Introduction: Make a DVD Drive for Your Laptop or Desktop

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Computers these days are all about thinner, sleeker, and slimmer. Thus most of them get rid of a - used to be - vital part in a computer. The DVD drive. I managed to scrap together some parts from an old laptop and spent about 6$ in total on this project. So unless you don't have an old broken down laptop or an old desktop computer, you should be able to follow along. The project is extremely simple and doesn't require any real handiwork.


You will need:

A DVD drive

A SATA cable - 7+6 pin:

A screwdriver

Step 2: Take the Disk Drive Out of Your Computer

I was using an old Lenovo laptop - z570 to be exact, so the procedure is slightly different. It should be pretty similar for most laptops though.

I also took apart an extremely old desktop (rocking an Intel Pentium 66 processor from 1993) for the disk drive and provided pictures as well, if that helps anyone.

Looking at the pictures probably helps more, but if its any help ill describe the process:

Unplug all wires and shut down your computer. Make sure no electronics are working. As both my PC and laptop were old this was no trouble to me.

Don't Simply unscrew all the bolts that you can humanly unscrew, or can seemingly unscrew. There are a few specific screws that need to be unscrewed to find the disk drive. If you do it efficiently you'll only need to remove 4-5 screws. The screws you will need to remove will have an image of a disk drive near them usually. If you can't find anything then switch to Plan B: Unscrew all the bolts that you can humanly unscrew. If there are any stripped screws and you don't mind breaking a bit of plastic, go ahead and use your muscle (or a Dremel)

You will be able to see all the screws and electronics inside now. In my laptop, there was one screw that secured the DVD drive to the computer and one SATA 7+6 pin plug. Simply unscrew and pull it out. My drive required a bit of pushing, but after a while, I managed to get it out.

The desktop was easier than the already easy laptop process as everything is modular and pretty self-explanatory. To explain in more detail, however, you will need to take out the side panel, and in my case the front panel as well. After that unplug everything from the motherboard, and the power source. This is mainly just to clean everything out. After that, take out your CD-rom, and CD-RW. If your desktop is as old as mine, you may notice that it uses IDE connections rather than SATA connections. These are fairly outdated, and I was having trouble finding anything to connect to my raspberry pi or my computer. If you found any, be sure to let me know in the comments.

Step 3: Attach the Disk Drive Somewhere

DISCLAIMER: This step isn't for everyone and probably only corresponds to a small group of people. I just put this step in place as a way of documenting my progress.

In my case, I was using a 2012 mac mini which doesn't come built in with a disk drive. I had to put it in such a way that it looked attractive, especially near an Apple product. I used zip ties and plugged it to the top of my grill-esque monitor riser.

To plug it into any laptop is far easier as you'll just need to take it on the go. No need for it to look attractive.

Step 4: Attach the Cable

Once set where you want it, simply attach the 7+6 pin side of the cable to your drive and USB side to your laptop (or in my case - Mac mini).

If you bought the same cable as me, you may notice two USB cables coming out of the one SATA cable. This is because SATA cables are made up of data connections one side (the 7 pin side) and power connections on the other (the 6 pin side). In turn one of the USB ports is for the power, and the other is for data connections. Often you'll notice different sizes in terms of the data being transported, but in terms of the power connections, they stay relatively the same. If you want to plug the USB port that is being used for power to a wall outlet, go ahead. Since both of the USB plugs are so close together, you might as well plug them into 2 USB ports on your computer (It helps if your laptop or desktop has a wide array of USB ports). They still draw power and use it in the same way.

Your project is complete! Enjoy!

This method works for all laptops and desktops. Although fairly simple, if anything does go wrong, feel free to ask me in the comments.

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