2 Replies Latest reply: Feb 20, 2013 6:16 AM by JKLI Branched to a new discussion.
JKLI Level 1 (0 points)

I have an iMac G4 15" also called a PowerMac 6,1.  This is the 15" flat screen mounted on a stainless steel flex-neck on top of a half sphere base.


I hadn't used it for awhile.  The optical drive used to work properly, but now it doesn't. The drive mounts only CDs but not DVD's  It will read music CDs thru iTunes just fine, but won't show an icon image for a DVD or play DVD material thru the DVD Player software.


The unit operates well otherwise, except for the optical Combo Drive.  I am using OS 10.5.8.  Half the HD is available, total RAM is 750Mb.


I have run a new Scotch optical dry cleaner disk to see if this would help, to no avail.  I have tried to run Disk Utilities to see if any permissions got compromised, but that test runs and runs and doesn't complete (I may be spoiled and impatient there since I usually use a near-current iMac 27" which is a lot faster). 


Anyway, does anyone have some thoughts on ways I can get this optical drive to work again, or is it a losing cause?

PowerMac, Mac OS X (10.5.8)
  • Jeff Level 6 (11,477 points)

    CD-RW/DVD-ROM combo drives have an optical pickup unit having (2) laser diodes, which control recognition of the type of media inserted (CD/CD-R/CR-RW or DVD-ROM) and appropriately adjusting the frequency of the laser beam.  Failure of either can render the drive incapable of recognizing/reading one type of media.  Replacement of the optical drive in a G4 iMac is a bit involved, as it requires removal of the bottom housing to access and remove the drive carrier containing the hard drive and optical drive.  If you've taken it apart before, you know what I'm referring to.  The easiest solution would be to use a FireWire-connected DVD±RW drive, which would give you the additional capability of burning data DVDs.

  • JKLI Level 1 (0 points)

    Thanks Jeff.  I have succeeded in connecting an external unit that works fine.  I wasn't aware of the distinction in laser diodes, so you saved me from wasting more time on this.  Appreciate the good info.