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Old 6th July 2010, 06:20 PM   #31
cheryl is offline cheryl  United States
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Thanks! I'll try Stephen's instructions and if that doesn't fix it I'll try your suggestion. Any and all help is appreciated.

This unit had hardly been used and I was none to happy to have it quit just as I was getting ready to actually record a bunch of stuff.
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Old 14th September 2010, 09:17 PM   #32
cheryl is offline cheryl  United States
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I hope you are still out there Stephen....

I've got the main board out. I clipped off the legs to the bad cap and have a question about that. Do I need to repair the circuit where I removed the cap-holder legs? It kind of leaves a hole in the trace for each leg. I removed them because it was easier to examine and clean the circuit board. Or since the cap is removed should those traces be left in the open state? Those are the only 2 holes in the area. Everything looks good under 20X mag.

When I originally removed the cap, I left the legs in place. Could that be why the check disc problem was only partly resolved (it started accepting blank CD's for recording but would not recognize pre-recorded disks)?

Any help will be appreciated.

Thanks,
Cheryl

Last edited by cheryl; 14th September 2010 at 09:24 PM.
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Old 14th September 2010, 11:22 PM   #33
cheryl is offline cheryl  United States
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Update:

I think I have more problems than just the cap. Initially, the unit worked fine. I unplugged it and moved it to a different room with different components. It never worked right again. I kept thinking it was like something got jarred loose in the move.

Today, after removing the main board to look for damage, I decided to poke around elsewhere. I noted that the assembly that hold the laser was coated in a white crystalline substance -- like a salt of some kind. These crystals were between circuits on the tiny circuit boards and also beneath the circuit boards. I'm real leery of taking the assembly apart -- but I cleaned it up the best I could.

What I suspect is that there are crystals shorting some circuits in the laser assembly. Is it as tricky as it looks?

My unit usually recognizes a CD-R and will let me record -- but nothing else. I took a picture before I cleaned it but don't know how to post a pic.

Cheryl
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Old 15th September 2010, 12:31 AM   #34
cheryl is offline cheryl  United States
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I'm back for a third time...

How do you enter test mode on this thing. I found a block of pins, one says Test and another says TE (test entry?). I tried shorting them and powering on but it didn't do anything. The manual I got just says to "short the test pattern". Well, that's real helpful.

I believe you have to enter Test Mode to crank up the laser. Anyone know what pins to short? AFECU?

Thanks,
Cheryl
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Old 15th September 2010, 03:41 AM   #35
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I have to say it's starting to sound like your 555 may be close to hopeless.
Until you identify the source of the white crystal residue(not something I've seen before, if I read you right), and very thoroughly remove it, there's little chance of returning it to proper operation. I'll need more description about this residue & it's 'path of destruction' to be more helpful there.
As for test mode, I have never actually had to use it on a Pioneer recorder, so I'd have to research that a bit. I can tell you that TE is the tracking error test point. On Pioneer cd & ld players, there's generally two pins or board jumpers side by side that are marked 'test' to be shorted on power up.
I've just had a look at the HHB CDR850 manual, the pro version of the 555, and the test mode shorting point is on the foil side of the front panel pcb. It's two large solder pads that you short during power up. Appears to be right behind the record mute button.
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Old 15th September 2010, 06:04 PM   #36
cheryl is offline cheryl  United States
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I'm going to get out my jewelry tools and magnifier glasses and see if I can get the pickup assembly out of the unit and clean it. It does still recognize blank CD-R's and records fine -- it just a recorder now and not a player.

Do I need to fill the holes where I removed the electrolytic cap or just leave the holes open?

I've lived in Hawaii for about 5 years -- not too far from Kilauea. People always say that electronics have a short life here but this is the first real problem I've had. We rarely get VOG where I live, but on occasion I can smell the sulfur dioxide from the volcano. I suspect that it is reacting with the metal that the pickup assembly is mounted on. It looks like it started on the part of the assembly that mounts to the rails on either side and then spread to the rest of it. What is strange is that everything else inside the unit is very clean and looks like it just came from the factory.

