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How to adjust your PCDPs tracking and focus

Discussion in 'Portable Source Gear' started by lamerdeluxe (tm), Mar 7, 2003.
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  1. LamerDeluxe (tm)
    (I posted part of this information in the D-88 thread as well, but the information here has been extended and is useful for any skippy players)

    I just saved my insanely skippy D-88 by adjusting it's tracking!

    The symptoms were:

    - taking a long time to start playing a track, with the head skipping back and forth.
    - skipping without a cause
    - oversensitivity to any motion at all, causing skipping
    - taking seconds to resume after skipping.
    - refused to play in any other position than fully leveled

    I had already cleaned and relubricated the worm wheel, guide rail and spindle. And I cleaned the lens. This improved things slightly.

    I thought it might be a tracking problem, but the pots weren't labeled. Puppyslug told me to just note the initial positions of the pots and see what adjustments would improve things. After all, I didn't really have anything to lose.

    The pots were numbered 501-505. I looked at my D-303 which does have labeled pots and to my surprise the numbers were similar.

    These are the pot numbers and their function:

    501 - TG - Tracking Gain
    502 - TB - Tracking Balance
    503 - FB - Focus Bias
    504 - PLL - Phase Locked Loop
    505 - FG - Focus Gain

    Number 504 apparently doesn't always have the same function across players, but you shouldn't adjust it anyway. For the rest the D-88, D-303, D-35 and D-777 have been confirmed to be using these numbers for the pots.

    For my player, adjusting Tracking Balance (502) immediately fixed the skipping problem. I adjusted it left until it started skipping and then right the same way and left the pot at the value in the center of those two extremes.

    I adjusted the other pots by lightly tapping the player to see if it would become more or less sensitive to skipping.

    My player now switches to other tracks without delays or skipping and isn't very sensitive to shocks anymore, I can shake it a bit and tap it without it skipping.

    After doing this I found a Dutch text on the internet describing how to adjust these pots without using a scope. I've translated it to add it here:

    ***

    Adjusting is not that hard, the best way is to use an oscilloscope, but by listening also works well.

    I'll run down the pots:

    pll: With this you adjust the frequency of the pll (phase locked loop), it's needed for tracking and spindle adjustment among other things, you definitely shoudn't touch this, because the right value can only be set with a frequency meter.

    f bias: The bias adjustment of focusing. Listen carefully to the player when it's playing a CD and adjust it until it's the most 'quiet' (Ed: I guess that means the least amount of noise or distortion). Using a scope: Watch the RF signal and adjust it until the signal is the most 'sharp'.

    tg: Stands for tracking gain. Turn it all the way back until the point where the optical block starts to oscillate (can be heard by a high frequency tone). From this point turn it a quarter turn up.

    fg: Stands for focus gain. Turn it back, the block becomes noisy, from this point, turn it up a little bit. This one should really be done with a scope, because the Fe signal (focus error) shouldn't be more than 100mV.

    trv: Stands for tracking balance. Cannot be done by listening, with a scope the Te signal (Ed: tracking error) should be in the middle during search with audio (no dc offset).
    Without scope: Set pot to the center position, see if it can find all the tracks quickly, otherwise keep adjusting until it does.

    ***

    I hope this information will help other people out in saving their PCDPs. It already helped VWap save his D-35 and hopefully his D-777 as well.
     
  2. vwap
    Quote:

    Originally posted by LamerDeluxe (tm)
    It already helped VWap save his D-35 and hopefully his D-777 as well.



    Except I didn't have the Dutch text.. and I adjusted everything. [​IMG] It seems to be working okay right now.. if I get my hands on a scope I'll see if I can't tune it further.. [​IMG]

    Thanks for the info LamerDeluxe. It's been really useful!
     
  3. vwap
    Quote:

    Originally posted by vwap
    Except I didn't have the Dutch text.. and I adjusted everything. [​IMG] It seems to be working okay right now.. if I get my hands on a scope I'll see if I can't tune it further.. [​IMG]

    Thanks for the info LamerDeluxe. It's been really useful!



    Just a thought.. could tracking have been the same issue with the D-T66?.. or is that one tracking fine?..
     
  4. redshifter
    lamerd,
    great post! can you give any info on adjusting a full sized sony cd changer? i already cleaned it, etc., but it still skips on scratched discs. thanks!
     
  5. LamerDeluxe (tm)
    Quote:

    Originally posted by vwap
    Except I didn't have the Dutch text.. and I adjusted everything. [​IMG] It seems to be working okay right now.. if I get my hands on a scope I'll see if I can't tune it further.. [​IMG]



    I didn't have that text either when adjusting mine, I found it afterwards, so I also adjusted all those pots [​IMG]

    EDIT: Oh and indeed a scope would be really useful. Though you'd probably need a service manual to take full advantage of it.

