View Full Version : Advice for fixing a sketchy Dreamcast?

Jun 17, 2007, 03:42 PM
Hi all,

I have a Dreamcast (made October 2000) that refuses to boot any games or play any music CDs. When the console boots up, it thinks that any disc I put in is a 0-track audio cd (!). When I go to the main menu the drive usually tries to spin up the disc for a while, but either stops or just keeps spinning it with no effect.

Any suggestions on what to try?

Update: I've actually gotten the system to play CDs and read from a VMU utility that I burned... the only thing I did was turn the Dreamcast on its side! (I put it on its left side with the air vent facing up)

One thing though is that the CD playback skips alot... and the music playback seems to be a tiny bit slowed down. I don't have any working games on hand to test at the moment, so I don't know if regular GD-ROMs work. I did get a very scratched game to the SEGA screen, but then it stops (it does this on normal Dreamcasts). Once I get a hold of a working game I will see how it does.

Jun 17, 2007, 09:51 PM
This is a common problem with Dreamcasts. I helped a friend fix his that had the same problem. I just can't remember exactly what it was called (this problem has a name since it is so common). Just start googling your symptoms, and I think you should find a "how-to-fix" page. It's pretty simple, if I recall correctly. If I suddenly remember what the problem is called I will let you know.

EDIT: I remembered now. His was a laser problem, and yours very well may be too.


Or it could be a resetting problem.


Try that first link first since that is the most common fix for broken Dreamcasts.

Jun 17, 2007, 10:54 PM
Thank you for the reply! As for the laser calibration, I ran across that same link during my travels today and it sounds encouraging. I suspect the disc isn't spinning fast enough because of how the audio plays (it sounds a tad slower in pitch and tempo, then every 15 seconds or so it skips 0.5 sec ahead, like it's trying to keep up with the time). I'm still going to try an actual game before I open the case and go to town on the adjustment knob.

One question I've had, reading various docs on the calibration... people say the knob is very sensitive, but they're never specific on *how* little it usually needs to be turned. I've heard of some people frying their GD-ROM doing this so I'm a little hesitant :o

Jun 18, 2007, 12:05 AM
same problem w/mine.. laser calib fixed it
good luck

Jun 18, 2007, 09:34 AM
same problem w/mine.. laser calib fixed it
good luck

How much did you physically turn the calibration knob? Given that the system plays CDs when on its side, I'm guessing it doesn't need much adjustment?

Jun 18, 2007, 01:15 PM
Just take it very slow with the laser calibration. Not even a full turn with the screwdriver. It might be a pain to do since it takes a while, but it's better than a fried Dreamcast. Maybe a 1/8 turn each time you try.

Jun 19, 2007, 11:25 AM
Cool, thanks for the tip!

I was able to test some actual games and they all work perfectly with the 'cast on its side... so I might just let well enough alone for now (though I wonder how long it'll last that way :rolleyes:)

Jun 20, 2007, 12:52 PM
I'll have to give this a try. Once I got a second unit at Value Village for 10 dollars - but it won't fire up any games.

I've been amazed at how durable that little machine is, my launch unit has been left on pause accidentally for about a day and a half before. Amazingly I can still fire her up for some Crazy Taxi action.