Last time I wanted to insert one of my favorite games in the PlayStation 3 (fat edition) and bam: the disc can’t be inserted no more. What a huge deception, I firstly thought that there was already a disc in the console and pressed several times the EJECT button: it was impossible to insert a disc: the drive has curiously stopped accepting the disc.

After several tries I went crazy and really thought the drive was broken and that I wouldn’t be able to use the PS3 again. So I decided to open it and tried to repair it.

Warning:  If you open your PlayStation and remove the seal, your warranty will be definitely void, so only open it if you know what you are going to do! And please unplug the power cable before opening your console. But this advice should be logic ;-)

Step 0: Blocked disc

 

A frustrated gamer that won't be able to play GT5 because the PlayStation 3 has a tray problem: annoying! ;-)

If you slightly push the disc into the slot and feel a big resistance it’s likely you are facing a blocked disc tray. Also check the LEDs: if there are blue and green like mine(and not red – in this case it would be a really serious technical problem), you are facing the same problem like me. Ok, enough problem description let’s get started!

Step 1: Remove the warranty seal and the cover deck

This is the simplest step: under your PlayStation you will find a rubber foot. Remove it and you will find a small hole that contains a screw. Take a screwdriver and unscrew it. You will see that the black plastic deck with the PS3 logo will detach very easily. To do this you only need to push it in the arrow’s direction.

Warranty seal hiding the hole for the screw. The metal piece is the head of my screwdriver.

You will notice a second plastic deck:

These screws are surprisingly very easy to remove (max. 4 minutes)

The second step of our manipulation is to unscrew the seven screws that are holding a second black protection deck. Notice that one of the screws is shorter than the other ones. This operation is pretty simple and after a few minutes of unscrewing you will see the operating unit of the PlayStation on the left side and on the right side the Blu-ray player.

Top view of the internal components of the PlayStation3. Notice how well manufactured the whole inside is!

Step 2: Removing the Blu-Ray disc drive (two cables)

If you have ever opened a PC you shouldn’t be too much scared by the fact that you need to disconnect the Blu-ray player from the electronic circuit. It’s easy: first remove the 4 wires power-miniplug.

Blu-Ray power connector

Now carefully remove the drive from its location (and please do not mistreat the wide connection cable: it’s very fragile!). You should now see a white sticker at the bottom of the drive. Remove it slowly. Push the small connector interface and now you will be able to separate the drive from the cable. The drive is now loosen and you can dissect it ;-)

The drive's data connector is fragile so don't mess with it, otherwise you are ready to buy a new cable!

Step 3: Removing the metallic cover

You will notice 4 screws that are placed along the metallic cover. Unscrew them in order to remove the cover. Start at the front of the drive (where you insert the disc) by carefully bending the cover and then remove it completely.

Step 4: Dissecting the disc drive mechanism

Now you should have following picture:

Two clips. Notice the removable central circular part (there's small magnet inside). This part may easily fall apart so be sure to keep an eye on it! The white plastic parts might sometimes also block the mechanism, so be sure to check if they are working correctly.

 

You will notice that you need to unscrew two other screws in order to remove the top part of the mechanism. This part contains two plastic parts and a central magnet in the middle of the drive. Notice the clips at both sides: carefully press them and remove the upper part. Hurray! Now you have reached the heart of the drive and the disc tray mechanism. Be careful not to touch the lenses!

Warning: the disc tray mechanism is very fragile and contains a lot of small springs: never try to force the mechanism. The plastic parts are precisely manufactured to clearly fit in the gears.

 

The part where you are going to intervene is on the left. The mechanism is fragile so be don't play with the springs! Check if the two small switches are still responsive when the round plastic part is going over them.

Step 5: Cleaning and testing

The following steps helped me to solve the blocked tray issue:

  • Try to smoothly push both side of the mechanism together in order to simulate the insertion of a disc. Don’t force too much otherwise you will hear a small scratch sound (although it sounds awful to your ears, the plastic gears only have jumped from one gap to the other one). Then you can try to push the small rolls in order to reactivate the mechanism and the springs.
  • On the right side you will notice a small electronic circuit with two very small switches on it. It you take a magnify glass you will notice that both are pressed when the right plastic part is about at the middle of its run. These switches activate the motor that “eats” and brings the disc directly to the middle of the drive. You certainly have noticed that when you insert a disc you will only need to insert into till its half until it gets “sucked” by the console.
  • It wasn’t directly my case as my PlayStation was pretty new but check if some springs went out of their cases or are blocked.
  • If you have a newer PlayStation you will notice that there is a small infrared sensor directly placed at the entry of the drives slot. This sensor detects the insertion of a disc. Sometimes dust can fall over this sensor leading the console to think that there is still a cd in the drive.

Conclusion

At each step I’ve reconnected the power cable supply (be very careful while doing this, don’t put your fingers elsewhere than onto the EJECT or the Power ON button!)

I hope I could give you some useful tips on how to repair your PlayStation 3. It took me about 2,5 hours (tests included) to repair it.