Hacked Gadgets Forum

April 19, 2011

Erase a CD using High Voltage

at 8:22 pm. Filed under Crazy Hacks


I thought I had seen the coolest way to kill the data on a CD which was linked on this article.  But watch the video above to see the new coolest way to kill a CD. A high voltage is generated on either side of a spinning CD and it jumps the gap by using the path of least resistance which in this case is the spinning CD. Of course the CD is mostly plastic except for the thin layer of foil which is where the data is stored. Each time a spark makes the jump it destroys a tiny piece of the disk until all of the CD foil has been destroyed!

Thanks for the tip Paul.


 

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7 Responses to “Erase a CD using High Voltage”

  1. SH Says:

    When there will be consumer model of this CD burner? 🙂

  2. Wilson Kinscherf Says:

    Just put in a microwave.

  3. Stan Says:

    Commercial discs at least, the data pits are impressed in the polycarbonate plastic, and the metal is just a reflector. In theory you could resurrect a disc damaged in this way by somehow re applying a shiny layer.

  4. ElectroNick Says:

    Need a transparent polycarbonate disk 120 mm in diameter? This is the coolest way to make one! All you need is a CD and we don’t care if there ever was data on it 🙂

    But as far as safe data erasure – yeah, it is safe. You cannot reapply the aluminum layer because the original was sandwitched between two layers of polycarbonate plastic. You might be able to pickup reflections from those pits left in the plastic by the original burn process but your stock CD-ROM won’t be able to do it. You’re probably going to need to rearrange your laser diode and photodiode pickup (and all the related optics) to shine/receive at a different angle and jack the power up couple of orders of magnitude to be able to go off the ghostly pit reflections instead of clear yes/no type of reflections in a normal CD with aluminum intact. I guess some freakishly well funded government agency might be able to build such uber-CD-ROM but for your normal non-devious citizen data erasure that’ll do nicely.

  5. Stan Says:

    The aluminum is on the top (label side) only protected by lacquer and the label ink. It’s real easy to scratch off with a blade.. Try it. As far as re silvering, check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hUX_cpFWNso

    Perhaps this method can be used somehow. I’m itching to try this.. To see if this works or the pits in the plastic are too badly damaged by the arc.
    If I were hell bent on retrieving data on a cd after it has been destroyed in this way. 🙂

  6. ElectroNick Says:

    Oh, I see. You are right, the alum layer is right on top.The apparent seam in the middle of the disk’s thickness is probably just there from the two parts of the mold, not an evidence of something sandwitched in between. You learn something new every day!

    But yes, I guess my point is that someone “hell bent on retrieving data” and having resources can possibly do amazing stuff, like read blocks of data off of a long dead HDD, so they should also be able to read this. but for your regular everyday data safety use that should be enough.

    Well, I didn’t mean to imply this is how you should erase your CDs (though I would love to be able to do it this way) Easily snapping the CD in two or more pieces (while avoiding sharp pieces of plastic and aluminum foil flying all over) and putting the parts in two or more different trash bins will do wonders to one’s data safety 🙂

  7. Alan Parekh Says:

    I am guessing that the discharge that blasted the film away also left some microscopic damage to the plastic which would damage the micro pits. But who knows it might be possible to re-silver it (that is a cool video Stan).

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