Philips CD VAM 1204 Micromega Stage Caution - diyAudio
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Old 29th July 2009, 02:51 PM   #1
tcd is offline tcd  Australia
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Default Philips CD VAM 1204 Micromega Stage Caution

I just replaced the CD drive in my old Micromega Stage 3 with good results (it was skipping regularly). Faultless for several hours and now seems fixed. I know the Micromega has a bad reputation but my Stage 3 is still hard to beat for sound quality and this was the first fault in mine after 10+years since new.

Philips released a service note in 1996, but few people seem to know of the necessary precautions when replacing these CD/laser mechanisms. This might explain at least some of the apparently dud new laser replacements, etc, so it seemed worth highlighting.

It is important to carefully insert a piece of brass shim (or similar) into the socket on the PCB for the flexible foil from the new mechanism before making the new connection. A few seconds is enough to ensure the control board capacitors are fully discharged, thus protecting your replacement part. Philips also advises shorting all the foil terminations with a paper clip or similar just before connection (my replacement CDM12.4 had a paper clip in place on arrival, and I suspect this is usual now). The service note is too big to attach, but you should find it on the net - search "CDM12.1 service". It has helpful photos that will make it all clear.

If you don't have access to some brass shim material it might be easier to short all the foil connections (at the other end ,where they attach to the old part) just before replacement. However you achieve it, this "discharge" step and care with static is important as laser diodes and CMOS chips are very easy to fry if the conditions are against you (dry winter days, synthetic clothing, etc).

Incidentally, I had to replace the wires on the new laser sled with the originals, as the plug was different and the original wires longer than the replacement. A simple job - 6 wires - but take your time and do it carefully as the sled moves and this will eventually cause bad solder joints to fail.

I was happy with the service from "foolnme" who had CDM12.4 motor/ laser assemblies on ebay for USD 20 and he was fair with international postage. Replacements are fairly easy to find at present, but buy yours soon as they will eventually disappear.

Next I'll tackle my Shanling T80 which has a similar skipping problem, hopefully also a CD drive/laser fault. Both the Micromega and Shanling have CDM12 drives (Shanling 12.01). I think I'd have made a different decision if I new then what I know now ...... A pity as the Shanling is built like a tank and most faults I've heard of are due to the Philips bits. My next CD player/drive will NOT have a Philips mechanism inside ... you may have guessed, I am not a big fan. Good luck with your repairs too - give it a go.
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Old 26th September 2010, 06:05 AM   #2
phi70 is offline phi70  United States
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Default Would like to get as copy of the service manual

Looks like most sites offering that are "pay" sites.

Thanks for the info. Tried to install the lasers onto 2 of my Sonic Frontiers SFCD1.
Both worked for a week and then its all back to "NO DISC" errors.

Did you buy the whole assembly from foolnme or just the laserheads?

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Old 2nd October 2010, 01:47 AM   #3
tcd is offline tcd  Australia
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Default Fixing CD players

The whole head "sled": easy to fit.
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Old 2nd October 2010, 11:05 AM   #4
Mooly is offline Mooly  United Kingdom
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Originally Posted by tcd View Post
The whole head "sled": easy to fit.
Is that a question or a statement of fact
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Old 2nd October 2010, 12:20 PM   #5
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Location: D-55629 Schwarzerden
check out post #21 and #23 about
Phllips CDM 12.4 transport compatible replacement
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Old 2nd October 2010, 01:05 PM   #6
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Philips CDM12.1 service information attached
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File Type: zip Philips-CDM12-1 (264.7 KB, 198 views)
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