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Skippy B. Coyote

How Common Are Wii Disc Drive Failures?

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I decided to start this thread to try and get a better idea of what the reliability of the original Wii's disc drive is going to be like over the longterm by asking you, my fellow AtariAgers who currently own or have previously owned an original Wii, if you've ever had the disc drive in yours fail and stop reading discs?

 

This subject has been on my mind quite a bit lately since the original Wii that I got at launch just had it's disc drive fail a couple weeks ago. It didn't seem like too big of a big deal at the time, since all mechanical devices will break down eventually and I felt like 12 years was a pretty good run for slot loading disc dive that got used on a nearly daily basis. I just ordered a replacement refurbished Wii disc drive online, installed it in 20 minutes or so, and it was good to go again... until 3 days later when the replacement disc drive failed.

 

So I suppose what I'm trying to figure out at the moment is if I'm just having a temporary run of bad luck or if Wii disc drive failures are going to be a common and frequent enough occurrence that I might want to reconsider collecting for this system. The Wii has been the main system I've been collecting for over the past year or so and I've amassed a pretty substantial library of 65 games for it, but I really don't want to have to deal with frequent hardware repairs and am starting to wonder if I might be better off focusing my collecting efforts on cartridge based systems without moving parts due to recent events.

 

So what do you guys and gals think? Have you had the disc drive in your Wii fail before and do you think this is going to be a regular occurrence, or am I just having a run of bad luck?

Edited by Jin
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Well,

 

Here's my experiences.

 

My original Wii bought new, near launch has been fine...Rock solid. Admittedly, mine probably never saw as much usage as yours. Somehow other than right at first, it's been an "occasional use" system for me. I expect that one to last just this side of Forever.

 

Then I bought another modded Wii, which I bought for all the emulators. According to the description the guy just put in a Brand New drive. The seller was adamant and believable, when he told me he just put it in and only tested it (and said it worked fine) then he sold it to me. However I can't get it to recognize any disc...Nothing. I have no idea if there's some adjustment I can make or not...But to me it's brand new and BROKEN.

 

 

So your options appear to be:

 

By another Wii (or Multiple Wiis)...Maybe just get a console only, hopefully cheap on ebay or at a pawn shop.

 

Or (ideally) find a high quality drive and replace it..

 

Or give up on the Wii (I don't think you should choose this option, but that's me)...

 

Or maybe see if you can find a High Quality replacement drive...And then don't buy just one...Buy 2 or 3! Then test them and store the backups for Future use...I don't know if it's easy to replace the drives, but you've done it before...

 

Hopefully some smart people will also weigh in and have something to say here...

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I've never head of a Wii Drive failing, and I have dealt with a lot of them over the years. If yours failed, go to your local pawn shop... Normally they have a ton of them and will give like 3 for $50...

 

Right now, it's a fairly cheap system to get, I bet it would cost more to fix it than replace it in most cases...

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I had a Wii drive peeter out on me and I had it replaced, but I don't believe total drive failure a common problem with Wii. (Mine was purchased on launch day) In fact, it was likely my own fault because it was due to dust buildup. I was heavily into WoW at that time, so the Wii got neglected for many years. Most games would play fine, but I first noticed a problem with Super Smash Bros. Melee. After exchanging and then ruling out the SSB disc, I found out it's because SSBM is a dual-layer disc and my dusty drive just didn't like it. I found a stopgap solution online which involved putting some lint-free cloth down in there to dust it out, but before you go doing that, check online for the exact procedure. It helped for a while, but would still sometimes not read, so I just had the drive professionally replaced.

 

Try various discs - it could just be a dusty drive!

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I've not seen any out and out dead, but plenty that can't read discs, likely dirt. The Wii is the only disc based system that can't read cd or dvd, so I've found no easy way to clean them. Being a vacuum drive this is an issue as your only real option is to disassemble it, and I don't typically recommend that with any disc drive.

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Mines been going strong for about 8 years but lately I use it for the homebrew channel so am not playing a lot of discs

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I got mine within a couple months of launch, so I guess it's still considered an OG model. It's seen a lot of playtime over the years between the kids and myself and it's still going strong.

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I would think that some are failing simply via dust and constant usage, plus being plugged in for over a decade in many cases. There's a ton of these still in use everywhere, but to be honest I really haven't heard all that much about Wii drive failures. There are hard-drive, letterbomb, and SD solutions for those cases. No reason one couldn't still use a Wii short of the unit itself being physically destroyed.

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I bought a Wii pretty soon after launch. The drive stopped working about a year ago. It didn't get much use after the first couple of years after launch, however.

