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Noisy MZ-N910

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I've got an MZ-N910 that makes a bit of a racket when the sled is moving any distance. It's generally fine if you play tracks through in order but if you try to skip from track 1 to track 15, for example, it makes a fairly unpleasant screeching sound. So, I think I need to lubricate the sled mechanism?


I've ordered a small tin of Dow Corning Molykote EM-30L Synthetic Grease from eBay, which was recommended by @kgallen in another thread, and am currently trying to work out where I need to apply it. Ideally, I'd like to be able to do this with dissembling the device. Looking at the Service Manual, is it the screw labelled 161 (Screw Service Assy, Lead) in the diagram below to which I would need to apply the grease?




I can see this screw (161) through the door opening and I think I would be able to apply grease to it without taking anything apart but not sure if this is the right part to lubricate or whether there is anything else I would also need to grease.


Anyone got any experience with doing this?


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161 yes. 

Clean it if you can. Then a tiny amount of the Molykote with a cocktail stick. Ideally with the OP on the outer track (which should be easy in a portable as the OP isn’t usually ‘homed’ as it is in a deck). Then when the OP tracks back to the centre it should spread the grease along the worm gear. 

I’m not sure how much it will help though! Cleaning any hardened old stuff off is more important.

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Thanks @kgallen. I'll give that a go when the grease arrives.


I've been playing about with it a bit today and noticed that it only makes the screeching noise when moving forward through the disc. i.e. it screeches if I advance from track 1 to track 12 or from track 3 to track 15 but not if I move in the opposite direction.

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33 minutes ago, kgallen said:

Ideally with the OP on the outer track (which should be easy in a portable as the OP isn’t usually ‘homed’ as it is in a deck). Then when the OP tracks back to the centre it should spread the grease along the worm gear. 


The MZ-N910 does seem to return the OP to the centre position when you eject a disc but if I remove the battery after playing the final song it remains in the outside position.

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The grease arrived this morning. Very quick service considering I only ordered it yesterday lunchtime. In case anyone in the UK is interested, I purchased it from this seller on eBay: https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/374074362776


Before I applied any of the grease, I gave the screw a clean with some IPA on a cotton bud but no visible dirt came off it.


I then applied a very small amount of grease to the screw when I had the OP in the outside position. Did a bit of jumping from track 1 to track 17 and back again on a disc to try and spread the grease along the length of the screw and, well, I don't think it's really made any difference to the noise.


I'll leave it for a bit and see if anything improves with a bit of use. I'm a bit reluctant to slather too much more grease in there in case it gets all over parts it shouldn't...



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Don’t know.


Looking up EM-30L it’s described:


Lubricating grease developed for plastic components 


NLGI Grade 1 PAO based grease with a base oil viscosity of 90 cSt at 40C, lithium thickened, uses white solids and PTFE as solid lubricants. 



Googling a bit, especially TapeHeads, some suggest lithium grease is not great for plastics. But commentary is divided. 😆

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Funnily enough, this popped up on the r/minidisc Reddit yesterday:



I've had my N10 for a bit now and it works beautifully but I had a question about noise it makes. Sometimes when going from one end of the disk to the other quickly, or going between tracks that are on distant ends of the disk (so say Track 3 is physically placed on the other side of the disc from Track 2 because the NetMD decided to put it there) I get a grating high-pitched gear whine noise. I've taken it apart a few times and greased everything I was comfortable greasing and it got a tiny bit better but still does it. I did some exhaustive searching and I found some references from not long after it was released that this noise is "normal" for this generation of players due to Sony picking the wrong gear size + too soft of material for one of the laser sled drive gears (it causes the gear to "wobble" under high RPMs which creates the noise), but I just wanted to see if anyone had the same experience.

Under normal use it's fine, going from track to track is no problem and even with the noise it still plays just fine, it's just that when it goes from one end of the disc to the other quickly it makes this grating high-pitched gear noise.




The person who posted that has an N10, rather than an N910, but MiniDisc.org and the Wiki both seem to indicate the units are very similar. Certainly the Service Manual for the MZ-N10 shows a very similar diagram:




I haven't done a detailed "spot the difference", and the part numbers for part 161 quoted underneath differ, but it certainly looks very similar.


None of which explains why my other MZ-N910 is much quieter though 🤔

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