    Quote:

    Thanks for the info LamerDeluxe. It's been really useful!



    Glad to be of help [​IMG]
     
  6. LamerDeluxe (tm)
    Quote:

    Originally posted by vwap
    Just a thought.. could tracking have been the same issue with the D-T66?.. or is that one tracking fine?..



    The D-T66 has similar simptoms to my D-303. Audio cut out more and more until there was no audio at all at the hp and line-out. With the D-303 digital out is still playing fine. So I think it's a bad contact or broken trace somewhere, but I don't have a clue where.
     
  7. LamerDeluxe (tm)
    Quote:

    Originally posted by redshifter
    lamerd,
    great post! can you give any info on adjusting a full sized sony cd changer? i already cleaned it, etc., but it still skips on scratched discs. thanks!



    Your full-size player should have similarly labeled pots inside. So you can try a badly scratched disk to see if you can improve things by adjusting the pots. Probably start with tracking balance, then focus bias, tracking gain and focus gain.

    One trick I read is to cut 1mm strips of tape, four of them and stick those on a CD, from the inside outwards, like spokes of a wheel. Be sure not to tape the inner tracks of the disc, as that's the TOC (index) and the player couldn't recognise the disc if you taped that.

    This will add an audible error, so you can adjust the pots until it is minimized or goes away completely. (Or adjust them left and right until the error starts and set the pot to the center position between those two extremes)
     
  8. vwap
    Quote:

    Originally posted by LamerDeluxe (tm)
    I didn't have that text either when adjusting mine, I found it afterwards, so I also adjusted all those pots [​IMG]

    EDIT: Oh and indeed a scope would be really useful. Though you'd probably need a service manual to take full advantage of it.



    Glad to be of help [​IMG]



    Ah.. I was [this] close to ordering a service manual for my D-777.. $12. But I just can't justify having it around .. so I just ordered a $5 "arm" accessory.. to complete the repair of my D-777..

    I just cancelled part of my order.. a pleather case that I don't have.. but I figure.. my Discman is already beat up... so unless I find a new D-777, it's not worth it to have a case.. [​IMG]
     
  9. LamerDeluxe (tm)
    Quote:

    Originally posted by vwap
    Ah.. I was [this] close to ordering a service manual for my D-777.. $12. But I just can't justify having it around .. so I just ordered a $5 "arm" accessory.. to complete the repair of my D-777..



    The D-777 is still a pretty recent player, otherwise it would be great to have it's service manual online.

    Quote:

    I just cancelled part of my order.. a pleather case that I don't have.. but I figure.. my Discman is already beat up... so unless I find a new D-777, it's not worth it to have a case.. [​IMG]



    LOL [​IMG] Well, it would possibly prevent it from getting even more beat up and eventually falling apart [​IMG]
     
  10. redshifter
    thanks, i'll give that a try!

    vwap,
    you have to have the case! it is that little extra bit of class that sets the d777 apart.[​IMG] i hope your arm repair goes smoothly.
     
  11. LamerDeluxe (tm)
    Quote:

    Originally posted by redshifter
    thanks, i'll give that a try!



    Another idea could be to put greasy fingerprints all over a CD and use that for testing.
     
  12. redshifter
    no, i already know which cd's will skip in the player. some of them are quite badly scratched up, when i went through my "i hate all digital" phase. lol![​IMG]
     
  13. LamerDeluxe (tm)
    Many of my CD's aren't in a really good state either, I often keep a stack of unboxed ones on my desk *cough*

    Oh well, there's always toothpaste to remove most of the scratches [​IMG]
     
  14. vwap
    Quote:

    Originally posted by redshifter
    thanks, i'll give that a try!

    vwap,
    you have to have the case! it is that little extra bit of class that sets the d777 apart.[​IMG] i hope your arm repair goes smoothly.



    Heh... but if the player is already scratched.. [​IMG]

    For $25 [$20 + shipping/tax/etc] I think I could spend my money elsewhere. hehe.. unless this unit was completely mint, I don't know if going for a case would be the best thing to do.. My D-35 and D-303 are mint.. but then they came with cases. [​IMG]

    [Well, sort of.. the D-35's LCD has the little scratches at the edge.. I'm guessing I could get some light sandpaper or something and sand it out,... but that probably isn't a good idea, huh.. [​IMG] Anyone have any ideas how to get surface scratches out? They're only at the edges.. nothing in the middle of the LCD.

    THe D-303, for some reason, part of the N and Y of "SONY" chipped off.. but there seems to be no damage to the player anywhere around that.. [​IMG] Oh well. [​IMG]

    .. if I get the arm to go in, maybe I'll go for a case and what not later.. or I'll just invest $25 towards a mint D-777. [​IMG]
     
  15. muzikk
    Toothpaste to remove the scratches? Did I miss the joke or...
     
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