DO NOT CHANGE THE POSITION OF YOUR XBOX 360 WHILE IT IS ON WITH A DISC IN THE DRIVE OR YOU RISK POTENTIALLY DAMAGING YOUR GAME DISC.
A growing number of Xbox 360 customers are reporting having problems with their disc’s getting scratched by the DVD drive when switching the unit’s position from vertical to horizontal and vise versa.. Initially we thought this was the usual fanboy vs. hater propaganda that swirls around the launch of any new console like this. It didn’t take long until the seriousness of the situation reared it ugly head right here in the Llamma’s shop. I personally have experienced this issue not once but twice already. Here I was at a friends house helping him get this 360 all setup and networked for Live. In the process we decided to lay the Xbox on it side instead of the upright position.. I thought nothing of doing this while the unit was powered up and in the middle of a game. Big Mistake! I felt and heard the scratch happen and immediately thought; uh oh.. I think I just ruined your Call of Duty 2 buddy… sorry! You would have figured I learned my lesson and would be more careful next time I attempted something like that. Yeah.. guess not. Later on back at the Llamma shop I was taking some photos of a 360 when I decided to get a horizontal shot, again it was powered up so I made sure to do it more carefully. I guess that I was not careful enough because I got that distinct vibration and scratch noise again. There was no doubt in my mind what had just happened. I ejected the disc just to see that it was scratched like the first disc in a almost identical fashion. It will prove interesting to see if the reported Microsoft response is true or stands about replacement of the damaged game disks. Here at Llamma we just wanted to know why it was happening.
We started by disassembling of our one of our Hitachi-LG GDR-3120L DVD drives, which happens to be the only drive in any of our 360’s. Upon inspecting the laser assembly it was obvious there was only one small area that could have caused this. I applied some silver sharpie marker over the entire black laser assembly housing and reassembled the drive. I threw in the Quake 4 bonus disk and waited for the small jet to take off. After the disc spun up I went through the tilting motion a few times. Video(1.5MB): How to scratch a disc with an Xbox 360. We then disassembled the drive to find what was causing the scratches. The following photo shows exactly where the problem occurs. As you can see the black showing through the silver area that was painted.
Microsoft does in fact say the following in the Volume 1: Setup manual that ships with the Xbox 360:
To avoid jamming the DVD drive and damaging discs or the Xbox 360 console:
- Remove discs before moving the console or tilting it between the horizontal and vertical positions.
- Never use cracked discs. They can shatter inside the console and jam or break internal parts.
- When the console is vertical do not use discs that are smaller the standard DVDs and CDs.”
I wonder how many of us 360 owners read our manuals..lol. I guess this is a good example to do so in the future; not that it would have sunk in. I had games to play not read and learn important documentation about “the most exciting product on the planet!”
Though we are warned of the problem it is still a surprise how easy it can happen. It does not take much effort to ruin one of your games by doing this. Here’s a 1.5MB video clip of how easy and dramatic it is. Some feel its common sense to not move it while its running.. other probably don’t know any better. I should have known better myself but I thought a little movement wouldn’t be that dramatic.
Those of us that have experienced the problem will have to pray to have our discs replaced. I’m sure we will all know Microsoft official stance on disc replacement soon. The good news is that if you don’t move the unit around while a disc is in the drive you will probably never have a problem. I don’t need a third strike to learn that I should not move the unit while it is powered on while a disc is in the drive. It is cool to show off how the player indicator lights move with the position of the unit… just take your disc out first 😉