Introduction: PS2 Disk Read Error Fix.

About: I just moved to Vancouver and finally have a home with enough room for a proper workshop. I hope to post lots of stuff here in the near future.
A slightly different approach to fixing the Disk Read Errors associated with Fatty PS2s.

Sooo no, this is not the home made airsoft shotgun tutorial I've been promising. This is a little thing that's happened along the way.

My PS2 died on me the other day.
I had just played through GTA: San Andreas. Near the end it was giving me some clicks and a Disk Read Error screen from time to time. But it always seemed to catch up with it's self and let me play longer.
It started giving me more and more trouble with movies. I would get loud clicking, sometimes grinding sounds, until finally, it crapped out completely.

I knew there had to be something I could do. I had seen replacement components on places like Deal Extreme, so I figured there had to be a fix. Instructables was the first place I looked.
Not much help here. Just a tutorial that mentioned cleaning the laser eye which I very much doubted was the problem, considering I could definitely hear mechanical clicks.

I searched around the web and found lots of guides, but all of them were stuck on the idea that the laser eye was dirty and cleaning it would allow the system to read some games but not DVDs.
A few mentioned that the laser eye's height might have been misaligned, and because of this, the gears couldn't grip the gears of the motor or some such bollocks.
They said you need to rotate the gear that adjusted the laser eye's height.
And here came my first problem. The models they showed had one white gear right in the middle of the assembly, which mine did not have.
They also said that this fix was unlikely to get it to work with all games and movies. Likely just some games.
Finally, I found another that mentioned my model with two smaller gears a little deeper inside that did the same thing.

Me being a genius, and usually drinking while I tackle projects like this, ignored the part where they tell you to mark the position the gear was in from the start. So I thought I may had screwed myself from the get go.
But onward I went. I did as they said and tried different heights for the laser eye until the third try where I had no clicking and it seemed to read the games fine. However, when I put a movie in, it would start clicking and if it could see it all from the start, it would soon give me a disk read error.

So for the past couple days, whenever I felt the gumption, I'd sit down and adjust the level click by click. Replacing the housing for the laser and powering it on to test each time.
This was not fun.
It still didn't add up. Why would fixing the mechanical problem the way they said to do it, fix it for some games but not for movies? Obviously some thing's not being fixed.
I sat back, cleared my head and thought about how else I might be able to go about this..
One of the tutorials had a note from a supposed former Sony tech that said the rails the laser eye rides on and the threaded shaft from the motor that it's attached to need to be oiled. This makes sense.
I oiled it and tested it. Still clicking.
Then I tried to see if I could physically move the laser eye from it's current position. I found a way to do it, closed it up and it started working like a dream.
I don't know if it's because moving the eye worked the oil into the system enough or if the gears were able to catch properly. But for whatever reason, it seems to be reading games and movies perfectly without any clicking.

So. Now that you've read through my dramatic personal account of the ordeal, it should make for a fairly uncluttered tutorial.

Onward to the first step!

Step 1: What You Need!

1-Jeweller's Screwdriver kit. Particularly the small Phillips(+ shaped) heads.
2-A larger Phillips head screwdriver. (like the one on my leatherman)
3-Allen Key. (I have a set. It doesn't give me the measurements for the size I used. It may not be needed at all)
4-Machine Oil (WD40, I used Silicone Oil. Don't know if that's a problem. Come to think of it, you probably shouldn't use silicone oil.)
5- Duster Gas or something to blow the dust out of it with. I would not use a vacuum.

Oh yeah... DISCLAIMER!
This may mess up your PS2 worse than it already is. This is just what I did to rescue what was otherwise a write off.
I also don't know exactly why this worked. I have my theorys, but I can't say for certain, and I don't know how long this is going to work for.

Also, as mentioned in the intro. My PS2 was a later model of the Fattys. SCPH-50001 to be exact.
The internals might not be the same as your fatty PS2. But I still say you go through it, read what I did and see if it jives with what you're seeing inside yours.

Step 2: Opening the PS2 Housing.

Unplug all cords, memory cards, controlers, etc.
Turn your PS2 upside down.
On the bottom there are four rubber 'feet' and four more small square panels of the same size.
Slip something flat along side them and pop them all out.
This will reveal the heads of the screws.

Remove each screw. There will be four long black screws, three short black screws and one medium sized silver screw. Take note of which hole each came out of.
It's not the end of the world if you don't. You can figure out it out pretty easily. I scratched the letter L under the holes for the long screws and S for the short screws.

