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This is probably the most ridiculous thread I've ever read in regards to the most common fault of the Sega Dreamcast. The issue is not with the laser - if it was unable to read the disc, it wouldn't read the disc.
The issue is actually with the pins that connect to the motherboard. They corrode and burn out over time. This can be fixed by cleaning with a high percentage alcohol.
Make sure you have unplugged and turned off the console for a couple of hours beforehand.
And before you open it up, press the on button to check for any remaining power.
Instructions are here http://www.mmmonkey.co.uk/dreamcast-random-reset-and-common-fixes/
Hello there. From what you are describing it does not sound like the issue is with your DreamCast. I would check the disc in question for any fingerprint, dirt or other debris and clean it regardless with water or a lens cleaning solution and wipe dry with a microfiber cloth or other (soft material). Wait for the disc to fully dry before reinserting. The only other thing I can think of but unlikely is laser burning on the disc which can cause some mild warping or marring. I only mention this since the DreamCast system has been obsolete for quite some time the game you are playing is more than likely well used. I hope I was helpful but if you have any more questions please feel free to ask.
cripes I think you may have mixed your screws up?
1 it sounds like you are using a self tapping screw (it has a greater distance between each layer) rather than the tight screws which are for fitting the circuits together.
2 I believe there are three screw holes for the disc reading part of the dreamcast and you really only need two to keep the disc player in place, so also try another hole.
3 and one last thing to check you haven't put a screw underneath the board already?
ok guys i have 4 dreamcasts the problem is people beat the crap out of em. try holding the lid partially closed with a weight on top it should read the disk and play good. the sensor that tells it there is a disk in there is probaly a little screwed up.
Also get a clean cue tip and some 91% rubbing alcohol and gently clean the lens on the laser and it sould work like new.
so get to the browser with the lid open all the way put a disk in and slowly close the lid at about 80 percent closed it should say reading disk put a weight on the lid to keep it where it is and try the game if it works your good.
permenent solution. remove modem and the 4 screws at the bottom of the dreamcast without a disk in there pull the top off. now look at the part of the lid that hits the little black flapper (it's on the top right of the main board) now tape or glue a small amount of anthing to the part of the lid that hits the switch about 4 mm thick of paper taped to it will push the switch further in and it should recognize disks better now and all will be well in the world e-mail me for pix if you want firstname.lastname@example.org
When you say it won?t read are you trying to play commercial DVD movies or read DVD data disks?
If you're trying to play movies then you need a couple of things the first being some type of player program. Real player works as does Windows media player but usually DVD drives come with a striped down version of PowerDVD or WinDVD.
If you in fact have a player installed and when a DVD is inserted in your drive it doesn't play it may not be configured to automatically play DVDs. Try opening your player program and trying to manually play your DVD.
Let us know if you have any success or if you need more assisted. If you do let us know what player program and operating system you have and any error messages that may appear.