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Use CD-ROM to play DVD!

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 2:45 am
by kotrtim
Mod Your CD-ROM to Watch DVD Movies"
Philip Chan - 7/28/04

DISCLAIMER: This article is for information purposes only - neither nor the author will be held responsible for any actual or consequent damages by anyone choosing to attempt this modification.

The DVD format is a new disc format. DVDs can store more data than CD-ROMs, and is a great format to store high-quality videos. DVD-ROM drives are getting lower and lower nowadays, around RMB$300( US$36.24) to RMB$350 (US$38.66). But isn't it a waste to buy a DVD-ROM drive just to watch movies? Why not make good use of your CD-ROM drive?

After continous tests, I found out that we can use CD-ROM drives to watch most retail DVDs. You just need to mod your CD-ROM drive a bit. It's not very complicated, most people can do it.

There are two types of CD-ROM drives we can mod:

1. 24x to 40x
2. 40x or higher

Drives slower than 24x are too old to be modded.

24x to 40x CD ROMs

Laser Head Adjustments:

The track pitch of CDs is 1.6 microns, and the track pitch of DVDs is only 0.8 microns. The minimum length of track pits of CDs is 0.843mm, and the minimum length of track pits of DVDs is 0.293mm. That's why DVD discs can store much more data in the size of a CD.

Pinpointing this situation, we need to adjust the laser head so it can read discs with smaller track pitchs and shorter track pits. Open up the CD-ROM drive, do you see a lens on the rail? That's the laser head. On the side of the laser head, there's a screw you can adjust.

This is the key of this mod.

This screw can adjust the size of the laser beam that lands on the disc. Referring to the above, after adjusting, the laser beam should be less than 0.293mm, to suit the needs of DVD discs. So turn that screw 2-3 times. I got this number through trial and error. Mark with a pencil, in case you forget how many times you turned that screw.

Speed adjustments:

DVD-ROM drives can play DVD movies smoothly at 4x speed. If we're modding a 32x CD-ROM drive, the rotation speed is obviously too high, increasing heat, and shortening the life of the drive.

So we need to decrease the speed of it.

Most people know that power supplies can provide 5V (red wire) and 12V (yellow wire) electricity output for Molex connectors. Find the Molex connector you'll plug into the modded CD-ROM drive, cut the yellow wire or insulate it with tape, so only 5V of electricity is transferred to the CD-ROM drive. The speed of the drive is now 32 * 5/17 = 9.41x and can now fulfill our requirements.

40x or higher CD ROMs

When 40x CD-ROM drives are released, most manufacturers are already producing DVD-ROM drives. To lower cost, they use the same core as DVD-ROM drives with DVD functions disabled. What we need to do here is to re-enable the DVD function.

Open up the CD-ROM, behind the circuit board, look for a jumper that says DVD JUMP. Find a jumper to connect this jumper. Thin metal wire also works fine.

OK, so the DVD function is unlocked, but we still need to decrease the speed. Use the instructions above on how to decrase the speed of the drive.


1. Modded drives cannot be detected in POST, that means you cannot use it in DOS. But once you get into Windows, the drive works fine.
2. Modded drives have no region code problems.
3. Modded drives MIGHT NOT read DVD9 discs, that's why I said you can watch most retail DVDs in the beginning.

Happy modding!


I translated the above article from a Chinese site; if the above article theoretically works, and you have spare time and some spare CD-ROM drives, you can try it. Lots of people (including me) still don't have DVD-ROMs and would like to watch DVDs without buying a DVD-ROM drive.

Thank you.

NOTE: Brian cracked open a 50x drive and did not find any jumper, so what's outlined here may not apply to all drives.

Philip Chan

does this make sense?

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:45 am
by Ian
The guy is smoking crack.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 10:48 am
by Kennyshin
Which Chinese site?

Can the author also help me to play Blu-Ray and HD-DVD with my DVD drives? :D

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 11:52 am
by kotrtim
the "DVD jumper" idea make sense but i don't all CD-rrom drives use DVD core?

about the "screw" idea,
if u have a dvd-rom, that means u can also screw it to "blue" laser so that it can read DVD.......
i think this is non sense

bcoz cd chipset and dvd are different right? error correction are different too
CD c1/c2
DVD pi/po

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 5:28 pm
by eliminator
Ian wrote:The guy is smoking crack.


PostPosted: Sat Jul 31, 2004 12:56 am
by pranav81
I dont think this is possible.


PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 7:59 am
by Shakari
pranav81 wrote:I dont think this is possible.


Its not reducing the 12V supply to 5V while it would slow the drive down would be highly inaccurate, and would also make most of the 12V logic controls behave erratically if they would work at all :)

Bearing in mind 5V rail can vary from about 4.3V to 5.6V and 12V from 11.3 to 12.7 :D so to say the least I would not try it :)

PostPosted: Thu Aug 19, 2004 8:54 am
by pranav81
This is not possible.