This instructable shows you how to open up your dreamcast and adjust a small potentiometer to adjust the power going to the laser. this is pretty simpe requires no special tools or knowledge of electronic repair, it only requires a careful hand an common seance.
I recently bought a dreamcast off ebay, then a friend gave me a free one...isn't that usually how it works heh. so i went to cleaning the dreamcast and went to test the free dream cast and sure enough it wouldn't read any discs. so i went to looking around and only found a couple of helpfully videos on this subject but no instructables on the issue, so i decided to make one so some one can revive an old dreamcast instead of tossing it out
NOW FEATURED ON HACK A DAY http://hackaday.com/2011/03/07/simple-fixes-breathe-new-life-into-aging-game-consoles/
Step 1: WARNING PROCEED AT YOUR OWN RISK
I just want to make it clear that i am in no way responsible if you some how break your dreamcast or electrocute yourself
Step 2: Tools
this one is pretty simple all you'll need is
a Phillips head screw driver to take apart the dreamcast
a smaller Philips head screw driver (i just ended up using my forceps to twist it)
pliers and or forceps (the forceps also come in handy with keeping the lid sensor triggered.)
a game cd (i used an official game and a burned game cd to make sure both would work)
and a dreamcast with disc read errors.
Step 3: Take her top off
Now start by turning over your dreamcast and slide off the modem, there is a screw hidden under it remove it and then proceed with taking the 3 others screws one on each corner of the dreamcast. Once you have all 4 screws removed carefully turn the dreamcast back over and slide the top of the shell off.
Step 4: Now get every thing out of the way
now that your dreamcast is topless locate the cd drive right in the middle (you cant miss it) carfully slide the laser assembly back away from the motor making sure you only touch the plastic and not the lense / laser. now theres a wire to the side of the cd drive assembly, its under two plastic clips, carefully slide the wires out from under the 2 clips keeping in mind not to force them.
once you have all that out of the way carefully lift the cd drive assembly and flip it over so the assembly is upside down
Step 5: Now that every things out of the way lets get to work
now that you have the cd drive assembly flipped over, move your attention to the flipped over part facing you by the ribbon cable. now right above the ribbon cable is a small Phillips head screw that is flat on the top. now take either Philips head screw drive (i couldn't get one that fit) or use a pair of small pliers or use a pair of forceps like i did. take the tool of your choice and ever so slightly twist the screw from the potentiometer and turn it counter clockwise no more than 1/10th of a turn. now pop the cd drive assembly back in place, plug in the power and tv cables, turn you system on. now put a cd in the drive and put you finger on the small little black lever behind the drive on the right side. click to start the game and see if it boots up, if it doesn't work look at the next step, if it does skip the next step .
Step 6: Lets try this again (if yours works skip this step)
if it doesn't that game won't work the first time pop the cd out, slide the laser assembly back flip over the cd drive assembly and turn the potentiometer a little more counterclockwise until you game starts, if it still won't work reset the potentiometer so the flat part is on top and start turning it clock wise and checking if it works each 1/ 1th turn.
if it still won't work then odds are your laser is dead or badly damaged
Step 7: Now put her top back on
now that your system is reading disks, remove the cd, put the wires back in thier clips, put the top shell back on, put all the screws in pop the modem back in. pretty much do steps 4 and 3 in revers.
Step 8: HEY HEY KIDS ITS TIME TO PLAY CRAZY TAXI
Now if your systems working , WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR GO PLAY SOME VIDEO GAMES
if your dreamcast still won't read disks, it may be time to buy a new cd drive for it or a new dreamcast.