Crash Bandicoot, and FF7 to start. Played it religiously for about 5 years, and then packed it away for the following 5. Since 2008, It's been used very regularly on weekends and rainy days. Typically once a week for a few hours, during Christmas and Summer holidays for much more. For example I used it last weekend to beat Crash Bandicoot again.

For context:
I haven't done anything to it besides adding a Mayumi V4 to use backups instead of my originals. I burn using Taiyo Yuden discs (I bought a few hundred back in 2011 for all my retro systems)

I annually disassemble and clean the system, lubricate the gears and laser rails, and clean the lens. The system was stored for 5 or so years in a carrying case in a temperature controlled environment.

All that to say:
I haven't had a single problem with my laser unit. It's still original, and doesn't skip a beat. Metal Gear Solid skipped back in 2000, but that was because I'd scratched that disc to hell and back. On my pristine backups it plays beautifully. No FMV skips on any game I've played, no long loading, weird noises, etc.

I've beaten Crash Bandicoot (one of the more notorious laser killers as we've previously discussed) at least 6 or 7 times, FF7 the same number, and Metal Gear Solid at LEAST 4 or 5 times a year because I'm a fanatic. :P
Resident Evil 3 is also a huge personal favorite. I've beaten that one probably a dozen times in the past 2 years.

I've been preparing for a laser death for years, it was one of the reasons I was SO excited to get PSIO. I've installed ODE's into My Saturn, Dreamcast, and 3D0 as well, so I'm not a CD purist or anything. I want these systems to last as long as possible, and the laser unit will almost certainly be the first main failure point. Over the years I've also bought 3 back up 7501's when I've found them at Garage sales or great Ebay auctions for under 20 bucks. Figured I'd steal the disc drives from them when I needed, but so far I haven't had to.
So please understand I love PSIO. As soon as I can play all my favorites without issue on it, my original is getting packed up for good. Can't wait!

Now I'm well aware of the laser issues in the 1000 series and warping/wear to heat from the power supply and all the plastic parts and what not, but it was my understanding that Sony beefed up the laser units starting with the 5500 series or thereabouts. I apologize I don't have a source on that, it's been years since I've read up on the detailed (non Wikipedia) history of hardware revisions. I do remember my neighbor had one that we had to turn upside down to play because of warped rails, that was always fun. :D

So in the big picture I LOVE the PSIO, and am super excited that we may be approaching true 99%+ compatibility. I would love to retire my original unit back in it's box for display in the game collection.

So when you say you've had to replace a laser just to finish one game I wince, because that's gotta be annoying as all hell. Good laser units aren't cheap anymore. It's also been my experience that even good aftermarket ones are much louder than stock units. How many lasers have you gone through over the years?

I've heard and seen laser failures on a few different consoles over the years, but your history has been worse than most people I've spoken with. My experience has been the opposite. 20+ years of great performance, no problems at all, with (in my opinion) heavy usage.

Do you think there were huge swings in quality variance? Or is my laser just an amazing outlier that is actually a ticking time bomb ready to die any day now? (Rhetorical, it'll go when it goes, and Matt, Yuri, and their awesome PSIO have assured that my PS1 can live forever :P )
I've always assumed most lasers degraded or dies because they weren't cleaned or lubricated and just kind of burned themselves out for lack of a better phrase.


Would love to read other member's experiences with their PS1 disc drives. Most people I grew up with traded theirs in to Funcoland or Babbages back in 2001 and haven't touched one since. :?

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by Takehaniyasubiko » August 4th, 2020, 7:06 pm

Persona 1 is a game where literally every single action during random battles has to be loaded from the disc and with two long scenarios (especially the Snow Queen Quest), you will get an absurd amount of random battles. I had to replace the original laser on my SCPH-5552 because it died half-way through the game.

