How to fix “Disc Read Error” on PS2

Replace the Laser on a Playstation 2 FAT model

If you’re reading this article I’m sure you’re just as frustrated as I was. Maybe you dug out your old PS2 to play some classic Socom US Navy Seals, GTA3 or perhaps to play a guilty pleasure like Nascar 2006. You pop in the disc into the system and get the dreaded “Disc read error” screen. All of the warning signs were there, excessive buzzing and click of the disc drive and the thought, “shouldn’t the game have loaded by now”?

This was my reality as I tried to play the Codemasters classic, Pro Race Driver or Toca Race Driver to those in the UK on a PS2 I acquired on eBay that said “untested”, which to my chagrin stood for “disc read error” prone. The first thing I did was carefully take apart the system and clean the interior and the laser lens.  Unfortunately, this did not work. I was almost ready to give up hope but mustered up the courage to brave a replacement of the laser.

I have a very basic understanding of electronic repairs. Until this project, my biggest repair I’d ever done myself was replacing the charging port and battery of an iPhone 4. If you’re considering this here is what you’ll need, (in addition to a PS2 of course).

What You’ll Need:

Precision Screwdrivers: $7.20
Replacement Laser: $14.99
Soldering Iron Kit: $7.99
Desoldering Pump: Included with Soldering Iron Kit

Total Cost: $30.18
Time to Complete: approximately 45 minutes

Step 1

Gather all needed materials and test the system. Once the system is confirmed to not work, disconnect power.


Step 2

Turn the console over and locate eight screw covers. There are six on the bottom section and two on the side that doesn’t rest on the surface. Carefully pry these out with a small flat head screwdriver.


Step 3

Carefully remove all eight screws with the Phillips-head screwdriver and make note of where the screws came from. You’ll have two different sizes. To stay organized, use a plastic bag to gather the screws.

Step 4

On the back of the PS2, there is a warranty seal. Carefully use a screwdriver to break this seal so you can disassemble.


Step 5

Carefully turn the system back over and gently remove the top section of the casing. Please note there is a long ribbon cable running from the lower section of the console to the power button and disc tray button. Damaging the ribbon cable would be bad news.

Step 6

Above the DVD drive is a black plastic covering. Locate the small black screws holding this in place and remove them with a Philips-head screwdriver. Once this is done set aside. Under the covering is the disc tray. This is held on by two small screws at the front left of the system. Unscrew them and slide out the tray completely.

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Step 7

Locate two black screws holding two silver rods in place. These rods are what hold the laser in place. Carefully remove the two black screws located along the end of the rods near the end of the system. Once this is done, carefully slide the rods out.

Step 8

Locate the ribbon cable connected to the faulty laser. Carefully use a flat head screwdriver to gently pry apart the black locking mechanism that locks the ribbon cable in. Once unlocked, slide out the ribbon cable and set aside the laser. Do not throw away!

Step 9

There is a white-colored bracket mounted to the old laser that helps the laser rest on the silver bar that we removed in step 7. Use your screwdriver to remove this bracket and install it on the new laser.

Step 10

Go ahead and turn on you’re soldering iron and set it at a temperature of 400 degrees. While it is heating up, locate the static protection solder on the new laser. While the soldering iron is heating up also go ahead and locate your desoldering pump and get it ready to use. Once iron is up to temperature, melt the solder quickly and immediately use the pump to remove the solder. You are now ready to install the new laser.

Step 11

Locate the silver rods and slide them back into place and make sure to insert them through the new laser. Once this is done, secure the rods with the screws that were removed earlier.


Step 12

Reinstall the disc tray and cover with the screws that were removed earlier.

Step 13

Carefully set the cover back on top of the system. Once again, be careful with the ribbon cable that is connected to the top portion of the PS2’s shell.

Step 14

While holding the top of the system in place, turn the system over and reinstall the eight screws we removed earlier and reinsert the screw coverings. Now it is time to fire up your system and enjoy!


I hope you have found this tutorial article helpful. If you have, please let me know in the comments. Are you still, having issues? Let us know and we’ll try to help. Also, the links to the required materials are there as a helpful guide. You could certainly locate other parts/tools and possibly at a cheaper price. I have linked the tools I used during my repair.

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