I found the "TEST MODE" words right where you said Stephen, but I can't tell for sure what pins to use. Right in the middle of the 2 words there are 2 through-holes that are soldered on the other side -- I might try those since I haven't got a whole lot to lose at this point.
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Old 15th September 2010, 08:10 PM   #37
afecu is offline afecu  United States
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Hi Cheryl,

To put photos in your posting, use the "advanced" posting form and there is an "attach files" section under "additional options".

If you want to try my suggestion to increase the laser power, you do not need to go into test mode. Just turn the pot at "PB.PWR" very slightly clockwise - try 1/32nd of a turn and at most 1/16th. And first mark the starting position so you can go back to it if you want!

You don't need to fill the holes where you took out the supercap leads - the traces should go around the holes and continue.

I'd also be curious to see the photos of the laser pickup area...

Good luck,
Aron
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Old 15th September 2010, 09:29 PM   #38
cheryl is offline cheryl  United States
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Thanks Aron!

The pic is attached. It's as close as I can get with my camera, but you get the idea. There is a heavy buildup of corrosion. This morning I removed the pickup assembly and carefully cleaned it with a very soft brush and some contact cleaner. I put it back in and I'm pretty sure I have it aligned right, but now I'm back to "check disc" on everything including CD-R's. That's what it was doing BEFORE I removed the cap. Are there any tricks to making sure the assembly is engaged to the gear at the right location? I couldn't find any "timing" marks for alignment. The first time I put it back in I was getting "no disc" so I knew it wasn't in right spot. I re-did it several times before getting to "check disc".

Even with 20x magnification I could not see any corrosion or discoloration at all where the bad cap was or anywhere within a radius of 3-4 inches. But since I'm now back to square one I guess the only thing I have to lose is time, so maybe I'll re-solder everything in the vicinity. I tried poking a straight pin through all of them but they are very well soldered and none of them seem weak. I ordered a new tiny tip for my soldering iron but it isn't here yet and I can't do that with a 1/4" blade. :-)

I increased PB.PWR to no avail.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg P1010001.JPG (633.3 KB, 121 views)
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Old 15th September 2010, 11:46 PM   #39
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That looks like atmospheric pollution reaction, for sure. Something in the volcanic gases has reacted with whatever metal the base casting of the laser is made out of, but not with other types of metal. It is unlikely to have affected the optical pathway, so just clean as much as you can from the visible surfaces top & bottom of the pickup, as well as any that has shed onto the circuit board under it. Also, make sure that the parts in contact with the guide rails are thoroughly clean & greased with a light grease.
You can just leave the holes blank where the 'time bomb' Elna cap had been. Now that I've seen your photo, I do still hold to my opinion that you simply need to repair more through-hole connections on the main board that were damaged by the Elna cap.
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Old 15th September 2010, 11:50 PM   #40
cheryl is offline cheryl  United States
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GOOD GRIEF!! Now it is working!!! WTF?

I must be living in an alternate universe. I turned the gain up and it started playing a CD! Turned it down a little and the CD stopped turning!!?? Turned it back up and it wouldn't read the CD again. Took the pickup assembly out and put it in again in the same spot as before. It started playing a CD I had recorded previously on the unit. Cranked the gain up a bit more (now up about 1/4 turn) and it is playing a pre-recorded CD that it would not play before. It appears that it might even record....

The service manual does not say what position to put the pickup assembly in when you reinstall. I tried putting it in the same spot it appeared to be in when I took it out (like the pic). Didn't work. The best method seems to be to install it as far back (AWAY FROM the CD) as possible and let it seek its proper position.

Now it is working and playing through headphones and I'm afraid to turn it off....isn't this fun! Are we having solar flares? That's always the excuse the satellite TV people use.... I guess I'll find out how long it actually works. Thanks for all your help!
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