DVD scratch repair

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Nelson Au, May 24, 2012.

  1. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Hey guys, I did a search and found the most recent posting on the topic of disc scratch repair was about 10 years old.
    So I wanted to ask if there are any more recent developments, processes and products to use to fix scratches.
    I have an old Pioneer DVD/LD player and it eats discs once in a while that I use in my home office. I thought I licked the problem the last time this happened by being sure to use the stop button before ejecting a disc.
    Anyway, somehow, last night the disc got caught and I had to open the player and remove the disc the hard way. The disc was jammed between the tray and the spindle was pressing against the playing surface and made it look like a potato chip! Cringe inducing. The spindle left a mark on the disc and it would not play past that point. It felt like a deep gouge. I decided to retire that player last night after this happened! I'll replace it with a Toshiba HD-DVD DVD player that's not being used.
    I had an old bottle of Pro Wipes CD LD polish, and that didn't help. So I tried a dab of toothpaste. That did it! What must have happened is the spindle left something on the surface that took a little more aggressive processes to remove. The disc plays now. And I'm glad because its part of the James Bond Ultimate Edition set from 2006. I wasn't sure I'd be able to find a replacement copy that matches the same artwork. Even though I have the last blu-ray edition and will be getting the Bond 50 blu-ray set, I still wanted to have a working DVD set.
    So the toothpaste left very very fine scratches on the surface where I buffed out the scuff. I also have the MASH DVD set that was notorious for the scratched discs given how those were packaged. So I am curious if there are products or any home brew methods to remove those scratches?
    I've done and had great success with polishing paint on my cars, so I know about those abrasive products and I am OCD about removing every little scratch and swirl mark. Though I suspect that once a disc has a mark on the plastic surface, it will be next to impossible to get it back to perfection.
    Any insights would be appreciated! Many thanks!
    Nelson
     
  2. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Supporting Actor

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    How about not using a player that chews up your discs?
    For purely DVD playback you can get players that are really very cheap.
    If you've retained the LD/DVD player in order to be able to play legacy LD's then using it to play your DVD's is shortening it's lifespan for no good reason, and getting hold of a replacement LD player if this one dies is going to be a pain.
    I;d get a dedicated DVD player and only use the LD player for LD's, nothing else.
    You're right about disc surfaces. The toothpaste trick only works because it polishes down severe scratches, that scatter the laser beam to the point where it can't read the discs, back to a stage where it can read the data and the DVD error correction does the rest.
    The only way to restore a disc to a pristine condition is a professional repolishing service. They use machines that polish off a few microns of the protective clear plastic on the play side of the disc - this is relatively thick and many scratches can be completely removed in this way.
    Obviously, nothing can remove really deep ones, and if they penetrate to the metal data layer, the disc is permanently ruined.
    Scratches on the label side can be more serious, because the plastic is actually thinner on that side and thus shallower scratches can penetrate to the data laye rmore easily.
    AFAIk the reploshing machines use a sapphire blade to remove the plastic as part of the process.
    And by the way, don;t try any of this with laserdiscs. They are much less tolerant of scratches, since the error correction is a lot less robust than DVD's, and the plastic they're made of is softer and more permeable. Many LD's were made of acrylics, whilst DVD's use polycarbonate which is much harder and ten times more resistant to things like moisture. Some later LD's used polycarbonate too.
     
  3. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the reply. That Pioneer player is retired now after that last DVD was stuck in the machine last night! I still have an Elite Pioneer DVD LD player that I'll save for playing LDs.
    For now the DVD has been saved and plays. Thanks for the info on polishing services. I'll look into that. Any suggestions?
    Polycarbonate is a very hard plastic. I knew that from my work experiences, but I don't have a lot of knowledge on polishing it.
    Thanks again.
     
  4. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Supporting Actor

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    I can;t suggest any services since I'm in the UK 0 but try googling "CD repair service" or something like that.
     
  5. mdnitoil

    mdnitoil Supporting Actor

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    Check to see if you have a Buybacks located anywhere near you. They are a national used disc chain and for about a buck they'll run your disc on their buffer while you wait. If not them, I would check out other used places.
     
  6. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Thanks for the lead Scott. Not sure I ever heard of a Buybacks. I'll look it up!
    Looking at the disc now, it actually looks great compared to some lightly scratched rental discs I've seen! But from my OCD mind, I wish it could be perfect like it was! A buck would be a steal to have it buffed out.
    I have it playing through an upscaling HD-DVD player via HDMI. Wow, what an upgrade from the old LD player!:)
     
  7. Nebiroth

    Nebiroth Supporting Actor

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    Here in the UK, our public libraries offer a scratch repair service. I assume this is because they also loan out DVD's and CD's and a lot of them come back scratched since borrowers can be counted on to not look after them, so they invest in the equipment to repair them.
     
  8. Vegas 1

    Vegas 1 Supporting Actor

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    I use Novus #1 and #2 for my Laserdiscs have not tried on DVDs or CDs
     
  9. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

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    Al, great to know! I'll put that on my list to try.
     
  10. Richard V

    Richard V Cinematographer

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    I've also heard that a banana will repair DVD scratches, think I saw a video demonstration of it on youtube once.
     

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