USE A PC-CDROM LASER ON YOUR DREAMCAST (THE PICS ARE SHIT, DON'T MENTION IT)FIRST OF ALL, IT'S OBVIOUS IF YOU FUCK UP YOUR CONSOLE PERMANENTLY BECAUSE OF THE USE OF THIS GUIDE IT'S YOUR RESPONSABILITY AND ONLY YOURS, SAME FOR YOUR SCREWDRIVERS, YOUR PC DRIVE, YOUR PC, YOUR TV, YOUR DOG, YOUR CAT, YOUR MOM, YOUR SIBLINGS, YOUR NEIGHBOR OR ANY OTHER THING. tHE SOLELY PURPOSE OF THIS GUIDE IS FOR REVIVING DEAD DREAMCAST DUE TO LASER FAILURES, SO REMEMBER, IF YOU FUCK IT UP, IT'S YOUR FAULT
Ok, that being said...
1 Dreamcast with SAMSUNG GD DRIVE (this guide DOES NOT COVER yamaha drives)
1 A PC-CDROM drive. I've used a Creative CD5233E drive, but it ***COULD*** work with another drives. CD-RW drives DOES NOT WORK.
1 Phillips screwdriver
1 A precission screwdriver, if it's the flat one and the smallest one, better.
and A LOT of patience...
K, let's get started...Picture of the drive used in this tutorial.
First of all, you will have to dissasemble the PC CDROM drive. Not putting pics because this is somewhat an advanced tutorial. Once you have done this, you have to detach the lens from the rest of the drive, do this with EXTREME CARE as you could fuck it up too, rendering this guide completelly useless unless you have another drive... Once you have the lens/laser in your hands, put it in a safe place as it will be used later.
Next step, dissasemble the console
Unscrew the 4 screws, remember the 4th one is under the modem. When you are done, flip the console and take out the top cover. It will end up looking like this:
Next, you have to take off the GD drive COMPLETELY, unscrewing the 3 screws show in the next pic
Firmly and carefully, detach the drive from the rest of the console.
OK, now we are going to work with the drive only, so you can put the console in a safe place, cuz this will take some time to complete... and it will make a lot of dust.
You have to separate the drive pickup from it's metallic box, taking off the 5 screws showing in the next pic.
Carefully separate the 2 metallic parts of the enclosure, and pay attention to the cables and the flex/ribbon cable, because these are EXTREMELY fragile and you can cut them without any effort. You will en up with something like this...
Take out the flex/ribbon cable from both the gd rom controller PCB and the lens pickup, and put it in a safe place. Detach the 2 set of cables from the gd rom controller pcb. My suggestion is to put both the flex/ribbon cable AND the screws into the bottom part of the metallic box so you don't lose them.
Next, put a soft handkerchief or something like that in the place you are working, since it involves putting the drive upside down and you don't want it to get more fucked up than it is now (i suppose lol)
With the precision screwdriver unscrew the tiny screw that's holding the tiny piece of white plastic that shows next...
... and take off the faulty/dead laser, lifting the swirly-patter steel bar like in the next pic
Once you lift it, slightly pull it so you release the laser.
Next i'll show you WHY it's necessary to have a SAMSUNG drive instead of a yamaha. Look at both of them and try to spot the differences between these 2 (the one in the right is a yamaha, the one in the left is the SAMSUNG)
Noticed? well, in case you didn't, look at the hole in the center of the drive pickup. The SAMSUNG one is wider than the yamaha, because the format of the lens are different. While the samsung format is rectangular (wider) the yamaha format is round. If you try to fit a rectangular format lens into the yamaha píckup, it will not fit and you will not be able to finish this guide.
The next pic shows the difference between the formats of the lens, comparing the one i've used from the pc-cdrom drive and the yamaha gdrom drive.
Let's move on... the next step is to make the pc-cdrom lens to fit accordingly and to have smooth movement along the drive pickup, being an essential step, because normally the pc-cd lens are bigger than the pickup and it can't move to the end of it, causing reading problems... and here is when the saw makes an appearance XD
First things first, take a look at the gd-lens you took off your dreamcast. It has a REALLY tiny piece of plastic and a thin metallic piece. You have to take them off the gd lens and put them into the pc-cd lens. The purpose of these pieces is to follow the pattern of the swirly-pattern steel bar (so it can freely move up and down), and to touch the sensor at the very beginning of the drive pickup, so the console can recognize the laser is at the PARKING position (at the beginning of the disc). If this switch isn't pressed when the laser starts reading the discs, IT WON'T WORK. Both pieces shown above:
Once you put these 2 pieces into the PC-CD lens, start assembling the gd pickup again, using the PC-CD lens. Check if the lens freely moves up and down AND IF IT REACHES THE END OF THE PICKUP. If it does, you are done, check if it reads MUSIC CDS FIRST. If it does, check with a game, preferred with a game in a CD-R first, if so, check with a gd-rom. If all works, you've successfuly finished this guide. GO PLAY WITH YOUR FULLY REVIVED DREAMCAST! If not... keep on reading...
These lens are a pain in the ass to make them fit correctly into the gd drive pickup. You will have to make some heavy modification to it, here are some examples you can follow:
I've had to put some plastic with tape (if you are sure of what you are doing, just use glue instead of tape), so it was stabilized, due to I had to remove one of the 3 legs that supported the pickup so it can move freely.
Last pic AND AN ADVICE: DC lens are NOT conventional. This ones have 16 pin connectors for the flex/ribbon cable. The real "problem" of this is that the PC lens have 17 pins. Even if there's a difference between the number of pins, IT WORKS LIKE A CHARM. Here's how to: Your flex/ribbon cable has 16 pins, and you pc lens have 17 a very simple math solution says it doesn't fit perfectly lol. So you have to connect the flex/ribbon cable in a way the last non-connected pin is the one at the left of the picture shown above (if i wasn't clear enough, you have to connect the FLEX/ribbon cable aligned FROM THE RIGHT, if you are looking the pickup in the same way shown in the pic above)
The arrow indicates that you have to connect the pins starting from the right, so the last pin in the left remains disconnected.
K, now the only thing left ot do is to put all back together and test if it works. If it doesn't work at first, keep on trying 5 more times. If it still doesn't work, you would probably like to check the connections again. If all seems ok, you should try calibrating the lens. There's a shitload of vids at teh youtube showing how to do that.
TEH VIDS (showing it working)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvSrCW5fui0
TEH GD-ROMS WORKS (i've used utopia since the GD is american and the console is japanese, not for other reasons)http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G1WLrWScF9c
Enjoy dudes, hope this will be helpful