Wii Cannot Read Disc Error (How to Fix)

Are you having cannot read disc errors on your Wii? Not sure what to do about it? First I will give a little history on the issue I had, and then, give instructions on the steps you can take to troubleshoot problems you may be having.

History of the problem

Our Wii has had issues reading discs for a long time. Nintendo customer service is actually quite good, as long as your device is still under warranty. We had no issues at all until we got our first dual layer disc, Super Smash Brothers Brawl. When we got that disc, it worked most of the time, but once in awhile, it would halt or not load, and we would get an error that the Wii couldn’t read the disc. I read about the problem online, and quickly found I was not alone. A lot of people had the problem and sent their units in for repair. Our problem was not really repeatable though. There wasn’t really a way to make it happen all the time, so I thought if I sent it in, they might not even see the problem.

A while later I noticed it couldn’t read Gamecube discs either. This was repeatable. It couldn’t read any Gamecube discs at all. Since it still had about a month of warranty left, I sent it back to Nintendo with the hopes that whatever they did to fix the Gamecube discs problem, would also fix the dual layer disc problem, and it did for quite a while. Then, a few weeks ago, we picked up Sega All Stars racing. This disc seemed to have more issues than other discs in the past. Right out of the box, it would give errors, but if you ejected the disc and stuck it back in, you could usually get it to the point where it would play. Sometimes you had to take it out and put it in a dozen times to get it to start. Once the race started though, it didn’t seem to have problems, presumably because it was no longer reading data at that point.

The problem got steadily worse until, when you put the disc in, you were lucky if you could even get the title screen to come up. Karaoke Revolution stopped working entirely around the same time. Now, with my warranty long over, I needed to see about getting the Wii fixed. Sending it back to Nintendo didn’t seem like a good option. I had already sent it back once, and the fix was only temporary. If I sent it back it might last for 6-8 months, and then I might have to send it back again. Also, the cost seemed kind of high. Just getting it repaired was going to cost something like $75. A brand new one is only $180, and has an extra Wiimote, nunchuck, Wii sports and Wii sports Resorts. If we didn’t already have those games, and all the Wiimotes and nunchucks we needed, it would be cheaper to actually buy a new one than to get the old one fixed. I seriously considered doing just that, but then there was the issue about Wii ware. It seemed some people had problems after buying new units or getting units fixed where Nintendo had to replace their unit with a different one. All the purchases and Wii points they made with the old unit didn’t get transferred smoothly to the new unit. I decided my only option was to try to fix it myself.


Wii laser cleaning disc

Many posts about this issue seemed to blame early model Wiis, of which ours was one. The problem seemed to be blamed on smokers, or dust. No one smokes in our home, but we do have dust. I looked into possible ways to clean the Wii. The housing is closed with special tri-wing screws, so getting inside the unit was not really an option because I didn’t have this special screwdriver. I learned the problem was so prevalent that by this time, Nintendo had actually produced a Wii laser cleaning disc. I bought one, and the first time I used it, the cleaning pad came out of the Wii almost black. It seemed to help a little bit. For the next week or so, games worked about like they had before, with disc read errors occurring intermittently. Whenever I got a cannot read disc error, I would try to clean the laser again, but after that initial cleaning, it didn’t seem to help any more.

Compressed Air

Next, I bought a can of compressed air. The idea being maybe there was some dust in the Wii interfering with the laser. I blew out all the vents and any openings I could get to, but it didn’t seem to help much. By this point, pretty much no dual layer discs worked any more, although single layer discs were still playable.

Since I couldn’t get the case off because of the special tri-wing screws, I couldn’t really get inside to really clean the dust out.

I tried taking a cheap phillips head screwdriver I had and using a dremel tool to turn it into a triwing screwdriver, which some people had reported success with. It didn’t work for me though. I was able to get out the larger screws with it, but there are two smaller black screws that I couldn’t get out with my home made screwdriver and I didn’t want to strip the heads, so I went to Ebay and ordered a 3mm tri-wing screwdriver. They are very affordable. The one I got was pretty cheaply constructed but I didn’t expect anything else considering what I paid for it. When used carefully though, I was able to take the Wii apart with it and clean out all the dust and I was able to clean the laser directly. I might try to search for a better one for the future though.

I put it all back together, and it didn’t help at all.