 

Since then, I've picked up four more Wiis from eBay, pawn shops, Goodwill, etc., none of them very expensive and usually bundled with stuff that made the console essentially free. I just use those instead because I don't have anything very expensive downloaded to the original Wii.

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Thank you very much for all the replies everyone! Doing a Google search for Wii disc drive failure error messages makes it seem like everyone and their grandmother (sometimes literally their grandmother) have had their Wii's disk drive go belly up, but reading the replies here makes it sound a bit less common.

 

To give you some background information, I do live in a garden level apartment so there's always a lot of dust floating around, but fortunately I'm very comfortable opening up and working on all my consoles so I keep them nice and clean inside. In both cases of drive failure I opened up the system and cleaned the disc drive's laser eye with 90% isopropyl alcohol on a q-tip to make sure it wasn't dust buildup causing the problem, but it did not solve disc reading problem.

 

When it came time to replace the drive I had no trouble at all disassembling the Wii to install a new disc drive in it, since the drives are very much self-contained "plug and play" affairs. Just open the system, take out the 4 screws that secure the corners of the disc drive to the system chassis, unplug two ribbon cables from the drive, then plug the two ribbon cables into the new drive, screw it down, and it all goes back together easy as pie. And to answer atarilovesyou's question, nope, you don't lose your save data when you swap the disc drive. The Wii's save data is contained within either the system's internal flash memory or an SD card at your preference.

 

As far as options for replacing my Wii with an entirely new system, that's really not something I want to do. Not because I have any sort of personal attachment to this particular Wii, but because it's been soft modded with a variety of custom configured emulators and homebrew software and modding a new Wii to do all the things that this one does would take a good 6 or 8 hours worth of work that I just don't want to have to do again. So I'd much rather stick with the same Wii system and just replace the disc drive than buy an entirely new system that I'd have to mod all over again.

 

 

For the time being I don't have any plans to rush off and sell my Wii collection because of this, but it certainly is a bit disheartening and has put a damper on my enthusiasm for the Wii at the moment. For now I'm just waiting to hear back from the eBay seller who sold me the refurbished disc drive that died after 3 days to see about getting it replaced or refunded, then I'll figure out what to do from there after that matter is taken care of.

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My launch day purchased Wii is still going & it's seen a LOT of use over the last 12 years. It occasionally freezes up when using Netflix but I think it's because the fan wasn't turning & the air intake was stopped up with dust. Tapped the fan & it started turning again & also cleaned off the intake screen. So far so good. I've got another Wii & a Wii U and am always looking at yard sales, pawn shops, etc. for more backups.

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Thank you very much for all the replies everyone! Doing a Google search for Wii disc drive failure error messages makes it seem like everyone and their grandmother (sometimes literally their grandmother) have had their Wii's disk drive go belly up, but reading the replies here makes it sound a bit less common.

 

 

I'm sure it's common to find a lot of complaints online. People don't post about good experiences, they don't need to. It makes it seem like it may be a bigger problem than it really is.

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My original Wii's disc drive failed after about 6 or 7 years. But I think it was going bad for a while before it failed completely, because it gradually got quite noisy while playing disc games.

 

I bought a used replacement Wii several years back, and it's still working fine (fingers crossed), although this one gets much less usage than my original.

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If you have already modded your Wii, the easy thing to do would be to install a usb loader and rip all of your games to a hard drive or usb stick. The DVD drive will last a lot longer that way.

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I still have my launch day Wii connected up. But I can tell you that I haven't fired it up and actually played anything on it for probably 2 years now? Yes it is plugged in, but not actually powered up as it is on one of my several Eco smart power strips. Also mine has always had one of those grinding noisy disc drives since day one, but can't recall ever having a read error with it.

 

Maybe I need to connect the sensor bar back up to it and test it out a bit? I mainly left it connected for playing Gamecube games through component as I usually was playing actual Wii games through the WiiU.

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my original Wii the drive failed and well it was weird because it got almost no use (I was using a hard drive for most of it's life).

 

I got another one (black with GC ports) and i've never even put a disc in it the current mods are so good you never need to.

 

Also used Wiis are extremely plentiful and beyond dirt cheap.

 

If you have a Wii you owe it to yourself to just mod it and not use the drive, i have a bunch of disc games for collecting and yeah they just sit on the shelf.

Edited by power

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Alright guys and gals, times for an update. The eBay seller (who has thousands of sales under their belt and 100% positive feedback) who sold me the refurbished disc drive that started giving me "The disc cannot be read" errors after 3 days of use did send me a replacement disc drive at no charge. I installed the new drive and it played Wii games perfectly, but every time I tried putting in a GameCube disc the drive it just made spinning noises then dropped the GameCube disc to the bottom of the drive after a few seconds and gave no on-screen indicator that I ever put any disc in the drive at all. Then it would take a good dozen or so tries to eject the GameCube disc, and when it did the disc came out at the very bottom of the slot like the drive hadn't grabbed onto it at all.

