PC Engine won't read CDs

Started by remoteconsole, February 13, 2013, 10:04:19 AM

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My stepfather just offered me a "full" PC Engine. The package contains : a white jap. PC Engine, a CD-Rom², an interface unit, lots of Hu Cards.

As I went home, I bought a european AC to make the baby work.

The HuCards game work fine, didn't try them all, but tried a lot of them, and there is not any problem at all (they're in B&W cause of the non-RGB signal, but it's not my problem).

On the other hand, I got lots of problem with the CD player (or maybe the unit) :

I burnt some ISOs to test the CD Rom², as I don't have any CD game. I burnt the ISOs at slow speed, and checked the TOC (it was fine).

When I put the CD with my system card on, I got the "press run" message, then "just a moment", then, nothing... I can still do soft reset by doing the run/select combination.

If I put an audio CD on the CD Rom² like a walkman, it really works fine, I tried only real audio CDs, singles, albums, no problem at all, it's really quick, I can fast forward, etc...

But if I put the CD Rom² back on the interface unit and try to play the CD via the system card, it's really not so easy : most of the times, nothing happens, sometimes it freezes, etc...

So, from what I understand, I think the problem comes from the interface unit or maybe the system card ? I'll ask a friend to lend me a system card (I got a 1.0 by the way) to see if I got different results.

I was wondering if you guys ever came across this kind of problem...

Thanks in advance !


Welcome to GamesX. Can you get any original CD games to try? The PCEngine and Turbo CD optical drives predate the ISO-9660 standard extensions by a few years, and so most of them don't read CDR or CD-RW disks completely reliably. It's also typical for many of them to have failed capacitors, but I wouldn't want to make that diagnosis without trying an original CD game first.


i am not sure of the white ( briefcase) cd drive or the US turbo equivilent (maybe cos it's older cd technology), but my duo reads cd-r  and originals fine, in fact no difference, my copies are direct copies from orginal games (not internet downlaods)

have you tried cleaning the lens with pure isopropoyl alcohol with lint free stick (high quality cotton buds may do the trick, but lint will still come off and you need to repeat the process, low quality cotton buds will be bad for it as there is a lot of lint), but take my advice with caution ( cleaned 2 pc engine duo, 10 x ps2 ( fat and slim), 5 ps1, and many dvd players using this method, 95% sucess rate, only a md player and a really worn out ps1 with warped lens has been unsucessful)

but try the original pc engine cd rom method ( please note, it's possible that compression methods and re-coding has changed the format on internet downloads, ie, suitable for emulators than original pc engine)


Also please note that I prefer to discourage the discussion of copied games on these forums.  It's fairly randomly enforced these days, but...

That said, I have never had trouble getting a known-working PCE CDROM to read a burned disc.  I mean, I've only tried it a couple of times, but generally speaking if it works, it works, no matter the disc's origins.  I'd suspect bad burns or source ISOs, but those original CDROM briefcases not very reliable.  I have owned a dozen dead ones, and only a few working ones. 


First thanks everybody for your answers, I feel less alone in this whole new PC-E world !

Kendrick > I don't have any original CD-Rom game, moreover, as I only have 1.0 system card, I'm kinda "limited" in the games I can read and so, in the games in can buy... This said, I'm thinking of buying a 3.0 card and at least one CD/Super CD game so I can have a better diagnosis :)

imparasonic > I tried softly/gently to clean the lens with a q-tip, I'll try with some kind of alcohol thanks for your advice !

Lawrence > I understand your point, I'm not willing to encourage copied games etc... It was only to test the system and see if it was interesting to invest money in buying real games (but I think I can waste a few bucks in buying an original even if the system doesn't work).

The thing that bugs me is that the player reads really well my audio CD as a walkman but not when it's plugged to the interface... I quickly checked for interface unit repair topics, didn't found anything really relevant, I guess I gotta wait to receive my original game and new system card to go further in my analysis.

Thanks again everybody ! I let you know as soon as I receive something :)

Dash Krimson

Hello all, first time post.

I have a similar problem to the OP - I have a Core Grafx, IFU and a CD-ROM2 which works fine with Audio CDs, but won't activate when used with the System Card (in my case, a v3.0) - I press the RUN button and nothing happens, basically. I, too, only have a burned CD copy to test with for now (I've ordered a legit copy of Red Alert for cheap for that purpose), but in my case, the CD-ROM2 unit works fine as a Walkman when attached to the IFU, so there's nothing wrong with the IFU at least (I hope).

I dunno, maybe I should just wipe over all the connections with some Isopropyl? Any other suggestions?

EDIT: Woooooow, I did NOT see the last post date. Talk about necrobumping. Sorry.


 Hi Dash Krimson!

The laser gets tired with age and audio format is more forgiving (needs less strength) than data format. If you can read audio but not data from CD's then it is possible that the laser needs replacing. Usually the part number is written on the laser and a spare one can be bought on eBay. You can try tweaking the pot on the laser and see if it helps, however be warned that if it will, it is only a temporary solution and there is risk in damaging the laser. In case you still want to try, turn the pot slightly clockwise and try reading a game CD. Do not turn the pot more than 10 degrees clockwise.

Keep the scene alive!
X68000 personal computer is called, "X68K" or "no good good" is called, is the PC that are loved by many people today.


I'd suggest registering to pcenginefx.com forums for more detailed information on how to tune the laser pots and what other repair options are available. Some members also offer repair services.


There is a problem with PCE CDs and DUOs and CDRs ruining them.  Folks don't like to talk about it for some reason, but my first two DUOs died the very first time I loaded a CDR of Rondo of Blood on them.  I ended up with a region modded DUO/R and I will not even try a CDR on that bad boy.  I haven't seen a solution to this problem either, recapping the entire board and replacing the laser only "might" work.