Apparently in some of the models, the housing is connected to some important parts. Be very careful and make sure you're not going to pull any wires when you remove the cover.

Remove the upgrade slot panel and carefully lift the cover from the PS2.
Lift the back up, then try to move it forward to unhook it from the buttons on the front.

Once the cover's off, blow out any dust you can before opening it any further.

Step 3: The Laser Eye Housing.

Hopefully it'll look something like this when the cover's off.

Don't get ahead of yourself here. I know the diagram is pretty self explanatory. But there's something you need to do before opening it any further.
First, plug the PS2 in and turn it on. Press eject so the CD tray pops out. Then turn off the power using the switch on the back, unplug again if you want to be safe.

Now you can remove the screws circled in red. Then slip a narrow screw driver in the slots circled with green and carefully pry them outward to pop the cover off. It's just plastic clippy finger things, so be very careful not to snap them off.

That brings you to Image 2 for this step.

You see the three shafts with the arrows pointing to them that say 'Oil'...
Well, oil them. The two the laser eye rides on and the threaded, brass shaft attached to the motor.
I soaked a q-tip and rubbed it over them. Make sure they get plenty of oil but aren't dripping. And get it into the threads of the brass one.

If you're curious about adjusting the height of the laser eye, and or know why we should be adjusting that in the first place. I'll show you where and how to do it on a PS2 of this model.

Click Image 3.

On older models there is one central, white gear that does this job. My model has two. I don't know if they have to be adjusted to the same spot as the other or what.
Maybe I should have had it to that position I got it to where it worked with games, then did my fix on it. Or maybe the height adjustment was correct and should never have been moved in the first place. Who knows.
If you don't know for sure I say don't touch it. But if you really want to, read on. Just read before you do anything.

Because the other tutorials are poorly detailed in the How or Why. I'll let you know what's going on here as best I can.
Each gear has a sort of circular slope or ramp around the centre. The end of each of the rails the laser eye rides on, rest on these slopes. As the gear it turned clockwise, the rail simply slides to a lower point on the slope. This changes the angle the laser eye is traveling on.

The other tutorials say to mark the original position of the gears using a felt tip marker. DEFINITELY DO THIS TO BE SAFE. You might need to set it back to where it was in the first place in case the height wasn't the problem at all.
Then they say to insert an allen key into the gear and rotate them clockwise, click by click.
Again, they give very little information as to what this is accomplishing.
It would be akin to someone writing a tutorial for the classic NES that told you to bang on it a couple times if the games weren't working... Yes that always fixed it, but nobody knows why. The 12 year old who taught me how to do it when I was 8 didn't know why, and that's what these tutorials remind me of. 12 year olds.

Step 4: Move the Laser Eye.

The laser eye assembly does not move freely, because the little white thing indicated in this picture by the blue arrow is locked into the threads of the motor shaft.
But it's only held down by the tension of the metal arm it's attached to.
So, as indicated in the picture, carefully lift the white rectangle off the threads and slide the laser assembly down the rails towards the rear of the system. It might resist at first, but should move without much force.
I moved it as far back as I could. It's possible, your PS2 may be stuck in a different position.
My theory is that the gears have just been knocked off track, or gotten stuck, and everything needs be repositioned so they can catch again.
It's a crappy theory that has no grounds, but it makes sense to me.

Once this is done, replace the cover to the laser housing, put the screws back in. Power it on and give it a test. If I'm anything other than lucky, there should be no clicking or grinding sounds, and hopefully it'll play movies and games just fine.
Once you're satisfied, replace the outer housing for the system... Unless you want to give it a crazy case mod first. I plan to eventually.

Just in case you didn't mark which screws went in which holes... Which I didn't do either. I have included a diagram in the next step that will show you the correct way.

Step 5: The Right Screw for the Right Hole.

With the rear of the system facing you, follow the arrows in the diagram.

This pretty much wraps it up.
I started this Instructable as soon as I was confident I fixed the system. Then my girlfriend got here and we watched Batman Begins.
Near the beginning of the movie, it started to click and froze up a couple times, but it always caught back up with it's self.
After a third of the movie was over, it didn't have any more trouble.
I don't know what this means. I'm going to play with it a bit more today and I'll update if I learn anything new.
But it's doing a lot more than it was before.

*UPDATE* I playyed a little GTA before and just watched 'Shake Hands With The Devil.' Didn't hear a single click from the machine.