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You say it plays after an hour or two. Does that mean it works perfectly after this time? Every time you try to use it, the same delay happens?
Do you use it where there is lots of condensation? If so maybe the moisture sensor inside waits for the unit to warm up & dry out or it may be defective. Or you have another temperature related problem on the PC somewhere.
Cleaning the lens just to see what happens is perhaps not a good idea. You might, after all, have made it worse. These lenses are very small & delicate and should be cleaned with great care and only if you know exactly how to clean them (as per manufacturers service manual).
Does the CD start to spin? Yes/no?
Can you observe if the lens is trying to focus on a good CD (The lens carrier moves up and down a few times by a very small but observable distance).
If the unit does not even try to focus the problem is elsewhere and lens cleaning does no good at all.
You'll need to provide a much more detailed description (an exact, step by step, comment what you observe under the units cover after you switched it on and inserted a CD) if you are seeking a long distance cure to this problem.
Of course, if all is unfamiliar to you what is supposed to happen inside a CD unit, then, perhaps, this is not the place to learn how these machines work in order to repair them. Technicians do a 6 month course to gain that knowledge :wink:
You should be able to here a lens struggling to focus as a series of clicks
This fault sounds very unusual it's normally the other way round. (unit works for hour at most THEN packs up!) if a cdrom in computer have you checked all connections - maybe expanding enough with heat to make contact - the same applies with an audio cd player i guess. Maybe a very fine crack in the board or a dry-joint?
Also be carefull what you clean the lens with I use Isopropyl alcohol which doesn't leave a residue. Distilled meths is another good one.