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MiniDisc hardware reliability and issues

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To help anyone interested in getting into MiniDisc and possibly even experienced users, I thought it would be a good idea to collect information regarding the reliability and possible issues that can occur on a specific model that is important to know. I'll start off with my collection;


  • Sony MDS-JE500; This model, and several others are known for turning on by itself due to an issue with the microswitch not making good contact with the loading mechanism. This is pretty easy to fix, following the instructions on this page.

Note on buying a deck without having seen it in person, the display (VFD) can fade significantly over time. On the models I have (JE500 and JE520) the displays have faded quite a bit. They are stil easy to read, but compared to a Sony CD-player I have the difference is night and day. Be aware that pictures of the display as you see them on eBay etc. almost always look better than it does in person!


  • Sharp MD-MT20; The plastic gear for the worm-drive shaft (to move the optical block) has snapped on my unit. In that case you will hear a grinding noise and the unit will display "TOC Error". I've heard that several others had the same issue. I replaced the gear and my unit is now working as it should. The gear is listed in the service manual as 'NGERH0597AFZZ' and can be ordered from here. It seems like the same gear is also used in the MD-MT15 and MD-MT16.
  • Sharp IM-DR420; For no apparent reason the left door hinge broke when I was changing MD's. I was able to repair it by sanding down a small screw and placing it through the hinge so it just reaches the metal body. Although there is a little bit of play on the hinge now, it no longer comes off when opening the lid. I must admit the whole unit feels quite flimsy, especially the battery door.


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For those who can understand french or just can translate french text, jonathanpotato has repaired and comment a lot of portable and deck units, even made a repair guide : Articles / Accès par thèmes / Minidisc, http://www.jonathandupre.fr/ . Note that there are dozens of comments even hundreds for some of them on each unit on Sony Insider. Non Sony units like Sharp's however are not that much analysed and commented so that could be a welcome add. I don't know if your topic will have a good success and I just cross my fingers for you. Perhaps I will had my own comments when I will have more time. 

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