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Serviceman's Log

This month, I've got rather a mixed bag, ranging all the way from a car stereo CD player to an Apple iMac monitor and on to widescreen plasma TV sets. It's all in a day's work.

by the TV Serviceman

A Mitsubishi Clarion PE 2527KA car stereo was brought in by a mechanic from my local garage. Its CD player wasn’t working and although I don’t usually do this sort of work. I agreed to have a look at it when I saw that he had gone to the trouble of bringing in the correct wiring harness (Aerpro 717011).

Anyway, I connected the red (pin 11) +12V ACC and yellow (pin 10) +12V Constant BAT leads together at my +12V supply and connected the chassis to the negative. I then switched the radio on and pressed the DISP button until the display showed "0000", after which I punched in the security code I had been given. This is done by pressing each successive preset button from 1-4 the prescribed number of times, according to the Security Code digit allocated to that button.

Items Covered This Month

  • Mitsubishi Clarion PE 2527KA car stereo player

  • Onkyo TXD5777 AV receiver

  • Apple G5 iMac computer

  • NEC PX42VP4G plasma TV

  • Hitachi 52-inch plasma TV

  • When I finally had the number fully displayed, I pressed the DISP button again to activate it.

    I then put a CD in and you could hear it try to spin before quickly stopping with the display showing E_ _6. This meant that the laser was unable to read the TOC (table of contents).

    Disassembling this radio requires the removal of a fair bit of hardware and also involves desoldering the PC board from the case. Having done that, I then propped the CD player up at an angle so that I could inspect the laser. I could now see the sled motor move as the spindle motor spun and also the laser beam lens trying to focus.

    Next, I ejected the CD and cleaned the laser lens with a cotton bud before repeating the play function. It still wouldn’t play and was still displaying the E6 error.

    The upshot of all this was that either the laser was low emission and/or the spindle motor was worn out. In fact, I have been caught out too many times quoting for just the laser only to find out later on that the motor was on its way out too, so I tend to err on the side of caution here.

    The problem was that the cost of a new mechanism plus the labour to install it was about the same as a new cheap generic car stereo (incidentally, the radio also needed a new set of 10 x 9V 6.5mA lamps). I thought that the client wouldn’t go for it but the garage pointed out that fitting a new stereo meant a lot more labour on their part when it came to installing it, rather than just putting the old one back in. In addition, the original car stereo matched the rest of the car.

    Click for larger image

    Having been given the go-ahead, I ordered the parts from Clarion and they arrived promptly. I fitted the lamps first. This was a fairly fiddly job and I managed to break one of the 22nF capacitors that looks like a resistor connected to the volume control switch. I had to choose a very thin replacement, as there is very little room for it.

    Next, I fitted the CD servo to the new mechanism, taking care not to break the flexible cable to the laser. I then plugged it back into the main chassis, reassembled it all and switched on. To my frustration, the CD displayed exactly the same fault – an E6 error!

    Now my excuses for being a dill are as follows: (1) I am a semi-senile TV technician; (2) I had had a hard week; and (3) I hate audio repairs. Clearly, I needed help.

    It took an emergency help call to Clarion to find out what I had done wrong. With infinite patience the tech-nical officer first politely asked wheth--
    er I really was a technician and then went on to explain the cause! Apparently, nearly all laser assemblies are shipped with an anti-static solder short installed. I should have known this and removed it as a matter of course.

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