Adjusting the Potentiometer

The next thing I read about was the potentiometer adjustment to the laser. This controls how much power gets to the laser. Apparently by boosting power to the laser some people report getting it to read discs it is having trouble with. I took the Wii apart again, and tried adjusting it. Everyone says to turn it a little bit counter clockwise, just a tiny bit, and it will sometimes fix the problem. It seems for most people they were doing it so they could read copies of discs made with a DVD burner. I don’t have anything like that, but I thought maybe the whole problem was Nintendo maybe intentionally made the power too low to prevent that sort of thing, and that is why the early Wiis had issues reading discs. Unfortunately, before starting I didn’t take a reading of what the potentiometer was set at because I didn’t take the drive apart far enough to actually get my leads in to probe the device. I did what I thought was a minor adjustment, put it all back together, and now the Wii couldn’t read any discs at all.

I took it all apart again, and this time got right into where I could actually measure the resisstance of the potentiometer. From what I had read it would normally start in the 700-900 ohm range, and people reported success by turning it down to the 500 – 600 ohm range. When I measured it, it was at 400 ohms. I tried adjusting it in 50 ohm increments all the way up to 900 ohms. I had to put it back together and take it back apart each time. Nothing seemed to work, and since I didn’t know what it was set at when I started, I couldn’t put it back to that setting and start from there. I decided either the laser was bad when I started, or I killed it when I adjusted it. I decided to try replacing the laser.

Replacing the laser

A quick search on the Internet found replacement Wii lasers readily available for around $15. Google for the part number RAF-3350. Prices seemed to vary widely though, anywhere from $13 to $70. A lot of people seemed to be selling used ones too, so pay attention to what you are getting. I got mine at thegamersfix.com. I have no complaints.

A few days later, the laser arrived. I installed it, put everything back together, and it works. If I had it to do all over again, I would just order the screwdriver and the laser and replace it. I might try cleaning the laser, but I wouldn’t buy the disc cleaning CD, because to really get rid of the dust, you have to get inside anyway. If you go through the trouble of getting inside, then you can clean the laser anyway. Taking the Wii apart is actually very simple. I will post links here to the two videos I used on YouTube, which showed the entire process in intricate detail. One is for taking the Wii apart, and the other continues from there to explain how to change the laser itself. Just watch through the videos a couple of times first to see what you are going to have to do, and then step through them pausing and rewinding as needed as you do it yourself. They cover everything. The only tools you need are the triwing screwdriver, and a couple of small phillips head screwdrivers. A lot of places on the web sell the three as a kit. Just Google for Wii screwdriver kit.

The only point in the entire replacement process that I had trouble with was removing a small piece of plastic on the laser itself, which needs to be transferred to the new laser. You can see this at 4:30 in the second video. The screw holding it on is very small and on my laser it was very tight. Having a screwdriver with a larger grip would have helped, because the problem I had was I couldn’t push down with enough force while turning the tiny screwdriver. I had to use a pair of vicegrips on the shaft of the screwdriver to turn it while pushing down on the top. That did the trick though. Other than that, I followed the instructions in the videos exactly. So here are the videos.

Update: A year and a half after replacing my laser, I had to replace it a second time. I had more problems the second time, problems others have asked about here in the last year. So here are a few tips from my experience and from some of the helpful comments people have left after they did it.
When you tape the ribbon cable to the metal shield, make sure the extra ribbon cable is pushed under the shield. The laser needs that extra cable as it moves back and forth.
Make sure the laser ribbon cable is pushed all the way in to its socket before you lock it in place.
Pick up some grease to lube the rails and the gear that the laser slides on. I used Lithium grease from Autozone and it seemed to work ok. I read a lot of discussions online about what is and isn’t safe for use with plastic. You might just want to order some when you order the laser and or screwdrivers.
Check to make sure you didn’t break any of the wires that are soldered to the small circuit board you have to move out of the way. The second time I replaced my laser I broke one and had to re solder it to the board.

How to take apart your Wii

How to Replace the Laser

62 Responses to “Wii Cannot Read Disc Error (How to Fix)”

  1. Dude, you rock!!! I am 13yo and was about to get a new Wii because my old one started having the same problem you detailed here. But instead, I just fixed it for $13US by following your tutorial on replacing the laser. I am so psyched!!! Thanks a MILLION!!!

  2. I really can’t tell you how great it is to hear that. I am so glad it worked out for you. Just so you know, it has been many months now since I repaired mine and I haven’t had a single cannot read disc error since I did the repair. I hope you have the same result.

