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Hello


I have an iMac G3 Snow White and the optical drive is rather tenacious about making ejection difficult necessitating a manual ejection which is cumbersome and not easily succeeded but only after several attempts. I will open the machine up and investigate a permanent fix but failing that I would like to know from forum members if there are current alternatives that will fit this machine.

 

I pasted the relevant portion of "Apple's Optical - Zip Matrix PDF" but I doubt any of these drives are still available as new but it might serve as a reference.


Any help would be appreciated.

 

image.png.80e606a9147d04b4fce688e1de706f70.png

 

 

 

 

 

557488282_iMac(Summer2001)CDDVDincarrier.jpg.ab04ca0431dd7383d6490003b9dcc773.jpg 

 

image.png.4ce877379183a37ca7c2c8cf66e1cc6f.png

 

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I'd be curious to hear other thoughts on this but largely it seems like the most viable option might be firewire external drive enclosures. They weren't entirely unpopular back in the day as upgrades to owners of basic iMac models for burning CDs and DVDs, or as secondary drives for copying operations, and these Macs will boot over firewire.

 

Another option might be to put the files you need for recovery and reinstallation on a firewire-based iPod or firewire external hard drive. I've also used my PowerBook G4 (and it occurs to me: my iBook G4 could be used the same way) to target disk boot to an optical drive.

 

I have three of these systems now, in various states of repair, and the other benefit is that as a hot-plug device, a firewire ipod/hdd/odd can be shared among a number of different Macs. (Even, in fact, my iBook/PowerBook.)

 

One other thought: It's not entirely clear that the problem with ejecting is with the drive itself. I'd be interested in whether this is an alignment problem caused by settling and/or the breakdown of some of the material inside the machine, or if the ejection mechanism itself is getting weak.

 

If it's just the mechanism getting weak, then of course replacing the mechanism with a newer one should help, although how much newer is possible given that laptops did eventually switch to SATA (although in many cases that was later than hard disks did) and how long-term that solution will be, is tough to tell.

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9 hours ago, Cory5412 said:

One other thought: It's not entirely clear that the problem with ejecting is with the drive itself. I'd be interested in whether this is an alignment problem caused by settling and/or the breakdown of some of the material inside the machine, or if the ejection mechanism itself is getting weak.

You raise a good point on the firewire/iPod/Firewire target disk mode but I would prefer a replacement drive but in any event … as per the comment you made which I quoted.

 

I can tell you that the optical drive appears to have a lot of strength when it attempts to eject, it sounds pretty strong.

 

I have to investigate the drive on its own to see how it is dealing with discs and from there consider if it is the iMac's own external slot insert which allows for disc insertion might actually be out of alignment.

 

Thanks for your thoughts, I appreciate it!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I am all too familiar with this conundrum, as I have at least four or five iMacs G3 and a G4 Cube, *all* with the same problem!

 

The drive is otherwise functional, so a replacement shouldn't be necessary. The problem is that the eject mechanisms on these drives are prone to failure because they are driven by a rubber belt which stretches, hardens and cracks with age, thus causing the slippage which prevents the mechanism from working properly. You could try rejuvenating the belt with some kind of conditioner product, but I think the only permanent fix would be to find a new belt.

 

If you can remove the drive and open it up, the belt is easily accessible on one side, and is relatively straightforward to replace.

 

Finding a replacement, however, will probably not be quite so simple. You could start by typing the manufacturer+model number+belt into Google, I suppose.

 

c

Edited by CC_333
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7 hours ago, CC_333 said:

Finding a replacement, however, will probably not be quite so simple. You could start by typing the manufacturer+model number+belt into Google, I suppose.

well, that at least explains the issue and it does make sense that a belt would be slipping from the corresponding gears.

 

First I would need to find steps on how to open up this drive. I have yet to remove it from the iMac itself.

 

Thanks a million for narrowing down any isolation steps down to specific component.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Short update:

It turns out that the issue with my drive is the drive belt. I am pretty sure because the belt has gotten deformed, assuming two hard corners, losing its original circular shape that is characteristic of a new drive belt.

 

15567686_Leftgoodbadright.thumb.jpg.3f92ad66dc9b010175ea2806fd2d39e0.jpg

 

*

NOTE:

If you have old optical drives in your old computers, from time to time exercise them. These old belts can deform as a result of sitting idle under tension. They will lose their shape over time if they are not exercised.

*

 

I also took the time to remove any old lubrication on gears, replacing it with fresh lubricant.

I cleaned the roller which is near the slot, the rollers are in very good condition from what I can tell and have a strong tactile feel.

