TOC Reading Followed by Error

RF-300CH DC Motor

Replacing the spindle motor on a Marantz CD6000OSE repaired this player. This article is about how I managed to get a worn out Marantz CD player that was showing this error message to work again. I acquired this player on eBay -- listed as spares and repairs -- and decided to have a go at fixing it.

You crawl your way out of a hole only to find yourself falling into another...

After cleaning the lens, the CD would spin showing "TOC Reading" on the display, however, now it was followed by "Error" message. This is a different problem all together. In this scenario, the system is registering the CD and spinning the disc. However, it is unable to read the Table of Contents (TOC).


Cheap DC motor.

This reminded me of an old worn out CD player I once bought second-hand back in the 1990s. It worked for a year, but afterwards started to skip, and then eventually it would not play at all. The disc would spin for a few seconds and then stop. The problem was with the cheap motor that was in it. It had worn out brushes! You could hear its speed varying as the servo hunted to maintain the speed. If it cannot maintain the speed then it gives up. It is something to do with the locus of the point (-1, j0) not intercepting the origin. It is a complex servo theory likely to get you beaten up in a pub. :-)

When the CD player starts, the servo tries to regulate the speed of the motor to read the innermost track. The servo's job is to maintain a constant speed determined by the position of the sled. When the sled is near the centre, the disc has to spin faster, and when it is on the outer edge, it spins much slower.

In order to read the inner track, the spindle motor has to spin at a faster speed. If the servo cannot regulate the spindle motor speed within the correct limits, then the servo gives up showing an error message.

However, back when I was a young whippersnapper, I learnt a trick to overcome this error. When the CD player is displaying the TOC Reading message, press the Forward / Next Track button. The system will faithfully display the next track number. Sometimes one can even hear the sled move to the track position. Keep pressing the Forward button until you reach lucky track 13, and then hit play. Surprisingly, it starts playing.

The reason why it plays higher track numbers is because those tracks are on the outermost edge of the CD, and the spindle motor is required to spin slowly for those tracks. The servo is sometimes able to regulate the motor at slow speeds and remain within the required speed limits. However, essentially, this is solid proof that points to a worn out cheap motor.

In the troubleshooting sections of this article, I show how I managed to change the spindle motor. This motor was in the Philips VAM1201 mechanism, which was in many CD players.

Providing your CD player does not require the capacitor mod, as shown in the Marantz CD-6000 OSE Error article, chances are, the motor is either going or on the way out.