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Old 02-24-2009, 04:20 PM   #1
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CD Jammed in Optical Drive (20" Intel iMac)

The disk is in the drive, mounted, readable and functioning perfectly. When I try to eject it I hear movement but then it's sucked back in and mounts again. I have spent three days looking on the internet for a solution:

Mouse click on startup - no change
Terminal functions - no change
Turning machine on its side and 'gently shaking' - no change

I have seen many references to inserting tweezers, laminated business cards, board from AA battery packaging, other disks, other disks with double sided sellotape on their face with a piece of string in the central hole, and even a pincer device fashioned from the old sliding metal thing off a floppy disk... and they all make me nervous. I should admit that I have tentatively slid a business card in the central part of the slot but it seems to meet an obstruction and even when the disk is spinning I do NOT hear any sounds of friction on the business card - this would suggest I'm not going in far enough (about a quarter inch)

If anyone has successfully used any of these methods in the past can you please explain the correct procedure in simple details.

i.e. at what part of the slot should the card/tweezer/floppy disk thing of choice be placed in the vertically mounted intel imac drive? how far in should it be placed? should I exert pressure to guide the card to the top (the printed side) or the bottom (the readable side) of the cd? if I meet or have to negotiate certain obstruction (pins, arms) how much pressure can I exert without killing the thing?

Please note:
I have used this factory (XL Records) disk in the machine before with no problems
When it got stuck I was in the middle of a music ripping exercise and had already successfully ejected about a dozen disks - the computer was neither moved nore scarcely touched (let alone knocked enough to shift something out of alignment) in between times
I have turned the computer off for a day and tried again after hearing about overheating and melted labels and the like
The iMac is three months out of warranty, the drive is a PIONEER DVR-K06A


I became impatient and stupidly slid a thin sheet of paper in the drive to see where the holding pins/arms were - next time I pressed eject the disk disappeared from the desktop but neither made its painful noises nor ejected (obviously) - on restart the disk mounted and I was able to read it but the same thing happened again. Following yet another restart the CD no longer mounts. I have tried the terminal instructions but with no success, every 30 seconds the drive makes a slight sound as if it's trying to spin and then gives up. It seems like I've killed the thing!!

Any help would be deeply appreciated...


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Old 02-25-2009, 04:17 PM   #2
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Location: Sydney , Australia
Posts: 419
It sounds like the optical drive is cactus to me but first remove the CD.
Standard ejecting disk -t ry dragging the disc's icon to the trash, if it still won't eject then try and restart the computer holding down the mouse button.
There are few other suggestions here.
Turn the machine off and get a pair of tweezers.
Be very careful and using a torch, slide the tweezers in until you can grip the edge of the CD in question and carefully slide it out.
I'd either take the iMac into an Apple repair shop and get them to have a look at it or if you are comfortable with doing hardware repairs on computers, download a take apart guide and do it yourself.
I was going to suggest trying a firmware upgrade but I think there is something physically wrong with the drive.
If you are burning a lot of disks then you may be heating up the drive to a point where it is expanding or warping causing out-of-alignment problems.
My advice for iMac, laptop or Mac Mini owners is if you are looking to do a lot more burning of CDs and DVDs is to buy an external burner and save your internal drive just for reading disks and the occasional burn.
I also think that modern optical drives just don't seem to be as robust as they once were.Much higher burn speeds and temps may be because of this though.
Tower owners can whip a drive in and out pretty quickly but the others listed above - not so easy and expensive if you have to pay someone else to do it.
Good Luck !


Last edited by stewiesno1; 02-25-2009 at 04:27 PM. Reason: Typo
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Old 02-26-2009, 10:26 AM   #3
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: Boulder, CO USA
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Originally Posted by stewiesno1
Be very careful and using a torch, slide the tweezers in until you can grip the edge of the CD

ojf, just in case you are from the United States, you should know that 'torch' does not refer to a blowtorch or similar, that is what the UK and former parts of the British Empire use to refer to a flashlight.

Of course, I see that you use the term 'sellotape', so you probably already know that. But it should be clear to anybody who reads this--no blowtorches near your computer! stewiesno1 means a flashlight.

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Old 02-26-2009, 11:14 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by trevor
But it should be clear to anybody who reads this--no blowtorches near your computer!

This goes for heat guns, too.
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Old 02-26-2009, 04:11 PM   #5
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Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Sydney , Australia
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Ah the vagaries of the English language.
Well pointed out Trevor !
Yes, please don't use a blowtorch on your Mac - or arc-welder or angle-grinder etc

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cd stuck, optical drive

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