My opinion isn't strange at all. The DF Retro host can't even make a good video for the new HDMI mod because his PS1s have horrible CD-ROM issues: https://twitter.com/dark1x/status/12891 ... 73312?s=20

PSOne works better in this regard because it has an external PSU, but I still had issues with skipping FMVs and load errors when I was playing Valkyrie Profile on a PSOne.
Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that.
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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by AMG13 » August 5th, 2020, 5:02 am

I share my experience, I apologize in advance, I write Google as a translator :D

on my SCPH-7002, SCPH-7001 and SCPH-7502 I have managed to keep the original "CDrom PS1" working. the first to replace the spindle motor, after that I completely disassembled the original "sled motor" and cleaned the motor winding contacts from carbon deposits and lubricated them with engine oil, then assembled the "sled motor" in good order and installed "CDrom".
also cleaned all plastic guides and gears from old grease and lubricated with new silicone grease. Works like new with original "CD" and also pirated "CD".

But I also made a small mod in the "RF Amplifier for CD" (IC723) scheme, increased the "RFM" gain (pin.14), after that I managed to achieve stable reading of cheap "CD-R".
Also, "CDrom" bought on aliexpress work well with this mod. (this is tested on SCPH-7002, SCPH-7001, SCPH-7502)
variable resistor on "CDrom" which regulates the laser current left at factory settings R = 1200 Ohm
(all electrolytic capacitors were replaced with new polymer and tantalum)

the mod is marked in red on the photo
resistor = 10.5k or 11k
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1.jpg
the mod is marked in red on the photo
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Last edited by AMG13 on August 5th, 2020, 7:51 pm, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by paulkakanis » August 5th, 2020, 5:29 am

AMG13 wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 5:02 am
I share my experience, I apologize in advance, I write Google as a translator :D
That's awesome information, thank you for sharing!

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by OmenBoy » August 5th, 2020, 6:38 am

As a teen I went through 2 PS1s that had bad lasers (not sure the models, but they both had the rca jacks so SCPH-1001 I guess). The first PS1’s laser died within a couple of weeks, I’m not kidding. I exchanged it and the replacement lasted for about a year before it started having read problems. By that point friends who had similar issues told me about placing the console upside down. That worked for months, but then I heard from somewhere that the the DualShock version had a better laser in it so I bought one. That system lasted me for years before I gave it to my sister. She also played it for years. I modded it and played burned games on some of the cheapest CDRs my teenage hands could find, at the fastest burn speed possible. The burns never skipped. I had many friends who had bad lasers, and just as many who didn’t have any problems at all. I think it really was a crap shoot. Xbox however, man that Thompson drive is complete garbage. My current Xbox can barely read discs. I recently tried to back up some games I bought (perfect condition discs), and the Xbox struggled to back them up to the HDD.
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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by paulkakanis » August 5th, 2020, 7:41 am

OmenBoy wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 6:38 am
Xbox however, man that Thompson drive is complete garbage. My current Xbox can barely read discs. I recently tried to back up some games I bought (perfect condition discs), and the Xbox struggled to back them up to the HDD.
I absolutely hear you on that damn Thompson drive. Installing a large hdd with a sata adapter in my original xbox was a game changer for my enjoyment of that console.
OmenBoy wrote:
August 5th, 2020, 6:38 am
I heard from somewhere that the the DualShock version had a better laser in it so I bought one. That system lasted me for years before I gave it to my sister. She also played it for years. I modded it and played burned games on some of the cheapest CDRs my teenage hands could find, at the fastest burn speed possible. The burns never skipped.
I've heard this anecdotally as well, but unfortunately haven't ever seen hard data. From everything I've read the launch window models were built as cheaply as possible in order to under-price the Saturn (and probably also because Sony had no clue if this thing would even take off, I know there was heated debate within the company about pursing the video game market). The lasers began malfunctioning very quickly and Sony had to replace a great many of them under warranty. While the second and third iterations were of course streamlined to make them even cheaper to produce, I've read in several places that they significantly beefed up the disc drives because it was cheaper to build them better at the start than to keep servicing them under warranty with all the costs that entails. Again, no hard data or specific sources on this, but I've looked at the laser units on a 1001 and a 7501 side by side outside of their units and the 7501 is considerably better built.

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by cave hermit » August 6th, 2020, 1:46 am

Don't want to derail too much, but I also don't want to open a thread for what's basically a "me" problem. So I got my PSIO modded PS1 in the other day from my local game store, it was a SCPH-1001 in extremely good condition, and apparently had its drive replaced with that of a PS-One (or something, I forget what exactly). The technician had apparently already installed a switch board in it awhile ago and was planning to use it for himself, but was short on time to install my switchboard, so he just gave me the one he set aside for himself.