  3. hey i have some questions. how do i know if my laser has gone bad? my wii can still suck in and eject the cd. but when i go to the channel it wont read the disc. i opened my wii and it doesnt seem to spin the cd. is it the lens or the motor for the cd? thanks

  4. When I was researching about the laser I did read about motors going bad as well, but that didn’t happen to be what happened to my system. My system would spin up the drive and try to read the discs and after several attempts it would fail and give a can’t read discs error. I don’t think it is very difficult to replace the entire drive. It is probably even easier than replacing the laser. They seem to be readily available for $60 – $80. Not as cheap as a laser, but still better than buying a new unit.

  5. I was wondering whether you noticed that the laser did turn on at all? I have the same problem, when I put in the disk I can actually see the laser (red dot) coming through the disk, moving back and forth, trying to read the game, but after a few tries I get the ‘cannot read disk’ or ‘error has occured’ messages…

    Thanks for the great info :)

  6. For sure the laser was coming on in my case, because it could read single layer discs until I went inside and started changing the potentiometers on the laser itself.

  7. Update: Even though I was skeptical about the whole replacing the laser idea, I ordered a new laser and followed the instructions… To my surprise, the games boot up just fine… Thanks a million! :)

  8. Thxs dude it did work but i really hate how we all hav to open up the wii an fix it ourselfs i mean nintendo is so stupid they made a machine that breaks itself ithink they should really just for once build somthing thats not a piece of crap but thx this really helped me

  9. Hello there. I followed the laser replacement part (also ordered the laser from the site you provided) and succeeded in replacing it, only to find that I still couldn’t play games. Do you have any idea as to why this is happening? Thanks for any help.

  10. Do you know if your disc is turning at all? I think there are basically only a couple of things it can be, usually the laser, but sometimes the drive motor. Also, just to make sure, you removed the solder on the ribbon cable after you put in the new laser? I would also recheck all of the cables to make sure they are seated well after putting it back together.

  11. Thanx for the info. I waz just abou 2 send my wii 4 repair but if it end up messin up again i might as well fix it myself

  12. Does anyone else find it ridiculous that games made for the wii are causing it to break down? They should have recalled the game and made it not a dual layer disc.

  13. It isn’t really the game that is causing it to break down. The system was already broken
    before you get the game, you just didn’t know. The game has to be dual layer because of it size.

  14. Great tutorial by the way. I just replaced my laser but still getting the disc read error. It sucks in the disc and spins initially but then stops after a few seconds. Before replacing the laser it wasn’t spinning at all so I think some improvement. Any suggestions? I’m pretty sure I got the solder point removed. I’m afraid to put too much heat and pressure on it.

  15. Great tutorial! Thanks for putting this info together on a single site. Made replacing the laser straightforward. Two comments. First, any small screwdriver can be made magnetic simply by rubbing the tip against a magnet. This transfers just enough magnetic charge to hold on to the small screws. Second, at 3:43 of the “How to Replace the Laser” video, it says to “gently lift the plastic tab and slide out the bar.” The key word here is GENTLY. I snapped mine off just like that. I put it back together without the plastic tab – hopefully the bar will stay put. Thanks again!

  16. great work guys and girls! i changed my laser not only does it work it works faster than before. thank you so much saving me the cash it would have taken buying another wii……. thanks!

  17. Hi Mate

    You rock. I did google for my problem of Disc reading. Although the disks were brand new. But my Wii was almost 3 years old. Got your site address from google & read the above tech info. Order the lens through ebay (HK suppliers). Tried the solution as mentioned in the videos. It worked perfectly. And I paid around 7 $ for the lens. You save a lot of money & hassle for me.

    Great stuff! Thanks a ton from my side.

    Cheers, Cool Mint

  18. Great videos but replaced my laser now when i insert wii game in it sounds like it takes off then it starts clicking help please.

  19. I can’t be sure, but I wonder if maybe you didn’t get it all put together correctly, especially the part with the metal bar. When you put the disc in, the laser has to travel along that metal bar and if it isn’t installed correctly, or the driving mechanism isn’t engaging correctly, it would seem like you might see, or hear, something like you have described here. Did you transfer the white piece from the old laser to the new laser? Did you remove the solder on the laser ribbon cable? Did you make sure all of the ribbon cables are where they need to be and are inserted properly and well seated. I would probably watch through the videos again and make sure I didn’t miss anything.

