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Possible replacement CDrom drive units for FZ-1 (new success

Posted: Wed May 06, 2015 2:07 am
by dark
I just found reference to someone who pretty much successfully replaced the entire CDrom drive assembly of an FZ-1 with a similar 1990s PC drive. I thought it would be interesting to share since there are so many people that have issues with the laser, the laser assembly and worm gear. If we can figure out suitable donor drives, maybe we could find cheaper/reliable replacement parts for broken 3DOs.

The source:
So I bought a 3do and the drive was bad. I had an ideal, I knew the drive was a MKE type drive. So I found one on the bay for $10.00 shipped. Hoping I could just swap out the pcb on both drives, and I was right. I don't have any 3do disc to test, but audio cd's play just fine. Also I tried burning a cdr and it read the disc half ass, than it stops at the end of the disc. Maybe a bad burn? Plan on testing some more tonight. Here's a few pics. This was a good way to replace the Laser,Drive Motor and Spindle motor all at one time.
Subsequent update:
After burning with the cue file and TAO, in image burn I've had no problem. Tested about 10 different back-ups, and they all play fine. Even the FMV games play flawlessly.
You have to register to see the pictures, but essentially, he was able to find a PC cdrom drive that was very similar to the FZ-1s drive, then replace the PCB in the PC drive with the PCB from the 3DOs drive, which successfully controlled all parts of the donor assembly.

You have to register to see the pictures. I did, here they are:

The pics are a little out of order, the first pic with the black tray is just the inside of the 3DO with the 3DO drive assembly. The second pic is the successful install of the PC drive. the third pic is the PC cdrom drive. The fourth pic is a side by side of the 3DO drive and the PC drive, note how similar they look!

So what kind of drive is this? The poster indicates it is an "MKE" drive. What is an MKE drive? From Wiki:
The Panasonic CD interface, also known as the MKE CD interface (for Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics), SLCD or simply Panasonic, is a proprietary computer interface for connecting a CD-ROM drive to an IBM PC compatible computer. It was used briefly in the early 1990s, and is no longer in production.

The interface is similar in physical format to an IDE, and an IDE cable may be used; however, the CD-ROM drive cannot be connected to the IDE bus and must have an interface card. Some SoundBlaster cards were manufactured with a port to connect to the CD-ROM drive with this interface.
Other internet sleuthing indicates "MKE"/SLCD drives were produced until at least 95/96. So, if looking for a replacement drive, finding an early 90s panasonic "MKE"/SLCD cdrom drive (probably most panasonic drives created between 1990-1994) would probably be a good bet. Presumably, a drive with a similar 2x speed to the 3dos might ensure best compatibility between the parts, but if the parts are largely the same, perhaps a 4x or other speed might work as well since you would be using the PCB from the 3DO to control the assembly (aka it might not actually have a speed increase).

With all this hopeful research done, I found a few drives that are probably exactly what I would be looking for (if I owned a 3do with a broken drive), but they are $80 on ebay. Maybe I've missed the boat on affordable replacement parts by about 10 years :lol:

Keywords to search for: MKE, SLCD, CR562 or CR563 (cd drive part numbers?), "MATSUSHITA-KOTOBUKI ELECTRONICS"

I believe CR563 and/or CR563B are the models of Panasonic drives (branded as Creative) that work with the 3DO blaster pc card. So maybe whatever works with the 3DO blaster would work as a replacement for the FZ-1

Re: Possible replacement CDrom drive units for FZ-1

Posted: Sun May 10, 2015 5:50 pm
by Aer Fixus
Really cool topic. This would be interesting to pursue.

I'm curious to know if this would be better than just replacing the laser. Is the laser used in the 3DO just a bad/normal quality laser that wears out a bit faster than others from the same era? Would this new laser be better or would it wear out just as fast as the old ones? The laser replacements we know about are ~$20-30 (pretty standard pricing for laser replacements) and a similar amount of work to put them in. The worm gears can be preserved with good maintenance and lubrication (they aren't as bad as the PC-Engine's gears. At least not yet).

And are the worm gears in these old CD drives just as likely to break as in the 3DO? If so, we've just replaced the drive with an equivalent one that provides no benefits. Since it's from the same era, it may just up and fail one day like the stock one. If it provides a better projected life for the laser and the gear, it would totally be worth it for the right price, though.

It would be especially worth it if we could find one that would accept the 3DO tray, so it's black instead of beige. That matters to me as I prefer my systems to appear and function as stock, if possible (with some exceptions, like video quality).

The next thing is availability. How many people are actually selling these anymore? As someone who volunteered for a small computer parts recycler, CD ROM drives are junk to them and not worth reselling. There just aren't that many people out there who want them. And even if we wanted specific models, unless we could come up with something general to ask them for (e.g. all Creative branded drives), they wouldn't even bother looking at them because they get so many in, for ~$5* each, they won't look at the model number on every single drive.

*I say $5 because someone would have to collect them, sort them, test them and distribute them, so at a minimum of $5 labor and $5 shipping, we are now approaching the cost of a new laser.

