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How do I find out what is causing my wii troubles? Answered

My wii has worked ine for the four years I've owned it. Gradually, it stopped reading discs one by one. Some would work while others wouldn't. The number of working ones decreased until it is now zero. When inserting a disc, the wii shows an animation of two spinning discs. They stop spinning and the screen displays "Unable to read the disc". I vacuumed at every opening I found in the wii case. This made the discs spin for MUCH longer than before, but they still fail. As far as Google can help me, the problem could be

1. Dirty laser

2. Broken laser

3. Broken disc drive

How do I narrow down the problem to know exactly what the problem is?

(I realize Instructables isn't the best place to ask this. But I know you people are smart, so I thought I might get some help. Thanks!)

EDIT: I've now learned, with the help of Steve, that my problem is probably a dirty laser. My only problem is the tri-wing screwdriver. Where can I get it offline?


Dirty laser is possible, and relatively easy to clean - see what happens.

Well yes. But I'd like to be able to make sure what the problem is before opening it, cleaning, reassembling, and learning I fixed the wrong problem. If I DO choose to clean the laser, do I take a cotton swab and alcohol and rub the lens, then let it dry? That seems to be the universal disc-reading laser cleaning solution.

It could be any of the three you propose. Whatever, you still going to have to open the box.

IPA is probably the most common and safest cleaner - try and tip the lens so that the solvent runs off, not sits and dries back again.

I'm inclined to think it MIGHT be as simple as this, because the problem appeared to have become worse with time, and a "broken laser" or drive would usually be binary (working or broke)


Okay. Thank you! I'm going to clean the laser then. Would the tri-wing screwdriver be available at an Ace Hardware, Lowe's, or Home Depot? That's all there is in my area.

You'll be lucky to pick up dedicated driver, but you may pick up a security screw kit at an Ace.


Sometimes those "kits" can be found at places on line like Electronic Goldmine, ALLelectronics, American Science and Suplus, etc. or from the Maker Shed at Makezine.

What condition are the discs themselves in? Do they have scuffed surfaces? Damaged discs are hard to read.