 

I will purchase a new drive belt because I suspect it the most. The motor sounds very strong and is not a point of suspicion. All other mechanics in the drive move smoothly without issue.

 

Relevant link:

Although I searched high and low while working on the drive I did eventually come across this page which shows the exact drive that came out of the iMac Snow. It appears he went as far as I have with my own drive. Having known about this link would have saved me a little bit of time but it's always fun to figure out how to open and fix stuff.

http://www.ncitymacs.com/G4Cube.html

Also saved to http://web.archive.org/web/20190704223506/http://ncitymacs.com/G4Cube.html

Edited by Alex
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One more quick note

 

The rubber roller is loose, turning independent of the shaft so I will have to fix this as well.

 

1191744250_looserubberrollers.png.167a0d45b60cb42cb06406f9dbef6e3d.png

 

I know that there is a youtube video out there showing how to fix this in a CD slot loading car audio system but failed to find it. The CD player being worked on in the video is surprisingly similar to the Panasonic/Matshita/Matsushita SR-8186-B found in the Cube and Snow iMac.

 

 

Edited by Alex
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For moment try, https://www.aliexpress.com/wholesale?catId=0&initiative_id=SB_20200118062545&SearchText=cd+drive+belt

 

I measured mine and it's 10cm when folded and a 1mm across cross section, these are not round belts but 1mm x 1mm square.

 

This item is likely a good target because it is 100mm (10cm) folded and 1mm just like the original. https://www.aliexpress.com/item/32789852837.html?spm=a2g0o.productlist.0.0.5f005f77qXKDwj&algo_pvid=b459d88e-277c-41da-a996-955b6af9b253&algo_expid=b459d88e-277c-41da-a996-955b6af9b253-5&btsid=c2c0d30f-f820-47e2-bab9-0f3e01d9db8f&ws_ab_test=searchweb0_0,searchweb201602_3,searchweb201603_55

 

Here is the description:

 

Features:
Brand new unused
Generic Tape Drives belt
Steady with no vibrato
Widely used in Recorders, CD-ROM video machines, Walkman, DVD drive.

 

Specifications:
Color: Black
Square cross-section: about 1mm
Fold long: 40-130MM
Belt Shape: Square
 

Quantity: 30 pcs

Package Included:
30 pcs Tape Machine Belt

CD Drive Belt.jpg

Edited by Alex
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On 1/17/2020 at 2:14 PM, LaPorta said:

When you order, give us a

link to which belts to order. I have a DV SE that will need one eventually, no doubt.

I don't know if the DV SE uses the same drive. As a precaution, you should confirm which optical drive is in your particular iMac just incase. Please refer to the table I pasted at the top. As you can see there are a few different optical drives in use, whether they are all interchangeable is not something I've studied.

Edited by Alex
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On 1/18/2020 at 6:41 PM, LaPorta said:

DVD, Summer 2000...should be about the same as your Snow White, they came out at the same time.

Should be if the model of drive in your machine is part 661-2342. In my case I have verified that the drive in my system is SR-8186.
System profiler will provide the information you need to confirm the part in your particular iMac.

For cases where part substitution(s) are a consideration one must reach a solid conclusion before considering parts.

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  • 1 month later...
On 1/17/2020 at 12:33 PM, Alex said:

One more quick note

 

The rubber roller is loose, turning independent of the shaft so I will have to fix this as well.

 

1191744250_looserubberrollers.png.167a0d45b60cb42cb06406f9dbef6e3d.png

 

 

 

 

 

Do you happen to have any other photos of the internals of the 2001 drive? Specifically how the two black springs go in to hold the roller down. because that images is too low res for me to see correctly.

PHOTO_20200322_180233.jpg

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  • 2 weeks later...

Quick update

The belts arrived but I foresee some challenges with resolving this with only a new belt because the roller appears to spin independently of the shaft, this as per what I had documented above. I will confirm this and report back. 

 

I have some explaining to do …

Sorry for not providing an update yet. Truth be told, since the COVID19 outbreak everyone is at home and I have had to spend a lot of time with my 6.5 year old daughter. Schools across our country will remain closed until 09/2020. I've also used up all my spare time getting up to speed with my website. Despite this I will be going through this post to remember my steps and see to it that I take some photos and document my process as carefully as I can.

 

I will likely post a link here to nichrome.us where I blog my Mac adventures. Sadly it might be a real challenge to post anything directly here because I can't seem to upload any more images due to having reached some data quota on attachments which frustrates the process of using images to document steps and so on. I have contacted the admin here but never got a response.

