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Thread: Sega CDX laser calibration without opening the console

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    Default Sega CDX laser calibration without opening the console

    After a long wait I finally got my auction Sega CDX in the mail today. Seller described as half working, the Sega CD part did not load games. It was dusty so the first step was to give it a good cleaning. After my cleaning I powered it up for the first time using Van Halen's 1984 and some fresh AAs to see how it performed. I had a little bit of early success, the first track played wonderfully for 33 seconds! Very cool! I am still searching for a $10 or under AC adapter (thread pimping). I have an A/V cable and controller sitting around already along with some known good Sega CD games.

    Anyhow, what got me started down this road was a YouTube video by a console repair hobbyist. On one of his videos, he bought a Sega CDX and mentioned how he lifted up the lip of the CD assembly and was able to calibrate the laser using a small screwdriver and a visible pot. This is my next step. Is there a tutorial online somewhere, or is this completely undocumented?

    I'll be using legitimate pressed CDs and game discs (no CDR media in my consoles).

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    Alright, after some tech work last night, I say this laser is a lost cause, toast, dead and buried. I'm going to order a replacement Sanyo 10 pin laser and see how it goes.

    I also found that my knock off slim PS2 was outputting a healthy 9.32V, which is right around spec for this machine. Not sure if it will harm it, but it's at death's door already. If none of this works out, time to fork over the funds for one that is already working 100%....I hate doing that

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    Guys please use 9.5v power pack
    and as for the laser replacement take care on replacing that.

    and good luck.

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    My second one had a shorted spindle motor, check that before trying an expensive laser replacement, BTW the PS2 power supply will work.

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    Taking apart a CDX is something not to be remotely taken lightly. These things are compact little guys and there are a bunch of parts easily broken or lost in the process.

    As for calibrating the laser, twisting the POT is not proper "calibration" anymore than tightening spark plugs in your car's engine without a torque wrench is proper tightening. There are tools to aid the process of calibration and shortcuts typically lead to something dying. But don't take my word for it.
    I fix things. You name it, I'll work on it. Want something modded? Recapped?

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    Thanks for the advice folks! I would like to do some tests on the output voltage once the CDX is under a load, in other words, playing a game. I think I will try this next time I have the bottom metal cover off. My guess is that it isn't drawing many amps, at a max 1.5 versus the 5.65 the PS2 brick is capable of providing. It's all pretty new to me, but that's why they make multimeters to test things like this. But anyhow, simple math says not under load it is outputing 98% of the volts of a stock unit. That seems to be within tolerance to me.

    I am going into the laser replacement with a digital camera and the CDX faq, and a lot of time. It is very advanced disassembly. I am going to be drawing from my arcade tech work, certainly. I have all of the tools for it on hand and some good experience.

    I think the $13 lens replacement is wise. The old laser seemed to be flooded with dust specs, hair, etc. I did all the cleaning I could, but it wasn't enough. I have done this type of operation before, on my TurboDuo. That seems like a cakewalk compared to what I am about to face with this unit. I figure the poor bugger was worth another $12 to try and get it refurbished properly before I banished it to a dusty box somewhere.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ifkz View Post
    Thanks for the advice folks! I would like to do some tests on the output voltage once the CDX is under a load, in other words, playing a game. I think I will try this next time I have the bottom metal cover off. My guess is that it isn't drawing many amps, at a max 1.5 versus the 5.65 the PS2 brick is capable of providing. It's all pretty new to me, but that's why they make multimeters to test things like this. But anyhow, simple math says not under load it is outputing 98% of the volts of a stock unit. That seems to be within tolerance to me.

    I am going into the laser replacement with a digital camera and the CDX faq, and a lot of time. It is very advanced disassembly. I am going to be drawing from my arcade tech work, certainly. I have all of the tools for it on hand and some good experience.

    I think the $13 lens replacement is wise. The old laser seemed to be flooded with dust specs, hair, etc. I did all the cleaning I could, but it wasn't enough. I have done this type of operation before, on my TurboDuo. That seems like a cakewalk compared to what I am about to face with this unit. I figure the poor bugger was worth another $12 to try and get it refurbished properly before I banished it to a dusty box somewhere.
    Just be careful, there are to minor variants inside these things, some of them have a pair of grounding wires between the controller ports. This is one of the hardest to open for a newbie. I consider myself to be an expert and the first one was a pain in the ass.

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    I got my replacement laser in the mail yesterday, the company must have sent it express. After about two hours of work, I had it in and the unit reassembled. There was one gotcha in the CDX faq. One was the connection to the power board, it slides away from the genesis board and not up, and I caught that before it got me into trouble. Everything else went okay. It really paid to take pictures of the laser assembly and rail before disassembly due to a tiny spring and the orientation of everything.

    Sadly, after all this I am still stuck like all of the other CDX owners, at the "no disc" prompt. I can defeat the tray close mechanism and see the laser travel along the rail, and it attempts to focus on the start of the CD tracks, but that's it. I also found out how to properly turn the pot cog on the laser, and tried all possiblities. No luck. Welcome to my $85 smaller genesis Time to save for one that works 100% I guess. Lame-o.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ifkz View Post
    I got my replacement laser in the mail yesterday, the company must have sent it express. After about two hours of work, I had it in and the unit reassembled. There was one gotcha in the CDX faq. One was the connection to the power board, it slides away from the genesis board and not up, and I caught that before it got me into trouble. Everything else went okay. It really paid to take pictures of the laser assembly and rail before disassembly due to a tiny spring and the orientation of everything.

