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Hi,

My MDS-JE510 has a weird recording issue. When recording to a disc, it records with seemingly no problem. However, when you go to play the disc back, it begins to skip. I have had the record function work before without any problems. When I put the same disc in my MZ-N910 and my other portable (Panasonic SJ-MJ100), the disc plays fine without any issues. I opened the unit up to see if there was anything odd going on and there did not seem to be anything weird going on. I have opened the unit up before to clean the switch with contact cleaner that has the welcome/eject issue and haven't opened it up since then. 

Any thoughts or ideas to whats causing this problem would be very appreciated! 

Thank you.

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What about next day? One side effect of recording is that the disk gets hot. Sometimes this may have an adverse effect on electronics......

In turn it may mean the system (servo mechanism) is having to work too hard to play or record, ie it needs some sort of adjustment. Head cleaning is going to do just about nothing and likely risks the optical pickup. Very occasionally cleaning is an issue, but I really really doubt it here.

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1 minute ago, sfbp said:

What about next day? One side effect of recording is that the disk gets hot. Sometimes this may have an adverse effect on electronics......

In turn it may mean the system (servo mechanism) is having to work too hard to play or record, ie it needs some sort of adjustment. Head cleaning is going to do just about nothing and likely risks the optical pickup. Very occasionally cleaning is an issue, but I really really doubt it here.

This started to occur 2 days ago, so I gave it a day since I figured maybe it is hot and it needs to cool down. But it did the same thing yesterday, so I had a look inside to see anything abnormal going on.

I should also add the deck reads discs from discs that are recorded elsewhere just fine. Just discs that it records to it does not read correctly (I have also tried other discs too just to make sure it wasn't the disc). I also tried an older deck (MDS-501) and the same thing occurred. Constant slow skipping. I wouldn't be surprised if the write head is somehow messed up/damaged.

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Reading is actually fussier than writing, as you have discovered. Not so with portables, where the power used is capable of "bankrupting" the battery during recording.

Of all the units to repair, it seems the 510 has had the worst luck with failures. I wonder if it's all that metal..........

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I agree this all metal mechanism is a "beast" that hard to work and easy to mess up with.

My experience though is that the MDM-3 drives have less kinds of failures and these failures are "easier" to identify, compared to later drive flavours. Plus the the electronics on both the BD and main boards are more robust - I met more "dead" decks from the 520/530 and the 440/480 familes, than from the 320/500/510/S38/S39 bunch.

 

On 9/24/2020 at 3:12 AM, thetechlover0010 said:

When I put the same disc in my MZ-N910 and my other portable (Panasonic SJ-MJ100), the disc plays fine without any issues.

On 9/24/2020 at 6:46 AM, thetechlover0010 said:

Just discs that it records to it does not read correctly (I have also tried other discs too just to make sure it wasn't the disc)

So you are saying this 510 has trouble reading back its own recorded discs, while those same discs are playable on other players without problems, and the 510 itself plays back discs recorded on other machines.

We discussed a somewhat similar case here. You may want to try the "trick" and format (= All Erase) discs on another machine first, than attempt recording/playback on the 510.

If it does not help, a fine calibration of the laser power would certainly make sense. Also, as Stephen already mentioned, you may want to check the sled mechanism, for hardened grease on the worm drive, or other, foreign particles stuck on it.

As for the OWH: you can check visually, if the OWH lays fully flat on the disc surface when in recording mode.

DSC02343.thumb.jpg.f5607871eee642b5ecc93d600ab3f6f7.jpg1764.thumb.jpg.96f373cf98819be609523694d5cbc32d.jpgAlso, even the OWH heads can get dirty over time, that can cause some air gap between the magnetic coil and the disc surface. Cleaning the OWH requires absolute care and caution, because it is very easy to bend/break those little flat metal parts that hold the head on the arm.

But as the discs recorded in the 510 play back trouble free in other machines, I would say the OWH of the 510 should be OK.

 

 

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31 minutes ago, NGY said:

We discussed a somewhat similar case here. You may want to try the "trick" and format (= All Erase) discs on another machine first, than attempt recording/playback on the 510.

 

Okay, I have just tried to format a disc in my MDS-501 and all is successful. I put it in the 510 to try to record. Successful record, however playing back does the same issues. Putting it in my 501 doesn't even recognize the disc and gives me "Disc Error". My N910 reads the disc 100% fine and no skips or any unusualities occur. 

