I just bought a PS2 Fat console with this same problem for repair, and like somebody else commented: adjust the resistance of the potentiometers by just a little bit, it should work fine with dvds. Since the laser works fine with CDs, then obviously just adjust the DVD screw. It’s on the bottom of the laser assembly, it should be labeled DVD and CD under 2 screws which are used to adjust it. All you need is a Philips head screwdriver. If you want to be accurate with how you’re adjusting it, get a voltmeter and change it to the ohms setting. Sony sets it to 1100 by default, but you can make it lower to help the laser read the dvd better. Don’t go under 800 ohms though, or it could damage the lens permanently. Hopefully this helps, this is what fixed mine when I started tinkering. It’s obviously not the lens that needs to be cleaned if it can read CDs and not DVDs (since some of these people who answered obviously didn’t read your question thoroughly).
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I have heard of this solution before and I tried it but there's a chance the lens is "too old" and it might need to be changed.
If ifixit.com can post the guide to that, it would help?
ps. When my problem comes up, before the "Disc Read Error" message shows up, I usually hear the disc spinning followed by some dull click-click-click sound a few times repeating. Is that similar to your situation?
da Brian Tan
Yes, before getting any error there is a clicking coming from the DVD drive. The disc is definitely spinning while this is happening too. Hopefully there is a fix that doesn't require a replacement lens...
It's the lens. The lasers get worn/degrade over the years and fail. Luckily there are replacement ones and It's easy as pie to replace(No soldering). You do need the FreeMcBoot program and PS2lenschanger to reflash the EEPROM. Make sure the replacement is the same version (KHS-400A,B or C) as the one that failed. If you need a Video, check out Long Island Gaming on YT. He has a great video on replacing the laser.
da Shawn Brown