  20. I have had my kids 3 year old Wii sitting on my desk for days now debating on trying to fix it. Since you have taken one apart and have a grasp on the ‘works’, I am asking your advice please. The kids complained it was running slow, then it just stopped. It says ‘unable to read disk’ like everyone elses. I can insert a disk, it lights up and clicks a couple of times and then gives the ‘unable to read disk’. Does this mean it is likely the laser…or should it need to spin as well when the desk is inserted? It is all disks that it won’t read. Thanks for any help!

  21. I think it sounds like it could be the laser. You don’t really have anything to lose. It won’t cost you much to try to fix it yourself. The other thing it could be I suppose is the drive motor, but so far 100’s and 100’s of people have tried to fix their Wii following the directions here by replacing their laser and I have only heard back from 3 or 4 where it didn’t work for them, so I assume the others must have been successful. No one has contacted me to say the laser didn’t work, but they later replaced the drive and it did. If you try replacing the laser and it doesn’t work, then you could buy a dvd drive assembly and replace that. You would still come out ahead. I would probably start with the cheaper and more likely culprit, the laser. Others have asked the same question as you, but unfortunately they never came back and reported what happened.

  22. My son was playing Call of Duty Black Ops on the Wii for a long time and then all of a sudden, it said “Error, please eject the disk, read the Wii Operations booklet.” and now it doesn’t read any disks and gives an error. I do not hear any sounds that the disk is spinning. It gives a couple of clicks, but no spinning. I am going to try replacing the laser and I will tell you if the laser works or it doesn’t then I am going to purchase the disk drive.

  23. Fixed my Wii with the disc read error! I was able to find a kit with the tri-wing screwdriver and new optical pick-up assembly on eBay for only $9 shipped! Saved my Wii Drive!

    To be honest, I usually play games off of a hard drive as it is soft modded, but I wanted to be able to play DVDs again, as well as rip my new games to HDD. You rock!

  24. I put a new Wii lens in but, it suddenly stopped spinning after the first two clicks. What do I do now? Do I get another lens for the third time? Do I take it to be repaired by a professional who can tell me what exactly is wrong?

    What do I do?

    I get the feeling that God just doesn’t want me to have working Wii, or that he wants me to lose all of my hard work for files THAT CAN’T EVEN BE COPIED OR MOVED! And don’t even get my started on the Wii Shop Channel and everything I bought from there.

  25. If the laser was bad and you replaced it with a new one, followed the installation instructions correctly, and you reassembled everything correctly, it would be working now. I don’t think getting another laser is going to make a difference. If it was the laser, and you didn’t do the install correctly, chances are you wouldn’t do it correctly on another attempt either. If the laser was never the problem and something else is wrong, then you don’t know what that is either. What I would do, is just go through the video again, and make sure everything is installed correctly, no ribbon cables were missed, The gear that drives the laser is in place, the solder was removed from the ribbon cable when it was installed, etc.. If everything looks good, I would say you have two options. Send it in to get it repaired, or contact Nintendo to see if your files could be copied moved to a new/refurb unit if you were to buy one.

  26. Thank you so much for video instructions, I never would have even thought about opening the unit to find out what might be wrong on my own. You saved us $75 and having to send the unti in. thank you for taking the time to post this to help all of us.

  27. Hi, thanks for the info. I have tried to replace the part and now I have put back the wii..twice..and now it won’t read any of my discs? Do you know what I possibly did wrong? Any help would be great!!!

  28. Thank you, the Wii is fixed just in time for Christmas, the boys are VERY happy

  29. Pretty much everything I can think of has been covered here in the comments. I suppose the number one problem people have is forgetting to remove the solder from the ribbon cable, or not getting all of the ribbon cables reseated properly.

  30. How did you check the potentiometer resistance?

  31. This was a fantastic link! The only thing that fell short on the video was with regards to the laser ribbon cable; all the extra cable needed to be under the flimsy metal cover. I accidentally put the extra ribbon on top and after taping back down, it wouldn’t read the discs….because the ribbon cable would not allow the laser to fully extend. My kids are thrilled!

  32. I originally created this post June 6th, 2011. Since replacing the laser in my Wii, it has worked perfectly, until about last week. That is about 1.5 years. The Wii has been well protected since the laser was replaced, not exposed to dust or heat or smoke. Maybe that is just how long these lasers last. I tried cleaning it with the cleaning disc (I still had it). It seemed to work for a few days, just like last time, but now, nothing works. Dual layer discs, single layer discs, it makes no difference. I am going to go ahead and order another laser and repair it again. Just an observation now that I have the problem again. The Wii seems to attempt to read the single layer discs a lot harder than the dual layer discs. If I put a dual layer disc in I don’t hear anything, but if I put a single layer disc in I can hear the drive working trying to attempt to read it.

