View Full Version : Philips DCC 900 Compact Cassette Recorder


Wornears
08-11-2007, 03:57 PM
Found one of these units with remote in outstanding cosmetic condition for $15.00 at a local thrift, so I had to "rescue" it. Has an issue with the right channel randomly jumping to full output (POP!) on playback of analog cassettes, which I haven't been able to resolve. Haven't got it to fail-hard, yet.

The Digital Cassette format died in 1996, being beat out by MiniDisc, but the 900 will play regular analog cassettes, but incredibly, will not record to them. Wonder who was responsible for that design "feature"?

BUT, on the real upside, it has an internal converter to output analog tapes to Digital Out -- which I'll use to digitize many of my prized analog cassettes.

What a transport mechanism and robust internals -- a tank! Anyone have any owner or service manuals I can pay for the originals or copies? I appreciate the help.

Wornears
08-11-2007, 04:26 PM
You can see the basics of the DCC 900 here:

http://home.netvigator.com/~ntomyng/dcc900/dcc900inside/index.htm

junkaudio
08-11-2007, 04:30 PM
we had them at our shop i installed one for headphone presentation it runs 3 years onestop with brother in arms dire straits tape not one dropout after these years .a very good format now dust in the wind :scratch2:

rotovator
08-14-2007, 03:39 AM
I was also upset to know that it wouldn't record regular cassettes.

But, after looking inside one, you realize that it has a very rare head. Maybe it is not suited to record anything but bits. Plus, the bias circuitery necessary to record analog is avoided and the benenfits you get from recording analog in a digital age is zero.

The autoreverse mechanism complicates it all.

Wornears
08-18-2007, 03:44 PM
"and the benefits you get from recording analog in a digital age is zero."

I don't understand this comment. The main reason I transfer cassettes or vinyl to digital (MD) is editing ease or compilation, or archiving of music I have not found otherwise in excellent-condition vinyl.

Turbokeu
08-19-2007, 11:53 AM
@Wornears: I own a Philips DCC recorder too and I assure you that you will enjoy yours.

Mine is the TOTL DCC951 recorder.
I bought it second hand together with a Philips CD721 CD player for about 40$, both in mint condition.
The seller (a former employee from Philips) just wanted to keep the accompaying receiver (a Philips FR951).
I wasn't really interested in the CD player (I already own a Sony 228ESD) but it was part of the deal.

After I paid the seller and wanted to leave, the seller said: 'Oh yes, I almost forgot'
He went out of the room and after a few minutes he came back with a big shoe box.
The shoe box contained 30 new unsealed and a few used Philips DCC-90 cassettes, and even an original Philips DCC cleaning cartridge!
If you know the actual price of DCC cartridges (I even saw DCC cleaning cartridges go for more than 40$ each on ebay!) you can imagine the bargain that I made!

Home again, I tested both the DCC and the CD player.
After a few minutes of listening the DCC951 continuously showed 'clean head' on the display, and I noticed that it had difficulties to find tracks on the tape.
I cleaned it with the cleaning cartridge from the shoe box, the error never came back since then.
After that I recorded a few of my preferred CD's to DCC tape through the coaxial digital input of the DCC-951. I was really blowed away, no perceivable difference with the original CD!

BTW, I found the DCC951 User Manual here (http://www.p4c.philips.com/files/d/dcc951_00s/dcc951_00s_dfu_eng.pdf), it's maybe helpful for your DCC-900 (unfortunately Philips doesn't have the DCC900 manual anymore).

CD :)

Wornears
08-19-2007, 06:13 PM
Turbokeu: What a find with all those DCC cassettes and the cleaning one, too! Yes, they are pricey, if you can find them -- eprey seems to be the only source now.

I have cleaned the exotic head with the regular cleaning fluid and chamois tips I use for normal cassette decks. No issues with it -- just the random output level variability. I've about run out of my troubleshooting talent, so I'll likely be sending it to NakDoc for his laying on hands to bring it to full operation.

Thanks for the operator manual link -- I did find one for my DCC 900 online in .pdf, but the service manual seems to be very scarce.

