My super-cheap DVD player stopped working. It powered-up but it wouldn’t recognising any disks. I inserted a movie and always returned a disk error
The player was a gonner. I was about to throw it in a recycle bin but changed my mind and decided to try and fix it.
I had nothing to lose after all.
First unscrew everything that is unscrewable. Did I mention unplugging it from the mains? No? Whatever…
Sometimes some of the screws are hiding beneath stickers or rubber pads.
Once you get on the inside goodies, you have to locate the eye of the beast. A.K.A the DVD lens. Take a cotton swab, dip the tip in alcohol and gently wipe the lens clean. re-assemble, pray to the gods of electronics, and take it for a spin. If it works, it works. If it doesn’t, it’s a matter of re-calibrating the lens assembly. Some DVD players have 2 tiny screws for lens fine-tuning. Mine did. They where located under the tray, near the lens.
I had to unscrew and remove the whole tray assembly to get to them. It’s easier than it sounds. On other models the tuning screws may be on a different easily accessible spot. Look around.
You should have two screws. One for DVD calibration, and one for CD calibration. If they’re not labelled, you’re in for a treat. You have to guess. I got lucky as I randomly started with the upper right and it was the DVD one. The methodology is you slightly turn the screw clockwise, put a DVD in the tray and see if it starts. If your unit has an LCD status screen, you can quickly see whether it starts or throws an error. If you don’t, you’ll have to connect it to your TV.
After some unsuccessful efforts, I stopped waiting for the lens to finish, and tweaked the screw on the fly. Somewhat dangerous because of the live current, and the eye-blinding laser beam. If the lens keeps going up and down on the same spot, means that it can’t read jack. Turn the screw a little further. When you hit the spot, the lens will stop moving, the disk will keep on spinning, and the LCD will display the sweet-sweet playback time.
This part took me 2 days. I found the sweet spot near the end of the clockwise turns. The problem was that just as I found the spot that reads correctly some DVDs, it wouldn’t read some others. It takes very small movements of the screw to mess it up. Finally after 2 days of fiddling I found the spot where it reads most of my DVDs. I didn’t bother calibrating the CD lens as I never use it anyway.
I bought a second hand Mio c220 GPS to tinker with it.
While trying to hack it, I also flirt with the idea of replacing its internal battery.
Since I bought it for 20 euros, I don’t care much if I break it, so I took the plunge:
I disassembled it to see what’s inside. Here goes.
Before you start unscrewing stuff, take a mental note of the power button. Once you remove the rear cover, the button will go flying and you will have to figure-out which way is the right way to put it back in.
Also, performing an open-heart operation on your loved GPS is not a risk-free matter. I cannot be held responsible for any damaged units. Proceed at your own risk.
Right. Were was I? Go on and unscrew the 4 screws on the back. Then you have to pry it open. Use a flat screwdriver and be careful not to mark the plastic casing.
Once you separate the casing into 2 pieces, carefully disconnect the black and white cables that connect the speaker to the PCB. This will give us some more “breathing” space for our tinkering.
You can buy a direct replacement for about £7.5 or if you’re a real cheapskate like me you can buy a cell-phone or camera battery which are cheaper.
I haven’t tried this one yet, but it appears that the following batteries have very similar dimensions and should fit within the casing.
The only downfall is that you will have to cut the cable off the original battery and solder it on the new battery contacts. Shouldn’t be that difficult. Just make sure that you keep the soldering process short as batteries tend to explode on your face if you overheat them with a soldering iron. And they overheat fast.
I’ll first let the battery die completely and then I’ll buy a new one, so I’ll let you know how that goes.