Does my laserdisc player need a good cleaning or what?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by cafink, Feb 12, 2003.

  1. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    I recently got a used Pioneer Elite CLD-95 laserdisc player. It was my first real exposure to laserdiscs, so I'm quite unfamiliar with the format (though some kindly HTFers have helped me with the basics).

    It seems like a really nice machine (I can tell because it's heavy [​IMG] ), but there seem to be some issues with the image quality. Again, I've never actually watched a laserdisc before, but the CLD-95, running to a 19" television, should be able to produce an image roughly comparable to a low-end DVD player, shouldn't it? Mine isn't.

    I've tried a half-dozen laserdiscs, and there is always this noisy, shimmering look to the picture. Worse, I sometimes see a slightly "scrambled" picture that looks like what you might get if your VCR needed a tracking adjustment.

    First of all, the player is hooked up to the television through the VCR. This shouldn't be an issue, should it? It's my understanding that laserdisc players don't use macrovision or anything of that sort.

    When I got it, the player was in good shape but obviously hadn't been used in a while and was quite dusty, including the disc tray. I gave the maching a good wipe down on the outside but I'm wondering if perhaps there's a bit of dust and whatnot inside the maching causing my playback problems. Does this sound like it might be the case? If so, what can I do? I'm hoping there's a solution that doens't involve a lot of money or opening up the player. (Though I'm willing to do the latter if it's needed and I can be assured that it's relatively easy to put back together.)

    On the other hand, is there perhaps some other issue that might be the problem here? Excited about my new toy, I just got a batch of brand-new laserdiscs from eBay and I'd love to have a laserdisc movie marathon this weekend.

    Thanks.

    Carl
     
  2. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    The shimmer probably looks like moire patterns. TVs with good comb filtering on the composite video input will help in reducing that effect.
     
  3. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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  4. Patrick Sun

    Patrick Sun Moderator
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    Oh, if you get lots of speckles in the video display, more than likely that LD has laser rot.
     
  5. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    The shimmering thing is bad enough to be a little distracting, but not so bad that I was certain it was a real problem. I guess it's just the nature of laserdisc video. Thanks for clearing that up.

    The "scrambling" thing is the one I'm really concerned about. "Scrambling" might not be the best way to describe it, but as I said, it looks like a VCR in need of a tracking adjustment — certainly not the sort of video problem I'm used to from DVDs.

    It happens at random, and usually lasts several minutes. In fact, I don't think I've ever had it go away on it's own. If I fast forward and then back, it sometimes seems to be cleared up.
     
  6. Michael Reuben

    Michael Reuben Studio Mogul

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    OK, that does sound like the player. But it's not something I've ever encountered before. Where's Rachael?

     
  7. Nathan_R

    Nathan_R Supporting Actor

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    Carl,

    I described a problem with a DVL-700 the EXACT same way you did-- "it looks like a VCR with bad tracking." The solution, though I have yet to pluck down the cash to do it, is apparently just a laser alignment. If the unit was shipped to you, it's entirely possible the laser was moved out of alignment during the transit process.

    Of course, that's just what I've heard from the electronics repair shops in town.
    [​IMG]
    Best regards,
    ~~Nathan
     
  8. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Even if the dust isn't a problem yet, it could become one. Players around alot of smoking or an arid dusty climate need the lens cleaned every 3-5 years on average. If the lens is dirty to the point of causing a problem, usaully sides won't cue up or won't play beyond a certain point of sides. It sounds more like the lens alignment is off. It obviously needs a cleaning too if alot of dust was on the tray. Excessive dust inside can interfere with the rail that the laser rides on. It usually a problem on side 2 playback first because the rail over top of the disc tends to get more dust than the one below. I've watched some of my players being cleaned by my techie bud.

    I hope you get the player i ship shape. If you can it will be a very good player. It's composite output is begging to meet a 3-D comb filter. Good luck with it Carl![​IMG]
     
  9. cafink

    cafink Producer

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    Thanks for the help, everyone!

