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The laser's reflected signal is no longer detected. All you can do is to clean the unit with a lens disk like
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Hama-DVD-Laser-Cleaning-Disc/dp/B00005UPDF If this fails then the laser diode has failed and the optical unit is dead - it will have to be replaced.
It may be a dirty laser lens, or the laser is worn enough that is can't read the discs any more. There are cleaning CDs available, but I haven't found them to work very well most of the time. The most effective way is to clean the lens with a cotton swab moistened with optical cleaning liquid. That means opening the unit to get to the lens, of course, and some Sonys are harder than others. It's not an impossible task, though.
If the player still doesn't read discs after cleaning the lens, the pickup probably is bad. There are other possible causes, but the pickup is the most common. Thanks for asking on Fixya!
Let me respond with a possible solution although I'd bet that both of you already tried these.
The reason I checked into this is because I'm looking for a new mini system. I happen to be at Target and they only had 2 models - this one and a SONY. I certainly didn't want to buy the RCA given these problems, so I asked the salesperson, who seemed to have some knowlege.
As far as opening the tray on top, there is a button to push right under the tray. The button has an icon of a triangle on it. This seems to be somewhat of a standard icon for opening the tray or ejecting a CD (my car's CD has the same icon for ejecting a CD).
As far as only being able to get 3 CD's out, there is another button under the tray marked "disc skip". This rotates the tray. When you open the tray, you can only get to 3 of the CD's. When you push disk skip, it rotates the tray one position, so you can get the 4th one out. Another push and now you can get the 5th one.
Sometimes my CD changer doesn't shuffle the disks. If I only have 1 CD or DVD in it and push the tray open button, the disk stays in the unit and the tray revolves to an intermediate position. I push the button to put the tray back and try disc skip; that usually works.
If your problems are not solved per above, then I definitely do NOT want to get this.
I have repaired a lot of these exact Sharp stereo's and can say with certainty that you have a bad laser pick-up. The only cure for your problem is to have the pick-up replaced. It says no disc because that part is bad and can not read the disc, so it thinks there is no disc.
A repair for this would cost in the area of $125 to $150 depending on the rates of the service center you take it to.
This should give you the information you need to determain if it is worth fixing to you.
Sorry it is not something you could fix easy, but that is just the nature of these types of stereo's. That part, the laser pick-up, is a very expensive part. I have no idea why they charge so much for it, but it is killing the repair centers making so many of these too costly to fix.
I hope this helps, let me know if you require any further help.
It is the laser, If the cd mech is in the top of this one you may just need to clean the lens manually. Cleaning discs are not all that reliable. You can do this by taking the top off and looking at the area where the disc gets clamped to play. The laser has the small glass lens. That is the part you need to clean. Take a Q-tip and wet it very lightly with some windex or some alcohol. Make it so that the Q-tip is just barely wet. Then just lightly rub the lens without pushing on it hard at all. Just nice and easy over the glass lens. Then dyr it off with the dry end just like you did with the wet end. That's it. close it back up again and turn it on and see if it plays. If it still does not play you need a new laser. No other fix for it.