Solved! Denon DCD-1500 II disc not reading

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by OscarEmmy, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. OscarEmmy

    OscarEmmy VHFSE Originator/Blogger

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    Hi, thought I'd share my experience of resolving an issue with this fine player - and also ask for a possible source of a simple looking part.

    I bought the DCD 1500 II from a thrift store for $25. I later bought the remote from the auction site. The player was a fussy one - I couldn't predict which discs it would and would not read. Regardless of condition of disc, some it just would not pick up. As for CD-R discs - forget it! It would not read ANY CD-R. Those discs it read sounded excellent - other than a Carver (which I just sold and regret doing so), this is the best CD player I own, soundwise. When I would put in a disc not to its liking, it would make a horrible rattling/screeching noise, obviously spinning and spinning to try to find the start of the disc. I assumed the laser was defective, as I had read about so many times on line.

    reluctant to dump the unit, which is superbly built, last night, the player failing to read several discs, I decided to have one last go at sorting it. Took off the cover, cleaned the lens and guides, rail, re-lubed rail. Still not reading. Inserted an MFSL copy of Songs from the Wood - read instantly. Put in a scratched up Jethro Tull Greatest Hits - would not read, and the disc clamp was rattling and shaking as it made multiple attempts to start the disc. CD-R, same disappointing result, with the disc clamp vibrating and making all kind of grating noises. :tears:

    I decided to clean the disc clamp. Lifted the arm up and noticed that the upper clamp wheel has a fiber ring on it that makes contact with the label side of the CD, holding it down onto the turntable platter. This ring was not only filthy, but was way off center! I found that it was possible to push it bit by bit into a more central position. Tried the discs again and whaddya know? Worked flawlessly with every disc I threw at it, scratched, new, CD-R's, whatever! :banana::banana::banana:

    The fiber pad is obviously worn, and I am sure now that this just needs replacing to restore the player to fully reliable order.

    Any ideas what this fiber ring is called? If I don't know what it's called, I can't search for a possible source of a replacement. Better still, has anyone replaced one before and knows a source already? I suppose you could use a thin fiber washer and just glue it on the clamp wheel, but I would prefer to use a proper part, if possible. This may even be common to many CD players.

    I'd appreciate members' help. I hope this will help owners to resolve a read problem that is mechanical and low tech, instead of mistakenly scrapping the machine, or paying through the nose for a replacement laser - which would not solve this problem anyway.
     
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  2. Dr Tinear

    Dr Tinear AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I don't know how thick that fiber ring is, but let me toss an idea out there anyway. Buy a roll of automotive gasket material, use a hobby knife to cut a ring of the proper size, and glue it to the upper clamp wheel. If the gasket stock is close in thickness to the original fiber part, this approach will probably work, and it will be much less aggravating and expensive than trying to chase down an OEM replacement part.
     
  3. dr*audio

    dr*audio Fish fingers and custard! Subscriber

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    A photo would help. I am thinking you could replace it with a piece of felt, but rubber might be even better so it doesn't slip when the CD starts spinning. McMaster-Carr has sheets of rubber with various thicknesses. Some have adhesive backing.
     
  4. OscarEmmy

    OscarEmmy VHFSE Originator/Blogger

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    Good idea. I will also check out our local hardware store - they have all kind of fiber gaskets. I would say it needs to be about 1/16" thick at most, although the clamping puck is mounted in a holder that afford plenty of play to accommodate discs of different thicknesses. Thanks for your suggestion.:thmbsp:
     
  5. OscarEmmy

    OscarEmmy VHFSE Originator/Blogger

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    Works perfectly! I used a neoprene washer, 3/8" x 1-1/4", enlarged the center hole to the diameter of the hole in a CD disc, stuck it onto the puck using Gorilla super glue, and it plays every disc without hesitation. I will strip it back off and do a really neat job now that I know it works and has solved the non-reading problem. I just tested it by sticking the washer onto the existing felt (what was left of it, anyway), and an MFSL disc is fractionally too thick, so I can hear the puck touching its limiting lugs as it spins...none of my other discs has this effect, so I assume MFSL CDs are thicker (?) than standard CDs. My intention is to stick it directly onto the puck. I did buy felt and also some cork, all in a gasket pack, and all with self-adhesive backing, but this neoprene washer works great - cost? 55 cents. :) I'll post some photos when I remove and refit the washer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
  6. OscarEmmy

    OscarEmmy VHFSE Originator/Blogger

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    By the way, in case any reader needs to do the same thing, the washer reference is part number 2864D from Ace Hardware
     
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2011
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  7. Arkay

    Arkay Lunatic Member

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    I think you may have just made a whole lot of frustrated present and future owners of similar decks VERY happy!

    I might be one of them, as one of my favorite vintage Denon decks lately has started having trouble reading the first track of most discs (although it reads the later tracks just fine). As soon as I pop the top and try to troubleshoot it, I'll be sure to look closely at that washer/gasket thing, and not just the usual lens assembly. It wouldn't surprise me to find it starting to wear at the edges, or slip off-center.

    I wonder how many other-brand decks (besides Denons) this might apply to? It makes a lot of sense, since even a good laser cannot read a track well, if the clamping mechanism that the CD is spun from is unstable and causing too much unstable movement of the disc.

