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Naim CD5 (original) transport: apparent failure

Discussion in 'd.i.y.' started by Mark EJ, Nov 10, 2013.

  1. Mark EJ

    Mark EJ pfm Member

    Put a disk in tonight. Closed the drawer and pressed Play.

    Display says 'Err' and crucially, there's no sound of the disk being spun up, and no residual rotation evident if you open the drawer when the player isn't expecting it.

    The disk does seem to rotate slightly (probably about half a turn), so something is kicking in and then giving up quite quickly.

    Same on all disks, same after power cycle. I have therefore to face the fact that the transport (or possibly something controlling the transport) is rogered.

    Which I suppose isn't bad after 13 trouble-free years from new. I'm very happy with the player (it runs with a HiCap) and have no itch to upgrade it.

    Anyone fixed one of these? How bad is it?
  2. martin clark

    martin clark pinko bodger

    First - check if the laser is actually dead.

    Slip the case off, put a thin piece of paper over the mech - no need for the puck - and in a darkened room when you close the tray you should a blood-red pinprick of light on the paper while the laser head bobs and tries to find focus.

    If that fails then the disc won't spin-up at all and you get the error message etc.
    If the laser appers ok, it can be other trivial things like a mis-seated ribbon cable, supply voltages etc.

    Are you still in/near Bristol, Mark? I'm happy to meet if you want a bit of DIY diagnosis help.
  3. MJS

    MJS Trade: Witch Hat Audio

    In my experience "the lights are on but no-one is home" when these transports decide to die so you'll see a laser light but it won't read any disks. Transport and laser replacement have been discussed here many times before.
  4. Jo Sharp

    Jo Sharp Pulls on doors marked push

    There is a refurbished CD3.5 mech for sale in DIY classifieds...IIRC it fits the CD5
  5. MJS

    MJS Trade: Witch Hat Audio

    Yes, I refurbished it.
  6. Jo Sharp

    Jo Sharp Pulls on doors marked push

    Did you get it sorted Mark?
  7. Mark EJ

    Mark EJ pfm Member

    Not yet, Jo!

    Firstly, many apologies for going into hibernation on all you helpful people over winter. Life has been unexpectedly and entirely too manic since November, and I just haven't had a spare moment to deal with this until now. I mowed the grass this afternoon, and my wife put on some Earth Wind & Fire for ironing to. When I came in, she said "this always sounds good, but it'd be better on the Naim", so I thought blimey, better get this nailed.

    Back in November, I'd disengaged the CD5 and connected the previous CD player (Arcam Alpha 7, with a Chord Cobra ****y wire), and no, it's not the same at all, but it's much better than you'd think -- one the best £350 I've ever spent, 1994-ish -- got us through Christmas and all that stuff.

    Then Bob was having his stove installed, which involved some building work so his system was boxed and I kept his TeddyDAC warm for a week, plugged into the Arcam's digital out with some really ****y wire, and that was utterly astonishing on almost everything (albeit really odd on CD-Rs) and it did enough of the basic Naim-type stuff for it to sound near-as-dammit Naimy with the Arcam, which was educational, to say the least, and very enjoyable. I really wished the CD5 had been working as a head to head would have been fascinating.

    Finally then, today I got round to taking Martin's advice. Yes, the laser lights up and the head "bobs and tries to find focus" (perfectly put -- that's exactly what it does). Then the disk (if mounted) stops spinning and 'Error'. Both ends of the ribbon cable are secure and well-seated -- what's next?

    Yes Martin, still just south of Bristol. I have a multi-meter and a high-res pic of the inside of the box if required. I suppose the first thing is somehow to establish that the problem is with the transport, rather than elsewhere in the unit (curls toes a bit).

    Much thanks for your input.
  8. MJS

    MJS Trade: Witch Hat Audio

    Time to get some CDM12.4 transports. Pull them apart, use the laser head on the VAM1205 in the CD5. Repeat until you find one that works.
  9. Mark EJ

    Mark EJ pfm Member

    Crypes. We're right at the edges of my technical confidence (not to mention competence) here, so excuse me being thick and wanting to check the logic.

    But from your post I take it that the VAM1205 is the mech in the CD5, and we've so far worked out that its laser head is behaving as it should. Ergo, fault is elsewhere in the mech, in that it stops spinning when it shouldn't.

    Further, the CDM12.4 transport uses a laser head which is either the same or compatible with the laser head in the (failed) VAM1205, so I can keep that bit and install it in a different mech.

    And, I'm assuming that the CDM12.4 can be fitted in the CD5's swing tray, and all electrical connections and physical fixings will just line up and work, without having to use barbed wire, blutac, rubber bands or chewing gum (WD40 is fine). Do I have this right?
  10. MJS

    MJS Trade: Witch Hat Audio

    VAM1205 is the mech in the CD5. It shares the same laser with the CDM12.4. They have the same running gear but different turntable motors. That motor will not spin if the electronics cannot see a disc - even though the laser might be lit. Which is why your problem is almost certainly still a dead laser head - I've seen enough of these to know it's always the cause.

    You have to keep the VAM transport and use the CDM4 laser in it, no transport exchange necessary.
  11. Mark EJ

    Mark EJ pfm Member

    Ah -- that actually doesn't sound too bad, but obviously all these things are relative. By the way, it's very kind of you help here, and much appreciated. I presume that what I'm looking for is this:


    It's not immediately obvious how this fits into the mechanism, but I'm encouraged by the fact that there appear to be only two connections -- the ribbon cable (which presumably uses one of those edge-clampy things for its connection to the mech) and a Molex-ish block which is round the other side. At least there's no soldering (nervous laugh).

    Presumably the entire mech has to come out of the CD5 (screws on underside of swing tray?), and without the matte-finish shrouding in place, it will be obvious how the laser head fits to the main unit...

    If I'm right in my presumptions, the job doesn't sound any worse than, say, putting a new trackpad in a 2012 MacBook Pro, only without the Masonic screwdriver requirement.

    Do I have this roughly right? Any gotchas I should be aware of (like some tab that when accidentally pressed, releases a spring-loaded spontaneous disassembly trap (boing), scattering components round the room (I did this once with a table lamp switch)?

    Once again, MJS, many thanks for your input. It's handy to go into something like with eyes as open as possible. The Laserology site is also interesting.
  12. martin clark

    martin clark pinko bodger

    Mark - I think I have a complete working 12.5mech out of a CD3.5. I'll have a look when home later...
  13. Mark EJ

    Mark EJ pfm Member

    Mmmm. That would virtually drop straight in wouldn't it?
    Could be very interesting, Martin. Not that I'm chicken, you understand...

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