For the past couple of weeks, I have been working on repairing an old favorite console of mine, the Sega CD. What makes this job special is the fact that it’s the first model. This model has a tray-loading mechanism with tons of moving, plastic parts which are notorious for breaking. There are tons of guides on the internet for repairing the console, so I won’t bore you with a guide.

I already had a working ‘model 1’ without a disc transport (tray) mechanism, so I ordered a complete, albeit broken, console from someone. I took that console and:

  • Swapped the power board, later found to have a blown fuse.
  • Swapped a torn ribbon cable, and placed electrical tape around the rough RF shielding to prevent more damage.
  • Epoxied a snapped plastic hinge which allows the laser assembly to smoothly raise and lower.
  • Epoxied three snapped plastic supports for the disc transport assembly.
  • Replaced the rubber drive belt with an automotive O-ring.
  • Hot-glued a cut ziptie to act as the plastic pin which hits the ‘drive open’ switch. Original is long gone.
  • Applied fresh lithium grease to the laser transport (just because).
  • Sprayed De-Oxit contact cleaner in all the open, close, and laser limit switches and waited a day (none were working).
  • Replaced all the electrolytic surface mount capacitors on the main board with ceramics of the same rating to prevent leaking and degradation.
  • Ensured the gear for the tray was aligned properly.

Lessons learned, many from a repair attempted by someone else:

  • Mind your ribbon cables. They are very fragile.
  • Limit switches are extremely important to a tray-loader. Clean them if it constantly ejects or buzzes.
  • Don’t use super glue. Ever. It will become brittle.
  • Don’t glue or otherwise ‘stick’ conductive (!!!) pieces anywhere. Holy cow!
  • Hot glue is great for temporary fixes and removable parts, since it peels right off.
  • NEVER TRY TO PULL A TRAY-LOADER’S TRAY OUT! That’s incredibly unsafe.
  • Don’t push the tray in. The Sega CD doesn’t look like it has a way to deal with this.

I think that’s it! In the past, I repaired a Sega Game Gear with leaky caps, and a PC Engine briefcase unit with a broken CD drive. If you’d like more details or advice, feel free to contact me!