Friday, August 21, 2009

Maxell Disc Scratch Repair Kit

A few weeks ago I posted about my success with the 'toothpaste trick' for repairing scratched DVDs. Unfortunately, while it worked perfectly for the $20 pre-owed game I accidentally scratched, it didn't work on the $60, brand new copy of Ghostbusters that I also managed to scratch.

The thing is, a radial scratch on a disc, one that goes across the 'grain' so to speak, from the center to the outside, isn't such a big deal. A circular scratch, on the other hand, one that follows the disc's spiral is a massive deal. Can you guess which I did?

I'd pulled the 360 out of the entertainment center because the cramped quarters of its shelf didn't allow for much air-flow and it was getting hot. Then, getting up for a drink, I managed to knock it over, meaning the face of the disc made contact with part of the housing in the drive… and I had two wide and deep scratches all the way around the disc.

The toothpaste trick didn't work, and to make matters worse, somehow a bit of grit had got under the cloth I was using to polish the surface, and I'd managed to put a ton of deep scratches all over the disc while I was 'fixing' it. After 'fixing' it, I had a disc that literally looked like I'd dragged it behind the car for a few miles that the Xbox wouldn't even recognize as a disc.

My only real hope was to buy a 'disc doctor' kit, but those are extremely expensive at around fifty bucks. It just didn't make financial sense. For fifty bucks, I could just wait a few months for the game to turn up pre-owned, but it again for twenty bucks, and still have enough for another game with ten bucks left over.

Yesterday, however, we were at the local pharmacy when I spotted the Maxell disc repair kit for just over ten bucks. It was worth a try.

I was disappointed as soon as I opened the package. From the outside it looks like you're buying one of the mechanical devices that actually polishes and re-surfaces the disc for you. Instead, what you get for your ten bucks is a pad that serves no purpose other than to hold the disc still while you polish it, a small bottle of 'scratch remover', a little spray bottle of 'cleaner, polish and sealer' and ten or fifteen polishing cloths. In other words, a thinner version of car wax, some ethyl alcohol and some cotton scraps.

I didn't expect much.

I put the scratch remover onto my disc (The instructions call for 'two spots on the problem area', considering my whole disc was a problem area, I just covered the entire surface with a thin layer), I left it to dry, buffed it off, gave it a quick spray with the polisher, buffed that off and tried it in the machine.

It actually worked. Well, at the very least, the 360 recognized it as Ghostbusters, and the game started. Unfortunately, the disc was still in very poor condition, which led to some very frustrating gameplay issues. It was odd, and not something I expected…but I was getting issues where a character would freeze while his dialogue would continue during in-game cutscenes…and it became a game-breaker when, after defeating a boss character, the game refused to recognize I'd beaten the boss, leaving me trapped there.

So, with nothing to lose I went against the kit's instructions a little.

Basically, I sat at my desk, put a few hefty blobs of scratch remover on the disc and then buffed the crap out of it for a whole episode of Stargate Atlantis, adding more scratch remover whenever necessart..

When I was done, the disc was almost completely mirror smooth. I put it in the 360, and it played perfectly without a hitch.

So, basically, I can really recommend the Maxell Disc Repair Kit. I can see it working amazingly well in a single application if you just have 'normal' scratches from wear-and-tear. However, even if you have really deep scratches from an epic mistake like mine, it has a really good chance of fixing them if you're willing to spend a little time and a little elbow grease.

Don't get me wrong, if you can afford it, I'd definitely recommend one of the kits that buffs the surface of your disc for you and does it perfectly uniformly…but for me, I'd rather spend the half hour to an hour polishing a disc manually and still have the other forty bucks in my pocket.

1 comment:

Evan 08 said...

Nice.