Monday, December 20, 2010

Gutting a DVD burner for it's laser

There are a ton of instructions on the net about ripping laser diodes out of old 16x DVD burners. Well, here's mine.

Quite soon after starting this project, I found exactly what I needed: a 16X DVD burner from an old computer in the electric waste. Here's the poor thing before the operation. It's an LG GCC-4480B CD-RW/DVD ROM drive.

The unsuspecting DVD burner before meeting it's fate.

And here are the tools I need. Let's get to work.

With these I was able to get everything out.

Warranty's void now.
Pull or cut the cabling to get the PCB out of the way.
View from top. Laser lens is visible.
View from bottom. Take out the screws connecting the rails of the laser module.

Inside the top cover I found this cool little ring-shaped magnet. It's quite powerful for it's size, maybe a Neodymium magnet. It found a new home on my fridge.

The magnet.
And finally, here's the beef. The laser module with it's laser diodes.

The laser module. A lens is seen on the top, while the laser diodes are hidden in the sides.

When trying to open the module, bad luck struck.

This is what you get when you save on your screwdrivers.
Side view of the laser module. The red 650nm laser is there!

The red laser I'm looking for is in the picture above. You can see three leads coming out of a orange PCB, two of which are soldered together. That is the negative terminal.

And here is the infrared CD laser diode. I managed to wreck this one.
In the above picture, the IR laser diode is hiding beneath the little green PCB on the side of the module.

The laser module has two laser diodes (LD). One is for reading CDs and one for DVDs AFAIK. The CD laser is infrared and invisible and the DVD laser is red at 650nm. I'm looking for the DVD one. The infrared one is more dangerous since you can't see the beam, and still it can blind you.

Getting the laser diodes out of the module proved out to be the hardest part. The CD laser diode wouldn't come out and got broken. Luckily, I got the 650nm laser diode out mostly unharmed! I hope it works!

Finally, there it is!
Next it's time to build a driver circuit to try this one out!

Here's some other nice pages about the DVD lasers:
Planetstephanie - DVD laser
Instructables - Laser Flashlight Hack
Showyoushowhow - DIY DVD burner laser pointer the right way
Sam's Laser FAQ - HUGE amount of info on laser diodes


  1. Heh, mind your eyes though.
    I found that the best burner diodes are the open can variety, these really are excessively bright if well fed with constant current and a good heatsink.


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