Saturday, September 24

Found another CED player...that doesn't work...

I tell ya, I got a knack for finding CEDs and their players. I have no idea what it is about my area, but I'll be damned if I don't run across this stuff on a semi-regular basis during my swap meet and yard sale escapades. This morning I grabbed another RCA Selectavision SFT100, the first model introduced in 1981, and a few select horror titles for $12. The one pictured is my working SFT100 found in July 2009 for $25. Both very decent prices along with a few other cheap dud players that were salvaged of their removable needle cartridges for reserve purposes (good to keep this in mind, these styli can go for nutty prices on eBay)

CED, or Capacitance Electronic Disc, was an analog video format introduced in 1981 by RCA that utilized a needle stylus and dense vinyl platters for video/audio playback. Basically, the format was the absolute limit of analog medium innovation before the widespread prevalence and obvious advantages of the laser revolutionized both home video and audio forever. The CED format was meant to be cheaper in end consumer cost in comparison to the others, so maybe my ease at finding this stuff reflects my region being populated by bums. Well, at least that's one possibility...

Sadly, the player either has a worn out belt that drives the servo arm along the disc for playback, think a record player's tonearm except motorized, or the arm motor itself has gotten goofy. The belt seems to have extreme difficultly with initially gripping the motor's spinning road but when it finally does the arm mechanism speeds along as if the fast forward button is engaged during what should be standard "Play" mode. I tried to "punch" and jiggle at the FF button to disengage it if that's the issue but there's no change. The rotating platter seems to have no problem spinning up to speed and otherwise the player appears to function properly.

Where I am going with this? Nowhere in in particular. I'm a talkative dork that just loves to overly explain things far past the point of anyone else caring. Plus this might help with this problem eventually and be useful reference in the future. I'm keeping the player for eventual repair or at least parts. The outward comestic condition matches my working deck.

Below are pictures of the odd CED loading system with Halloween II bought with the player. The vertical bar running across the top back of the machine is the servo arm with the white plastic gears and bits on right side (incorrectly) controlling it. The slender black "pull button" with the writing sticker around it on the arm is the stylus holder. You pull that black tab to the right and a latch door opens giving you access to a cream-colored plastic box of the thing containing the needle you can pull out and replace (or plastic bag for safe keeping). Be sure to check to see if it's in there before buying one. Most players have top access door on the cabinet, like this SFT100, that have be popped open without tools to check it.    
cover off, no disc

cartridge fully inserted

cartridge pulled out with disc left in machine ready to play

cartidge re-inserted to retrieve disc after playback


A hero never dies said...

Fascinating post, CED is probably the only home video format I have never had any experience of. Those discs look great.

Drunketh said...

Cool post. Don't worry about being overly talkative or whatever, I'm sure everyone loves reading these.

the-scandyfactory said...

i've never heard of these things, but this is really cool! i enjoy seeing the guts of the machines you find. you dare tread upon the staircase?
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