Denon 5910 Read Defect? Solved!

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I had a CD that would not play in my 5910ci. I knew the CD was fine because it played fine in my Shanling SCD-T200C, Pioneer 47Ai, Pioneer 578A, Pioneer 58Av, my clock radio/cd and in my car. I took the covers off to determine why this was the case. Well, was I in for a shock!
No wonder there are so many complaints of discs not being able to play. The drive clamping device system is simply awful. The top is a plastic spindle snapped into a thin stamped sheet metal housing cover that is screwed to a plastic housing with self-tapping screws. Real precision pieces. NOT. Cost about $1.50 to build. Utter crap. I thought this was Denon’s ‘State of the Art’ player. The bottom is a tapered brass spindle with a piece of rubber stuck to it. The laser travels along steel rails that are secured into a PLASTIC housing. Again, real precision pieces. LOL.
So when the disc drawer closes, the bottom tapered spindle moves up into the center hole of the disc and continues to move up and make contact with the top plastic spindle in the cover. Problem is, the plastic spindle is not stationary so the bottom spindle may not come into proper contact, hence the infamous ‘Denon Shake Rattle & 00.00.00’.
Secondly, the force that the bottom spindle presses up against the top spindle is not sufficient. If the center hole in the disc is tight, the spindle does not have enough force driving it to press into the disc hole, hence ‘00.00.00’. IMO, this is a Denon DEFECT! All of my other players, all at a fraction of the cost of the 5910, can at least clamp the disc properly. This was the case with my disk. I took a sharp knife and scraped the inside edge of the CD centre hole and reinserted it into the player. Viola, no ’00.00.00’, just music.
As you may well know, the 5910 is a VERY warm (temperature) player. With all the plastic and thin sheet metal on the drive, no wonder all the problems. Plastic and thin metal may change slightly because of the heat inside the player. This may change the alignment of the laser which may then not be able to read the inserted disc, hence the ’00.00.00’. The laser is mounted on the two steel rails. At the back of the rails, where they fit into the PLASTIC housing, there are adjusting allen keys to align the laser. If you want to DIY (very easy), may I suggest that you FIRST turn in (clockwise) the allen key all the way and COUNT the number of turns, in case you want to set them back to factory settings. I will post this in a few forums for those of you that want to address their 5910’s read problems.
Guess you haven't caught one of my bi-monthly rants about how horribly & irrevocably unreliable the whole Denon dvd line since the 2900 are.
Even if you solve the clamping weakness, ultimately, you will never make that machine reliable, as the Hitachi HOP1200(N, R or S suffix, all interchangeable) is the most horribly unreliable dvd laser made in the last ten years. They are absolutely guaranteed to fail every 1-3 years, usually every 12-18 months. But that's what you get when you use a laser that retails for $13 at oem distributors(e.g., That is why, no matter how good they sound, or how nicely the electronics are done in any Denon dvd model, I absolutely refuse to own one or to upgrade one for any client. The Rotel RDV-1050/1060 and probably up to current use the same damn lasers & mostly the same mech. Just inexcusable.
Good... more players for the rest of us! And, since the bad rep that some people like to spread, cheap too. Thanks :)

I have two Denon players (2910 and 2930) and till now no problems, no errors, no "rattle". I have bought a spare laser with 13$ - because of panic threads like this one.
The only mod done was to replace the opamps with LM4562...
Mine was not a 'panic post', but factual information based on years of experience as a Denon & Rotel authorised servicer, seeing those horrid lasers drop like flies well within the warranty period. Out of the Denon & Rotel dvd players sold by the dealer I provided primary service for, easily 20 percent, perhaps 30 percent, failed within a year of sale, whereas the failure rate on even the cheapest Pioneer players, e.g., DV-250, DV-363 was well under 5 percent. This was during the DVD2900/3900/etc. model year, and yet Denon continued to use these proven-unreliable lasers in successor model lines. WIth a failure rate that high(and that is REALLY high for an allegedly high end line), there was absolutely, positively NO excuse for them to continue using the same lasers after the first models. The ONLY possible reason is the part is CHEAP, and Denon & Rotel evidently care more about cost cutting then they do happy customers.
You can count yourself very, very lucky if neither of your Denon players have failed yet. Maybe you can excuse a company for knowingly bulding expensive gear with extremely hig failure rate parts year after year, but I can't.
stephensank - No I have not read your posts. I recall reading of the 'read problems' on AVSforum. The only reason I bought the Denon was it's $999 clear-out price. I feel VERY sorry for all those that paid more. I must say though, that the 5910ci is the best digital sound I have had in my system. Other than the drive/laser, it seems to be built very well. Denon seem to be putting all their efforts into the processing of the data, not the retrieval of the data. They seem to not understand what Wadia & 47 Labs have learned many years ago. I am somewhat surprised that nobody has come up with proper mod to retrofit the drive/laser. All the mods offered all seem to be downstream. Oh well, I had to adjust my view that the 5910ci as a $999 player, not the older, $3500 ‘flagship’ model.
If the lasercurrent measurement is ok, can the laser stil be bad?