    I decided to go ahead and open the player up this afternoon. Even if unable to diagnose or fix the problem, I was curious to see what the inside looked like (what with the wicked cool ability to play both sides of a disc).

    I was actually a bit surprised at how clean the inside looked, considering how dusty the outside was. I guess the thing is sealed up pretty tightly, because I didn't see any dust or dirt.

    What I did notice was that a couple of my discs, some moreso than others, seem to jitter or wobble a bit as they're being played. I haven't really had time to sit down and watch a movie all the way through yet, but sampling a bit from various chapters throughout a few different discs, I think this may be the problem.

    "The Thief and the Cobbler," I've notice, displays the problem worse and more consistently than any other. Watching the disc as it spins in the player, it also seems to wobble much more so than any other.

    The problem in question seems to be absent from the beginning of either side on the disc and get worse towards the end of either side. This seems like it might be consistent with a "wobble" problem, as the end of a side corresponds with the outside of a disc, where the wobble would be much greater, correct?

    Does this sound like maybe a warped disc or something? If so, is it correctable? I seem to remember having read something about being able to fix warpage by placing a disc between two sheets of glass under a heavy object, or something along those lines. Do you think I should try it?

    Thanks again for all the help!
     
  10. Tomoko Noguchi

    Tomoko Noguchi Second Unit

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    I was wondering myself, Rachael. I get alot of U1 reading errors. What is that? It happens when I turn the player on and am ready to play a disc. The disc makes a strange wirring noise and then the tray comes out. When I push play again the player plays normally. What do I need to do?
     
  11. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Tomoko, I'm far greater at using players than diagnosing their problems![​IMG] However, I watched my bud work on them several times. That makes me an idiot with an opinion.[​IMG] But, I have used LD for so very long that I am experienced. Not as experienced as Hendrix but a working class hero is something to be. In all seriousness, I suspect that your spindle motor is failing. Don't trust me though! I put a spindle motor in a CLD-99 last year. It cost me about $200. My player went from no problem to nearly never being able to load a side nearly overnight. Typically, they don't usually go south that fast, from what I've heard other people say. You never know about machines though...

    Carl, if the spindle isn't running smooth... I think the spindle has bearing that can go bad. Again, ask somebody qualified, it ain't me babe![​IMG] I doubt you have bad discs. I'll tell you what a bad disc can do because it happened to me, twice. I've seen two discs do this. I've, returned two LD's that would make players shake like a washing machine on the spin-dry cycle. As best we could figur the "groove" was off and the players, BTW, the effect was preset in every player tried...atleast a half dozen...it was a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away...no it wasn't...in was in Knoxville before I moved[​IMG], anyway, I love lengthy compound sentences but that's besides the point....
    We thought the laser was zagging so hard that the player shook trying to track the groove.

    The shaking, on the worse of the two, which incidentally was WOODSTOCK THE LOST PERFORMANCES, which I got in 1988, I think..? would last about the first 7 minutes of either side. And (!), I mean violent shaking of the players! It were just like a cranky, shakey washing machine. The video played fine, ironically, so did the sound but it was hard to hear over the shaking. I got another LD that repeated the phenomenon to a lesser extent a few years later. I even put WTLP on balance scales to see if it weighed about the same as other LD's, which it did. I, and others, could never see any obvious defect with the disc. It was flat and it looked and weighed in just fine.[​IMG]

    I bet I bought 500 LD's new over the years and only had to exchange at most 7 or 8. I got a good copy of WTLP and stille view or just listen to it fairly regularly. I had it out about a month ago. I think somebody sold you a player that needed work. I suspect it's not any kind of delivery damage, but again you better ask somebody qualified![​IMG] It it wasn't for soo-ny's bleeding rotters, post '85 LD's would have a sterling rep. Best wishes cats!
     
  12. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I've got a couple discs that are slightly warped, and towards the end of the side strange horizontal noise comes up.
    Technidisc is regarded as the worst latter-day laserdisc manufacturing company; they tend to have a noisier picture than average.
     

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