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Marantz CD63 MkII KI-Sig - Error 02 (Focus)

Discussion in 'd.i.y.' started by Funk, Apr 14, 2021.

  1. Funk

    Funk pfm Member

    In the course of looking for something earlier on I came across my brother's old KI-Sig and decided to fire it up for some disc-spinning nostalgia (been a while since I put a CD in a tray!). The drawer closes and the laser ticks a little but the disc doesn't spin up. Service mode confirms Error 02 which is a focus issue with the laser.

    I opened it up and had a look - placed a piece of white paper over the laser mech and can't see any output from the laser when the tray shuts so it's not even trying to read the disc. Gave the laser a gentle clean with some IPA just because but of course still no joy; seems to be a common issue and replacement of the transport is the order of the day (a cursory check suggests it's a Philips VAM1202/12).

    The whole player's in great nick so my question is whether a 'repair novice' like me would be taking on more than I could handle in replacing the transport myself - is it relatively simple? Part of me is keen to learn and gain some experience, the other part of me knows that experience is probably of fairly limited future use so perhaps worth just 'getting it done' by someone who will do it better, faster, with less swearing and potentially broken other bits at the end.. :D

    On a scale of 1-10, how difficult is this likely to be and what tools, other than the 'basics' would be required..?
  2. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    CD lasers are infra-red, so you cannot see the output. A digital camera ie your smartphone, can.
  3. Funk

    Funk pfm Member

    That's why I filmed it on my phone at the time; definitely no laser.
  4. Mike P

    Mike P pfm Member

    I don't believe the laser in the CD63 will require any sort of alignment/setting up, so that makes it a relatively straightforward job. On other players it can be quite a lot of work and require an oscilloscope etc.

    To replace the laser you'll probably need:

    • A soldering iron
    • Some solderwick (braid) to remove the shorting links
    • A selection of screwdrivers and small hand tools for disassembly
    • Some not too sticky plastic safe grease (e.g printer/photocopier grease)
    • An anti-static wrist band
    If you're the kind of person that's good at carefully taking stuff apart you'll be fine but it does require a gentle touch and some patience. It isn't rocket science.
  5. dweezil

    dweezil pfm Member

    Got mine fixed a few years ago plus a few upgrades and it died a couple of months later, they don't always last forever!
  6. Funk

    Funk pfm Member

    Hmm, thanks all - I'm not entirely ham-fisted but I do wonder whether I might end up frustrated or accidentally making things worse. Of the tools mentioned by Mike I have the anti-static band and decent screwdriver kit (I have an iFixit Pro Tech kit for computer/laptop-related stuff and it's brilliant for the money) but no soldering iron etc so that would involve buying bits I would probably be unlikely to use very much in future...

    Prices of CD63 KIs on eBay range from £100 for a working no-box to £200+ for a great condition boxed example - his would be closer to the £100 mark I suspect (no box etc). I may suggest to him just selling it for spares/repair rather than paying to fix if he's not going to get any mileage out of it once repaired. I sent my brother the video of the issue last night asking what he thinks he might like to do; he's just moved into his new home and has space to put his hi-fi back up again but says he may just go all-in on streaming now rather than CDs and I don't blame him.

    If he wanted it working I'd probably be inclined to either have a crack or find someone to do it for him but if he's not looking to reinstate it in his system again I guess it's probably moot...
  7. martin clark

    martin clark pinko bodger


    here's all you need - the page I linked to is not mine, but still live and shows exactly what you need to do to replace the laser mech in this family of players. Now the CD4x illustrated uses exactly the same transport and laser mech as a CD63, so although the internal layout of the player main board is different and it uses a different dac, that aspect does not matter:


    eta; good grief that was exactly a decade ago : o
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2021
  8. Funk

    Funk pfm Member

    Thanks for that Martin, I'll take a look!
  9. mansr

    mansr Objectionist

    The CD laser is just barely visible. Some service manuals even suggest looking at it from a distance of a foot or so to check it. This is safe to do since the lens focuses the beam on the disc, meaning it will be quite wide at any distance you might reasonably place your head. Of course, those manuals were written before the ubiquity of camera phones.
  10. davidsrsb

    davidsrsb pfm Member

    The centre wavelength of the laser is spread over a range depending on the make, just like infra red LEDs. Lasers have a much narrower bandwidth.
  11. Funk

    Funk pfm Member

    Perhaps this will help:

    Even covering the player to darken it, it appears no light is being emitted by the laser?
  12. mansr

    mansr Objectionist

    It is clearly trying and failing to focus the laser on the (non-existent) disc. This proves that the focusing mechanism isn't jammed (something I have seen). Of the remaining possible causes, a failed laser module is probably the most likely. Lasers are known to fail. Transistors/ICs do so much more rarely.
  13. Funk

    Funk pfm Member

    I might try re-seating the power connectors and ribbons shown here as a first port of call:

  14. mansr

    mansr Objectionist

    It can't hurt, but don't get your hopes up.
  15. Zombie

    Zombie pfm Member

    There's mega thread over at diyaudio about the CD-63. I replaced the laser once, I think. Lubrication is also worth a try.
  16. Funk

    Funk pfm Member

    Well well, that was a worthwhile idea..!

    Reckon one of the tiny wires in the connector block might be a little iffy...
    martin clark likes this.
  17. mansr

    mansr Objectionist

    Sometimes it really is something simple.
    Funk likes this.
  18. martin clark

    martin clark pinko bodger

    Excellent result at the price : )
    If you have some isoprpyl alcohol, or sim contact-cleaner - just lift all three plugs, squirt/clean, then reseat.

    And then enjoy / leave the thing alone until the laser mech actually dies: sourcing a good VAM1202J or equiv. these days is a lottery.
    Funk likes this.
  19. uv101

    uv101 Member

    I've replaced quite a few of these lasers in various players over the years. 10 years ago the quality was ok(ish) when you could get them from UK electronics suppliers but I gave up after poor reliability caused me issue after issue.
    Interestingly this laser was used right through from the change over from swing arm transport (CD4) and was still used in the Audio Fidelity A5 player in 2005ish
  20. Funk

    Funk pfm Member

    ....and it's stopped working again. D'oh! My brother has it back so I'm just asking him whether he wants to look at replacing the transport (assuming it's that and not the board it's connected to that's intermittent).

    He was planning to ditch CDs anyway and go full FLAC/streaming so this may well just accelerate things a little for him.

    Are the likes of the transports on eBay mostly non-brand pattern parts/'compatibles'..?

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