 

31 minutes ago, NGY said:

If it does not help, a fine calibration of the laser power would certainly make sense

Could you help with doing this? I have been in SM before but I wouldn't know what I'm doing and I certainly would not want to damage anything further.

31 minutes ago, NGY said:

Also, as Stephen already mentioned, you may want to check the sled mechanism, for hardened grease on the worm drive, or other, foreign particles stuck on it.

I have looked at the sled mech and put it into service mode to move the sled left and right and everything seemed normal. I will look for any unwanted particles however to see if this could cause problems.

31 minutes ago, NGY said:

As for the OWH: you can check visually, if the OWH lays fully flat on the disc surface when in recording mode.

I have looked at the record head while it is recording and it appears everything is flat on the disc surface. I should note here that one of my Neige discs makes a horrible scratching sound when I press record on my decks. I don't know if this disc has any issues but I haven't had a disc do this to me at all ever. For my testing, I did not use the Neige disc since I didn't know if it was going to damage anything. 

31 minutes ago, NGY said:

Also, even the OWH heads can get dirty over time, that can cause some air gap between the magnetic coil and the disc surface. Cleaning the OWH requires absolute care and caution, because it is very easy to bend/break those little flat metal parts that hold the head on the arm.

I had a look under the OWH head and it seemed to be fairly clean, however I'm sure it could always use a good clean. I have wiped 30+ discs with this deck so I'm sure it may be dirty.

Hopefully this is a simple problem and I can get my recordings to function as intended! Thank you for your help!!

 

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As for fine setting the laser: before anything, I must ephasize two things. First: changing any settings in  SM without the necessary test gear (and background knowledge) is risky. I can give you some "educated guesses", but a proper work is to be done with the appropriate tools (LPM, DMM, test jigs, oscilloscope, test discs). Second: calibrating the laser is a complex procedure, sometimes requires multiple takes on adjustments that also depend on or influence each other.

A simplified overview of the laser settings:

- power = laser emissions, for reading and recording.

- traverse = how the sled is moved

- focus = how the laser "keeps" in the track and reads the sectors

- gain control = output levels for re-writeable/pre-recorded discs

Normally, we begin with measuring the laser power (=light emission from the laser diode) and the IOP (=electrical current through the laser diode at certain light emission points, as an important indicator of the laser's "health"). It's a quick check to see if the laser diode is OK. But since you probably don't have the mentioned tools, we do some error checks instead.

Please follow the Service Manual of the 510, section 5-1. - and jot down those "C1" and "AD" figures, on the major areas of a disc (at the innermost area, somewhere in the middle, and close to the outer edge). These numbers may fluctuate, then go for the rough from-to range you can observe. (Hints: 1./ perform these checks with a disc recorded in your portable, not in the 510 or the 501, and 2./ make sure you choose a disc that runs visually true, because a disc that hits even the lowest amount gives hard time in the setting process later). Repeat the check with a pre-recorded disc too, if you have one. Let us know the results, so we can see where the laser is making the most reading errors.

Next step: Service Manual section 6-2. - in Service Mode select "“LDPWR CHECK”, and without touching anything else, please take notes of those "$XX" hexadecimal values, both for 0.9 mW and 7.0 mW .

Then here is the "educated guess" part: in SM select “LDPWR ADJ”, and change the "$XX" value for 0.9 mW one digit less (don't change the other value for 7.0 mW). Try playing back one of the discs you recorded in the 510 previously. If the disc still skips, decrease again the value by one digit only. Playback. If no success, you can go the opposite direction: first write back the original value you took a note of, and change that "$XX" value for 0.9 mW one digit higher. Playback, and repeat it with one or two more digits increase if needed. If still no good, just write back the original value again and we stop there.

This is all what we can do if we are "flying blind". (Well, you can also try adjusting the focus bias - section 12. -, but that is really a tough one... )

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Quick thought, Gyula. It might be better to avoid disks recorded on portables. I would be inclined to believe a disk recorded on one of the other decks. Why? because portables especially NetMD (ie pre HiMD and post SP-only like the amazing R50) tend to have trouble with power. I remember when got my N910 and before I had an MDLP deck. I made some disks (LP2) to play in the car, for which I had bought, not an MD deck, but the 6-MD-changer that plays MDLP. IT DIDN'T WORK, and the culprit was the portable.

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Okay, here are my findings. 

