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Thread: Duo-R silliness

  1. #1
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Default Duo-R silliness

    So, after being awake for nearly 45 hours straight, my dumb ass decides that it's time to work on precision electronics at 2am! My PC Engine Duo R has been flaky ever since I bought it years ago, but over the last couple of years the laser has slowly gotten worse, and struggles with matching directories, causing redbook audio to cut out and stages to not load properly without jarring the unit to get the laser to reset. It also had a shitty AV out jack and controller port, which caused the signal and sound to go completely and controllers to go haywire.

    Anyhow, I got a hankering to play Gradius II (my favorite in the series), so I figured it was time to go at it. I found cracked solder joints for both the AV jack and controller port, so I re-flowed all of those points and they now work perfectly. Sweet, right? So I started playing Gradius II, and those same shit issues popped up (and they happen with all CD games), so I ordered a new laser (the Hitachi HOP-M3), but decided to play with the existing laser to see if I could milk it a bit. I fucked it UP.

    Tweaking the main laser voltage down just slightly got me slightly improved performance along with cleaning the lens, but then, in my tired idiocy, I decided to pop off the laser assembly and look under it. I knew it was a bad idea, but I was so stupid and tired that I started fucking with the tightness of the tiny screws on the underside if the HOP-M3, and now it won't read anything at all. The laser still moves properly and tries, but sounds very weak, barely spinning the disc on the spindle at all.

    Since I have a new laser coming in the mail already, hopefully this will be a moot point in a week, as it's a super easy swap. Still, it's driving me nuts that I had such bad judgement while tired. I mean, it's great that I can play my HuCards flawlessly again, but that laser... so dumb.

    Anyone have any ideas on how to get it up and running again so I can keep it as a back up? I'm sure I screwed up its angle or something so it just can't focus, causing it to act like no disc is inserted. I haven't messed with the four pots on the main pcb, as I don't want to screw things up for the replacement assembly. Thoughts?

  2. #2
    ServeBot (Lɘvel 11) RP2A03's Avatar
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    I don't really know anything about your particular hardware, but it sounds like your up a creek unless you have an oscilloscope.
    Mario says "... if you do drugs, you go to hell before you die."

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    ServBot (Level 11) Niku-Sama's Avatar
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    Sounds to me like that was just the nail in the coffin for that laser. I don't see why adjusting the screws on the bottom would have done anything to the functionality of the assembly and how the lens moves

  4. #4
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    My new laser came in today. I replaced it, and it's working now. The redbook audio and level loading are still issues, so I may have to fool around with the V102 and V105 pots a bit, but first I'm going to try some fresh lithium grease on the carriage assembly in case it's just having trouble aligning quickly enough from too much resistance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Niku-Sama View Post
    Sounds to me like that was just the nail in the coffin for that laser. I don't see why adjusting the screws on the bottom would have done anything to the functionality of the assembly and how the lens moves
    Fiddling with those screws could have taken it out of mechanical alignment.
    Mario says "... if you do drugs, you go to hell before you die."

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    Cherry (Level 1) Pikkon's Avatar
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    When messing with the pots always use a multimeter so you can always go back to the default settings if something screws up.

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    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pikkon View Post
    When messing with the pots always use a multimeter so you can always go back to the default settings if something screws up.
    Yup. Multimeter and photographs and plastic tools. Not looking to spend days on it.

  8. #8
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Success! Lubricating the carriage and tweaking pot VR105 got me where I wanted to be, enjoying a flawless game of Gradius II.

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    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    God damn it. It's acting up again already. This has to be just a weird capacitor issue. I'm just gonna send it out. I don't have time for doing a full cap kit. I solder too slowly. Bah.

  10. #10
    Meat Meister Bratwurst's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by celerystalker View Post
    I solder too slowly. Bah.
    IMO that's a good thing. Take your time and do it right. Don't let someone else butcher your system because they're racing to make money under so many hours.

  11. #11
    celerystalker is a poindexter celerystalker's Avatar
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    Well, good news. I'm up and running without having to send my system out. As I was looking the pcb over, the caps looked good, so I kept dialing on the pots... and they weren't the issue, either. I started to watch the laser carriage closely while powered on so I could see exactly what was happening when the audio cut. It wasn't moving at all at that point, and jarring the system was causing the laser to reset, and then I'd be back on for a bit. After testing and prodding about, I re-soldered the wires to the motor that turns the gears that move the laser along the assembly. Bam, I'm back in action. Played for about 2 and a half hours, and no faults, playing Gradius II, R-Type Complete, Gate of Thunder, L-Dis, and Super Darius. I think I found my issue finally! Something so easy, but just not the usual culprit for these sorts of issues.

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