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Compact disc (CD) players have been on the market for more than two decades, and the involved technologies, including control are very mature. Some problems, however, still remain with respect to playing CDs having to surface defects like scratches and fingerprints. Two servo control loops are used to keep the optical pick-up unit (OPU) focused and radially locked to the information track of the CD. The problem is to design servo controllers which are well suited for both handling surface defects and disturbances like mechanical shocks. The handling of surface defects requires a low-controller bandwidth which is in conflict with the requirement for the handling of disturbances. This control problem can be solved by the use of a fault tolerant control strategy, where the fault detection is very important. The OPU feeds the controllers with detector signals. Based on these, focus and radial distances can be estimated and a pair of residuals can be computed. This paper introduces a model-based method to estimate focus and radial distances as well as residuals, which have the potential to improve the control of a CD player in case of a surface defect. The methods are applied to experimental data of a scratch. The results of this experimental work show the potential of the method.