  33. I got my new Wii laser this weekend. I went through the process of installing it again. This laser didn’t have the solder to be removed like the first one did. Once I was done, I took it to the TV to test it. It didn’t work. I took it apart again and saw I didn’t have the laser ribbon cable well seated. I redid that, tested it again and it worked. I put everything back together, plugged it in and it didn’t work again. It seemed to be trying really really hard though. I could hear something inside moving and moving. I took the case off again so I could see what was going on. You don’t need the faceplate on to use it, so I left it and the top of the case off. I could see the DVD spin up fine, and I could see the laser shining through the disc and I could see it moving back and forth, but it still kept failing. I wasn’t getting a cannot read disc error though I was getting something else. Also, I knew the laser was good because it had worked when I tested it before putting it together. I think the error was something like there was an error, turn off your Wii and consult your manual. I had noticed when I was replacing the laser that the rail I slid out so I could change the laser, the one the laser rides back and forth on was bone dry. I thought perhaps the sliding of the rail in and out multiple times had cleared off any lubricant, as well as the fact that our Wii has a LOT of hours on it. I went down to Autozone and picked up a tube of Lithium grease. I took the Wii apart again and used a toothpick to spread grease on the two rails and the worm gear that the laser rides back and forth on. I put it all back together again and now it works perfectly and it is quieter than it has been in years. Several people had reported similar behavior after replacing their lasers and asked if I knew what to do about it. I didn’t at the time, but now I would suggest while you are in there changing your laser to grease the rails and gear with lithium grease. The tube I bought was $3 and I probably used 1 or 2 cents worth. It didn’t take much at all.

  34. I am a 40 year old mom of 4 with no electronics experience, and I was able to do this repair! The videos helped tremendously. If it fails again in a year and a half I will definitely try it again. We had the same “cannot read disk” problem; intermittent at first and then failed everytime. Since the repair it has been working perfectly. It took me about 2 hours BUT I should have been done in 45 minutes. Two things made it take longer: #1 I had it almost back together when I realized I had forgotten to remove the solder. Once I got back to the ribbon cable I realized the solder dots where on the bottom of the cable, not the top like in the video, so I took it further apart to make sure I hadn’t routed the cable wrong. I couldn’t see any problem so I went ahead and removed the solder and put it back together. #2 As I was taking it apart, a tiny square silver nut fell out, and I could not figure out where it came from. When I was putting it back together I found that the battery cover would not stay in, the screw was not catching. I figured this must be because of the missing nut, so I partially disassmbled again and was able to slide the nut back in under a black plastic clip by the battery cover, and this solved the problem. Even with all that, as I said it took about 2 hours and $20. I would definitely recommend trying this first!

  35. I thank you for all this info it was very helpful. I was asked by my grandkids to fix their wii and it not being mine and me such a cheepscate. I watched the video links you suggested and took it apart cleaned the laser lens with isopropl alcohol regreased the shafts that the laser slides on put it back together and hallelujah it works even plays the games that have scratches and circles on the discs. THANK YOU again.

  36. This is an awesome video.

  37. Hi. Thanks so much for posting this. I bought a tri wing screw driver and replacement laser from Amazon ($10 shipped) and followed your video. My Wii once again works!!

    Suggestions for those who haven’t tried this yet:
    – watch the videos before attempting and make sure you are comfortable with the things you have to do to install a new laser.

    – make sure you have the tri wing and magnetic phillips screwdrivers (order the tri wing online when you order the laser replacement. I couldn’t find one anywhere locally in St. Louis area)

    – as you take it apart, tape the screws to a piece of paper in the order you remove them and write down where they came from. The video does not show how to reassemble the Wii and writing down the info will help you keep track. OF course you can watch it again to see what you did).

    – watch out for the battery compartment screw (the nut fell out for me too. It slides back in its holder.

    – make sure the laser ribbon is underneath the cover plate (only have the minimum showing under the tape). I missed that the first time and the laser couldn’t move properly.

    – I had a little trouble with the ribbons (most have a clip plate or little clips on the side) and with the catches holding down the the metal laser coverplate

    – I wasted a lot of time because I didn’t have a magnetic screwdriver. I was able to use thin tweezers and hold the screws in place (two for the disc player are interior and would be much easier with the magnetic screwdriver).

