How do you fix a cd player that skips in the same spots for all cds?
October 29, 2015 8:39 PM   Subscribe

I have a small boombox that I bought brand new. After a while (we're talking Emerson here), it started skipping when playing cds and it skips in the same spots on every cd you put into it (around song #2/3 for most albums). What's the cause of that and can anything be done to fix it?

I've cleaned the lens with rubbing alcohol before but other than that have not messed with it. It's the kind where the lid pops open, not one with a tray, if that makes a difference. It's years later and I still use it once in a while, so I'm wondering if there's a fix or if I should toss it off a bridge into oncoming traffic (joke).
posted by atinna to Technology (4 answers total)
Sounds like it might be a combination of gear positions which could have gunk. Try to get behind the lens into all the moving parts with some compressed air. I'm not sure what kind of solvent, if any, would be good to spray back there without actually getting a screwdriver out to see what's what.
posted by rhizome at 9:15 PM on October 29, 2015 [1 favorite]

Inside the CD player is a lens assembly that is on a geared track that runs in the direction from the center of the disc to the outside rim. I agree with rhizome that given the symptoms you have described there is a point along that track where whatever mechanism moves this assembly has trouble positioning it. If the problem is due to mechanical damage you're probably out of luck as far as an economical repair is concerned, but it could be caused by a piece of dirt or other small speck of matter being stuck in a place which interferes with movement to that area. Trying to dislodge such a speck, if it exists, is a plausible way that repair might be effected.
posted by Nerd of the North at 10:22 PM on October 29, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you open the lid you may be able to see a metal rail that the lens assembly slides on. That gets dry over time and is often the cause of it stopping in a particular place. The stuff you want to lube it with is this, with just a little on a q-tip. I won't guarantee that this will work, but it probably will. If you don't want to shell out for the whole tube you can Memail me and I'll mail you some in a plastic baggie.
posted by Slinga at 6:20 AM on October 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Have you tried doing a google search for the model number of your device to see if other people have had the same issue, and posted their solution?

If the issue is mechanical, and basic cleaning steps arent working, you'll likely have to take the thing apart and see if you can figure out where thing is not working.

If that sounds horrible, you could pay a professional to assess this and repair this for you. This will likely cost more than a comparable replacement device. So it goes.

However, if taking stuff apart sounds like fun, I would start by reviewing the troubleshooting steps in the faq.

NB: working with electrical components comes with a small but significant amount of risk. Unplug your device from any power source before taking electronics apart, and read up on basic components to avoid (What You'll Learn About Capacitors Will Shock You). Be prepared that you may end up making the problem worse to the point of the device never working at all again. Consult a professional; I am not an electrical engineer, read all warning labels and instructions, don't die.

final approach - before you give up on the device, and send it off to the thrift store, I would attempt to solve the problem with the percussive method. Give it a solid whack with your hand.
posted by enfa at 6:24 AM on October 30, 2015

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