I think the poblem with the denon's is that they can only distinquis between good and bad reflectivity ( so i read somewhere). Is it possible to boost the rf somewhere down the line without cranking op the laseroutput?
The diode current is adjustable via firmware. Is well know the some bad quality discs would make the controller to raise the current too much and damage it. Also a high initial value can lead to premature failure.
Those lasers are found in many other players and they don't fail so much. Or maybe there is not so much fuss about those?

As I said, I have my 13$ "insurance" laser. I have a feeling that by the time I would need to use it, the DVD format will be nearly extinct :).
A different firmware can improve disc-readout. If they raise the turning speed of the disc you have more changes to reread a bad spot, if they lower the speed, the disc is less prone to vibrations which will improve readability. It will not help a bad laser though.

Cranking up the laserpower does help me to read the 1% of disc's a have a problem with, but then i can't read the other 99% anymore. So for those 1% (brandnew) disc's i make and play a copy which solves the problem. This can't be done with sacd/dvd-a though.
The HOP1200S laser, which is a 'drop in' replacement for the HOP1200N or R that will be in your 2900, is showing in stock for $13.71 each at, which is where I've been buying many such parts for many years. It is a very easy procedure to do yourself. Just takes a couple of Philips screwdrivers & some sort of soldering iron(just to remove to 'solder blobs' used to short the two laser diodes for static protection), and about 3 minutes of time.

I would strongly advise that you buy at least two lasers if you intend to keep the player for more than the next few years.
Even the latest(AFAIK) version, the HOP1200W, which is NOT physically compatible with the ealier ones, seems no more reliable than the first version. And, no, there is not practical way to change to a better part. Theoretically, a talented designer could make a reliable transport mech/laser unit(say, the very bulletproof Pioneer DV-563 unit) work with the existing electronics, but that would be a quite involved project.
Well it looks like the Laser on my 5910ci is on it's last leg.
I emailed Denon to get a replacement, but they do not stock just the laser.
Denon's reply:
'this unit will have to go into an authorized servicer for updates etc'
'When replacing this laser an update has to be done from an authorized servicer in order to use this laser.'
What type of update is required? Firmware or voltage adjustment?
Is the traverse 9KA-2A-708 the proper replacement assembly for the 5910?
My guess would be the fact that the new laser curent neds to be "reset" in the firmware - procedure is described in the Service Manual and is not ment to be done by user. Of course you can do it :)
Updating the firmware is strongy advised, they might have changed something in there to improve reliability (like limiting the value of the curent when there is no disk in the tray).

For my 5910 - laser block is Hitachi HOP1200S

is it possible for someone to step me through the procedure? or when I receive the part will it be self-explanitory.

Travers As ( FG180-1W ) - is the HOP1200S built in? Although at the price I want to try the laser block only first to fix the 0:00:00 issue with some CD's

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RE 5910ci's

The failure mode of these Hitachi lasers is the photodiode array goes bad. Not a fault that can be programmed away.

You nailed it. Replacing the $11.95 HOP-1200s Optical pickup worked perfectly for me. No more hit or miss with CD's [never an issue with DVD or SACD though], all play without issue again :) . Given the low part price [10.95 each if 3 or more are purchased from Dalbani] I'll keep my own stock of replacements on hand. Good to have my transport back to "new" .....
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