Saturday, 27 December 2014

Can't play CD-Rs in the CD32??

On occasion I'm going to do a few general blog posts about issues that may be of some interest to CD32 gamers, this is the first one.

I had a few issues lately while trying to load CD-Rs of my community compilation. They just wouldn't load, the disc would spin very slowly but it would never leave the boot animation. And it wouldn't load discs that had worked in the past either. I had assumed at first that the drive had stopped working entirely but found that my official disc of Guardian worked just fine, and booted very quickly in fact.

So, the first thing I tried was purchasing a CD lens cleaner kit. This was the specific one I purchased but I'm pretty sure any similar kit would be just fine.

Curiously, although the cleaner disk features instructions on audio tracks, they wouldn't play at first. The CD drive would whirr to life for a few seconds, and then die out and stop completely. But after I removed the disc and re-inserted it, the audio started to play. It skipped a fair bit at first so it was difficult to listen to the instructions, but after repeated attempts the audio became clear. So at least the lens cleaner objectively made some improvement.

My old CD-R games begun to work again, perhaps loading faster than they ever had in the past. But unfortunately, my new CD-Rs didn't work. I tried burning to multiple discs, with no success. I figured that the problem now was the brand - my old CD-Rs were Verbatim printable discs, my new ones were branded with the generic brand of a stationary chain. A new spindle of Verbatim discs worked just fine.

So in short, if you can't get CD-R games to work on a CD32:

1. Clean your lens
2. Use top quality media. Even if your generic CD-Rs work just fine in a high quality, modern CD drive, the CD32's drive is lower quality so use top quality discs to compensate.


  1. I can recommend this CD-R media for using with CD32:

    Excentricity can be the biggest problem with CD-Rs, CD32 really can't compensate this problem because of it's specific CD mechanics. Maxell CD-Rs have very good concentricity.

    An other important criteria: 4x is the maximum writing speed for CD32 disks. Unfortunately most of the recent optical media burning device models do not support this low writing speed. I use (and try to save) an old LG CD/DVD writer only for making CD32 disks.

    1. i can recommend a freeware program called CDBurnerXP (type the name into wikipedia and it will direct you to the official website)
      it allows you to override the drive settings and select slower burn speeds, 1x is possible on all the drives i've tried it on... the only issue i have with it is that it doesn't cope with cue files, so i fall back on IMGBurn for those images saved as bin/cue...

  2. Thanks mate, I appreciate the feedback :)

  3. I found-out (with my old A570) that the printable cds seem far better. But I agree about trying a proper lens cleaner first.

    Some CD32s need a replacement lazer, Or the mechanical part might be loose/worn.