CDI 490 Won't Play Games

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BloodShed
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CDI 490 Won't Play Games

Post by BloodShed » Mon Oct 26, 2009 11:22 pm

I haven't used my CD-i in years and when I tried playing a game on it yesterday, it wouldn't work.

I have a CDI 490. When I insert a game, it acts as if no disc is in the drive or as if the disc is not recognized. I have tried 3 different games.

It shows the "Philips Compact Disc Interactive" logo, "Options" and "Open" buttons, with a blue background and occational stars. When ejecting the tray, it changes to a pink background and the "Open" command becomes "Close". I expect to see a "Play CD-i" button pop up but it does not. I've tried with the autoload option on or off. I've also tried deleting everything from memory.

I tested audio CDs and VCDs and both of these work fine. I never received any error messages either.

I read another post with a similiar issue where it was suggested this was a result of dead NVRAM Timekeeper battery. Shouldn't I get an error instead? Is there any way to confirm if this is the problem?

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cdifan
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Post by cdifan » Tue Oct 27, 2009 12:17 am

That VCD's work and CD-i's do not is really weird; these are totally identical at the hardware level, the only difference is in the software. That one would work but not the other seems almost impossible to me, but it *could* be caused by some piece of ROM memory in the player gone bad that is used by one kind of disc but not the other. If so, I'd say you're out of luck as these ROMs are hard to replace and where would you get replacements?

Are you sure there was nothing wrong with the CD-i's you tried?

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Post by Lios » Tue Oct 27, 2009 3:51 am

Sounds like a possible laser calibration issue. I have a Pal 490 but it died completely (Tray opens and closes, and one of the motors make some noise, but the cd does not spin, and nothing displays on the front display, and nothing on the tv) so I don't know how the laser in the 490 should be calibrated. Doesn't sound like a timekeeper issue to me, but the nice thing about the 490 is it's really easy to test the battery in the timekeeper module they used in it if you have a multimeter. I'd need to find the datasheet for the pinout again, but essentially you read the voltage across two pins, if you get 3 volts it's good.

You could try cleaning the laser and the discs themselves (These are legit pressed copies in good condition I take it?). As cdifan says it doesn't make sense that vcds would work and cdi discs would not, unless it's a calibration issue. I am pretty sure there's a voltage pot on the laser itself you could tweak, but don't touch it without measuring the resistance first and writing it down. Also don't overjuice it, if you turn the voltage up too high you will kill the laser. I don't recall any manual calibration pots on the board anywhere, and if that's the case, they probably implemented some sort of auto calibration feature, like later (and crappier) playstation 1s did.

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Post by BloodShed » Tue Oct 27, 2009 5:31 am

cdifan wrote:That VCD's work and CD-i's do not is really weird
I thought so as well. I tested 2 VCDs and 1 audio CD; all worked right away. I figured that eliminates a problem with the drive/laser.
cdifan wrote:Are you sure there was nothing wrong with the CD-i's you tried?
No way for me to be sure. I don't have another CD-i to test on. Nothing obvious like scratched discs. I did just order another CD-i game from eBay earlier today so I can test another disc.
Lios wrote:Sounds like a possible laser calibration issue.
I debated adjusting the laser gain or focus. I thought maybe it could have been bumped one too many times. But I figured that because other CD media works, that shouldn't be the problem. But, then again, maybe the CD-i disc format doesn't support decent error checking? I don't know.
Lios wrote:Doesn't sound like a timekeeper issue to me, but the nice thing about the 490 is it's really easy to test the battery in the timekeeper module they used in it if you have a multimeter. I'd need to find the datasheet for the pinout again, but essentially you read the voltage across two pins, if you get 3 volts it's good.
I didn't think it sounded like the Timekeeper issue because I've read that there should be an error. I only questioned it because other visitors on this forum were directed to that problem when they complained that games stopped working.

That information you mentioned is exactly what I'm looking for; a simple test with a multimeter!

