Help, my DVD player is broken!
November 15, 2005 12:14 PM   Subscribe

There is a DVD stuck in my DVD player, how do I get it out? (Also a request for DVD player repair type places in DC/NoVa)

I have one of those DVD players where you push the eject button and a tray comes out, you stick the DVD in the tray, push it in, and your DVD starts playing. The other day, my roommate pushed Eject to get her DVD out and it came out empty! We shined a flashlight in and can see the DVD kind of stuck up inside somewhere -- and when the tray is closed it actually plays! Any suggestions on how to pull it out (needle nosed pliers have already been tried)? If not, any suggestions on where to take it for repair in the logan/dupont circle areas or in Arlington, VA? I'm clueless, I've never broken anything electronic-ish before! Thank you.
posted by echo0720 to Technology (13 answers total)
Unless this player is high-end, repair will likely be more expensive than buying a new one.

Honestly? I would give it a good shake, starting slowly, increasing in vigor. If that doesn't do it, take to it with a screwdriver and remove your DVD. Put it back together, if it works, swell. If not, off you go to your local big box retailer. :-(
posted by deadfather at 12:23 PM on November 15, 2005

Sounds like either the component that picks the disc up out of the tray or the sensor that tells the player when the door is open or closed is broken. Given the price of DVD players these days it's almost certainly not worth fixing.

I don't think you're going to be able to get that DVD out with pliers, it's going to need to be opened. Once opened there should be obvious gears to turn to get it free. If you're not comfortable doing that kind of thing yourself I'd be happy to do it for you - my girlfriend and I exibit at Eastern Market every sunday and if you bring it by I'll be glad to exibit my l33t screwdriver skillz. Drop me an email.
posted by phearlez at 12:25 PM on November 15, 2005

I used to have a similar problem with a CD player.

Unplug the DVD player from the wall and TV. There will probably be screws that you can unloosen to remove the top shell. Do so, and remove the DVD.
posted by jtron at 12:33 PM on November 15, 2005

If you take the case off, it should be pretty simple to fix it. It's usually pretty easy to take the case off.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing tends to happen again, unless you're lucky or you figure out what happened in the first place.
posted by smackfu at 12:45 PM on November 15, 2005

thanks all, i will try opening the case tonight to get the DVD out and probably buy a new player, i didn't realize how cheap they've gotten!
posted by echo0720 at 1:09 PM on November 15, 2005

p.s. phaerlez, you're the guy with the mirrors, right?
posted by echo0720 at 1:09 PM on November 15, 2005

Make sure to unplug the player before you open it up. I can't tell you how many times I have seen or heard of people who didn't unplug it, and got a nasty shock. It almost happened to me once (I worked as a tech for an Audio Visual company), because someone had opened up a player and asked me to fix it. I forgot to check to see if it was unplugged (I assumed it was, and you know what happens when you assume something), and luckily just as I was sticking my hand inside he said "should I unplug it first?" I almost hit him. ALWAYS unplug anything before you open it. You will find that the guts for an average DVD player only take up about half of the space in the case. The rest is there to make the machine the same size as your other home entertainment center equipment.
posted by markblasco at 2:46 PM on November 15, 2005

If you're playing rental discs, the gummy from the stickers they put on the rings with the store's name can eventually transfer to the magnetic ring that holds the disc in place. Once that gets gummy, the disc will stick to it.

Once removed, I would reccomend thouroughly cleaning that item (and the rubber ring below) with isopropyl alcohol and Q-tips.
posted by shepd at 2:56 PM on November 15, 2005

UGH - new issue -- no screwdriver or allen wrench that I own fits the screws that are on the DVD player -- the best way to describe the shape of the screws is that rather than a flat line, a cross, or a hexagram (or whatever) that you'd expect, the shape of the screwhead looks like a flower. Is the tool that I would normally use to unscrew these things readily available somewhere? Or can anyone recommend something else that I can use? My pliers and wrench are too big to grip it b/c the screws are kind of in an indentation. Thanks all!
posted by echo0720 at 3:59 PM on November 15, 2005

echo - ayuh, that's us. If you've been by and not introduced yourself as a Mefite, shame! If not, say hello - I promise not to hardsell you :)
posted by phearlez at 4:02 PM on November 15, 2005

That's a torx screw. How annoying. On ones that are not very snug I have successfully used a flathead in them if it was just the right size, most commonly the tiny driver on my swiss army knife. Beyond that you can find them in the hardware store on a big fold-out pocketknife kind of configuration with 4-8 sizes.
posted by phearlez at 4:06 PM on November 15, 2005

Those flower-shaped screws are called TORX-head. It is calimed that the greater number of contact points provides better leverage, but my own experince has been that they are deliberately used to prevent the average user from messing with the product.

The first time I encountered one was the bolt holding my seatbelt. You can see why a manufacturer wouldn't want just anyone monkeying with the seatbelt restraining bolt.

Anywaze they are commonly avialbale once you know aht they are
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:13 PM on November 15, 2005

Last time I post without spellcheck.

Anyway, leave the disc tray open before unscrewing the casing. If you close it, the disc might pop back onto the motor spindle, and these days its almost impossible to remove a DVD from the spindle with the laser tracking mechanism in place.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:28 PM on November 15, 2005

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