Fifo’s Repair Adventures

Howdy, fellow readers! This is a copy of an old post of mine, back from my old Blogspot site. Hope you’ll enjoy the read!

I’ve been working on a Sony CDP-C365 5CD player/changer and a Sony TC-K561S cassette deck lately.

Both the cassette deck and the CD changer needed repairs. The original owner wanted to throw them out, so I thought it’d be a good idea to salvage them. I’ll write up what I faced in the following paragraphs.

The cassette deck

When I plugged the cassette deck into a wall socket and turned it on, it made a grinding sound. At first, I thought the mechanism itself was bad.

When I took it home and opened it up, I noticed the belts had turned to goo. Thankfully, getting a replacement was easy and not too expensive. I also found the original service manual online, which made repairing the deck a breeze.

When I replaced the belts and turned the deck on, the grinding was gone and the deck seemed to work just fine. However, it really liked to chew up tape. I discovered that the culprit was the pinch roller, which was rock hard due to its age. Luckily, replacements were cheap enough from AliExpress, so I ordered one and swapped it out once it arrived. No more tape skew, yay!

I made a few recordings with it and was pleasantly surprised. I had never heard cassette tape sound that good before!

Moving on to the CD changer now…

The CD changer

The changer needed extra attention, because the problems weren’t too obvious. It appeared to work fine, but when I opened the tray, it got stuck in the open position and didn’t want to close again – the mechanism went out of alignment. Thankfully, realigning it was easy enough.

It worked fine for a while. After some time, I noticed the unit liked to (violently) close the tray and reopen it again. I didn’t mind it too much, I just turned it off and on again and it seemed to work.

Some more time later, the player had trouble spinning the carousel – there was some sort of resistance. It also kept scratching discs up. I knew I was going to have a rather bad time with the unit.

I downloaded the service manual and proceeded to take the unit apart. When I finally removed the carousel, I found out the gear responsible for the carousel’s rotation was chipped, so I looked online for a replacement. However, the prices weren’t to my liking. Thankfully, I found an STL file for cheap, so I ordered it and asked a friend of mine if they could 3D print it for me (I don’t have a 3D printer), and they agreed.

When I got the gears printed, I noticed they didn’t quite fit. The hole was smaller than the original gear; however, that was no problem, I got it drilled out. It still couldn’t fit, though, so I thought I’d take a closer look. I found out it was somewhat taller than the original, which I didn’t even notice before!

I imported the file into Tinkercad and cut the extra height out. I also noticed there was an extra recess on the original gear, so I shaved some of the shaft off at the bottom, measuring it by eye. Luckily, I got it good enough on the first try!

I also bought some silicone oil, which lubricated the gear nicely. Yay, one problem solved!

The mechanism still behaved erratically, though, and I was already starting to lose my temper with it, so I took a closer look. I saw no micro switches inside, only some gears, which luckily were fine. I proceeded to remove them one by one, when I noticed a mechanical Alps rotary encoder behind one of the gears.

When I removed it and took it apart, the culprit was obvious: dirty contacts. I cleaned them with isopropyl alcohol and started to reassemble everything. The problem was gone! I tested it out doing a few tray cycles, and it works just fine now. Yay!

EDIT: Unfortunately, that actually didn’t solve the issue as I originally said, so I gave up on it and got a Sony CDP-591 instead.


The cassette deck was easy enough to repair, while the CD changer proved to be a pain in the bum with lots of screws. What matters the most, though, is that it all works just fine now! The effort was worth it.

Let me know your thoughts/feedback in the comments below.



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