Minidisc Repairman Q&A

David Popovits
Sigma D.O. Electronics
3, Sheinkin str. Tel Aviv, Israel
Tel. 972-3-6290339
Fax. 972-3-6203579

July 2000

These questions from readers on these 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 pages followed David's original article about portable MD recorder repair

  1. Question Hello David, I've just read your great article, A Repairman's View of Portable Minidisc Recorders, on the MiniDisc Community Page. I'm hoping you might be able to give me some advice... I live in Denmark, and bought a Sony MZ-R70 minidisc under a month ago... I've just return from Italy (where I was on holiday), and while I was down there I encountered a problem... On one of my discs I got a DISC ERR - so when I selected the track (the disc had 19 songs on - the problem started somewhere in track 15, and also 16), I got this error. In my Sony manual it says that I should remove the disc and try again... I did this, but still the same error... Then the manual advice me to re-record, so I wanted to do this when I came home back Italy - but when I tried deleting the disc, it say TR PROTECT, so I couldn't delete the disc... but the disc isn't protected by that white tab the discs have... Now to the point where I need your advice... Is it my recorder that has an error or is it my disc (the disc is of the label, FUJI which is quite good)... Should I goto the store where I bought it and ask for an exchange or what is your advice?? Thanks in advance for any help. Sincerely, Lars Christensen

    Answer Hi Lars, Thank you for the compliment. As to your questions. To begin with run to the shop and ask to replace the MZR70, with another one or, and if you insist on small MD buy the Sharp 831. If the size is not important to you buy yourself an MZR37 (ugly but good) or a MZR50 (the best ever made). Technical explanation to your problems.

    1. "Disc Err" at the high track portion of the MD. This is due to very low revolutions of the motor as the laser unit goes to the high part of the disc. If there is an obstacle or even small dirt on the motor it will not revolve, the same can happen if the laser is not "strong" enough or if the recording is made on a cheap or bad disc. The problem is that even if the disc is good and the machine is clean it still can happen and there is not much to do about it. This is the price we pay for those small machines attempting to save power and in the sane time causing us lot of headache.

    2. The recording (or unrecording) problem is due to another known problem with the MZR70. The switch that tells the MZR70 if the disc is protected was redesigned by Sony in such a way that it tends now not to recognize the real position of the protection sign. I fix this problem in my shop by re re designing the switch. As for you, you are still under guarantee, so use my advice as stated earlier.

  2. Question hi there... your article/statements on the minidisc community page kinda bothered me...i have the MZR55 bought here in seoul korea...the adaptor/charger needs a 100v power supply & the guy where i bought the MD gave me a power supply with 110v..i am not really sure about their "configurations" since it is written in korean...the numbers in order are (AC220V 60 Hz/Ac110 V/ 0.909 A/ 100 VA/ 85% )...are these configurations safe to use with my player?...i hope you won't find me stupid...i bought the MD about 2 years ago & it is still working well, though the gum battery doesn't last long now...i hardly charge it with the adaptor since i use a NiMh battery most of the time...i bought the power supply about 2 months ago...PLEASE help..thanks a lot & more power to you... -erwin

    Answer Hi Erwin, It looks to me you have a "Tourist model PSU" If I'm right it will work with 100/110/220 with no problems. To be on the safe side, email me the model of the PSU, if it is made by Sony i will look in the Sony catalog and will inform you. Truly yours,

  3. Question I have a sony MZ-R37 and its always had a problem were non sony discs tend to have a problem. When i use non sony discs it has trouble reading them, and if it does i get memory errors during recording. I think it's having trouble spinning them. Any ideas? Since the closest sony authorized repair center for mini discs is in another country. Plus when i talked to the guys at the sony store about the problem they just said to only use sony blank media kevin

    Answer Hi Kevin, The MZR37 is a very good MD. I don't think it will play better Sony discs. It will play well good quality discs like Tdk, Sony and other brands. The keyword is good quality and not a specific brand. I myself use Sony SE (white). Truly yours,

    Question (part 2) i've tried other discs, and they don't work well, sony's work fine. But i've found that memorex and hi space don't work i was wondering if you knew what could be wrong with the player

    Answer Hi Kevin If the discs play well on other MD (not the MZR37 in question) I do not find any logical explanation to your problem. I would say again that if the discs are from good quality so as not to put extra work on the laser unit they should playback well, and if they are not they will cause problems from the kind you describe. Truly yours,

  4. Question Dear David, I need some assistance on how I can troubleshoot my Sony MZR55. I dropped it this morning and now it is not reading/playing 5 selections from my midiscs (averagely) It just stops playing and the unit is making a sound that sounds like the lens doesn't move forward. It sounds like it is stocked there. Is there anyway I can troubleshoot myself? Please let me know as it is very frustrating for me because my MD player is only 8 months old. Yours Truly, Orlando