Inner Section:
Pre-recorded disc: C1=0000-0084 AD=--
N910 recorded disc: C1=0000-0032
510 recorded disc (just for fun): C1=2910-5496 AD=00

Middle Section:
Pre-recorded disc: C1=0000-0013 AD=--
N910 recorded disc: C1=0000-0030 AD=00
510 recorded disc: C1=0010-0040 AD=00

Outer Section:
Pre-recorded disc: C1=0000-0020 AD=--
N910 recorded disc: C1=0000-0051 AD=00-01
510 recorded disc: C1=7350 AD=00 (this number did not change at all)

LPWDR CHECK: LD 0.9mW $11, LD 7.0mW $91

However, when I try to play the disc I recorded earlier on my 510, it will no longer read on either decks. The disc will still play back 100% fine on my N910, which is strange. I am very baffled, and miffed as to what is actually causing the problem. 

--

Just tried to record on my 510 again with a blank disc and now I am getting "Retry - Retry Error" back and forth. The disc will not spit out either. Tried recording to it in my 501 and it records fine. I feel like the write head is failing or beginning to fail.

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On 9/25/2020 at 1:41 AM, sfbp said:

Quick thought, Gyula. It might be better to avoid disks recorded on portables.

Thanks Stephen, that makes sense.

I just wanted to exclude both the 501 and the 510 as having already issues. So another, known good deck is the recommendation for creating a "test disc".

 

On 9/25/2020 at 5:15 AM, thetechlover0010 said:

Okay, here are my findings.

Thanks for the detailed data. This exactly supports your findings and the conclusion above (this 510 has trouble reading back its own recorded discs, ..., and the 510 itself plays back discs recorded on other machines). Also visible, that the 510 makes more errors towards the outer edge of the disc, though it is still in the acceptable range (and can come from disc hitting too).

Your laser power settings are factory defaults, that is a good base for further steps

On 9/25/2020 at 5:15 AM, thetechlover0010 said:

Just tried to record on my 510 again with a blank disc and now I am getting "Retry - Retry Error" back and forth. The disc will not spit out either. Tried recording to it in my 501 and it records fine. I feel like the write head is failing or beginning to fail.

Now the situation is getting worse, and it is a sign of an ageing laser (cleaning the head has been already sorted out).

The OWH itself is a very simple device, few turns of thin copper wire around a tiny, "M" shaped ferrite core. Nothing really to fail there, and if it does fail (see further down), it does it right away, not like a "fading" thing, as opposed to the laser for example. So what might happen to an OWH is that something breaks the continuity from the magnetic head to the BD board circuitry. It can be: the BD board pcb connector's contacts are dirty or oxidized, the yellow flat "cable" might be cracked somewhere, the solder joints on the head (that connects the flat wire to the springs and the ones that connect the head coil), the two tiny bits of flat metal that hold the head in place might be cracked, and finally, the copper wire in the head is burnt. This last one is highly unprobable, at least I have never seen such. Long story short: gently pull the OWH flat cable off the pcb connector, then measure the continuity of the head by a DMM, at the gold contacts of its flat cable.

Getting back to the OP: I am afraid you cannot avoid having actually measure your laser, to get a clear picture.

But again, as a quick and dirty check, you can do the 1..3 digit variation upwards for the 7.0 mW value this time (without touching the other one), and do the test with recording in the 510. If it makes the situation any better, your laser is probably still useable for a while, otherwise it is to be replaced.

 

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36 minutes ago, NGY said:

Now the situation is getting worse, and it is a sign of an ageing laser (cleaning the head has been already sorted out).

Okay, I understand now. This is an issue more toward the laser and not the OWH head if i'm right? Would it be cost worthy to replace the laser or should I just buy another deck? I picked this up used a few months ago and haven't had any issues (other than the plagued drive eject mech, which is common in every model that has this mech). I will try to see if increasing the laser strength will do anything, as I do not have a laser power measurer, only a multimeter ;).

Thank you so much for your knowledge! This has been an incredible experience :)

Edit: Finished testing the 1-3 increase on the 7.0mW and to nobody's surprise... it failed. Poor laser had a good life.

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4 hours ago, thetechlover0010 said:

Would it be cost worthy to replace the laser or should I just buy another deck?

The cost of a replacement OP is less of a concern - you can get one for around $20 or so on axxxxpress for example (see also my comments on this here).  What counts more is a properly done, full adjustment procedure for the new laser. Should be done by someone who has the knowledge, tools and experience - that might cost way more, on top of the price of the part.

