This guide shows the replacement of the laser sledge in Philips CDM 12.1T CD mechanisms. It assumes that you have already cleaned the lens and done the necessary troubleshooting to rule out other errors (see this article for diagnosis with the Service Shell). If you only get dirty disc messages or experience stuttering audio/video from time to time, you can still follow the guide to clean and grease the mechanism.
For documentation, I replaced the laser sleds of two CDI450 players with unreliable or no disc recognition at all. I took different approaches to find the easiest replacement procedure, so don’t be surprised if you suddenly see pictures where things are in different places.
In 2014, I bought two top-loading CD-i players, the Philips CDI550 and CDI450. While the Magnavox CDI550 pops up every now and then in the U.S., the Philips CDI550 is quite rare in Europe and I’ve only seen a single one in all these years.
Earth Command isn’t my favourite game. It makes 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.