    Answer Hi Orlando I'm sorry for you. I'm afraid you'll have to take your MZR55 to a repairing shop. It is possible that the damage is not so big. If you are not experienced with fixing MD's and you will try to fix it by yourself with or without my help by email, can make things worst. Please inform me about your MD situation when it will be fixed. Truly yours

    Question (part 2) Dear David, Thanks for the quick reply. This is another problem because I am in Jakarta where Minidisc is not popular at all. I don't even know if a repair shop here can helpor understands how an MD works. Have no choice but to bring it to a repair shop. Hoping they can fox the problem. Sony repair here takes forever to do the job (6 months approx) However, I'll inform you on the developments. I may have to ask you on what model to buy next to MZR55 if the situation gets worse. I hope not. I use my MD a lot as a musician. Orlando

    Answer Dear Orlando, If you want, I'm ready to repair it for you. It will take much less then 6 months and I think that the price including shipping will be cheaper then with Sony. Truly yours.

  5. Question Dear Mr. Popovits Hello, I have read your article on fixing MDs in and I am very impressed. Nonetheless, I own a Sony MZ-E55 (the playback model, not the R55) and I have found that it is dead. No signs of life, with either the rechargeable battery/AA Battery or both. I wanted to service it myself because warranty has expired which means taking it for service would be costly. I have fixed a MZ-R50 before by disassembling it and solder door switches. Therefore I think I might be qualified enough to handle the job. Do you have any clue of what might be wrong? I would appreciate any advice/comments from you. Yours truly Francis T.

    Answer Hi Francis, Before helping you please let me know if you tried it with its power supply. In addition please inform me what kind of power supply do you have for it (220/110/100 tourist model or else,) Do you have a digital multitester, fine tip soldering iron and other hand tools. Bye the way if you are lucky it is the door switch the experience you have with the R50 can help you here as well. Truly yours,

    Question (part 2) Dear Mr. Popovits Hello, I just just taken apart my MZ-E55 again today and saw that the door switch is still intact, I can still press it with a screwdriver. But again, no signs of life. I also tried it by connecting it with a 1.5V adapter directly to the unit but it's still dead. I think the problem might be in the boards. Ater I insert a rechargeable battery to the unit for the while, the battery is slightly warm. Any clue of might be going on? Again, any advice from an expert like you is greatly appreciated. Hope to hear from you soon Best Regards

    Answer Hi, A hot bat. means short circuit on the board. It can be any component in the power circuit, i.e. a transistor. electrolytic capacitor, a regulator IC etc. To locate it and replace you need special gear, service manual... To conclude it would be better to take it to an expert. Truly yours

  6. Question hello, in you letter, you mensioned the psu with 100v-250v. may i know where i can i find them. do you have a website or any contact information. i just would like to get one. thank you. chee pung

    Answer Hi Chee Pung We produce them in our factory in Israel. If you are interested, let me know. Truly yours,

  7. Question Hello there, I just read your write-up. Thank you very much for writing it; it was extremely informative. I just wanted to ask you a couple of quick questions if you have the time. First, I was wondering which MD recorder you see as being the most reliable/rugged. I have never owned one but I want to get one. The durability of MD's concerns me though. And I was wondering where one can get the universal AC adapter maetioned in your article. Thank you very much for your time. Joe Bruno

    Answer Hi Joe, I think that the best MD is the MZ-R50. If you cannot get it try the MZ-R37. If you want a small and nice machine choose SHARP 831. The universal power supply is produced by us in Israel. We can export it. Truly yours,

  8. Question Hi David, thanks for your interesting article. Can you sell me your PSU and send it to New Zealand? I have a Sharp MS 722 I imported from the US. We have 240V AC and I am using a 220V to 110V AC step down transformer connected to Sharp's 120V AC PSU supplied with the unit. Sounds bad, I admit, but I have only charged up the Lilon battery a few times and haven't damaged it yet (as far as I can tell). Is this taking a risk? Mostly I just use rechargeable 1.5V alkalines in the clip-on case. I also have a 5V power pack with my Zip drive, which is 240V but puts out 1000 mA rather than 800 from the Sharp. Do you think I could safely use this? Thanks for your help if you have time to reply. Yours, Grant Slevin..

    Answer Hi Grant Today I fixed a SHARP 722 and a SHARP 831, both broken because of a stepdown transformer 220/110 connected to a 110 type power supply. I'm glad yours is still alive. As for your nice question regarding ZIP 5V power supply. The problem is not the 1000mA instead of 800mA, on the contrary it is even better. The problem is the type of regulation used inside the ZIP power supply. I tested it carefully last year and found out that it is noisy in sense of introducing some sort of um in the audio signal. It is indeed a good PSU for digital equipment but can cause problems with audio equipment such as a mini disc. The price of our power supply is USD49 + p.&p. It has 12 months guarantee. Truly yours

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