I just get a kick how overbuilt this unit is -- reminds me of a '70s deck.

jimj_wpg
01-05-2008, 04:09 PM
Found one of these units with remote in outstanding cosmetic condition for $15.00 at a local thrift, so I had to "rescue" it. Has an issue with the right channel randomly jumping to full output (POP!) on playback of analog cassettes, which I haven't been able to resolve. Haven't got it to fail-hard, yet.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showthread.php?t=139830&highlight=DCC+900

I seem to be having the same problem as you Wornears... I bought mine for $30 at the Winnipeg GW... on December 13th.

Three days later it started to make popping sounds in the right channel after playing an analog tape for about 15 minutes. It doesn't make a difference whether hooked up to the Fixed or Variable analog output.

I took it into a local audio repair shop over the holidays, and after charging me $20 just to look at it, because he tested it for 40 minutes, says that it works fine. But it doesn't.

See the rest of my description in the other thread I created. Sorry I should have just added to this thread, but didn't see it before.

Took it back today and it still pops. Wondering if it is a short circuit or not. I'm going to test it via the Headphone jack and see if it is just the analog output circuit or not. And I ordered 3 blank DCC tapes over the holidays, which should get here by the end of the month.

No issues with it -- just the random output level variability. I've about run out of my troubleshooting talent, so I'll likely be sending it to NakDoc for his laying on hands to bring it to full operation.

Have you taken it in and tried to fix the right channel problem?

Never thought I'd get into DCC, but I love the external design of this machine.

penkosey
01-05-2008, 05:20 PM
This is fascinating. I'd completely forgotten about this format. I've never even seen one of these decks (or it's media) in person.

I have a memory of sitting at a Sonic Drive-In in 1992, reading a Rolling Stone article about the new Digital Compact Cassette and MiniDiscs. For some reason, I remember they were auditioning U2's Achtung Baby and comparing the perceived sound of the album in DCC, MiniDisc, and CD.

I have a knack for remembering random things like that.

I just checked out that DCC website, and it says those decks don't support Type IV Metal playback. Interesting. Also, I never knew you couldn't record onto analog cassette with them...

I'm just amazed that you guys are still finding these cassettes! It definitely is a cool looking machine--almost looks like a VCR.

I got a MiniDisc deck as a birthday gift back in the '90s. I had a lot of fun with it. Last time I tried to use it, the buttons were acting weird...

Wornears
01-06-2008, 11:34 AM
The random "popping" on one channel of mine stopped when I cleaned the head. Radio Shack sells the chamois-tipped plastic swabs I used to do mine (P/N 44-1115) along with their brand of magic juice. Try cleaning the head (more than once) before looking for an electrical issue.

Do not play Metal cassette tapes in it.

Aage
01-06-2008, 12:35 PM
BUT, on the real upside, it has an internal converter to output analog tapes to Digital Out -- which I'll use to digitize many of my prized analog cassettes.

Wow, that's one handy feature right there, isn't it? All alone that makes it worth the purchase.

There was only one thing wrong with this format, and that was purely a perception thing: it looked too much like the format is was designed to replace gracefully, having the backwards capabilty of cassette play.

It was killed dead when Sony brought out the MiniDisc. Ahhh, a digital recording format that is optical disc, like CD, they thought. THIS is good.

Failing to grasp the fact that MiniDisc was compressed ("lossey"), and loving its simplicity, the small market that wanted to record digitally in those days went to MiniDisc.

Aage
01-06-2008, 12:38 PM
Now, I ain't no technician, but wouldn't it be possible to perhaps find the component causing the POP by using a hot iron and a can of Freezit to alternately warm then cool the likely bits?

jimj_wpg
01-06-2008, 09:15 PM
The random "popping" on one channel of mine stopped when I cleaned the head. Radio Shack sells the chamois-tipped plastic swabs I used to do mine (P/N 44-1115) along with their brand of magic juice. Try cleaning the head (more than once) before looking for an electrical issue.

Do not play Metal cassette tapes in it.