Re: Possible replacement CDrom drive units for FZ-1

Posted: Tue May 12, 2015 12:11 am
by dark
Everything you bring up is a valid point. All of the components in the drives are going to be just as old as the drive in the 3DO, which implicates concerns for the strength of the plastic, expected lifespan for use of the laser, etc. Further, these drives and the 3DO's drives likely came out of the same Panasonic factory at the same time, made from the same plastic mixture, etc. so there is probably no advantage in quality of build materials for the pc cdrom drives.

The main value here imo, is that the potential supply pool of easy drop-in parts that would be virtually guaranteed to work as replacements (for a little while anyway) such as the worm gear or laser assembly, or for a used laser, can be seen as substantially increased by virtue of these non-3do drives. Doing the PCB swap on the drive also wouldn't require any extensive soldering and would be a simple plug and play task for novice 3do users. Getting a set of multiple spare parts that can easily be dropped in might be worth spending more than $10 for a gear, more for a laser, and dealing with the intricacies of the installation of those parts, for some users.

I imagine you could probably swap the black drive tray into the new assembly, or do another combination of parts between the drives to get the original black tray to work with the new drive. Failing that, you could spraypaint the white tray black/grey and it wouldn't stick out aesthetically as much as the white tray would.

I have found several of the CR562 and CR563 drives for sale now on places like ebay, and on websites for hardware recyclers, the avg price is anywhere from $25 to $80, with the CR563 trending on the more affordable side. The CR563 happens to be the "creative" branded cdrom that is used for the 3DO blaster. I'm reasonably confident the CR562 is the deadringer for the FZ-1 drive used by the guy in the topic I've linked to. I'm not 100% certain, but I think there is a reasonable likelihood the CR563 could work as a transplant as well and might just be a rebranded CR562 with minimal design changes. I think these may be the only drives that would reasonably work as drop-in replacements, it seems Panasonic switched to more standard IDE based designs after marketing these particular drives (though perhaps small plastic pieces such as the gears in later panasonic drives could still be compatible).

Re: Possible replacement CDrom drive units for FZ-1

Posted: Mon May 18, 2015 3:10 am
by dark
I just got a cheap variant of the CR563. I don't have a broken console to repair atm, but I will take apart the cd drive when I get it to see if it looks similar to the pictures from the other guy.

Re: Possible replacement CDrom drive units for FZ-1 (new suc

Posted: Thu Jul 09, 2015 10:03 pm
by dark
Since my last post, I acquired a broken 3DO. I went to replace the cd drive with the CR563B and unfortunately it was not a perfect drop in replacement. I already expected I would be using the logic board from the 3DO's drive to control the motors and laser, and hoped that the three ribbon cables and 3 or so plugs from the laser and various motors in the drive which plug into this board would be exact duplicates.

On the CR563B, the spindle motor uses a different type of plug than the 3DO drive, and another of the plugs is a different shape, but almost everything else - laser ribbon cables, gears and various other parts appear to be identical to the 3DO drive.

I found to my dismay that both my 3DO drive and the CR563B had cracked worm gears on the drive train assembly motor. Nevertheless, since I had everything fully dissassembled, I decided to swap the drive train assembly motor and the laser+sled from the CR563B over to the 3DO drive.

After I put everything back together, I found again to my dismay that although discs would spin up and the laser would move around, games wouldn't load. I continued testing games another 20 times and for whatever reason, gradually, the games started to load! Despite a cracked worm gear and a laser of unknown strength, pressed game discs have gradually began to load more and more frequently (not every time though), and when they load, FMV and CD audio and the games themselves seem to play with no stutters. I haven't had any luck with burned games, but perhaps simply cleaning the laser lense could help a tiny bit to make it load games a little more frequently.

Overall, this appears to be a partial success. I successfully transplated parts from the PC drive and they were compatible with the 3DO. I'm probably living on borrowed time with the cracked worm gear, but at the moment, things are sort of working and the general idea that you can transplant parts from certain early 90s panasonic CD drives is correct.

Re: Possible replacement CDrom drive units for FZ-1 (new success

Posted: Sun Jul 15, 2018 5:23 am
by a31chris
you guys probably already know this but a guy at my local retro gamer shop said he just replaced the laser pick up on his 3DO with one from a CD player out of a Lexus that works?

it was some fancy car I have to get the specifics out of him but he said the information is available on the internet so you guys this is probably old news to you.

Re: Possible replacement CDrom drive units for FZ-1 (new success

Posted: Tue Jul 17, 2018 10:45 am
by Taijigamer
Thanks for the info. It would be interesting to know where he got the laser assembly from. The laser used is a Sf92.5. But there seems to be a couple of revisions. The short cable 11/4 pin seems to be a drop in replacement for the 3DO but the long cable 11/4 pin seems to have a different pinout. It's sometimes hard to tell which one the seller is selling as they use generic pictures. I've heard that Mercedes car CD players have been known to have the right lasers as well.

The RF level may also need to be adjusted for the new laser. Recommend level for the 3DO is 450mV vp-p.

Re: Possible replacement CDrom drive units for FZ-1 (new success

Posted: Wed Aug 08, 2018 5:39 am
by a31chris
I have been back to this place several times now and everyone there is telling me nobody who does that works here. There's a guy who comes in every now and then and that sounds like him.

But this guy worked there. He waited on me. I bought an Xbox 360 controller from him and a Sega CD copy of Jurassic Park.

This is really bizarre. It's like I stepped into an alternative reality version of that store for one day.