Mecotek MK-X4000 hardware fix

This is an experience based on the recommendation of Tomb.  His site (http://sigma-players.nd.e-wro.pl/player.htm) documents these instructions.  If you follow Tomb's instructions or use my experiences as a guide you must realize there are no guarantees of correctness or completeness, and  you modify your equipment at your own risk -  you should be aware that doing this modification will then void your warranty.

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2004-10-23: With thanks to all who have written me, here is a page that tells of people who have had success fixing their MK-X4000 units.  While I certainly appreciate their gratitude, I'm surely just the messenger.  These notes should really be directed more to Etchie and Tomb than to me.  But I'm glad I could help in whatever way I did. 

BTW - a question has been posted by one of the visitors to this site.  If you have an answer for this person, please let me know.


<UPDATE:>  Since posting this page, I have had the opportunity to help a friend with his MK-X4000.  In his case, the DVD-ROM drive would not open, and the unit said "No Disk" even though there was a disk in the drive.  We replaced the capacitors as below, but with no improvement.  Plugging in another drive found that the original drive had failed (not the first one, from what I've read).

Unfortunately, the included drive is built in a special frame which makes it difficult to match in the player.  But we were able to make a standard PC DVD-ROM drive work by performing a few simple steps and accepting some "good-enoughs":

   1. Removed the metal case on the new DVD-ROM drive
   2. Removed the plastic bezel from the new DVD-ROM drive's tray front
   3. Removed (permanently) the MK-X4000 front drive tray bezel (it has the DivX label on it) because it didn't fit the new drive
   4. Prepared some support pieces to raise the front of the DVD-ROM drive about 3 mm.
   5. We were able to use only one screw (at the rear) to mount the drive - it was too narrow for the old screw holes
   6.  Put two other screws in the holes near the front of the drive to minimize side-to-side motion of the drive

Obviously, this is not the best solution.  With the same DVD-ROM drive, a mounting plate could be cut out of 3mm-thick plastic.  Then, the drive could be mounted to the plate and the plate mounted to the bottom of the MK-X4000.  I'll probably be doing that (someday) and will post pictures and dimensions when I do.  That still leaves him without the standard MK-X4000 front drive bezel.  It could probably be Dremel-ed to fit the new drive, but he was OK with it this way, so we'll probably leave it off.

</UPDATE>


<UPDATE 2004-10-23>

Another problem from a visitor is documented here.  Seems he has a power supply that isn't up to snuff.  Could be a fluke, or maybe it's another design "feature" from the vendor.  If you can help out, please let me know and I'll pass it on!

</UPDATE>


<UPDATE 2005-06:>

This is post-dated, but at least I remembered it! My first-purchased MK-X4000 drive finally failed. So, once again I brandished the soldering iron. Player #1 is back up and running!

</UPDATE>


<UPDATE 2005-11-04:>  I have received some e-mail from Phil Dunlop about problems with his LiteOn LVD 2001 (a DivX player similar to the Mecotek MK-X4000). Seems that Phil had a drive failure that would require no easy fix. Phil sent me a great description of his successful efforts to bring his DivX player back to life. Read on!

Phil's Drive Repair

</UPDATE>



 History of my MK-X4000 repair:

I purchased two Mecotek MK-X4000 DivX players from BigBuyz.com.  The first one so far hasn't failed - although it does perform erratically.  The second one, however, suddenly stopped working one day.  I went to play a disk and the drive wouldn't even open.  Mecotek's "On-Site" warranty service is a farce - you're required to file a claim on their web site (which I did) and then you get no response.  Direct emails simply directed me back to the web site - almost all of which has problems.  Only the forum seems to function reasonably well.  Which is how I got the help from Tomb, which is how I am able to document my experience to help others (I hope). 

Tomb's site (http://sigma-players.nd.e-wro.pl/player.htm) said that two of the capacitors were undersized - it was recommended that two capacitors be replaced with larger ones.  The person who did so (Etchie) used 2200 microfarad, 25V capacitors.  My local Radio Shack had 2200 microfarad 35V capacitors which I deemed close enough (I'm not an electronic wiz, but I think the voltage rating is an upper limit rating - the capacitor works up to that voltage level.  So 35V is at least as good as 25V - I welcome feedback from the electronic geeks out there).

What I forgot to write before and am now inserting here: After you change the capacitors, you may find that you need to re-flash the firmware (i.e. re-install the software that's running the unit).  Simply download the firmware from Mecotek (http://www.mecotek.com/corp/images//upload/ver2005.zip ) - but I use the 1.0.0.6 version myself.  I didn't care for the 2.0.0.5 version.  Don't remember why, but I think some of the features disappeared. 

 

<UPDATE>

2004-07-22: Jay Martin was kind enough to send me this explanation:

You are correct that the voltage rating is the maximum allowable voltage.
That is the point where the dielectric (the "goo" inside a cap' that
insolates the + side from the - side while allowing them to get close enough
for mutual attraction) will start to break down and the cap' starts to
conduct.  That is why C20 was getting so hot, it was starting to act as a
resistor rather than a voltage resovoir.  1000 microfarad caps may have been
large enough if the voltage had been higher.  As they were they were a fire
waiting to happen.  Since these cap's are used as smoothing cap's for the
most part bigger is better, and since they are getting ~18 volts at least 18
v caps are required..again bigger is better.  Any cap can be replaced with a
higher voltage rating, but that is not always true of the microfarad rating.
It just happens to be OK in this design.
 
Thanks Jay!

</UPDATE>

 

Pictures!

Original box:

 

Original power supply board - note the orientation of the capacitors :

 

Here's the flip side of that board:

 

Modification views:

 

Of course I took the power supply OUT OF THE BOX to do this work... This is AFTER the modification!

 

It ain't pretty -- but it works!!