Question about Sony MHC-881 Shelf System

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Erratic CD tray behavior on SONY MHC-881 Shelf system

Hi,The CD (3 disk) tray on a SONY MHC-881 comes out partly on it's own and spins making a noise whenever the unit is turned on. The tuner is in demonstration modeGenerally the CD player has a mind of it own and opens an closes at random times,Al

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Re: Erratic CD tray behavior on SONY MHC-881 Shelf system

!Precautions/Disclaimer - PLEASE READ!

Whenever you do any work on elecrical equipment always remember: Disconnect the power cord from the wall socket, discharge the remaining electric charge (Power the unit on with the cord disconnected) and always be extremely careful around circuit boards, DON'T touch the exposed circuitry. It might contain lethal electricity! Always read the device specific safety precautions! Do these things on your own responsibility, refer to a qualified technician if you feel unsure about any of the safety precautions. I don't take any responsibility of death or injury! Keep children and animals away from the opened/broken equipment!

On to the issue, Erratic CD tray behavior:

Usually this kind of behaviour is because the unit doesn't recognize the tray as being "locked in". Thus it tries to open and close the tray properly.

There are three main reasons for this:

-Worn and loose drive belts (usually 2x different sized)

-Broken teeth or displacement in one of the gears

-Dirty sensors

  • Disconnect power cable from the wall socket and make sure the unit is safe to operate on (try to power on with the power cord disconnected) wait for about 30 minutes

  • Open the top cover (usually attached to the unit with 4-6 screws on both sides and 2-5 screws on the backside

  • Don't touch the exposed circuit board, lethal electricity might still be present!

  • What you want to look at, is the top area where the cd-changer mechanism is.

  • Check the drive belts for any loosenes (should be minimal)

  • Check the gear mechanism for any loose gears or broken teeth

  • Check the sensors for grease/dust blocking

  • Gently open/close the tray by hand, rotate the revolving tray


The tray is usually locked by the cd-player mechanism that goes up and down, it should move by hand to unlock the mechanisms.

If the belts have a lot of slack in them, you can try to cross them over (shortening by 2x), or get new ones from a radio repair shop/tech. This usually fixes the issue.

If the gears are broken or dislodged, you can try to dismantle the gear unit and turn the broken gear (so that the broken part is not in use) or put the dislodged gear in place. Sometimes a plastic axle is broken and can be replaced with a small screw (drill a small hole and fit a screw in it). You can try to look for spare gears from a radio repair shop/tech, usually hard to come by.

Sorry for the long picture-less how-to, but safety first and more is more :D


Posted on Feb 13, 2015

Re: Erratic CD tray behavior on SONY MHC-881 Shelf system - Sony MHC-881 Shelf System Audio Shelf Systems

Change cd head

Posted on Nov 27, 2007

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