Introduction: How to Fix a Stuck Xbox 360 (or PC) Disc Tray

About: Avionics technician, home mechanic, furry, entrepreneur, and college student.

Xbox not opening up? Fear not! In this instructable, I show how to repair an Xbox or computer disc drive so you can get back to enjoying your favorite games. This is my first instructable, but I'll do my best to be thorough and spell words correctly.

Step 1: Theory

So you went to play Xbox one day and it wouldn't open the disc tray. You punished it with a fist. It opened.

So you went to play Xbox again, a month later, and by this time if your box were an animal PETA would have you sued and publicly humiliated before clapping you in irons and sending you to prison, you cruel animal-abuser. In other words, your drive no longer opens, at all.

Rather then being a jerk and selling it to some unsuspecting guy on the internet, you can fix your poor machine so that it never needs to be punched again. This comprehensive guide will show you how to do just that without waiting for it to be fixed on warranty or paying through the nose for some guy on craigslist to do it.

There are two main reasons for a disc tray to not open.

1. DUST!!! DUST!!! is evil. I hate it. It hates you. It will also destroy your stuff. Like your Xbox.

2. The drive belt in the player is made of rubber and wears out over time, like the engine belts in your car. This is the big cause of problems in most disc drives, computer and console alike.

So what can you do?

Well, DUST!!! is simple. You just need to clean it out. This may help other problems as well, such as discs not playing well.

In this guide, I will show you how to clean out and repair an Xbox 360 drive. This process will work on other drives as well.

Step 2: Removing the Drive

For this instructable, you'll need to remove the drive from the console. I am not responsible for any damage you do to your property whilst following this guide. If you do make a mistake, let me know and I'll do what I can to help you.

For the sake of shortness and clarity, I will assume you've already seen one of any number of guides on cracking open whatever console or computer you have. Try not to break anything.

Step 3: Disassembly

Now it is time to take apart the drive itself. This and the following steps may differ slightly for different drives, but the concepts apply to most every drive.

My drive was a Philips/Ben-Q, but the Phillips/Lite-On and Hitachi drives are very similar. On these drives, there are four Philips head screws holding the metal casing on the chassis. Remove these and split the small warranty sticker to pull the two metal pieces apart. If you didn't get that, this will void whatever warranty may still exist on the drive. If you care a lot about that, check before you cut the sticker. After removing the metal plates, use a spudger or flathead screwdriver to remove the eject button.

Step 4: Disassembly Pt. 2: the Innards

Now you've got that all in your growing "to be washed free of dust" pile, It's time to remove a couple more things.

First, you need to use a paper clip or similar pointy thin thing to open the disc tray. DO NOT try to rip it open with your bare hands. Of course this will wreck your drive, dummy! There is a small hole just under the tray to stick the clip in. Feel around with it until you hit a gear, then push in to turn the gear. One or two turns will suffice to disengage the locking mechanism. This requires some finesse, don't be disheartened (or violent) if you don't get it off the bat.

Then, pull the tray out until it is at it's furthest forward point, and pull the small latch on the side.

If you have a different drive, there is usually a similar way to remove the tray, so be careful and try things until you figure it out.

Removing the tray should expose the gears that make the tray move. If you've been experiencing trouble ejecting, find the rubber drive belt connecting the motor to the gears and remove it. Save it, you'll need it later.

Step 5: CLEANING!!!

Time to kill the DUST!!! By now you should have accumulated a lot to clean. You can clean all of these items just fine with soap, hot water, and a nice sponge. Further explanations are in the pictures.

Step 6: Modification and Repair

After you've cleaned and greased the drive, there's just a bit left to do before putting it all back together.

First, it's time to replace the drive belt from before. Find or make another drive belt slightly smaller in diameter than the one you removed, and preferably a bit thicker. Rubber o-rings at the hardware store are great for this, as long as they aren't too thick or too smooth. I made a drive belt for my original Xbox drive by cutting a slice of material off a rubber gasket from an old washing machine. Be resourceful, and test to make sure your replacement works before sealing everything back up.

Also, if you're working on an Xbox 360, now would be the perfect time to add a few pads to keep the discs from scratching. This tutorial is decent.

Step 7: Reassembly

Put everything back together (except the outer casing of the Xbox, in case adjustments are necessary) and make sure it works. If it does, good job! If not, go back and try to figure out what's still wrong. Is your replacement belt not good enough? Is there a large ball of dust? Was your Xbox actually an animal? If you continue to have problems, post a picture in the comments and I'll see what I can do to help! Happy gaming, everyone!