Also, what exactly does the battery maintain? All save memory? Does it also maintain the system clock? If I create a save (for now I can only create saved VCD settings), then pull the power for the night... should a dead Timekeeper mean that the save or time/date will be erased?
Lios wrote:You could try cleaning the laser and the discs themselves (These are legit pressed copies in good condition I take it?).
I tested 3 games; one pressed and two CD-R copies. The discs look fine and I even tried reburning the copies. I'm using Verbatim media with ImgBurn set to 1X (although the slowest it can actually burn is 10X). That's why I ordered another game today to also test with.

Luckily, I've had to adjust some lasers before so I'm at least familiar with it. Is there a documented optimal resistance range? I agree about giving the laser too much or even too little juice. I've seen people fry the laser diode or even melt the lens coils.

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Post by Lios » Tue Oct 27, 2009 11:34 pm

BloodShed wrote:That information you mentioned is exactly what I'm looking for; a simple test with a multimeter!
Your timekeeper module should look like this one:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_60EdE-4xjwk/S ... 0-h/17.png

To test the battery connect the multimeter leads (set to dc volts) as the battery shown here:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/_60EdE-4xjwk/S ... 0-h/18.png
BloodShed wrote:Also, what exactly does the battery maintain? All save memory? Does it also maintain the system clock? If I create a save (for now I can only create saved VCD settings), then pull the power for the night... should a dead Timekeeper mean that the save or time/date will be erased?
Everything you need to know about the nvram:

http://www.icdia.co.uk/articles/nvram.html
BloodShed wrote:
Lios wrote:You could try cleaning the laser and the discs themselves (These are legit pressed copies in good condition I take it?).
I tested 3 games; one pressed and two CD-R copies. The discs look fine and I even tried reburning the copies. I'm using Verbatim media with ImgBurn set to 1X (although the slowest it can actually burn is 10X). That's why I ordered another game today to also test with.

Luckily, I've had to adjust some lasers before so I'm at least familiar with it. Is there a documented optimal resistance range? I agree about giving the laser too much or even too little juice. I've seen people fry the laser diode or even melt the lens coils.
Afraid not, it's all dependent on the player, laser, and aging factors. This is true of all lasers, I could tell you what range works great for my laser, but it will mean absolutely nothing for your laser. As lasers are used, they compensate for stuff like scratched/dirty discs, or hard to read cd-rs. Heat and other factors also affect this. Over time this puts them in a non optimal state of calibration. The only way to truly optimally calibrate a laser is with an oscilloscope which are very pricey for a decent one. Without one you are more or less blind turning in tiny increments, and testing to see how it affects the behavior of the laser. A multimeter will help you to set it back to the original setting should it not help.

Clockwise = more juice, counter-clockwise = less juice. Underjuicing it is not nearly as dangerous as over juicing it. While it can damage it over time (if it would even work in such a state), it's not going to instantly kill the laser as you would if you tweaked the voltage up too much. In my experience most lasers need just a tiny turn clockwise to alleviate the problem. Keep in mind this is only for the actual laser's voltage. Sometimes there will be pots on board that adjust different aspects, like focus, gain and whatnot. This is where the real meat and potatoes of calibration usually are. Barring all of that, if the laser is the problem, you might just need a new laser. Make sure to write down all the original resistances of any pots on board so you can set them back if this is the case.
BloodShed wrote:
Lios wrote: You could try cleaning the laser and the discs themselves (These are legit pressed copies in good condition I take it?).
I tested 3 games; one pressed and two CD-R copies. The discs look fine and I even tried reburning the copies. I'm using Verbatim media with ImgBurn set to 1X (although the slowest it can actually burn is 10X). That's why I ordered another game today to also test with.
Believe it or not some of my friends found that burning at speeds lower than like 4x or 8x on most modern burners actually produces a poorer quality burn. There is a sound technical explanation for this, I just don't remember it.

