LaserDisc Database

[LD-S9] Problems during playback
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Author:  knatterbuechse [ 07 Sep 2022, 07:45 ]
Post subject:  [LD-S9] Problems during playback

Hey everyone,

I've got a small problem with my LD-S9 but am not sure what's the cause. Since I bought the unit it worked just fine for many years without ever acting up. I had to clean the grip ring a while ago because it got dirty and discs started slipping a little. While doing that I also cleaned and applied new grease to the guide rails for the laser pickup and cleaned the inside as well. So far so good.

Now I felt like watching the entire Fawlty Towers box set again - after not having used the player for about three months - but whenever I play a disc the unit starts to "act up" a little. Both picture and sound start to get blurry/distorted and there are drop outs for a couple of seconds, then everything returns back to normal. I can also hear that the spindle motor appears to slow down a little during those dropouts. It only happens during the first 2 to 3 minutes after starting playback, and then everything works just fine. And only on side A, too. When the pickup flips to side B playback its flawless. The best thing is: whenever I start playback on side A again after watching side B things look much better. Most times without any dropouts, every now and then just for about two or three seconds at most. Like this: I play disc 3 of the FT set > playback starts with chapter 8 > dropouts appear > I move forward to chapter 9 > playback ok > pickup switches to side B / chapter 10 > playback ok > disc stops, pickup returns to start position > I start playback of chapter 8 again > playback ok.

MY LD-S9 was build in 2001, so yeah, it's old. Maybe something's worn out? Capacitator gone bad? A focus lens/pickup problem? Maybe I should turn it on an hour or two before playing any discs so electronics can "warm up"?

Author:  rein-o [ 07 Sep 2022, 16:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

Sounds like you could have left a film on the laser, be careful when cleaning as some lasers have a coating.
But I can't remember which ones.

Also could be that grip ring, it could be slipping at the beginning and when it gets going it will give enough friction to catch??

Author:  knatterbuechse [ 07 Sep 2022, 20:39 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

Hey Rein-O,

opened the player to take a closer look, the laser is super clean. No dirt, no nothing. But when I tried playing another disc later on a "P0" error appeared on the display - the disc failed to speed up all the way like it should. So yeah, I suppose you're right about the grip ring. I had to clean it twice already because discs tended to slip so it probably dried out due to aging. After all it's just rubber - doesn't last forever. Guess I need to get one of those new grip rings I saw on eBay and replace the old one, hoping that it'll solve my problem (I most certainly hope so because I love watching LDs using this very unit!).

Author:  rein-o [ 07 Sep 2022, 20:45 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

Yeah I had to replace a grip ring once, they are stupid thin and I'm surprised they last as long as they do.

I hope that's the issue and you get that player up and running again.
I had a dirty laser on my LDS1 and love using that player but it wouldn't play until I opened and cleaned and luckily it was that simple.
My other player is having an issue flipping but I haven't had time to see what it may be, but again I hope its easy.

Author:  knatterbuechse [ 08 Sep 2022, 07:26 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

Just ordered a new grip ring from Fireproof! Hope it'll arrive within the next couple of days so I can replace the old one and give it another try.

Regarding dirty lasers I did have a similar problem with my CLD-2950 a while ago. Refused to play any discs so I opened it up to take a closer look. The lens was really dirty and it took me a while to get it clean again...

Author:  knatterbuechse [ 22 Sep 2022, 15:13 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

Got my new grip ring yesterday. Replacing it was much easier than I thought and everything worked out really well. Did a test run using two movies I recently bought. During playback of the first disc I still had the same problem coming up during the first 3 minutes, after that everything was fine. And the second disc played fine from start to finish without any issues. Plus overall picture quality was much better than before, so replacing the ring definitely helped. Suppose I have to play a few more discs during the next couple of days to see how the player behaves...

Is it possible that there might be a problem with motor speed control? Because the problem only seems to occur when the disc spins at top speed. But then again the problem should repeat itself on side B, which it doesn't. Judging from the spindle motor noise I could hear during playback of the first disc it appeared to have slowed down irregularly a couple of times during the first 3 minutes. Kinda weird...

Author:  rein-o [ 22 Sep 2022, 16:06 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

Sorry I'm too lazy to search it up.
Does fireproof make them or sell pioneer stuff??
If either there may be a light dust on the rubber that came off after the first play, sometimes rubber depending on where you get it
has a film or light dust that needs a wipe with something like a windex.

I think its due to the manufacturing of the rubber itself, maybe a mold release when its rolled/poured or however they would make
that specific thinness.

Author:  crashoveride [ 22 Sep 2022, 16:13 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

Just for the record, fireproof makes them; his website:

Author:  knatterbuechse [ 22 Sep 2022, 23:01 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

Yep, the grip ring I got from LaserParts is made from a different kind of material than the original Pioneer ring. But it works really well!

