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Sony MDS-JE480 parts swap?

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Another MD fanatic

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I have two of these, one black and one silver. On the black one the overwrite head has gone, although everything else appears to be ok. The silver one still works fine, but the display is very dim and some of the buttons on the front panel are a bit temperamental, (everything works ok from the remote).

So, time to make a better one from the two. I'm thinking it would be simpler to just swap over the front panel than start messing around with the head in the black one, or swapping over the entire drive.

Does everyone agree? Depending on how much trouble things are going to be the silver one could end up  with a black front, but that's not critical.


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Probably don't need to swap the plastic facia - swap the PCB behind it with the buttons and display.

And certainly just swap the drive, don't risk transplanting that OWH (although actually that process is probably a couple of tiny pozi screws and a 2-pin header).

But overall if you put the silver drive in the black machine are you done?

ETA; Ha @BearBoy just beat me to it with a much more succinct answer!

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I would first check total rec/play hours in Service mode, then go for the less used drive mechanism, even if it requires transplanting the OWH.

Dim displays sometimes are just caused by a thin layer mixed from dust and damp (and/or cigarette smoke). This layer can be both on the inside of red plastic window and the glass surface of the display. Cleaning both with some isopropyl alcohol and a microfiber cloth can make a "miracle" in such a case.

Buttons being temperamental can root from the same cause, like smoke and dust stuck onto their contacts, or when this "mix" oxidized the contacts. Contact sprays can clean and lubricate them nicely (see for example the Kontakt 60, Kontakt WL, Kontakt 61 family here).



Promised some photos - here are two examples.

DSC023681.thumb.jpg.0b087a2b2384c9c8c02d8b68ae9f56e1.jpg   DSC023691.thumb.jpg.4559d2f211bd47a9c32db5d79665b77c.jpg

DSC027601.thumb.jpg.08d9d12b4f393a94c6405d6843128602.jpg   DSC027611.thumb.jpg.a5387ccd2682279a0f18704a1ce5c3aa.jpg

Silly me, I did not take pictures of those VFD-s in operation, before and after the cleaning - you can only rely on my word that the VFD-s' brightness did improve.



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Thank you for your comments. Checking which one has had the most use is a good idea, and on reflection perhaps I should have done this before I did the original post. I should also have lifted the lid off one of them, rather than just guessing. Oh well, we live and learn don't we.

The black one I bought new many moons ago, so I know it's had rather a lot of use. The silver one was second hand, so is an unknown quantity. I'll do some checks when I get chance and take it from there.

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  • 2 weeks later...

hi everyone, 

 can anyone help me? i have 2 sony je480 minidisc recorders. 1 of which is faulty. i have swapped the whole drive unit from the faulty  player to the other, which then , the faulty player works ok. 

so obviously the drive unit is faulty.

my question is, i want a new drive unit or second hand, will any drive unit taken from a sony unit do, or does it have to be from a je480 unit only.

sorry this question is not a reply to the original 


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  • Richard changed the title to Sony MDS-JE480 parts swap?

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