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FZ-1 disc read issues

Posted: Mon Nov 23, 2015 6:20 am
by A Black Falcon
So, I got a 3DO FZ-1 fairly recently, but like a lot of them it's got issues, unfortunately. Initially it worked with real discs but failed quickly when I tried to put CD-Rs in it, but then an hour or two in to playing Blade Force it failed worse, and now won't really read discs at all; I've only managed to get it to recognize a disc twice and it fails soon after. I presume the laser is the problem? Seems like the most likely culprit. I see you can buy replacement lasers, but are they reliable, and how hard is it to switch out?

I did try disassembling the system to see if I could figure anything out, though I'm not good enough at such things to be able to solder or such. I got the case cover off, CD drive removed, etc. no problem, but to actually get the drive out of that metal housing it's in you seem to have to take off those two metal rails off of the top of the housing, but they won't budge a bit; trying to unscrew them just is stripping the screws, which obviously is not great. So, any ideas? And is this fixable, or should I just get an FZ-10, even though they don't look quite as cool, because it's likely to work better...

(Oh yeah, and Blade Force seems pretty good, but it badly needs a mission objective indicator to tell you where to go. The fuel system is not fair either, not with limited refills. Otherwise I like it... but I couldn't figure out how to finish the first mission (the one after the tutorial), explored everywhere and then was going around in circles probably hopelessly when the drive failed.)

Re: FZ-1 disc read issues

Posted: Thu Nov 26, 2015 4:48 am
by Acrof
Fz-1 and Fz-10 share the same CD-rom drive, basically. So the Fz-10 is not more realiable than a Fz-1, the only disadvantage for the FZ-1 is the loading tray, wich can get stuck from a worn belt or bad lubrication.

The screws on the top of your drive should come off easily... Someone must have messed with them, and probably screw them in in an angle, making it get stuck...
For me, a medium to large philips screwdriver works better, if you try to use a small one, you gonna strip the screws for sure!
On the worst case scenario, you could use a drill, and destroy the head of those screws to take the two metal bars out. You can later try to replace those screws, or something like that....

I bought a replacement laser once, they work fine and seem as realiable as the original stuff.
But make sure the laser you're gonna buy is for the 3DO, and has the correct pins.
Also, there's a blob of solder in cable of these new lasers, meant to protect them against static, you need a solderig iron to remove this blob before installing your new laser!

Re: FZ-1 disc read issues

Posted: Wed Dec 30, 2015 4:34 am
by Austin
The two metal bars aren't even necessary. I thought about leaving them out when I put my system back together. That said, they don't screw to the drive itself, so you should be able to still get the drive out of the metal bracket without removing the two metal bars.

Re: FZ-1 disc read issues

Posted: Sat Mar 05, 2016 6:59 am
by A Black Falcon
So as a (late) update, I did eventually get the bar with the stripped screws off, after drilling the screws out with a drill. So yeah, those bars aren't going back in unless I get some screws that won't strip like that...

However, that still left me with the problem of the dead laser. See, even though for many years I've been telling myself that I should learn how to solder, I never have tried, and still don't even own a soldering iron. I see that you could get the laser in without soldering, but a couple of wires came unattached while I was taking the poor system apart, and the new laser may have a blob of solder as Austin mentions (thanks for that warning, by the way! Good to know. I have also seen this on Turbo CD replacement lasers; eventually I got that system repaired by someone online on PCEFX... there were more things wrong with that system than just the laser. But anyway.) so I'd probably need soldering skills anyway. So that's not great. Stuck between 'do I learn how to solder and get a laser or spend a bunch more money and buy another 3DO', I made one attempt at buying a replacement laser online, but it never showed up unfortunately so I gave up on that, and I didn't try to buy one online again, though I am still interested... after I finally get around to the soldering thing. :p

Also, the one I got online is a Japanese 3DO, and reading this forum I see mixed messages about whether there are some US games that are incompatible with Japanese 3DOs or not. And I got a FZ-BMP256 almost a year ago now (because I wanted to have one for when I got the system, I want to be able to keep all the save files without deleting stuff!), and dealing with the Japanese-language menu in the disc, as it is in the Japanese system, is not ideal. These things made me sort of want a US system as well as the Japanese one.

So this continued for a few months, until a week or two ago I saw a 3DO locally, with a bunch of games and accessories... and bought it. At $215 it was not cheap, but it DID come with the system (American FZ-1), the Flightstick Pro, 3DO Mouse, 3 Panasonic controllers (one complete in box), and 44 disc-only (no manuals or boxes unfortunately) games, so it was probably worth it. Plus buying local means no shipping, and the ability to return it if something went wrong almost immediately; that sure would have been nice with the other 3DO, had I bought that locally I'd have brought it back, most likely. It's really the Flightstick Pro and Mouse that really sold me on the bundle -- I wanted the Flightstick pretty badly, I like analog controllers for systems. Now I just need to get Star Fighter for 3DO, and compare it to the Saturn version (I have the Saturn Mission Stick joystick and Saturn Star Fighter, it'd be interesting to compare the controls in the two versions...). Star Fighter's long been the 3DO game I most want.

But anyway, for compatibility reasons (someday I'd like to get the games that don't work on the US system, and see if any US games don't work on the Japanese one...), I still want to get this Japanese FZ-1 repaired, and am skeptical about my ability to do it myself given my iffy history with such things, but at least I have a working system now. And if I really want this working, I could just put the working CD drive from the US system into the Japanese one, at least temporarily... both systems are FZ-1s. I imagine that would work.

Oh, the new system does have one issue -- after ejecting a disc, when I hit the button again to have it pull the disc in the drive tray sticks out, and I have to tap on it a bit to get it to then pull in the drive. Otherwise it works fine, but I imagine something is going wrong in there. The other drive doesn't have that issue, but I don't know if I have the skill to, like, put together one fully working drive from the two of them, so until or unless something breaks I'll probably just leave it as it is... suggestions are appreciated, though. Also the Flightstick Pro doesn't work in Need for Speed, but that's a separate problem I'll post in another thread.

Re: FZ-1 disc read issues

Posted: Thu Mar 10, 2016 12:35 pm
by Austin
You could try just popping the laser assembly out of the working one and put it in the JP unit. Remember that the laser assemblies just pop right out, so it's kind of hard to mess them up. That could solve the issue where your JP system will close on its own, but the US one won't (i.e., by hitting the eject button a second time). To me though it seems like a minor issue. If it were me, I'd probably just leave the USA system as-is. I don't know, maybe I'd make a wall clock out of the spare. ;)