I notified the seller and they suggested that it sounds like the logic board on the replacement drive had failed and the disc reading lens on the original drive I was sent had failed, so if I knew how to solder I should try de-soldering the logic board from the original drive and install it on the replacement drive. Fortunately I'm pretty handy with a soldering iron and there were only 6 points that needed de-soldering to remove the logic board from a Wii disc drive, so I swapped it over this afternoon. What I ended up with was a disc drive that gave me "The disc cannot be read" error messages every time I tried putting a Wii game disc in it, and when I put a GameCube game disc in it the same thing as before happened. It just makes some spinning noises for a few seconds then drops the GameCube disc to the bottom of the drive and takes a dozen attempts to eject it.

Since that didn't work I then tried soldering the logic board that I took off the replacement drive onto the first drive I was sent and what ended up happening then was that the drive would read and load Wii discs properly with no error messages, but every time I tried putting in a GameCube disc the drive tried spinning up then quickly shot the GameCube disc back out after a couple seconds. And I do mean "shot", it launches GameCube discs back out about a meter across the room!

At this point I think I've exceeded my maximum frustration threshold trying to repair this Wii and am feeling ready to just junk it and call it a loss. I'm not sure if I just have awful luck or what, but I'm pretty fed up with how flakey and unreliable the Wii's slot loading disc drive is and if this is what trying to collect and play physical Wii games is going to be like in the years ahead I just don't want to have to deal with it. And that really sucks, because I love the Wii game library and I've had a ton of fun hunting down and collecting games for it over the past year, but it's like a bad relationship or something. I love it but it's totally flakey, high maintenance, is always demanding more money I don't have, and I can't see it changing anytime soon.

 

So… I don't know what to do. I might liquidate my whole collection of Wii games and just take the money and buy games for other systems that I can actually keep working, or I might not. What I do know is that there sure as heck aren't any thrift stores around here with Wii systems for $20, all the Wii systems available locally are a good $50 or $60 barebones, and eBay prices for tested and working systems don't look any better. After these past few weeks I wouldn't trust any Wii's disc drive to keep working any farther than I could throw it, and I sure as heck don't want to plunk down $50 or $60 on something that could very well break down next week.

Edited by Jin
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mod your wii, put all your gamecube and wii games on the shelf where they will be safe.

Not really my style I don't think. For me the whole point of collecting games for any system is to be able to play them off the original physical media, so a system modded to play games off a USB drive would kinda defeat the whole purpose of collecting. I don't buy games to look pretty on the shelf, though it's totally fine if that's your thing. It's just not how I like to collect and play.

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Not really my style I don't think. For me the whole point of collecting games for any system is to be able to play them off the original physical media, so a system modded to play games off a USB drive would kinda defeat the whole purpose of collecting. I don't buy games to look pretty on the shelf, though it's totally fine if that's your thing. It's just not how I like to collect and play.

 

up to you but this isn't emulation or anything like that it's protecting your original media from drives that will potentially destroy your discs. the experience is the same except for inserting the physical media, more like having a gotek over using your floppies.

 

best of luck with trying to keep a wii going as i said earlier i had a drive die and it was barely used. so i don't see they will be reliable in future but i still want to play the games "as intended" on original HW. mod with a hdd is a nice compromise. i have a literal wall of amiga games that for all i know the floppies stopped working years ago but i can still play them so i'm not losing anything i get my cake and eat it :)

 

all that said, hey you could just keep buying wii's they're a dime a dozen. the other alternative that works well for wii only is a wii u.

Edited by power

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That certainly makes good logical sense, just playing games off an external hard drive and enjoying them that way since the future doesn't look good for playing them off the original disc, but it still sounds depressing. Like it would mean the defeat of all my collecting efforts and take all the purpose and excitement out of the hobby for me. A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.

 

I guess I just need some more time to think about it before deciding what to do.

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i hear you, i like my physical media but i'm more focused on being able to play on the original hw (although i play GC on Wii) and controllers than being able to pull the disc out and loading it up. I'm very excited that Nintendo just announced NEW gamecube controllers to co-incide with the smash launch on switch - YES NEW GC CONTROLLERS YAY!

 

these days i've collected most of what i want to play (i do not buy games i will never play) on that hw and tend to buy a lot of accessories like nice controllers and stuff and look for ways to improve the output from the consoles too (that wii digital mod is tempting!!).

Edited by power

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