With that in mind, I got the unit home, my parents insisted on scrubbing the system down inside and out with disinfectant wipes to try and kill any coronavirus, and then I was able to hook it up to test. Final Fantasy Tactics worked good, as did FF7's first disc. However when I tried the copy of Symphony of the night I got at a local convention (TooManyGames), it wouldn't boot up. I thought that was strange since my PS2 played the game fine, and that unit was in far worse shape. I thought about it, and remembered that I hadn't had Symphony of the night resurfaced yet like I did with the other two games, so maybe the disc was dirty. So I used some rubbing alcohol on a microfiber cloth to clean it. That got the game to boot up, but now FMVs were skipping badly. So I thought, "maybe when my parents were scrubbing the PS1, they got something in the laser lens", so then I tried rubbing alcohol on the lens with a q-tip. At first it seemed like that stopped the FMV skipping, but then when I tried again later the skipping was back, and even froze at the Konami logo FMV.

So I'm not sure what the problem is. My best guess is that resurfacing SOTN would help, but I still don't understand why it would work fine in my beat up PS2 but not in this immaculate PS1, even when other games work and after a lens cleaning. Any ideas?

I suppose this sort of thing is kind of why I got a PSIO in the first place, but you know since the PSIO still allows the use of the disc drive, and the system was in such good condition, I just wanted to see if the disc drive matched the rest of the system in terms of condition.

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by Takehaniyasubiko » August 6th, 2020, 2:40 am

cave hermit wrote:
August 6th, 2020, 1:46 am
With that in mind, I got the unit home, my parents insisted on scrubbing the system down inside and out with disinfectant wipes to try and kill any coronavirus, and then I was able to hook it up to test.
That's an overkill and it risks creating moist inside the console.

Even if the console had contact with somebody infected, the virus won't survive on metal and plastic for longer than 48 hours, so you should have simply kept the console in a 2 days quarantine. :)

As for your CD-ROM issues: it's possible the drive is being hit with too much heat from the SCPH-1001's PSU. Make sure not to use the Panasonic PSU. Those emit crazy heat.

Another possibility is that whoever installed the PSOne drive in your SCPH-1001 failed to set the potentiometers correctly.
Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that.
― Paul Bowles

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by paulkakanis » August 6th, 2020, 2:47 am

cave hermit wrote:
August 6th, 2020, 1:46 am
So I'm not sure what the problem is. My best guess is that resurfacing SOTN would help, but I still don't understand why it would work fine in my beat up PS2 but not in this immaculate PS1, even when other games work and after a lens cleaning. Any ideas?
I'll tell you what I know, but It's got large gaps, so bear with me. Obviously having a pristine disc can help alleviate an un-calibrated or failing laser unit, but if it's possible to burn a backup to a decent cd-r I would certainly recommend that if you want to play from a disc.

You say that it's a SCPH-1001 model. With a ribbon cable adapter you can pretty much install any laser for any PS1 model and have it work, but the early PS1 models have far more laser adjustments than later revisions.
For example one reason I love the 7501 series is that they eliminated all laser adjustment pots on the motherboard, so all you need to worry about is the one pot on the laser unit itself. Makes it much more user friendly to swap out lasers if and when you need to without worrying about specialized equipment like an oscilloscope and etc.

If I recall correctly the early models have of course the pot on the laser unit, but also 2 or 3 on the board itself. I've attached a little pdf on PS1 laser repair that you can look it. It's a very simplified guide, but can point you in the right direction. There are also several YouTube videos where people demonstrate how make all the adjustments and how to diagnose what's wrong, etc. So certainly have a look at those as well.
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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by OmenBoy » August 6th, 2020, 6:52 am

cave hermit wrote:
August 6th, 2020, 1:46 am
With that in mind, I got the unit home, my parents insisted on scrubbing the system down inside and out with disinfectant wipes to try and kill any coronavirus, and then I was able to hook it up to test.
I doubt that would harm anything, as long as you let it dry completely before connecting it to power. I am extremely germaphobe. I completely disassemble every used console and controller I get, submerge all of the plastic parts in soapy water, and I scrub everything down with a toothbrush. I then let it all dry before reassembling. I even go as far as washing the power and AV cables! So I think you’re good lol.
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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by paulkakanis » August 6th, 2020, 6:58 am