    Sadly, after all this I am still stuck like all of the other CDX owners, at the "no disc" prompt. I can defeat the tray close mechanism and see the laser travel along the rail, and it attempts to focus on the start of the CD tracks, but that's it. I also found out how to properly turn the pot cog on the laser, and tried all possiblities. No luck. Welcome to my $85 smaller genesis Time to save for one that works 100% I guess. Lame-o.
    Did you check the motor? I fixed one earlier this year that had a shorted coil, remove the motor from the unit and test it with a ohmmeter, there are 3 coils, rotate the spindle 1 full turn to test all 3 of them, if you get 0 or infinite resistance or the numbers don't are off by more than a point or 2 between coils replace the motor.

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    yep, no problem with the motor, it's fine. It's all in the laser calibration that I don't have the equipment to do. There are also a bunch of small pots on the Sega CD board that I could see once it was out. For all I know, Sega mated each laser with the unit, so even with a correct part it's not fixable without specialized equipment. This may be why no one repairs these beyond a simple cleaning. Right now it's desk art Time to look at auctions 24/7 again and get one working this time. Or find a really bad looking one that could use a new case. I saw a few of those before I bought this one.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ifkz View Post
    yep, no problem with the motor, it's fine. It's all in the laser calibration that I don't have the equipment to do. There are also a bunch of small pots on the Sega CD board that I could see once it was out. For all I know, Sega mated each laser with the unit, so even with a correct part it's not fixable without specialized equipment. This may be why no one repairs these beyond a simple cleaning. Right now it's desk art Time to look at auctions 24/7 again and get one working this time. Or find a really bad looking one that could use a new case. I saw a few of those before I bought this one.
    My unit works, want me to take some readings on each of them? I was able to re adjust a Turbografx CD from scratch so I do have experience with this.

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    I got this oddball response from the seller when I asked if this worked or not for other CDX owners. What the heck?

    "However before you install the item there is an anti static solder ball on the item that you will have to remove before the item will work...It is a silver round ball usually near the connector. This item i am not sure where it is but it should be near the connector. If you are not familiar in this field. The help of an experienced technician is strongly advised."

    My TurboDuo laser was a really easy install (drop in and go), but this is an odd bit of information. Clueless seller, or clueless me?

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    It's anti-static protection. It's real, and all SF-C93s have them.
    Last edited by FABombjoy; 09-10-2012 at 02:15 PM. Reason: hypen surgery
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    Jeez, of course there was no mention of it on the box, on the site, or anything. Anyone have a picture of what to look for? Maybe I can get excited and this is my holdup?

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    You can see where it has been removed in this pic:

    http://www.microlend.ru/original/SF-C93%206710.jpg

    About 1cm to the right of the "N" in the serial number, where there is a cut in half silver circle.

    Edit:

    Here's a better pic: http://tectronelectronics.eu/images/...C93DETAILS.png
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    I know what I'll be doing tonight.

    Quick poll: if I screwed up the unit by adjusting the pot too much, do you think the company owes me a replacement unit due to this not being documented anywhere? Or am I on the hook for another $13?

    I'll bet money this is where everyone gets hung up when it comes to laser replacement on the CDX. I've seen post after post of "I've replaced it and nothing happens." ...and I never bet money on anything....

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    Quote Originally Posted by ifkz View Post
    I know what I'll be doing tonight.

    Quick poll: if I screwed up the unit by adjusting the pot too much, do you think the company owes me a replacement unit due to this not being documented anywhere? Or am I on the hook for another $13?
    "If I put diesel in the tank rather than regular unleaded 87 does the rental company have to cover the cost even though they didn't tell me not to put diesel in?"

    If you screw it up you get to foot the bill. All new lasers will have such a solder blob and it is common knowledge amongst anyone who replaces these things.

    Though I'd be willing to bet messing with the POT didn't do anything since the laser doesn't work unless that blob is removed.
    Last edited by APE992; 09-10-2012 at 06:01 PM.
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    I think people have problems because many "new" lasers are complete POS's. I have dozens and dozens of bad lasers, all bought as new. They move and have beam, but the CDX can't read discs. There is something different about some new SFC93 lasers, beyond the sensor pin count. I have piles of HOPM3 with the same results.

    I stopped selling lasers because I couldn't find a reliable source. I spot test and certify new products, but I doubt that a laser distributor has the facilities to check all of their different lasers under such a wide variety of circumstances.. I'd be interested in finding a vendor that could provide them but my patience ran out after the last chargeback. Sanyo doesnt help much either with their 8 or 10 pin variants and no data sheets to speak of. There may have been more undocumented revisions along the line.
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    Alright! I am now very close and can get it to play tracks from an audio cd in small snipits. It gets into trouble when switching tracks and further into songs. Still, I feel I have the problem on the run!

    EDIT: I got this calibrated as good as it will get with the laser pot. It is better than when I got it at auction with the new laser, but it still plays halfway through a song when one is accessed. Strangely it likes to go from sone 5->4 to properly start song 4 instead of 3->4. Odd. But I think this laser needs more power sent to it and it will read discs properly. I really started to have fun with this little project tonight. The calibration song for tonight was 'Hello I Love You' by the Doors.
    Last edited by ifkz; 09-11-2012 at 01:43 AM.

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    Fixed. Working through some games.
    Last edited by ifkz; 12-16-2012 at 05:33 PM.

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