    – Test it with a minimal reassembly so you don’t have has much to remove to correct something you missed

    Hope it works for you. L

  38. Thank you for the great video, unfortunately the laser did not do it for me, I think the drive motor/mechanism itself was not working. It was worth the $8 for the tool and laser though, now I will probably do a exchange fix/replace from Nintendo for $75. I knew getting into it there was a good chance it would not work.

    Note: on my laser there only appeared to be 1 soldier point not 2.

    Thanks for your efforts, really appreciate the efforts to share a solution!

  39. Very valuable info. I’m about to purchase a laser replacement, but do I need a 2x or 5x or 10x laser for my Wii? Is there added value for these higher numbers (they cost a lot more), or will I be OK with a cheap 1x?

  40. To be honest, I didn’t know there were different kinds. The last one I bought was less than $10 and worked fine.

  41. I don’t know if you saw this, but try some lithium grease on the rails. These are the metal rods the laser slides back and forth on. You can buy it at your local auto supply store. A little goes a long way. If you buy a small tube, you will have a lifetime supply.

  42. What great suggestions. I concur with all of them.

  43. So, I have had the same issue as most. The Wii reads the game, loads the game, goes to the first screen telling you about the safety strap, and then I get “Unable to read disc” error. I replaced the entire DVD drive…..same problem. I dont get any clicking or other noises, just silence. Any suggestions??
    I am totally frustrated. Just for the record I also replaced the battery.

  44. Thanks a lot for such a detailed procedure, which allowed me to successfully replace the laser on our Wii. My initial attempt didn’t resolve the issue until I read this post.
    Apparently, I didn’t de-solder the solder short on a flex ribbon. After disassembling the unit for the second time (which was much easier now), I corrected the mistake and also lubed the two shafts. The unit works really well now.
    Thank you for all the help.

    Again, it’s important not to forget to remove the solder point on a flex ribbon.

  45. I have the same problem but a ton worse, first the wii would not read the disc that happened for along time, now the wii wouldn’t suck the disk what should I do???

  46. The DVD drive itself is a module which you can replace fairly easily, even easier than the laser actually. Basically once you get the case apart, there are only for screws holding it in place and two wires connecting it to the rest of the Wii. If the Wii isn’t allowing discs to even be pulled in, then perhaps that module is bad.

  47. Great to know there may be a cheap way to fix my Wii. I’ll give it a try. I have found two different lasers RAF-3350 and RAF-3355, how do I know which one to get?

  48. This is the first time this has come up. I went and looked based on your question, and the laser I have bought to fix my original Wii multiple times looks like the 3350. I wonder if the 3355 might be for some of the newer models. The laser itself looks the same, but the ribbon cable looks different. The 3350 cable seems bigger with kind of an L shape on the end while the 3355 seems smaller and straight.

  49. Thanks for your reply, I have not seen it until now. I bought the 3350. My Wii is also an old model, so I think this may work, but I haven’t yet gotten around to change it. Hopefully I’ll do it soon. Thanks again!

  50. Thanks for this post – I know it is old but same old problem. Hubby is mad because he was just getting into his lego hobbit game. Is that dual?
    Going to order the laser and screwdriver. Will update with results. thanks for keeping this alive!

  51. Another “Thanx” for a brilliant thread that saved me both time and money. I would like to add a bit of emphasis to one part of the installation that got me hung for a bit, and that I expect might be catching some others here as well. After I got the new laser installed, the Wii was still not working properly. The symptoms weren’t the same so I did expect it had something to do with my installation. I could put the disc in and it would begin to spin, but it would then make a couple strange noises and then stop spinning and give me a disc read error. So I took everything back apart and figured I would check the lube on that bar that admin mentions above, just to see if that was my problem. But what actually caused my failure was that I snapped the new laser back into place but did not check to make sure that it could freely move back and forth. I had snapped it into place while at its furthest inward point and it somehow got caught on something there and would not move. Since I didn’t check to see if it would move freely, it didn’t work when I got it back together. So make sure that you can slide the new laser back and forth with little friction once you get it installed. It’s working great now, and I’m sure my kids will be “Brawling” all night long as a result.

