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.