 

Until then, stay safe everyone, meaning stay inside as much as possible, disinfect and please wear a mask to protect yourself and others.

Edited by Alex
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On 1/17/2020 at 1:33 PM, Alex said:

One more quick note

 

The rubber roller is loose, turning independent of the shaft so I will have to fix this as well.

 

1191744250_looserubberrollers.png.167a0d45b60cb42cb06406f9dbef6e3d.png

Today I took the machine apart again.

 

Firstly I noticed that the replacement drive belts I received from China were slightly thinner and were much more rubbery, softer, not sure how to put it. Now, I didn't yet replacement the best because the roller, pictured above was not spinning with the inner shaft. In other words, the rubber rollers wouldn't spin so no CD was ever going to come out, with or without a new belt.

 

What I did was remove the section that holds the roller and cleaned the heck out of it, warm water and detergent then a 15 minute bath in enough isopropyl alcohol cleaner. As it remained submerged I agitated the rubber rollers, sliding them on the metal shaft to get it clean underneath. This made no difference so I got some thin double sided tape, pulled back one side of the rubber roller and then wrapped a small amount of double sided tape without overlapping it on to itself. I applied double sided tape to both sides of the roller.

 

I then reassembled the computer and discs only manage to peek out a little, they fail to eject still.

 

I have to change the belt now but these replacements seem rather soft but maybe they can apply enough tension. I also need to ensure any and all line is completely cleaned off from the mechanics that drive the belt or it might slip but the rubber roller is indeed spinning with the shaft it is slid over.

 

I wish I could power the drive while it is disassembled so that I can test it without having to reassemble the whole computer each time. I really need to isolate the issue if it failed to eject again. I can certainly here the motor work inside the Mac. The optical drive reads discs just fine too.

 

Any advice on this?

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Hi, Alex.

 

We would need a pin-out description of the power connector on your drive to be sure the power requirements, but most all DVD and CD drives require both 5V and 12V.  You could technically wire a 5V battery and 12V battery to your drive to satisfy those power requirements, but finding a 5V battery is the problem.  Maybe 3 AA batteries in series to make 4.5V might work, assuming you also have a 12V battery to drive the motor mechanism.  But the also assumes no crossed wire mistakes on your part.  Fused wires would be safer, but now we're getting more complicated.

 

There are ways to use only a 12V battery (since you lack a dedicated power supply unit) to generate 5V too, but that requires a voltage regulator and a couple capacitors.  Those parts are cheap and easy to buy on Mouser if you don't mind the shipping charges, but again, that is making this more complicated that merely doing what you are doing now.

 

All said, you are looking for something to make your job easier, but finding the right 5V and 12V power sources add a level of complexity that you probably want to avoid.  Finding a way to extend the cable would seem to be the best course of action, but that would require parts and wires you probably don't have.  Someone else like @Bolle might have a better idea though.

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@JDW thank you for your reply and advice. I sincerely appreciate it. It sound complicated even though you explained it very well. I simply lack the background knowledge and experience take your comments forward to a practical set up. I may just work around the issue by reducing the hard disk/optical cage by removing the HD leaving the optical drive casing removed if possible. This will potentially allow me to view the drive in motion. Even without an OS the optical drive should inject and eject by its own devices, at least I hope so and perhaps this will allow me enough visibility to see the mechanics of the drive work.

 

It may also be that the drive does indeed need the new belt in place, something I thought I could avoid for now. I also believe that the little wheels that the belt wraps around might be contaminated with some lob causing the belt to slip.

 

I will keep folks updated because I know that there is interest for others.

 

Thanks again for your time and expert advice!

 

Sincerely

—Alex

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So I have the drive mechanism open again. I am manually moving the gears to simulate disc insertion and ejection. The robber roller and the old belt are very good at gripping the disc, the problem actually is strongly pointing to the magnetic ring. It appears to be a barrier of entry and exit for the disc. For entry the magnetic ring is not as contentious because on can gently push on the disc but on exit it's more complicated as only a small sliver of the disc protrudes past the iMac's disc insertion/exit slot and because ejection is unsuccessful after a few seconds the drive injects it again.

 

I did try an external adapter meant to power a bare SATA/IED HDD drive as it has a molex power end on it but it fails to power up the drives in their chassis. The optical drive has no such molex connector so what I may do is plug it into the Mac via it's own native cables and see if I can view and insert eject.

 

I will keep you all posted.

 

I am taking photos along the way so I will eventually create a blog post detailing my steps but for now I will use replies as a form of note keeping and status updates.

Edited by Alex
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