    Thanx again. Keep this thread rolling…

  52. Looks like I lost my laser yet again. This is like the fourth time! This time the Wii was working fine. The power flickered, while my son was playing a game and when the power came back on the Wii couldn’t read Wii discs anymore. It can still read Gamecube discs, so I am pretty sure the laser is toasted again. I think I will order two this time, and maybe a surge protector. I wonder if that could have been the problem the whole time. Is it super sensitive to power fluctuations maybe?

  53. Great site! I followed the youtube directions and successfully changed out the laser this weekend, and now it works like new again!

    Just some comments based on my research

    There are two models of the Wii – the older model (RVL-001, released in Nov 2006) and the newer model (RVL-101, released in Oct 2011 – from the Nintendo website). I had an email exchange with an ebay seller – he indicated that on some of the older model Wii’s (RVL-001), Nintendo changed the drive on the inside but kept the same model number (RVL-001). This meant that the older model Wii’s could use either the RAF-3350 laser or the RAF-3355 laser. The newer models (RVL-101) likely used the RAF-3355 laser. The only sure way to find out is to take the Wii apart and look at it. If it is a 3350, it will have the 3350 right on the ribbon cable.

    Finally, the correct size tri-wing screwdriver size is #1. There is also a #0, but that one is too small. Read some of the reviews on Amazon on the tri-wing screwdrivers – many people complained that the ones they purchased were made of soft metal and had deformed during use, making it an one time use screwdriver). I finally found one – made by Moody Tools – that was high quality hardened metal and only a few dollars more.

  54. My Wii spins the games for as long as I’m on the Wii Menu. After I start the game up, its a 5 of 100 chance that it’ll play. Sometimes it gets to the menu, then gives up and stops spinning. Sometimes it doesn’t get past the loading screen for Super Smash Bros Brawl… And no, it doesn’t work for single-layered discs either.


  55. This video was EXTREMELY helpful and easy to follow. Three important things of note: 1) There are two models and that should probably have been mentioned in the text before the videos. 2) There was only 1 soldier dot on the ribbon I replaced (RAF-3350) rather than two. 3) Be very very careful with the laser ribbon. I ripped the old one apart removing it, which wasn’t too big a deal since it did not work anyway, but it clues you in on how fragile it can be for your replacement.

    However, if you are brave enough to take apart your Wii and make this fix you ought to be handy enough to recognize those things.

    Oh…… and the Wii I replaced the laser on works perfect now.

    Thank you!!!

  56. Replaced the laser. Greased the bars. Blew the dust out. Did an update.Tried discs before putting together. The disc turned, saw the laser but the game name would not show on the wii menu for me to select to play. Clicked it anyways and it said unable to read disc refer to wii manual…Help what should I try now?

  57. I wish I could help you further. What you have already done works for the vast majority of people. Make sure all your cables are reinserted correctly. Make sure you removed the solder from the ribbon cable. Take it apart and put it together again. I have, on a couple of occasions, had it work before I put it back together and then not work once it was all assembled. Can’t really say why, but taking it apart and putting it back together has always managed to fix it in the end.

  58. Thanks for putting this page together. My Wii sat dormant for a long time unable to read any disc put in it but after reading your page and testimonials I took the plunge and ordered the laser on ebay. Took about an hour all together and now my family gets to enjoy their Wii games again. Heck, I may even brush the dust off of Goldeneye :) And props to all the moms and grandparents that took this on. Even if it took you longer than expected that’s love right there. You guys rock!

  59. I got a few disc read error wiis off ebay, just taking them apart and moving the laser up the rail and quick wipe of the lens they both were revived.

  60. Thank you for this web info. If all goes well, I will have had fun fixing my friends Wii and only at the cost of $13.00! Laser was $11.99…..tool was $1.00…..an gosh I love to tear stuff apart and put it back together. I will know if the laser fixes this issue in about 8 days!

  61. I keep seeing people asking what causes this problem and why it happens to everyone after a certain period of time. The anawer, simply put, is that nintendo made it that way intentionally. It lasts just beyond the warranty so they dont have to fix it, but you now need to buy another wii from them.

  62. So glad I found this site. We just resurrected our RVL-001 (USA) Wii and discovered it would not read discs. We think we’ve had it since 2008. After reading through all of the posts, Hubby started researching parts and has found a complete drive replacement that includes the DVD and the laser assembly for $25-$35 on Amazon Prime. He searched for WII DVD replacement drive. Also ordering screw driver kit. Ordered today and with Amazon Prime, no charge for shipping, and we’ll have it Wednesday.

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