I just did another test run using the Criterion RoboCop CAV discs and playback was fine from start to finish. However the problem playing CLV discs remains, but only on side A and only during the first couple of minutes. Did some research and judging from what I found so far the problem may have something to do with the focus of the laser lens and/or alignment. In an old post I found on Google groups kbahr wrote:

The problem that you are having is due to the focus of the laser lens matching the height or distance between the LD and laser pickup. With older units you could adjust the focus and correct this. ...
The problem can also be with CLV discs if you get one made bad enough. When the discs are made they are specified to have a specific depth that the information (actually pits that produce an FM signal) are to be impressed at. If this varies from the optimal position the strength of the recovered signal will vary and may go below the required level to track properly. This can be corrected in the field on the industrial players but not the Consumer versions like yours. It will be hard to find any repair shops that spend enough time with equipment to learn about this problem or how to properly correct it.

So either the laser lens focus doesn't work properly anymore or is out of alignment. Even if I could get another laser pickup (are there still pickups available anywhere?) it has to be installed and aligned using the right kind of equipment. Not sure if I can find a repair shop being able to deal with this problem. So maybe I just use the S9 for CAV discs only from now on and watch my CLV stuff using the CLD-2950. But some day the S9 will probably stop working altogether...

Author:  knatterbuechse [ 18 Dec 2023, 19:17 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

Hey everyone, it's been a while... Just wanted to give you an update on this whole playback issue thing. I didn't really use the player for a while but decided to watch the Tron Disney Archive set yesterday. The player did work ok but gave me a couple of picture / sound dropouts during the first one or two minutes on each side. It's a CAV set so I thought it would play just as good as it did last time I used the player but... well, it didn't. Needless to say is was not happy as it kinda ruined the "feeling" for me while watching the movie.

I truly enjoy using the S9 as the picture quality is pretty good and the sound is awesome, too. I felt it would be a shame to just let it "die" so I sat down and spend quite some time reading posts and searching for similar topics. Found an older post in this forum from a user having somewhat similar problems with his S9 regarding playback and all. In there someone suggested to try turning the RF level pot in order to boost the signal due to the laser pickup getting weak due to ageing. I did some more searching regarding RF level adjustment and it seemed kinda "safe" to me.

Opened up the lid of the unit, looked inside to locate the RF level pot and grabbed some discs for testing. Tried a CLV at first but it completely crapped out right from the start. I marked the position of the pot with a pen and turned it a little to see what would happen. At first it got even worse, I got both a P0 and a P5 error - the disc would either spin like hell or just stop after a few seconds. Turned it the other way (always in little increments) and it got a lot better after two turns. I started using the Tron CAV disc first for a basic test. Spin up, check, stop, open the drawer, turn the pot a little, close and play again. I did that for about 15 minutes until it played flawlessly (to my surprise). Took it out, used a X-Files CLV disc for testing and tried again. Still little droputs at the start, but one more turn did fix that as well. Did some more test runs inkl. skipping from chapter to chapter, getting back to start, let it spin up and down etc. The player appears to be working flawlessly for now, playing both CAV and CLV discs. Not sure how long it'll last but I hope it will stay that way a bit longer. All in all I turned the pot about 10 to 15° to the right (when you stand in front of the player with the diplay / drawer facing towards you) judging from the mark I made. I also checked the lens for scratches but the pickup looks perfect. Interior still looks good as new, too. Like mentioned before I had already exchanged the grip ring and checked lubrication to see if there was and sticky gunk or residue building up, but everything looked good.

Anyone got similar experiences with this kind of "tweak"? How safe is it to turn up the RF level without using measuring equipment? Suppose it won't burn a hole right through the disc, will it? ;) From what the previous owner told me the unit was manufactured in early 2001 so it's got approx. 22 years on its shoulders. So it's not really surprising to see the laser pickup fail over such a long period of time...

edit: grammar / typing mistakes

Author:  krbahr [ 19 Dec 2023, 02:29 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

You did not turn up the strength of the laser, you turned up the return RF signal level the electronics use to process the signal. The level returned from the disc depends and the reflective quality at that point on the disc and the focus of the laser. The only think that could happen is the signal being processed is amplified too much causing errors.

So either the RF was not properly adjusted or your laser is aging.

Just use it and enjoy.

Author:  knatterbuechse [ 19 Dec 2023, 10:37 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

Hi Kurtis, thanks for the explanation. So that's how RF level works - I really thought it was for boosting the strength of the laser itself. May I ask what the other pots inside the player are for? I saw "RF max", "Tilt Offset" and "Trk Err", and "Fcs Servo" and "Trk Servo" a bit further in the back. Suppose I better not mess around with those, right?

I watched yet another movie yesterday evening to see how the player would behave after all the tweaking and fiddling. It was the Terminator 2 Special Edition box which gave me the opportunity to play both CLV (movie) and CAV discs (supplements). And those discs were not as shiny as the others I previously used for testing. There was a short dropout pretty much at the beginning of side A of disc one but I remembered your comment on the reflective quality of the surface so I stopped the playback, checked the discs and cleaned them thoroughly using a dampened microfiber cloth. Played it again and watched the whole movie plus supplements in one take with zero dropouts or distortions - so that worked out quite nicely. Reminds me to always check the discs first and clean them if necessary before playing.

Author:  krbahr [ 19 Dec 2023, 23:48 ]
Post subject:  Re: [LD-S9] Problems during playback

The others effect the crosstalk in the video and lasers ability to track the data path without loosing track and locking up or jumping. Leave them alone.

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