Neo Geo CD Front Loader Drive Cycles

seanami

n00b
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Jul 23, 2011
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I believe these means a dead laser, but I wanted a sanity check.
The CD drive cycles itself in and it whether I insert a disk or not when closing the drive in the menus.
The drive was previously working yesterday so I assume laser just died on me.
It seems to pause for a bit when a disc is inserted before ejecting, so I assume the laser is done for.
If it is the laser, any good source on them for the front loaders?
 

Neo Alec

Ned's Ninja Academy Dropout
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Dec 7, 2000
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I assume you tried cleaning? Start by swabbing the lens with alcohol, and let it dry. If you don't have a CD lens cleaner disc.
 

maki

Edo Express Delivery Guy
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Jan 1, 2022
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332
Does the drive eject/close without you doing it?

There is three microswitches in that drive, one for the laser, drive will rattle if the microswitch is bad
two for the slide completely extended/inserted, if they fail the drive will open/close by itself.

The microswitches can be cleaned, the NGCD frontloader Drive is similar (but a bit better) to the SegaCD/MegaCD frontloader drive, similar enough to use it as donor for parts (but thats not a great idea) and to have similar issues and solutions.

For the laser:
it uses the same laser pickup as the SegaCD/MegaCD KSS-240A

now using a MegaCD/SegaCD as donor is like using another NGCD frontloader as donor..

There is plenty of after market KSS-240A, and I have not tried them, success seems to be a gamble.
Original old stock KSS-240 are ridiculously expensive.

OTOH, Sony produced plenty of CD Players during that time using that laser pickup (and very similar drives).
Actually, they've put out tons of CD Players with lightly different model numbers but the same internals.

Have a look at your local craigs list, ebay listings list etc., se. if you can find a model that is known to have a KSS-240A

In case the model is not listed, search for a replacement laser for that model, check if it is a KSS-240A on Google etc.

I've found two of these Sony CD Players when looking for a replacement laser for a MegaCD for about 10 bucks each, first one already worked, CDP-297 and CDP-291.
There was tons of them listed, not kidding, there is an abundance of 90s Sony CD Players for cheap here in Germany.
Other brands used that laser pickup as well.

Make sure to buy one that either works or where the laser isn't obviously the problem, these tings often have problems with the slide, won't open (stiff belt/mechanics needs re-adjustment), good candidates IMO
All of them have at least two fitting micro switches as well ;)


In any case, consider a SD Loader, its much faster than the drive, like much faster, the whole library fits on an 64GB SD-Card, installation isn't hard (need to lift a pin or two), and the drive stays as operational as before and could be used.
 
Last edited:

seanami

n00b
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Posts
23
Does the drive eject/close without you doing it?

There is three microswitches in that drive, one for the laser, drive will rattle if the microswitch is bad
two for the slide completely extended/inserted, if they fail the drive will open/close by itself.

The microswitches can be cleaned, the NGCD frontloader Drive is similar (but a bit better) to the SegaCD/MegaCD frontloader drive, similar enough to use it as donor for parts (but thats not a great idea) and to have similar issues and solutions.

For the laser:
it uses the same laser pickup as the SegaCD/MegaCD KSS-240A

now using a MegaCD/SegaCD as donor is like using another NGCD frontloader as donor..

There is plenty of after market KSS-240A, and I have not tried them, success seems to be a gamble.
Original old stock KSS-240 are ridiculously expensive.

OTOH, Sony produced plenty of CD Players during that time using that laser pickup (and very similar drives).
Actually, they've put out tons of CD Players with lightly different model numbers but the same internals.

Have a look at your local craigs list, ebay listings list etc., se. if you can find a model that is known to have a KSS-240A

In case the model is not listed, search for a replacement laser for that model, check if it is a KSS-240A on Google etc.

I've found two of these Sony CD Players when looking for a replacement laser for a MegaCD for about 10 bucks each, first one already worked, CDP-297 and CDP-291.
There was tons of them listed, not kidding, there is an abundance of 90s Sony CD Players for cheap here in Germany.
Other brands used that laser pickup as well.

Make sure to buy one that either works or where the laser isn't obviously the problem, these tings often have problems with the slide, won't open (stiff belt/mechanics needs re-adjustment), good candidates IMO
All of them have at least two fitting micro switches as well ;)


In any case, consider a SD Loader, its much faster than the drive, like much faster, the whole library fits on an 64GB SD-Card, installation isn't hard (need to lift a pin or two), and the drive stays as operational as before and could be used.
Yes I have done a SD Loader on another one, just want to repair one back to stock. Is there a teardown of taking apart the front loader cd drives? Seems alot different than top loader
 

HeavyMachineGoob

My poontang misses Lenn Yang's wang
10 Year Member
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Apr 3, 2011
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The tray for the NGCD front loader has a leaf switch to tell the system that the tray is closed. The tray has a piece of plastic that extends to this leaf switch, which pushes on the switch when the tray is closed.

Make sure that plastic piece isn't broken off, otherwise the tray will just always continue opening and never stay closed. The leaf switch could be dirty too.
 

maki

Edo Express Delivery Guy
Joined
Jan 1, 2022
Posts
332
There is 3 micro switches:
Two in front, those are for completly open or closed tray, drive will open/close randomly if they fail.

Third one is on the drive PCB for the laser pickup, drive will rattle if that one fails.

See my previous post for replacements.
 

seanami

n00b
Joined
Jul 23, 2011
Posts
23
Is there a picture or something to see what I am looking for or is it documented anywhere? Finding info on Front Loader stuff seems more difficult than the top loader
 

HeavyMachineGoob

My poontang misses Lenn Yang's wang
10 Year Member
Joined
Apr 3, 2011
Posts
5,762
I don't have a picture yet but I have a description for now, for the drive tray switch.

At the back end of the disc tray, if looking from the front where the Neo Geo logo is, at the back right corner is a plastic post that extends down and pushes against a leaf switch.

If the post is gone, then the switch won't be getting pressed when the tray is closed. I usually just add a small bolt if that plastic peg is broken off.
 
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