10 Replies Latest reply: Oct 2, 2009 11:21 PM by myhighway
JBX74205 Level 1 (0 points)
Hi All,

So, my iMac's "Superdrive" isn't all that super. Over the past couple of months, it started acting up. It began with some scraping noises when I put a DVD into it. A few weeks later, it started to randomly spit out discs. I would put one in, it would read it for a few seconds, then it would just eject it. The last straw was when I tried to install Final Cut Express and it just took in the DVD and never gave it back. I tried all of the various solutions mentioned here to eject the disc, but nothing worked, so I took it to Apple. The "genius" there told me after doing less to diagnose the problem than I did that I would have to pay $400 for a new DVD drive since my computer was out of warranty.

Upon hearing that piece of bad news, I set out to replace the drive myself. I ordered one from a site recommended by a friend. When I removed the existing drive, I discovered that it was a Pioneer DVR-K06PD. The new drive that came was an unbranded UJ-875. It had the same PATA connector on the back, but would not power up when I put it into the iMac. I ordered a replacement drive and received an identical model, which also didn't power up. Just to make sure I didn't damage anything, I reconnected the old Pioneer drive and it powered up just fine. It still wouldn't read anything, but it showed me that it wasn't the cable that was at fault.

*So, my question is, does my iMac only work with DVR-K06PD drives? I'm having a hard time locating a compatible after-market unit since most of the superdrives are for laptops and it doesn't seem like too many people on the web have tried to replace their iMac drive.*

Thanks in advance!

iMac 20" Early 2008, Mac OS X (10.6)
  • KCSamerica Level 1 (65 points)
    I have a similar problem -- I need to replace the internal optical drive and Apple's charge is several hundred. I tried replacing it with a drive from www.macsales.com, which was supposedly an exact match. A couple drives later, still no luck. After a little persuasion, they did take the drive back and reimburse me all but shipping.

    And the search continues... has anyone found a successful replacement?

    (Note: MacSales drive's issue was when it would grip the disc and pull it in. Since the plastic housing in the iMac is about 1/2-inch, the drive needs to pull the disc in sooner than most drives probably do, which their drives did not do.)
  • Josef50 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi JBX,

    Im also interested in this topic. What iMac do you have? a 7.1? (System-Profiler shows the model-number)
  • poobaa Level 1 (0 points)
    I am about to try an external firewire optical drive from macsales.
    My IMAC late 2006 intel drive may be bad or Apples latest software update is my problem
  • Seagoat Level 1 (0 points)
    SAME PROB HERE! Intel w/Matshita SD. Worked fine until when I used Snow. Bought and external drive from Macsales and seems to work well. Snow Lep or update/firmware recently made my Imac spit out all DVDS, including instal discs. Called tech support and they said it was too bad my Apple care ended.
    ***** really!
  • q2quest Level 1 (0 points)
    I also have a problem. My drive is no longer even recognized by the computer. It tells me I don't have an optical drive connected. I removed the drive myself and ordered an identical one from someone who was parting out their computer on ebay. The drive I received seemed fine and powered up when I put a disc in, but acted the exact same way and never actually read the disc or acknowledged there was a disc in there. I would think if the drive is your problem you could find a replacement, but it has to be the EXACT model. Some, even from the same manufacturer, are slightly different.
  • Zelda121 Level 1 (0 points)
    Hi JBX74205
    I never thought I'd be here, asking for Mac help. My Superdrive failed as yours did. Is it easy to open the Intel Mac up? I have model iMac 5.1, two years old. No warranty. Thanks, from Canada.

    Matshita DVD-R UJ-85J:
  • myhighway Level 5 (7,270 points)
    +So, my question is, does my iMac only work with DVR-K06PD drives?+

    That is not the case, but you must do the simple PRAM reset to enable the replacement optical drive to be recognized.
  • myhighway Level 5 (7,270 points)
    I would also download to your desktop the latest Combo update for your system, and then run it over top of your system in case something related to the replacement optical drive is missing from your system. Rerunning an update will not duplicate anything, but might fill-in something that was missing or that was not called for at the time an update was first run. It will not be possible to re-run any of the older updates, but the current Combo can always be re-run.

    Another thought - could it be that the replacement optical drive needs a firmware update?
  • Adam Lobel Level 1 (25 points)
    Okay, this is really from left field, but here's my tale. I upgraded to Snow Leopard the week it came out. All seemed fine. About 2 weeks after the upgrade, I went to burn a DVD, but when I popped the disc in, nothing happened and I couldn't eject the disc even with system reboots, P-RAM and SMC resets, etc. The System Profiler didn't see the drive at all. It occured to me that it might be Snow Leopard related, but I couldn't find anything to substantiate it on line. A lot of people are reported SuperDrive failures, but there doesn't seem to be a mass consensus that it's software related.

    I have a couple of other machines with working optical drives, so I was just going to wait until I had a spare 80 or 90 bucks and buy an external (these days that might have been a long wait).

    Today however, I downloaded the Blackberry Desktop software for the Mac (for some odd reason my teenage daughter only wanted a Blackberry even though I was willing to get her an iPhone). Anyway to make a long story somewhat shorter, the Blackberry app install required a restart. And poof, all of a sudden the disc that had been stuck in my supposedly dead Superdrive popped out (after 3 weeks and umpteen restarts along the way) and is now working fine.

    Maybe Software Update installed something, that kicked in on this last reboot. Who knows. It seems impossible to think that the Blackberry app installed anything that fixed it. But it might be worth a try.

    Or maybe it was just tired an needed a vacation.
  • myhighway Level 5 (7,270 points)
    Congrats on "whipping" it into shape!

    While I've never, ever had a SuperDrive completely fail, and also don't personally know anyone who's had that happen, most likely I/we don't depend upon a SuperDrive nearly as much as other users do. However, the fact that a component is not working properly at any given moment is not proof that it is "broken," only that it is not working at that moment. My own example is.....I couldn't begin to explain how many times I've thought a printer was giving up the ghost:))

    I've read hundreds of posts just like yours where something eventually reverted to working condition without any specifically known or remembered fix by the user. However, it is not unusual for a fix to have been administered (perhaps an unwitting SMC reset due to summer vacation), for the user to have shut down for a couple days or weeks (without even restarting and testing what they last did), and later everything is working although the trail of events has been broken and forgotten.

    Set it aside and come back to it later when you're refreshed - isn't what the boss wants to hear, but often that works. Thanks for relating your experience so that others might let their tinkering take a slightly different and more successful direction.