DVD transplant
November 17, 2007 6:22 AM   Subscribe

The DVD writer in my laptop seems to be dying. Although it can still read pre-written DVDs and CDs, it has problems reading home-burnt DVDs. Am I right in thinking that if I buy an external (USB) DVD writer, I can open the enclosure, swap over the mechanisms and effectively end up with: 1. A new writer installed in my laptop, and 2. A slightly dodgy external DVD reader?
posted by Kiwi to Computers & Internet (9 answers total)
Aren't writers without an enclosure usually cheaper than writers with an enclosure? Why not go the cheaper route if you're going to end up with an external writer that doesn't really work right?
posted by HuronBob at 6:25 AM on November 17, 2007

I'm not sure that this is possible. The mechanism of your internal writer probably fits in a much smaller space than that of the external.

Is there a reason you don't want to buy a new internal drive?
posted by winston at 6:33 AM on November 17, 2007

Response by poster: I just thought it would be useful to have a DVD reader as well as a DVD writer, rather than just a DVD writer.

For backing up data. And stuff.
posted by Kiwi at 6:39 AM on November 17, 2007

Almost certainly it's a different form factor. I doubt they would be physically interchangeable.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 6:47 AM on November 17, 2007

No, not a chance.
posted by knave at 7:06 AM on November 17, 2007

These things are not fungible - you'd wind up with: 1. a broken internal DVD writer. 2: a broken external DVD reader.

Internal DVD read/write drives are not expensive and it's a somewhat simple operation. You can do this yourself for <$50.
posted by unixrat at 7:07 AM on November 17, 2007

Smart solution would be ...

Most laptop DVD players are generic items with "brandname" interface connectors and faceplates ... so generally all you need to do is buy a generic laptop DVD writer, swap out the proprietry connector and faceplate from your failing one, install, and go.

I did this with my compaq laptop without problems.

You could contact these guys to start with: ultradrives

To answer your question though you would have to make sure that your external DVD was a "slimline" one like the one it would replace.

Probably would work! No gurantees though.

posted by jannw at 8:23 AM on November 17, 2007

External burners are usually 5.25" half-height (about 1.5" high) drives that would fit in a desktop PC, not a laptop. Your laptop is likely thinner overall than the external drive will be.

You might have good luck looking for a busted instance of your laptop on eBay and pulling the drive from that.
posted by polyglot at 9:23 PM on November 17, 2007

Pull out the original DVD, it will probably need only one screw to remove.

Find the serial number on it, and search ebay for it. A replacement will probably only be $25 or so. Switch the mounting bracket, faceplate, etc.

This worked perfectly for me a few months ago.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:25 PM on November 18, 2007

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