Fixing my CD player

6th August 2008 – 7.29 am

I don't play CDs that often any more, instead generally listening to my old third generation iPod, plugged in to my A/V system, playing all of my music on random album play. It is nice to be able to interrupt the iPod's playlist without losing its place by using my CD player, which offers the opportunity to listen to six CDs of my choice in the order I choose. The sound quality from the CD player is better quality too, although it's not significant enough a difference always to use for general background music. I mostly use the CD player to play my recently bought CDs, letting me keep them constantly available whilst also having my entire collection playing on my iPod.

My aging Arcam multi-disc CD player has had the occasional glitch when changing discs recently, using its jukebox-style changer. It hasn't seemed to be anything serious, just a small snag that corrects itself. But last night when trying to load White Hinterland's Phylactery Factory the player got itself stuck and refused to recover. I tried to help it along, as best as anyone can on the outside of what is essentially a black box, and tried to get the disc to eject instead of load, but the player was clearly having problems.

With a little teasing the CD tray was drawn out. At least, most of it was. The CD was not on the tray and a part of the tray was not where I expected it to be. An examination showed the disc to be just inside the player, which was extracted easily enough and showed no signs of scratching, and the working of the tray was assumed. It seemed that there was a part of the tray that was able to slide back and forth separate from the tray's operation when ejecting from the player, and there was a spring-operated catch that held it in place or performed another operation presumably when changing discs internally. That catch had come off.

Luckily, the spring on the catch was still attached. Positioning myself under the player allowed me to see where the spring probably attached to when the catch was in place, which just left me the problem of connecting it again. The spring was small, with a tiny ring at one end that needed to be looped over a recessed hook. This was not a job for fingers. A quick improvisation with a toothpick and I impressed myself by hooking the spring back in to place on the first attempt. The catch was in place, the spring was hooked up, and I was able to get the sliding part of the tray back where it looked most familiar.

I loaded the disc back in to the tray and power-cycled the unit. The disc loaded, was read, and I set it playing, listening to the still-beautiful songs of White Hinterland. Once the disc had finished playing the CD player had no trouble moving on to the next disc, and by the time I went to turn it off it had made it's way through from the fourth disc to the sixth, then cycled back to the first. My only other surprise for the evening was remembering that I was actually listening to the CD player after pressing pause on my iPod and wondering why the music didn't stop.

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