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Thread: Can I replace a faulty R48 laser with an SPU3200 16 pin?

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    Can I replace a faulty R48 laser with an SPU3200 16 pin?

    My DC laser is gradually crapping out on me. It just started a few days ago, and now I am getting regular disc read problems resulting in my games crashing midgame whenever a lot of disc access is necessary. I know about the pot adjustment guide, but the laser is also over 10 years old and if I can just buy a brand new one for a good price, I think I'd rather do that.

    I did some research and saw that there are two different kinds of lasers and each of them use 16 pin ribbons. Looking at mine, I'm very sure mine is an R48. Does the R48 have to be replaced only by another R48? Or could it be replaced by an SPU3200 and still work? I've been able to find the SPU3200 for sale in a lot of places, but have only found the R48 for sale in maybe 1 or 2 places, for more than double the cost. I've also heard anecdotally that the R48 tends to be more prone to errors anyway.

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    I'm almost 100% sure that the SPU3200 fits both types of laser array but the R48 can only be put back into an R48 array, so either would be good, but I'd await confirmation from someone who is less scatterbrained than I before ordering. Also, where do they sell these lasers I could do with a few?

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    I've seen them for $16-20 on ebay just searching today. That's where I found the best prices. I saw on another forum post that the SPU3200 can fit into the assembly, I just want confirmation that it will work with the assembly. And actually, that extensive dc reconstruction thread might have answered my question, b/c it looks like the guy in that thread swapped out an R48 for an SPU3200-like laser from a pc cd drive.

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    I did that too come to think of it haha so yes it will work. Unfortunately I took a clapped out laser from an old drive so it didn't work properly anyway lol

  5. #5
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    To add to the hilarity of this thread - I just opened my DC up and found that a human hair had gotten tangled into the gdrom drive and was present right above the laser... I cleaned it out and with any luck, that might just solve my entire issue XD

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    haha! hilarious and lucky! Well I'm glad for you, I hate when dreamcast lasers die, it's such a pain.

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    If you're still struggling I can just ship you an R48 from one of my botched mods I did on my Dreamcasts (failed VGA mod on one or two of my job lot :P) Shipping may be a killer but I could just as easily send you an entire GD ROm unit. They're just sat in a drawer atm gathering dust so it would be better if they were put to good use. Don't worry about my need of spares as I have spare Dreamcasts for that :P

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    Thank you very much for the offer legit. Let me play around with the DC this week now that I removed the hair, and see if it's still having problems.

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    LeGIT, If you're offering I could do with a GD-rom unit or two

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    Tested the dreamcast out tonight by playing for an hour and a half. No problems incountered :)

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    I'm a cunt or so I'm told :P
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hedgeyourbets
    LeGIT, If you're offering I could do with a GD-rom unit or two
    As dark is fine now I guess they're yours for the cost of shipping.

    One GD unit is fine no problems AFAIK, the other worked before I got my hands on it - I took out all of the screws for whatever reason and seem to have misplaced them, so it would probably be better (and cheaper) to just disconnect the laser, chuck it in a jiffy bag and ship that for you to swop out your other.

    If you're still interested PM me. It is better they end up to a good home than rotting in my drawer... especially with Geist around the corner ;)

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    Legit, if you have another spare laser or disk unit you don't need, i'll gladly pay the shipping costs to romania.

  13. #13
    Hopefully this thread isn't too old, but the problem I'm faced with is basically the one stated in the topic.

    So I recently obtained a PAL Dreamcast with an R48 laser, which is able to read only 1-2 of the games that I have. Having the impression that replacing a laser is quite simple I ordered some replacements online. The ones I got are however SPU3200. Replacement was a breeze, but getting them to work is not. At first nothing worked with the exception of pressed audio CDs(with some pot tweaking). First of all the replacements were dirty, on the inside(like smoke exposure or something). I managed to get one open and clean the bottom of the lens and the mirror. This made a rather dramatic difference and it is now able to read audio CDs with almost any pot value(300-1000) and audio CD-Rs with the pot at around 400-800. 700-800 seems best and in that range the audio tracks of ORIGINAL GD-ROM discs are recognized and play properly(This is a dreamcast disc...). However I am unable to make the Dreamcast accept the GD-ROMs as games(maybe twice I accidentally got the loading screen).

    For reference the original R48 has the pot at around 450ohm(fixed with red varnish), the SPU3200 lasers all had different defaults(1000-1400).

    Now I guess it is possible that I have damaged the SPU3200(I have more though :) ) with my pot tweaking and cleaning, but it seems a lot like there is some form of incompatibility which stops the SPU3200 + Samsung drive controller from working with GD-ROM discs. I have found 1 or 2 references that seem to indicate a similar problem, but they were rather vague and I guess mostly interested in backups. I actually suspect that if I tried a CD-R game disc that it would work(don't have any at the moment, but I thnik I will try Dreamshell just to make sure). I'm also set on getting another Dreamcast that would have the SPU3200 originally or the SPU3200 drive board and assembly, but this may take some time and depend on my luck on eBay.

    Right now this is actually more about curiosity, because I can probably get the original R48 to work by just tweaking the pot a bit.

    So looking for some ideas and input on this issue.

  14. #14
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    There was a guy a while ago who posted the original laser repalcement thread here, he seemed confident that the distance from the disc was wrong, perhaps it's the physical layout of the R48 drive array which introduces some slight differences in the distance between the disc and the laser?
    Any chance anybody has a broken SPU3200 drive to test it out on?

    Edit: Come to think of it, I think I have one, I bought a japanese launch DC and the laser is dying. I can test it out when the package full of replacement controller port fuses arrives.
    Last edited by Hedgeyourbets; 06-01-2012 at 07:15 AM.

  15. #15
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    Hi i am trying to trackdown a load of replacement lasers r48g and spu3200 laser units i did find some bulk place in germeny one time.

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