Home Digital Drive

Upsamplers, DACs, jitter, shakes and analogue withdrawals, this is it.

RE: Problems Reading CD

This seems pretty normal to me. Laser diodes do not last forever. Or more accurately they will not put out the same amount of optical power over time for a constant input current.

As they age they put out less optical power and require a higher current to maintain consistency. Obviously this cannot go on infinitely.

Other factors can affect the rapidity of ageing like power surges, heat and humidity.

As far as I can establish an average laser diode life is difficult to ascertain but a maximum life appears to be around 9 - 10,000 hours of use. Of course some fail earlier and a few that prove the rule may go on for a bit longer. Of course you will read of people who say that they have a CD player from the year dot which still plays perfectly. I have one myself dating from around 1987. What I am not telling you is that I rarely switch it on and it was last in regular use twenty years ago. Similar caveats apply to some of these "everlasting" player reports. In addition reports of very long laser diode life ( 50,000 hors) seem to relate to laboratory tests in perfect conditions where the laser system does not suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune met in a domestic setting.

Your player may be around 14 years old. So it's time to move on I suspect. You have had them fail before and I guarantee that whatever you buy as a replacement will also fail at some point in the future.

Optical drives are getting rarer and may not be available in the mid to long term. One of the reasons many are swapping to computer files for music and movie replay.

In regard to CDRs, they are harder to read ( require more power) than pressed CDs. Also the dye used to form the optical record may deteriorate. Reading old CDRs with an old laser has a very good chance of being unsuccesful.


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