Removing the covers

The first step is to remove the four retaining screws from the bottom of the drive. With those screws out, the bottom metal cover should easily slip off, although you may have to press in on the two tabs. (click on any picture for a close-up view)

Bottom cover of the CDROM Viewing the top with the metal cover removed

This leaves the most challenging step next; removal of the front bezel and top metal cover. The following three images provide closeups of the tabs which hold everything together (on my cdrom model anyway). Study these so you can see how they work and where they are, as you they will be mostly hidden from view until you get it apart.

Closeup of top cover tabs under bezel Closeup of front bezel tabs from side and underneath Closeup of front bezel tabs from top

At this point the tabs are the only thing holding it together, there are no screws left. Note that with the tray closed the door will hold the front plastic bezel pretty solidly in place. Do not attempt to forcibly remove the bezel or pull out the door at this time. But you will need to depress the tabs on the bezel (one on each side and one hidden on the top) and pull slightly forward on the bezel to unhook it from the metal cover. You will also need to gently pry the tabs on the metal cover which slide just under the top edge of the bezel so they are no longer under the bezel (as in the picture).

Use patience during this operation, as you do not want to break the bezel or the plastic tabs on it. Also be very careful if you use any prying tools, as you may scratch the bezel and can very easily apply too much force so that you break it; I did not use any prying tools (just a small blunt blade to depress the tabs). I found that pulling up the rear portion of the metal cover first allowed me to finally dislodge everything. Just take your time and be gentle.

Closeup of laser lens assembly

One very important note of caution. See the picture above...that's the CDROM laser lens mechanism. It is extremely sensitive! Do not touch it, do not bump it, do not move it, and by all means do not allow anything to scratch it. You may want to temporarily tape a small piece of felt or cotton cloth over it to protect it.

Removing the circuit board

Now we need to remove the circuit board as we need to get underneath it to dislodge and remove the tray. The first thing is to unhook all the cables. On mine, there were three flat ribbon cables and two soldered wires connected to the ejection motor. The ribbon cables will slide straight out of the connector once you slide the locking clamp open. Do be very gentle with the ribbon cable itself, it is very delicate. If you have the locking clamp opened properly the cable shold pull out with very little force (this is good, because you'll also have to push it back in when you assemble everything later).

Closeup of ribbon cable plugged into circuit board Closeup of ribbon cable after unplugging from circuit board

I did not remove the two motor wires, although I could have unsoldered them if necessary. In my case though, I could just fold the board over being careful not to pull on the motor wires. Note that the curcuit board itself is just held in place with four small tabs and is very easy to remove (yours may have small screws).

Showing tabs which hold circuit board in place

Finally I have the board off and folded out of the way (only connected by the two motor wires). Remember, take is slow when pulling off the board. You may have accidentally left a wire of cable connected to the board someplace and you don't want to break any of the wires. Also it should go without saying, try not to touch any of the chips or electrical connections and use static electricity grounding techniques.

The circuit board is finally removed from the CDROM housing

Removing the tray

We now have the mechanical tray ejection mechanism exposed. In this case a plastic slider is what "locks" the door in place. It is also what is responsible for clamping the spindle motor down on a CDROM and lowering the laser so it is just barely off the surface of the disk. By manually sliding the plastic level as shown in the following two pictures, the tray will become unlocked.

Slider holding CDROM tray in place in locked position Slider holding CDROM tray in place in unlocked position

It should now be fairly easy to pull the tray out as if you were ejecting a disc. As you are manually turning all the motors, pull gently and slowly. It should not take much force, so if you have to pull hard stop and recheck that you have the tray properly unlocked.

Pulling the tray out from the CDROM drive

The tray will pull out fully until it hits the stops. These stops prevent the tray from comming all the way out. On my model, there are two plastic tabs on either side of the tray which act as the physical stops.

Closeup of the mechanical stop preventing total tray removal

By pulling out on the sides of the drive, the tray is able to slide past the stops and eventually comes all the way out of the drive.

The tray door

Notice that the front bezel may still be captive on the tray. Even if it is not you will still want to remove the door face from the tray. There are two very small tabs on mine. By pressing in on them, the door face will slide upwards and off the tray.

Closeup of the tab securing the door front to the tray

Now you have most everything apart. But look at the door face closely, you'll see a small ring of felt or foam. This is the dust seal and it will probably be glued in place and can not be removed without destroying it. When painting the door face you want to protect this seal with tape so you don't paint it.

The foam dust seal around the CDROM door

Also on the tray you may have four small nylon skid plates. These help protect the CDROM from rubbing against the tray and scratching it. If your tray has these, you will want to remove them and avoid painting the nylon skid plates.

Removing the nylon skids from the CDROM tray

And finally, the underside of the tray should have a row of gear teeth which the ejection motor drives. Avoid painting these teeth, and also avoid reoving any lubrication (if any) which may be on those teeth.

The gear teeth on the CDROM tray

At last

Finally I have the drive disassembled enough to allow for a proper paint job.

All of the disassembled parts of the CDROM drive