My DCC900 was playing with dropouts to sound, especially when first switched on. Sometimes there would be no sound at all, and no readout of track titles, until it have been left playing for a while. It would then play reasonably well but not usually perfectly.
So I replaced the electrolytic capacitors on the read/write board and digital board (except the non-polarised ones which meter out perfectly). The other capacitors were all terrible and needed replacement. The boards were cleaned with IPA, including between IC legs were there was some contamination. Surface mount capacitors were used except for the four 68uF capacitors on the read/write board, after consulting the schematics I was happy to replace those with 100uF components.
The result: Exactly the same! It will play fairly well, sometimes perfectly, if left running for a while. But from cold there are still lots of dropouts. I’ve checked the VCO Free Run 7.5MHz signal on J442 of the PZ03 digital PCB, this looks correct even when the machine is dropping out. Are there some other areas that I should be checking?
Thanks for any help.
(This will eventually make it to my YouTube channel youtube.com/video99couk and of course I will link to this forum, web site and videos.)
I think I may be getting closer (though I will try an analogue tape later):
I found the problem was thermal. If I cooled down the Read/write PCB then errors would get worse. If I warmed it up then they would clear. I then operated the deck when partly out of the machine so I could get to the capacitor side of the board with freezer and heat gun. The two non-polarised 4.7uF capacitors (which measured fine on my ESR meter) were temperature sensitive. I should have changed them! Replaced and at the moment it’s looking good. I got just one error but I don’t think the deck is supposed to be used wobbling about on its side.
I need to re-assemble and test some more. Will report back.
The heads can get dirty quickly. Try cleaning them again. Also pinch rollers could be the issue.
What does the Service mode say? You did not answer that question previously. Are the same tracks failing on the head?
The left hand screw (B?) seemed very tight and secure. The right hand screw (A direction I think) seemed to be slightly free to move.
I don’t have the remote but using the service mode to look at all channels, in B direction they are reading zeros fairly consistently, with 1’s appearing just momentarily. In the A direction there are much higher readings. I will very gently tweak the right screw to see if it gets the errors down. Otherwise, I suppose the A direction pinch roller is suspect. I don’t suppose they are available?
The new pinch rollers have arrived and I will install them today, though as it happens there are no errors from DCC today. Thanks also for the DCC recording.
I had mentioned that one of the head azimuth screws has not very tight, and though it is set for very few errors on DCC, I thought the best way to align it would be to tune for maximum treble on a good pre-recorded analogue tape. However I found that there is no analogue playback! Just a very faint “whirring” sound, which is reduced when Dolby is selected (so everything from Dolby circuits onwards is working). Have you ever encountered a lack of analogue playback? I suppose it’s not important but it would be nice to get the deck working properly.
Well done for that tip! One of those two pins was open circuit at the through-plated hole next to the connector. I patched it with wire and have put the PCB in an ultrasonic tank to hopefully clear any remaining capacitor gunge. I’ve also fitted the 2.2uF NP capacitor you kindly supplied.
Next is to fit the new pinch rollers, hopefully I can do that later this evening. All of this will be on my YouTube channel in due course.
New pinch rollers installed, but that wasn’t so easy. The right hand pinch roller assembly got stuck and would not fully lift off, so I had to replace the pinch roller in-situ, which was fiddly. The left assembly came off fine, but removing the screw on the top cover assembly was hard. In the end though it was playing DCC tapes very well, delighted with that.
Analogue playback though didn’t go so well. I patched out the defective through-plate hole you had suggested, but still no analogue playback (the whirring sound may have stopped though). I checked for further bad through plating and may have found one, but one side is under the flat cable connector, so I can’t get to it. There’s another suspicious looking one next to a capacitor I had changed, and I suspect others on there too. It’s looking too risky to carry on. It works for DCC now and I think I should probably quit while I’m ahead and leave analogue playback, which I would never have used anyway.
However if you ever have a scrap read/write board which hasn’t been eaten too much by capacitor juice, do let me know.
I’ll be putting all my work on YouTube as soon as I have time to edit it all together.