Help with Dreamcast Reading Discs

Discussion in 'Gaming' started by Brett Hancock, Jun 11, 2003.

  1. Brett Hancock

    Brett Hancock Supporting Actor

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    I know this belongs in the hardware forum but I know that more people visit the software so I thought I would post it in here until one of the admins moved it [​IMG].

    Anyway my problem is that sometimes my Dreamcast just refuses to read games, no matter what games. I have tried them all on my friends Dreamcast and they work perfectly. I have cleaned everything that I shoudl with a q-tip and there appears to be nothing that would cause the system to stop reading games. However sometimes it works perfectly. Any ideas?? If someone wants to hit me up on AIM that would be rad.
     
  2. Ray Warner

    Ray Warner Stunt Coordinator

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    You're not using burned CDs in it, are you? That kills the GD-ROM drive after about a year. Once it's damaged, it'll have trouble reading even legitimate games, and even if you can get it to work, it'll overheat and crap out after about an hour.
     
  3. Mark Dubbelboer

    Mark Dubbelboer Screenwriter

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    not meaning to hijack the thread but how would using a burnt cd cause damage?
    i always thought that was the equivalent of an old wives tale
     
  4. Ray Warner

    Ray Warner Stunt Coordinator

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    Nope. Consider this: The drive in a Dreamcast is NOT a CD-ROM. Look at the bottom of your DC disks and compare them to a CD, you'll see they look quite different. While the drive in a Dreamcast (called a GD-ROM) can read CDs, it was never meant to pull the same amount of information from a CD as it was from a GD. Sega gave it the capacity to read CDs to allow for music to be played, but they never factored in running a whole game that way. In fact, later Dreamcasts have the CD reading capability removed, though this was probably to prevent piracy as much as anything else.

    There's actually 2 separate sessions on Dreamcast disks. The first is written like a normal CD, and if you put a DC disk in a computer, it's this information that the computer reads. The second session is written in the same format as a laserdisk. The pits are much closer together than a normal CD, allowing a Gig of storage as opposed to a normal CD storage of 650MB or so. Computers cannot read this second session, nor can anything but GD-ROM lasers.

    When you play a pirated game, it contains a modified first session that essentially tells the DC to never switch to GD reading mode before it loads the game (this is why people use "boot disks"). This is NOT what the drive was meant to do, and sure enough, it'll burn the drive out much faster than it normally would take.

    I've had a Dreamcast since launch day (9/9/99), so we're talking 4 years of near-constant use, and have not once had any problems with the laser array. Check the "current projects" link in my signature; it still works like a champ! I've also never had a pirated game in there even for a second, nor will I. I've watched lots of other Dreamcasts die in the meantime because people wanted free games. When people tell me it's not true and it doesn't hurt the DC, I don't say anything. I know better, but if people don't want to believe me, I'm perfectly fine with letting them kill their consoles.

    It's also one of the things I refuse to fix for people afterwards.
     
  5. KevinRB

    KevinRB Stunt Coordinator

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    Are you having problems with demo discs from the Dreamcast magazine? It seems like those went through a different burning process, as I've always had a much higher failure rate with them. Oddly enough, I've read stories of people boiling the discs briefly to get them working. (I think it was even in this forum, so you might want to try a search.)

    Sorry Ray, you haven't convinced me that using burned discs can shorten a Dreamcast's lifespan. Can you point me to any links that document this?
     
  6. DaveGTP

    DaveGTP Cinematographer

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    Here's a good link on the CD-Rs...and from a DC emu site, they wouldn't say so if it wasn't true! It says it is a small amount of extra wear and tear. Personally I don't think it makes much of a difference. My DC has seen minimal wear compared to my PS2 anyway. I think the word "damage" should be more like "slightly more wear and tear".
     
  7. Allen_Appel

    Allen_Appel Second Unit

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    I've read that the DC laser can become misaligned and might need to be recalibrated. A friend repaired his from info on these boards (sorry, I don't know which thread, but from the titles this seems to be a common problem): DC EZ Boards.
     
  8. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    Before I sold my Dreamcast I had a similar problem reading discs. I admit to playing pirated games a few times, however, I barely played my Dreamcast at all and when I did, I mostly played legit games (Tony Hawk I and lots of Soul Calibur). There were many times when I tried to load legit copies of Sonic Adventure and Crazy Taxi and they simply wouldn't load, even after numerous tries. I gave up right around the time they stopped making Dreamcast software.