    Thanks and congratulations on your discovery, and a successful repair! :thmbsp:
     
  8. OscarEmmy

    OscarEmmy VHFSE Originator/Blogger

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    Photos of the restoration of the clamp puck

    I used a general purpose adhesive this time because I didn't want to damage the plastic of the puck, and because cryoacrylic is harmful to laser lenses...so here is the entire process in photographs. Now that the felt is removed, the MFSL disc also spins silently (and is in fact playing as I write this).:banana::banana::banana::banana::banana::banana::banana::banana:
     

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  9. gladiator335

    gladiator335 MRTI Subscriber

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    Doesn't any computer CD drive have a similar pad? I actually don't remember, just a suggestion...
     
  10. OscarEmmy

    OscarEmmy VHFSE Originator/Blogger

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    Thanks - yes, mine had slipped off center, and it was when I was watching the puck motion with a disc trying to load and the cover off, that it occurred to me that the vibration/oscillation this causes might be enough to cause a read failure. It was confirmed by gently pressing with a smooth object onto the top of the puck while a disc first started spinning - it then loaded the disc correctly. So the pressure on the disc was also a critical factor. Glad if this helps save these lovely decks. Mine cost me $25 from a thrift store - I suspect the previous owner had given up and read about the scarcity of replacement lasers (and their cost), so just dumped the deck. My gain! :D
     
  11. OscarEmmy

    OscarEmmy VHFSE Originator/Blogger

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    maybe...and that would eliminate cutting the washer, of course - but at 55 cents this seems cheap and easy enough :)
     
  12. OscarEmmy

    OscarEmmy VHFSE Originator/Blogger

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    Postscript - the reason the MFSL CD wasreading initially when other discs weren't is due to its additional thickness - hence, more pressure against the puck, overcoming some of the wear in the clamp's felt ring. So, if you have some discs reading and others not - especially CD-R discs which seem to be thinner (maybe someone would confirm using a micrometer - which I don't own) - then this could well be the cause.
     
  13. bginther

    bginther New Member

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    Same Issue

    Purchased a DCD1500 (not II) from ebay and noted initial play quality degraded by frequent skipping, especially later tracks (i.e. outer ring). Opening the unit confirmed an off-center rotation pattern which is presumably more difficult to compensate for further "out" on the CD. Bottom line - same problem you had; a worn out clamper gasket. Cutting to the chase, I solved my issue by going to Michaels craft store. They had many potential candidates for the soft ring replacement but I ended up buying a felt sheet with adhesive backing, a circle gauge (in drafting supplies) and using my Xacto knife to cut a close as possible replacement. (Sorry, no pics but you get the idea). Works GREAT. Integrity of player is outstanding and skipping fixed. Wish I had read your post earlier but this is a quick, cheap fix that is likely applicable to misbehaving CD players with a few years behind them. Cheers.
     
  14. guiller

    guiller Toscaninichus Australis

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    Thanks to both posters for sharing their solutions to this frequent problem!
     
  15. OscarEmmy

    OscarEmmy VHFSE Originator/Blogger

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    Great information bginther - thanks for sharing the details. I did buy some adhesive-backed felt, but at the time could not get a decent ring cut out of it - will get a circle gauge next time and try your method when I next try to fix a non-reading/skipping CD player :thmbsp:
     
  16. wsjoe

    wsjoe Well-Known Member

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    Check you drawer/tray mechanism first.

    Let me chime my experience with this as I have played with ALOT of Denons DCD over the past 10 years. First of all, cd players (or lasers) not playing your disc can be of serveral reasons, but the most common one is bad laser and next disc not clamped adequately. Whenever you hear this violent sound is because of the second reason. One obvious thing to do is to increase the thickness of that "washer" but I am willing to bet that the drawer mechanism is not working perfectly. I am sounding like Click and Clark from Cartalk. Anyhow, if the disc tray is not retracted 100%, then the disc may not be clamped 100% creating this violent sound. So repairing the drawer assembly with new belts, correct grease and correct oil is the key. Another thing that you should check is the height between the very bottom of spindle and the housing. It should be 2mm. This rarely is pushed down but if someone press down with enough force, you can push it as I have seen a couple of times. See picture. This 2mm is CRITICAL and ONLY change if it's incorrect.
     

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  17. OscarEmmy

    OscarEmmy VHFSE Originator/Blogger

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    Excellent additional information, WSJoe. Worth checking for sure. I replaced all of the belts on mine, since they had stretched with time/use, but this adjustment is new to me. Thanks!
     
  18. wsjoe

    wsjoe Well-Known Member

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    The 2mm is not an adjustment but something to check. It rarely needs to be adjusted, however the tray working well should be obviously something that needs attention to most Denon DCDs.
     
  19. SPL db

    SPL db It's all about the music! Subscriber

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    Thanks for the replies everyone!

    I have one of these players doing the exact problem mentioned here. :thmbsp:
     
  20. Scott594

    Scott594 Active Member

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    I own and love a DCD-1500.

    Never had a problem, but a copy of this thread is going into the documentation file for it.

    Thanks for sharing an elegant solution!
     

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