MacBook and MacBook Pro SuperDrive failure (#2): Battery-related?; Try PMU reset; more

MacBook and MacBook Pro SuperDrive failure (#2): Battery-related?; Try PMU reset; more

A surprisingly high number of readers have responded to our initial coverage of an issue where the SuperDrives in both MacBooks and MacBook Pros fail -- generally with an inability to mount or read data from otherwise viable media.

As reported yesterday, in most cases, the problem affects CDs, but issues with DVDs have also been reported. The problematic discs mount properly and can be read from other Macs, but fail the same processes when inserted into some MacBooks and MacBook Pros.

For some users, even Apple-distributed media fail to properly transfer data on the afflicted SuperDrives.

MacFixIt reader Steve Darling writes:

"Inserting Apple's own Wireless Mighty Mouse Install disk into my 15" MacBook Pro's drive resulted in several attempts to read the disk followed by an eject.  DVD's and even a few CDs have worked in the drive, it's hit or miss.  The Mighty Mouse disk worked fine in my G5 tower's superdrive."

Joel Nelson adds:

"I am having this problem with both CDs and DVDs. Maybe once in thirty tries I will luck and have the disc read. In my case, I know as soon as I put the disc in that it won't go because of the hard click made right away. The clicking sound is much softer if the disc will be read. I suspect drive alignment."

Battery-related? It appears that in some cases, the problems with SuperDrives may actually be caused, or at least related to, problems with MacBook Pro batteries.

MacFixIt reader Clark Price writes:

"My SuperDrive was ripping a CD, when I saw the 'riprate' fall from 16.2X all the way down to 0.1X, at which point the superdrive began to emit a series of sad sounding grinding sounds.  Soon after that, I began to be unable to run the computer from the battery.  So Apple is sending me a new battery; I'm hoping that will solve the problem."

Try PMU reset before sending unit in for repair As at least some instances of SuperDrive failure appear to be power-related, resetting the MacBook or MacBook Pro PMU (power management unit) can resurrect some otherwise defunct optical drives -- at least temporarily.

This can be accomplished via the following process:

  • Turn the system off, disconnect the AC Adapter and remove the system's battery.
  • Press and hold down the power button for 5 seconds and then release the button.
  • Reconnect the battery and AC Adapter.
  • Turn the system back on

Replacement Apple is replacing problematic drives on a case-by-case basis. MacFixIt reader Mark Bau writes:

"I purchased a 2 Ghz Macbook 5 weeks ago. When it was 3 days old the superdrive failed, whenever any CD or DVD was inserted it just spat it out after about 30 seconds. Apple replaced the superdrive and I've had no further problems. Strangely, whenever the computer is started (or restarted) the SuperDrive makes a noise even though there is no disc in it."

If you are experiencing a similar issue, please let us know.

For more coverage, see our MacBook and MacBook Pro special reports.


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