June 25th, 2012

#3445: Well, this is very interesting indeed.

Though only for some values of "interesting". Maybe I should say "annoying" instead. You see, the laserdisk player I bought via Ebay arrived today.


When I was taking it out of the packaging I heard something rattling around inside, and thought, "Uh oh." So before powering it up or even plugging it in, I took the cover off and found this tiny piece of grey plastic. Removed it, powered it up, pressed the OPEN button...

...it exhibits exactly the same behavior as my SLD-104; try to open the tray and it does nothing, then says E3 in the display.


A little more investigation led me to this YouTube video:

Reason: down in the comments the poster of this video says that the most common cause of an E3 error in Pioneer LD players is a broken "M holder" which is a $7 part.

Here's a video from a guy who had the exact same problem I am having now:

...and I'll be switched if the part he shows at the 41 second mark ain't exactly the bit of plastic I've got in my hand.

Now: this little bit of plastic is what holds the motor and the gear which drives the read head up and down its little track inside the player. If that head can't move, the damn player will not work AT ALL.

The ebay ad claims that the guy was able to play a CD in the thing. If he could do that, then it was working before he shipped it...and it got busted in shipment.

...and I can fix it by buying a part that costs $4.25 plus shipping.

And maybe I can even fix my SLD-104 for $4.25 plus shipping. I'm going to tear into it next and see if that's the problem there.

This LD player is one of the models with an RS-232 interface on it. (Funny bit: they used a 15-pin connector...and exactly six pins have connections. Why not use a D-9 instead of a D-15? *sigh*) This means I could, potentially, use my old Compaq Presario 1230 laptop as a controller for this thing, just for yucks. (I expect the remote for the SLD-104 to work with this unit, though.)

So I went to Pioneer's parts site and ordered two M holders. (If it's not the problem with the 104, I'll just have a spare for this one) It's $8.50 for the parts, but with tax and shipping it's $24. *sigh*

If I had the capability, I'd make one out of f-ing metal--because if this part breaks, the entire unit becomes a paperweight.

...and I can't even apply the fix shown in the latter video because this particular M holder is--to borrow a word from Og--completely verfuckled. The thing is designed to hold two gears, and the part where the second gear is supposed to attach is also gone.

Again: this thing wouldn't do anything if this bracket is busted. The seller has pictures of it playing--assuming that he's honest, this thing broke in shipping. One good hard jar the wrong way would probably be enough when you're talking about a 12-year-old piece of plastic. I'm giving the guy the benefit of the doubt because I have no reason to doubt him, and the guy has 100% good feedback in the last year over 235 sales.

See, here's the deal. A lot of consumer optical devices (like an LD player or CD player) have a shipper screw which holds the read head in place during shipment. The idea here is to keep the head from moving due to a jar or shock and breaking the plastic bit that the whole schmeer depends on. (This is cheaper than making the M holder out of metal.)

But if you don't have that screw when you go to ship one, this is pretty much exactly what will happen...and there's no way the guy would have the screw when he didn't have the remote, manual, or original box for the thing.

It's not really a big deal, though. I don't mind spending $12 to fix the thing if it'll play LDs afterwards. I was prepared to spend more on getting a functioning LD player than the $47 (with shipping) that I'll have into this one with the replacement M holder.

Right now I need a shower and then I've got to get food for both me and the cats. More later.

#3446: Good thing I wasn't hungry!

Last night I went to bed right after Sunday's very short blog post. I didn't even brush my teeth or take any pills, and I normally don't feel right and can't sleep if I don't do those things. I slept like a rock until 4:30 AM or so.

I was up for a couple hours this morning, playing a little bit of WoW and chatting with Sailor V while eating a leftover hamburger (made Saturday night) with cole slaw and potato salad from Friday's dinner.

But I ended up in bed again around 7, and slept all freakin' day--until 4. I finally got more than 4 hours of sleep at a time!

So I fiddled with the LD player, getting hungrier and hungrier; finally I took a shower, and then went to K-mart for cat food, Pepsi, and cooking oil.

...Lemonzen brought with her a deep fryer she has never used. It sits on my counter waiting for oil, and once it's filled I can use it to make french fries and other deep-fried goodness. The place I get gyros from says they deep-fry their hot dogs; I'm going to try that, among other things.

* * *

Anthropogenic climate change! "The science is settled!"

Watt's Up With That? has posted a scathing column quoted from another source, "A response to Dr. Paul Bain’s use of ‘denier’ in the scientific literature".

The post is in its entirety a quote from Dr. Robert G Brown, and it begins thus:
The tragic thing about the thoughtless use of a stereotype (denier) is that it reveals that you really think of people in terms of its projected meaning. In particular, even in your response you seem to equate the term “skeptic” with “denier of AGW”.

This is silly. On WUWT most of the skeptics do not “deny” AGW, certainly not the scientists or professional weather people (I myself am a physicist) and honestly, most of the non-scientist skeptics have learned better than that. What they challenge is the catastrophic label and the alleged magnitude of the projected warming on a doubling of CO_2. They challenge this on rather solid empirical grounds and with physical arguments and data analysis that is every bit as scientifically valid as that used to support larger estimates, often obtaining numbers that are in better agreement with observation. For this honest doubt and skepticism that the highly complex global climate models are correct you have the temerity to socially stigmatize them in a scientific journal with a catch-all term that implies that they are as morally reprehensible as those that “deny” that the Nazi Holocaust of genocide against the Jews?
Emphasis his, and then it proceeds to utterly demolish the entirety of the "global warming=man made=apocalypse" notion.

"Please understand that by creating a catch-all label like this, you quite literally are moving the entire discussion outside of the realm of science...into the realm where people do not think at all!"

This is where the climatologists want the debate to occur, because if it remains inside the realm of science they will lose. What they are doing is not science, and everyone involved knows it.

Example: The climate models don't work but they are the basis for the entire claim that the planet is warming.

* * *

Anyway, short shrift on the rest of today's stories. Reason: I hauled my old nonworking LD player out of the basement and discovered that it has a different problem from the one I bought from Ebay.

It throws a U1 code and does nothing. This means it'll take a different part to fix it; but it also means I could take its perfectly usable M holder bracket out and put it into the one I got today.

The unit which arrived today? It is playing a laserdisk as I type this.

I'm gonna go dig out some LDs and binge on anime now.

#3447: Holy crap, this looks like ASS

Laserdisks are pure analog video. When you watch a laserdisk played on a CRT, it looks amazing. The video is sharper and clearer than videotape could ever manage.

But when you watch it on an HDTV?

Holy crap does it look shitty.

You can see all the video noise, the framing errors, everything. Every little speck of dirt on the disk is plainly visible. I never realized how crummy laserdisk looked until I ran it to a display which exceeded its resolution and S/N ratio.