If you consider buying another deck instead, and plan to stay in the same range (5xx series) I suggest to go for a 530. You will have tangible benefits over the 501/500/510/520 predecessors. To name a few: ATRAC Type-R as the major reason, also, the MDM-5 drive mechanism is way better than the MDM-3 from maintenance point of view as well as its reliability (even with my earlier comment on the MDM-3), last but not least, before buying you can check the usage (total play/record hours) of the deck in SM,  that can give an idea whether or not to go for it. Anything above ~2000 playback hours is a warning, and/or total recording hours over ~500 - these lasers are slowly approaching their end.

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2 hours ago, NGY said:

Anything above ~2000 playback hours is a warning, and/or total recording hours over ~500 - these lasers are slowly approaching their end.

(Off topic)

You made me panic now about how much longer my beloved from-new 520 might last! So I went into SM to read the odo meters and the results suggest I've been grossly under-using my machine and I should give myself a good talking to! r=46h and p=174h (Iop=55.8/55.4).

My MZ-R700 that I have at work (and I'm listening to now) I suspect will have many more play hours on it as I listen to it for many (office) hours each day. When I find the SM I think I'll have a look at the odo counts (or maybe not, maybe it will scare me too much!).

Also off topic (and a random irrelevant observation!) I was just listening to an audio book (Red Dwarf 'The Last Human') which I recorded in LP4 (see elsewhere rambling post) and was interested to hear the laser return home a full 1 minute and 34 seconds before the audio finished. This was a longer memory buffer than I expected and would relate to a SP buffer of about 23 seconds. The MZ-R700 is a "G-Protection" model so it seems they doubled the "usual" 10 second buffer.

I'll get my coat...

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1 hour ago, kgallen said:

You made me panic now about how much longer my beloved from-new 520 might last!

...

r=46h and p=174h

:-)

That's a brand new machine then.

I remember when I bought my badly wanted JA20ES and checked its odometers when arrived (something like p=180h and r=35h) I was soooo happy!

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8 hours ago, NGY said:

Should be done by someone who has the knowledge, tools and experience - that might cost way more, on top of the price of the part.

Yeah, I was afraid it could be more expensive to get it repaired when I don't know what I'm doing- and it might cost more than another used deck.

 

8 hours ago, NGY said:

If you consider buying another deck instead, and plan to stay in the same range (5xx series) I suggest to go for a 530. You will have tangible benefits over the 501/500/510/520 predecessors. To name a few: ATRAC Type-R as the major reason, also, the MDM-5 drive mechanism is way better than the MDM-3 from maintenance point of view as well as its reliability (even with my earlier comment on the MDM-3), last but not least, before buying you can check the usage (total play/record hours) of the deck in SM, that can give an idea whether or not to go for it. Anything above ~2000 playback hours is a warning, and/or total recording hours over ~500 - these lasers are slowly approaching their end.

I was thinking about going with a 530 or even a 630. I wasn't sure if the 520 had the same drive but I guess this answers my question. It's such a shame that this deck's laser no longer is powerful for recording (at least playback will work fine for now!) as I really liked the aesthetic of this deck. Thanks for the tips too, I'll keep that in mind when shopping for a new deck :)

Thank you for your help! I'll be sure to go back to the forums if I have any more questions :)

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16 hours ago, thetechlover0010 said:

I wasn't sure if the 520 had the same drive

They are very similar. Mechnically they are identical, so are the OP and the OWH. BD boards are not the same, for the different DSP chips (the 520 is ATRAC 4.5).

The 630 is an even better choice - rare bird though, I don't know, why, because the MDLP capable 640 is quite frequent.

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20 hours ago, thetechlover0010 said:

this deck's laser no longer is powerful for recording

While re-reading some of the posts here, this popped into my head (might be a useful piece of information for later readers):  this symptom we see here with the 510 is most probably related to the ageing laser diode, as we concluded. However, I met a few cases in the past where the laser emission as well as IOP were spot on, still the OP was producing "READ ERROR". The problem was related to the thin springs that hold the lens against the magnetic focusing coil. Some springs were visibly damaged, others were keeping the lens just too low.

So here is an advise for those who decide to clean their OP lenses with a Q-tip (and not using a factory cleaning disc/solution): you must have a steady hand, and must take utmost care, to avoid damaging an otherwise good OP.

 

A damaged OP:

damaged

And how it should look like (apologies for the blurred photo, I will try to find another one):

OK

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