Thanks Larry! I spent hours trying to figure out why mine wouldn't spin. Took the top off, poked and proded and then looked for the laser beam as you suggested - shone my torch on it, prodded once more and suddenly it spun like a top. Now it will play any DVD. You're a gem! I was just about to throw it out (It's about 6 months old and never been used!) Thank you!!!
Tips and Hints For Diagnosing DVD/CD Combos and Players (Page 2 of 2)
If the unit spins up and and then shuts down, you should check and make sure the laser pick-up assembly slider mechanism is working without any obstructions and that the small chrome rail that it slides on is slightly greased. Don’t go overboard with the grease though, as too much can cause all sorts of problems.
The slider mechanism, depending on the age of the unit and the manufacturer, consists of the small chrome rail, a drive motor, a small gear assembly, and (in some units) a small belt that drives the slider unit via the motor. This small belt causes all sorts of problems. If the belt is broken or slipping, it can cause skipping, dropouts, or simply no start up at all. Also, if the belt breaks in the middle of the disc, the drive mechanism gets hair or dirt wrapped up into the gears, or the pick-up assembly doesn’t return to the start position (called home), the unit will (99% of the time) refuse to release the disc, causing it to become stuck inside the unit. There’s a little micro or leaf type switch located at home position that sometimes gets dirty or breaks and, causing this problem also.
If the disc starts to spin slowly and doesn’t come up to speed, the spindle motor that’s attached to the turntable platter is a common problem. There could also be a problem with the spindle motor driver controller IC or the power supply regulator that supplies voltage to the driver IC. If the disc starts to spin and then spins really fast, or stops and starts to spin backwards, your problem is the laser pick-up assembly or the servo control circuit.
Also, in a DVD/CD player there are many complaints where the disc gets stuck inside of the unit. This could be as described earlier, but there’s also what’s called a drawer/disc tray opener and closer mechanism to contend with. On many models, old and new alike, there’s a small belt that goes bad and wont let the tray open. You can usually put your ear very close to the front of the unit and, if this is happening, hear the motor spinning when you press the eject button. Another cause is the nylon gears, which can get jammed up with dirt and dust. Also, in other cases, you could have a motor problem, or the driver IC could be at fault. If you suspect that the motor is at fault, simply measure the voltage on the tray motor while pressing on the eject button. If the voltage comes up between 6 to 12 volts, depending on the manufacturer, then the motor needs to be replaced.
If you continue to have problems after cleaning and checking the other things listed above, you may have a problem with the player's alignment. Of course, one of the problems you'll face checking alignments on a DVD/CD player is that you’re going to need to use an oscilloscope on most of them. If you have the proper tools and equipment, the first thing to look at is the RF pattern of the unit while its playing. It should be a sharp and clear pattern. If it's dull and smeared, then the laser could be weak.
Also, in these units are very critical alignments called the focus/tracking gains and offsets. When these alignments are off, it can often cause intermittent troubles. As the unit ages and parts change value, so do these alignments, and will need to be checked. In my time as service technician repairing DVD/CD players, 65% of the laser pick-up assembles I have tested were good and only needed a small adjustment. Today's technology makes it unfeasible for a shop to hook up a DVD/CD player, and even some recorders, to their equipment and make these adjustments because of the cost involved.
Wrapping it up
If you tried to clean the lens, make sure the unit was trying to spin, and verified the slider is working, there’s not a lot more that a consumer or end user can do. It’s going to be up to you to assess the value of the unit, and compare it to the cost of a new one or the estimated cost of the repair. Hopefully you'll be able to make a better decision based on your findings. If you did make any improvements to the unit and fixed a problem, GOOD FOR YOU!
As a final step, you must follow the directions in reverse for the assembly of the combo unit. Please remember to tie up any cables or wires that you took loose. Garbage bag ties do the job nicely, BUT if they're the metal, paper wrapped types, keep them away from the HI Voltage lead and circuit board parts inside the set. Remember to remove the wood block if you used one, and please be careful not to hit the picture tube neck when reinstalling the back of the set. Don't forget to put all the correct screws and fasteners in the correct place, as they are put there for a reason!.
Most importantly, always remember safety when working on anything electronic or mechanical.
by Larry Dillon
Edited by Matt Whitlock