My Philips CDI605T/20 needed repairs before I can fully use it. Some of them was mandatory for operation (TimeKeeper), some of them to make it easier on the ears (fan, optical disc drive tray). I already had experience with a Mini MMC chassis on the very similar consumer player CDI220/00 and knew what awaited me inside (its service manual helped a bit). It is actually possible to perform these repairs without taking the entire case apart (see shortcuts). I took special precautions and made photos of each and every step to be able to put everything back together in the end.
I began with removing the case and the bezels of the extension cards on the rear. Make sure to slide out the lower card first, otherwise its metal plate will grind on the solder side of the upper card.
The Philips CDI605T/20 is the last professional CD-i player with authoring / development capabilities. As every other CD-i player, it runs on CD-RTOS v1.1, a real-time operating system based on Microware OS-9/68K v2.4. Additionally, it features extended memory, an internal OS-9 shell, a floppy disk drive, SCSI, ethernet, RS-232C and printer ports. When compared to its predecessor CDI605/00, it was upgraded with a tray loading mechanism, a built-in DVC and a newer system ROM v1.3. Even though this player is perfectly fine for playing the whole range of consumer CD-i titles, I got it mainly for experimenting with the titles and the operating system. On the first start, it performed a CRC check and displayed the software version:
Quizard was a series of quiz games published by TAB-Austria in the ’90s. What makes it special is the fact that it is one of the very few arcade games based on Philips CD-i hardware. The protection of Quizard 1.x and 2.x has been figured out quite a while ago and since then it is emulated in MAME. Quizard 3.x and 4.x, however, refused to run – until now. A first step was done when Team Europe dumped a protection MCU a couple of years ago. Very soon, they will release an MCU board that will turn almost every CD-i player into a Quizard arcade machine. I received a sample last week and just finished assembling and testing it.
While doing my research for another project (finding a plug for the Philips CDI350 RGB in/out port), I came across an old IBM MIDI/Game port adapter. It is listed with P/N 29H9467 (FRU P/N 29H9269) and can be used with some models of the ThinkPad 760 series (760CD, 760ED, 760XD, and also 765D). What makes it so special is the plug. It is similar to the 26-pin external floppy connectors used by several laptop brands in the ’90s. While most of the external floppy drives used a 17 mm wide plug, this one is 20 mm wide. This JAE datasheet lists the plug as TX20A series connector, part number TX20A-26PH1-D2P1-D1.
Last year I began to disassemble and repair one of my Philips CDI350 players. This has been covered in the article Philips CDI350 Repair Part 1.
After that, it took me a while to make a list of all capacitors, to find replacement parts (the original Philips part numbers are not useful anymore) and to find shops that had them on stock.
The scanned CDI350 service manual on ICDIA is missing the pages 78 and 79, which contain the parts lists of the servo and power sections. I found some of the missing parts in the CDI360 service manual and some by comparing the removed parts with both service manuals.
Two portable Philips CD-i players (CDI350) came into my care last month. They show common errors, such as not loading any CDs and not storing any settings, and also flickering screens. Let’s have a look inside and repair them.
The screen becomes normal after a while so that I can navigate.
Earth Command isn’t my favourite game. It makes for some fun for a while, to tamper with the various settings and eventually watch the world burn, but it never got me hooked for a long time.
Then the reports of some people caught my attention. Some had trouble starting the game, as the screen just turned black after the intro, while others had no problems with the game at all. There was no common denominator to pin down the problem, as all the CD-i players they’ve used were of different revisions and generations.
There is always a need for a serial terminal (VT100 compatible) to debug Philips CD-i players and other old units with a serial port. Even though an old laptop with Windows 98 and HyperTerminal works fine, I was looking for something more portable. The Atari Portfolio with Serial Interface add-on is a good choice.
First of all, we need to transfer the terminal software to the Portfolio. It is possible via the serial port, but I had to back-up some data from the old memory cards too, so I hooked up the Atari Card Drive HPC-301:
Recently I found a CDI 220/00 with Mini MMC mainboard. It’s a heavy and bulky unit that contains lot of PCBs, wires, screws and metal parts. It’s one of the first consumer CD-i players. Later models have all components on one single mainboard (Mono).