Cleaning the parts
For the metal parts you can use methylated spirits or similar to help remove the hard oil that covers the surfaces or even drop them in water and washing up liquid and scrub until clean. For the plastic parts remove as much grease as possible using kitchen roll paper (or similar) and then wash thoroughly in hot soapy water. After 20 years in the player the grease causes more friction than it solves, so it’s a good idea to take your time and get everything as clean as possible.
You can clean any gears by firstly removing excess grease with kitchen roll paper and then using a small brush (soaked in methylated spirits or similar) to brush away the grease between the teeth of the gears.
A combination of brushing and wiping usually works well. Don’t forget to give the surface of the top deck a clean too while all the parts are removed and the underside and sides of the disc tray itself. Finally clean the front panel in hot soapy water but be careful not to use anything abrasive that might scratch the surface of the panel. Leave all the parts to dry and then finish by rubbing down all of the surfaces with a lint-free cloth to remove any last residue of the original grease.
The reassembly process is, generally speaking, the tear-down process in full reverse. Here I won’t go through step by step (as this is already covered).
To begin with place the right plastic assembly back on the upper-deck and reconnect the switches (you will need to resolder the front switch as it was disconnected earlier). Screw the plastic piece down using the flanged screws and then place the disc tray guide back in place at the front:
Next put the two metal side-frame pieces back in place and, working from back to front, reseat the power supply modules. Be careful to reconnect the power switch shaft in case it was decoupled during the disassembly process:
Next apply a liberal coating of grease (either nylon gear grease or Electrolube SPG is recommended – if using other grease, ensure it is plastic-safe) to the surfaces over which the slider slides. Also grease the lever on the underside of the white plastic slider. The slider simply drops into place. You should be able to slide it freely (and it will ‘lock’ when pushed forward – use the white lever to release it):
Next put back the left plastic assembly, grease and fit the slider, then reinsert the disc clamp with the white sliders towards the front of the machine. The disc clamp can be a little tricky to pop back into place but, once mounted, should move backwards and forwards in the sliders without too much force. Don’t screw down the left plastic assembly until the clamp is in place, this makes it easier as you can tilt the assembly back slightly to get the clamp in place. Once it’s all fixed in, screw it down to the upper-deck using the flanged screws:
Ensure that the disc clamp moves up and down correctly when the sliders are moved. When the sliders are fully forward they lock in place. Use the two levers to release the slider and move it backwards. The following picture shows the clamp engaged with the sliders fully forward:
Next place the left side-frame back in place and screw it down using the screw located at the back-left of the player. Make sure you insert the metal piece directly downwards as there are some small plastic tags that hold it in place (and you’ll snap them off if you try to swivel the side frame into place):
Next ensure that the gears of the loader module are greased, then flip the player over and mount the module back into the player. Don’t forget to reattach the control cable to the module:
Now reassemble and grease the tray loader shaft and place into the slots provided by the upper-deck. The shaft is hooked in under some plastic tabs at the back and screwed in place at the front:
Now put the front-frame back on the player. Don’t forget the two screws under the player:
Next place the cross bar back in place and affix with four screws:
Before putting the front panel of the player back in place make sure you pop the small plastic piece onto the switch shaft:
Reconnect the two cables to the front-panel and attach by gently locking it in place using the top tabs and then the bottom. Then screw in the 3 mounting screws to the top:
If you have the confidence (and the correct materials) now is a good time to clean the laser optics. Don’t use a cotton bud for this (seriously – don’t). Use the correct materials such as an optic prep cloth or chamois tips (or equivalent). Using the wrong tool for the job here could result in degraded performance. Get the right stuff or just leave the optics alone!
To slide in the tray you have to ensure that the loader shaft is in the correct position. Rotate the shaft until you see a ‘half-tooth’. This half tooth should be positioned a few degrees from straight-up, towards the front of the player. If this is in the right position the tray will slide in easily. If you need to use any force, you have not lined up the shaft correctly. Once the tray is back in place reattach the two stops and the plunger mechanism. Don’t forget to tighten the two screws that engage with the stops (on the front frame):
That’s it; the player is ready to go! Well, you might want to put the cover back on the top and bottom, but if you know what you’re doing you can leave them off and admire the silky-smooth action of the player as it loads and ejects discs:
Note: the standard player has green LEDs; the player in the picture above was modified (because I thought the red lights looked better!).
Servicing the laserdisc player every few years will keep your player running much smoother and greatly reduce the risk of mechanical failure. The grease (after nearly 20 years of heat and dust) becomes too sticky. As the viscosity of the grease increases it gradually causes more and more friction and makes the various mechanism have to work harder to get the job done. In addition, the dust, dirt and other debris is whipped around the player by the air vortex generated by the spinning disc, causing it to dirty the discs and (even worse) foul the optics in the player. Cleaning will reduce drop-outs and tracking problems overall. A clean player is a good thing!