OmenBoy wrote:
August 6th, 2020, 6:52 am
I completely disassemble every used console and controller I get, submerge all of the plastic parts in soapy water, and I scrub everything down with a toothbrush. I then let it all dry before reassembling. I even go as far as washing the power and AV cables! So I think you’re good lol.
You don't like that delicious gooey hand jam stuck in the crevices of used controllers? That's history in your hands! :shock: :lol:

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by OmenBoy » August 6th, 2020, 7:12 am

paulkakanis wrote:
August 6th, 2020, 6:58 am

You don't like that delicious gooey hand jam stuck in the crevices of used controllers? That's history in your hands! :shock: :lol:
:lol: oh man the worst is when you take one apart and the jam stuck between the controller seam comes off as a long string of hand jam. :shock:
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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by cave hermit » August 6th, 2020, 7:39 am

So I just got off the phone with the technician, he says that most likely the laser in the PS1 is being picky and simply doesn't like the way the disc is scratched compared to the PS2. So a resurfacing will probably fix things.

However when I mentioned I tried to clean the lens with isopropyl alcohol, he informed me that doing so erodes the coating on the lens and can cause problems in the long run. Is there actually a lens coating? Did using isopropyl (70%) on it set me up for problems down the road?

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by Takehaniyasubiko » August 6th, 2020, 7:44 am

cave hermit wrote:
August 6th, 2020, 7:39 am
So I just got off the phone with the technician, he says that most likely the laser in the PS1 is being picky and simply doesn't like the way the disc is scratched compared to the PS2. So a resurfacing will probably fix things.
Resurfacing is not a solution. The laser is either bad or badly configured for your SCPH-10002. If the disc is that horribly scratched, resurfacing might help a bit, but you will still have a dying CD on your hands, and stress the laser with it.
Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, an afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four, five times more, perhaps not even that.
― Paul Bowles

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by cave hermit » August 7th, 2020, 12:44 pm

Well I think there's just something wrong with the disc. I took it to be resurfaced, the shop owner mentioned the disc looked like it was already in pretty good condition, resurfaced it regardless, I took it home, and after my parents sprayed it down with isopropyl to kill any coronavirus, I let it dry for a few minutes before putting it in my PS1, to results that weren't really different from last time. 20 second boot times (if it boots at all) and skipping FMVs. Compare to 7 second boot time for Final Fantasy Tactics which I tested immediately afterwards with no skipping on the opening FMV.

Well I guess this is why I bought a PSIO I suppose...

The shop owner also mentioned I shouldn't have touched the lens with alcohol, but I can't find any information on the internet that would suggest this would be an issue.

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by Matt » August 7th, 2020, 1:36 pm

Cleaning the lens with alcohol is fine. You can clean the entire optical block assembly with it too, but it's very tricky because there isn't enough room to fit a regular q-tip.

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by ortape » August 9th, 2020, 9:30 am

Just a bit of a nostalgia hit here :) Was a kid with more TurboGrafx than sense and kept my CD drive going through the years by blindly tweaking the three or four little white pots inside. Just working by the sounds I could hear from the mechanism, one small tweak at a time.

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Re: PS1 Disc Drive Longevity Variance

Post by AMG13 » October 12th, 2020, 10:05 pm

This of course does not apply to the topic, but I think no one will be against it if I share here a small but very useful mod for those who connect their console via "CVBS" or "s-video". This mod increases the clarity of the screen for both "CRT" and "LCD" TVs and this is clearly visible.
This has been tested on "SCPH-7000, SCPH-7002, SCPH-7502".

So, you will need:
1) one 15pf or 20pf ceramic capacitor (found in old FM receiver)
2) soldering iron 40w
3) some solder and flux
4) screwdriver for opening the console
5) and most importantly, have at least basic soldering skills.

You need to remove the capacitor as shown in red in the photo and solder the 15pf or 20pf capacitor instead.
On the diagram, the mod is marked in red
Image
SCPH-7002
Image
SCPH-7502
Image
click on the photo to enlarge.

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