    As an aside, I got my Dreamcast a few days after launch, and was able to purchase Soul Calibur for $0.99! I know that it has nothing to do with this thread, but I ordered it from some internet company right after launch. The price was legit, and they were trying to bait customers into their company before it ended up going under. I don't remember which company it was specifically, but it was a great deal, especially for a game on a brand new system.
     
  9. Brett Hancock

    Brett Hancock Supporting Actor

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    Never played a burnt game on my DC however I think i solved the problem. I noticed that the red stripped cable(more bronze actually)that you can see at the top of the disc area had a smudge mark on it so I took a q-tip to it. Appears to work fine now, haven't had a problem yet tonight. Of course now if I could only find some Soul Calibur skills I would be set.....
     
  10. Mike__D

    Mike__D Supporting Actor

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  11. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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    Moving to Video Game Hardware.
     
  12. Rob_Pierce

    Rob_Pierce Second Unit

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    I bought 3 used games at a second-hand store last week and none of them would load at all. All of my games are fine and there were no smudges or any other defections on the disc, but apparently the store used some sort of cleaner to buff the disc with and it caused the problem. After bitching at them for a while, I finally got my money back, but be careful of second-hand DC games.
     
  13. Ray Warner

    Ray Warner Stunt Coordinator

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    Okay, as far as people not convinced that pirated games hurt the DC, here it is: I've seen it happen a number of times. I'm pretty well embedded in the Dreamcast Arcade circut, so the games are very common, and so are shorted-out DC lasers, aka "The Grey Screen."

    If you don't think it'll hurt the DC, well, that's your call, my feelings on game piracy notwithstanding. I'm not going to preach, but I'm not going to argue about it, either.
     
  14. Allen_Appel

    Allen_Appel Second Unit

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    Just to hijack the thread a little bit, how common a problem is burning out the controller ports? I've heard that third-party controllers can destroy the ports by drawing too much power. Are there certain brands prone to do this? If it happens, is it a simple fix?
     
  15. Ray Warner

    Ray Warner Stunt Coordinator

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    Easy fix. New DC parts are readily available, check NCS for it.

    Basic rule of thumb is, if it's ultra-cheap, don't use it.
     
  16. Ben Seibert

    Ben Seibert Stunt Coordinator

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    What's the risk of using bootdiscs? I'd assume it would be fairly low, but is the amount of CD-R play a large factor?
     
  17. Scott_lb

    Scott_lb Supporting Actor

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    I just remembered this while checking up on this thread. After I first noticed the disc reading problem, I went into a Funcoland and asked the guy who was working at the time if he had ever heard of the same problem. He stated that Dreamcast discs are "high density" and are thus more prone to being damaged by scratched (when compared to other types of optical media). I have no idea if he was correct- anyone ever hear of this?
     
  18. BrianB

    BrianB Producer

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    DC disks have 1GB on them vs 700MB on regular disks, so he's kinda correct.
     
  19. dave_brogli

    dave_brogli Screenwriter

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    Yeah the Dreamcast games can look absolutely MINT except for that one little minor scrape. Sure enough your game probally wont play. Theyre not even close to as scratchable as PS1 games were/are..........
     
  20. Ray Warner

    Ray Warner Stunt Coordinator

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    That's one of the reasons that they were never widely available at rental outlets: The discs were far to easy to render unuseable.

    It shouldn't be an issue if you leave them in their cases when not using them.

    Another tip for prolonging the life of the DC laser; "turn off" your DC by opening it. This engages the disc brake and resets the hardware. Sega did this to try to encourage people to not leave games in the DC when it was off (which is a very good idea if you own a PS2). Lest anyone not feel this is right, check the DC manual.

    Also, either pop the spindle head off the disc plug on your DC, or, when removing games, hold your finger on the plug and lift up gently. The lasers can be thrown out of alignment by pulling the disc out too hard. Obviously, older DC units are more prone to this than newer ones, but it's a problem with all top-loading units. Hence, the GameCube actually has an "eject" feature to prevent this kind of wear and tear.
     

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