I don't know if verbatim is one of the many companies that outsource the manufacture the production of their cd-rs to different manufacturing plants (so one batch of the exact same branded cd-rs != another batch of the same brand), but you should try a different media anyways. Why? Because even though x brand may work wonders on everything else you have used it for, it may just be that your cd-i doesn't like them. Lasers in general are picky with what dye, brand, types of cd-rs they will play flawlessly, mainly due to the way cd-rs work vs pressed cds. Calibration can alleviate some of this, but you are better off just finding a brand that works. You'd be surprised, sometimes cheap bulk cd-rs "win the outsourcing lottery" and you actually end up with a quality cd-r.

IIRC there is one brand of cd-r's that my friend swears by. They are always consistent, and never outsource, but they are pricey (well for cd-rs they are) The were diamond silvers or something?

http://www.meritline.com/ritek-ridata-5 ... ce=fgmedia

I don't think those are it, but they have a silver bottom like a legit cd. I'll see if I can't find the exact ones my friend uses.

Lastly, what burning software are you using? Are they bin/cue files you are burning? Do they boot or are they recognized as a game in the cd-i emulator? It may be that your legit copy is messed up somehow and the burns aren't working right for whatever reason (media, burn settings, valid cd-i image, etc).

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Post by BloodShed » Wed Oct 28, 2009 7:02 pm

Okay, I took my CD-i apart today.
Lios wrote:Your timekeeper module should look like this one:
You're right. Apparently mine doesn't use a M48T08-150PC1. It has two stacked IC sockets with a board and a smaller timekeeper chip in the middle and the CMOS plugged in on top.

Not that it matters but I thought I'd mention that my timekeeper is not the DS1216 model chip in the picture. It is the same size and number of pins though. ...just in case anyone else has a similar board.

I tested the pins on that diagram and it measured at about 3.08V. Seems okay but perhaps it will die soon? :cry:
Lios wrote:Believe it or not some of my friends found that burning at speeds lower than like 4x or 8x on most modern burners actually produces a poorer quality burn.
Well, even though I was set to 1X, ImgBurn would actually burn at 10X. I believe because of the drive/media support. I just like to go as slow as possible for less "blur" of the compound.
Lios wrote:I don't know if verbatim is one of the many companies that outsource
Yeah, they do outsource. Verbatim used to outsource to Taiyo Yuden and they were good quality. Unfortunately, I just checked my media and it's f'n CMC Magnetics.
Lios wrote:IIRC there is one brand of cd-r's that my friend swears by. They are always consistent, and never outsource
Well, that should be it. Ritek is top-quality and yes, they don't outsource. In fact, it's one of the few brands that actually work in my GameCube.

I did some digging around for other CD-Rs and I found a couple of "Dynex" brand discs that I got from BestBuy as a free sample. Ironically, they're Ritek. :lol: But... burning another copy with that didn't work.
Lios wrote:Lastly, what burning software are you using? Are they bin/cue files you are burning?
I'm using ImgBurn. One game was a bin/cue, the other was a cdi.

But, get this... everything is working again after I put my CD-i back together. While I had it apart, I attempted to remove the laser assembly so I could look it over and maybe adjust the gain. The problem was that, in order to disconnect the wires, I would have to disassemble the entire drive bay. All of the screws use security star bits... which is fine because I have a set. Except that the screws are was down inside these tiny shafts too small to fit my screwdriver into. So, I just put everything back together. I'm guessing the lens or assembly was out of place or something. All my discs work now. Still weird that VCDs and ACDs worked. I guess CD-i data is pretty sensitive.

So, thanks for the help and guidance. I feel kind of like I wasted everyone's time though. Hopefully this helps someone else.

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Post by Devin » Sat Oct 31, 2009 11:57 pm

BloodShed wrote:So, thanks for the help and guidance. I feel kind of like I wasted everyone's time though. Hopefully this helps someone else.
Not at all! Same thing happened to my LG GDI700 CD-i Player.

It worked fine after taking it apart and putting the whole thing back together with no changes to the hardware itself! However it has now again stopped working, so I might strip it again and take some pictures of the PCB whilst I'm in for the boys over on the MESS forums to take a gander at :D

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