OK, thanks Wornears. I'll give that a try. I already have isoprocyl alcohol at home.

braxus
01-06-2008, 09:25 PM
Failing to grasp the fact that MiniDisc was compressed ("lossey"), and loving its simplicity, the small market that wanted to record digitally in those days went to MiniDisc.

Don't forget DCC also use "lossy" compression schemes. It wasn't any better then minidisc in that respect.

spirou38
03-15-2010, 09:00 AM
Anyone have any owner or service manuals I can pay for the originals or copies? I appreciate the help.

Hi WornEars,

If you need of the service manual, as I can't send it by mail because of its size ( it's a pdf file of about 20 MB ) I can upload it and give you the link.

I just repaired one that had a problem, as many of the DCC900 have : no more output neither with analog, nor with digital cassets. The problem comes from the surface mount capacitors of the PW03 read write board that lose their electrolit on the printed board and sometimes burn the board copper.

Thats a very nice machine, build like a tank.

Wornears
03-15-2010, 12:36 PM
Thanks for the offer! I still have the beast. You have a PM.

Turbokeu
03-16-2010, 01:04 AM
Don't forget DCC also use "lossy" compression schemes. It wasn't any better then minidisc in that respect.Hey, didn't kow that.
I never listened to a minidisc but I digitally/optically recorded some CD's to DCC tape and I was very pleased with the quality of the recordings.

Since august 2009 I use the DCC951 deck as an optical DAC for the optical audio output of my Samung UE32B7000 LED-TV to a Marantz 1060 amp (set the default input in the setup of the DCC to optical and press Record/Pause).
The quality of the DCC951 DAC's are very high and at least my deck is now used on a daily basis (it's even powered on 24/24). ;)

Wornears
03-16-2010, 01:14 AM
Interesting and clever application of the DCC -- probably the heaviest DAC in existence.

Turbokeu
03-16-2010, 02:08 AM
It's a well known trick but most people apply it on a more common Minidisc deck with digital inputs.

jan_stevns
03-16-2010, 04:05 AM
yep - Here , a worn out Sony dat (57 or 59) often get's a prolonged life as a extreemely well sounding DAC, long after the transport gave up working

dalpaul
10-10-2010, 03:46 PM
Hi WornEars,

If you need of the service manual, as I can't send it by mail because of its size ( it's a pdf file of about 20 MB ) I can upload it and give you the link.

I just repaired one that had a problem, as many of the DCC900 have : no more output neither with analog, nor with digital cassets. The problem comes from the surface mount capacitors of the PW03 read write board that lose their electrolit on the printed board and sometimes burn the board copper.

Thats a very nice machine, build like a tank.

i am having the same problem of this board.

i measured the RDMUX and ANA L/R. none has any meaningful output. i checked all the voltage at each pins. they are not exactly the same as service manual but close. it is hard to believe the IC is dead.

i heard the story of dried e-cap but i have not try yet.

spirou38
10-11-2010, 12:47 AM
i am having the same problem of this board.

i measured the RDMUX and ANA L/R. none has any meaningful output. i checked all the voltage at each pins. they are not exactly the same as service manual but close. it is hard to believe the IC is dead.

i heard the story of dried e-cap but i have not try yet.

Hi from France,

First check Vsense1 and Vsense2 voltage on the R / W board when the problem occur. I know that it is not very easy to check that !
If you have 0 Volt on those check points itís because the SMD caps are dry and caps acid has probably burned some copper tracks.

If you have the correct Voltage on Vsense1 and Vsense2, there are a lot of possibilities, but itís difficult to make a diagnostic without the deck. Some possibilities are : one of the flat cables is not correctly inserted ( or bad contacts, so try to clean the flat cables contacts ), or trouble on the digital card.

Have fun with your dcc.

dalpaul
10-11-2010, 08:24 AM
hi, Spirou38

thanks for the lead.

however, i can not figured out which pin is refer to Vsense1/2.

i only have philips TDA1317 datasheet and Technics RS-DC10 service manual.

would you please elaborate little on those too pins? for example, which # they are refer to?

what i guess is pin 10/9 of ref1/2 as ref2 served as switch between dcc and acc amplifier.

i fully agree the e-cap at pin 10/22/35 are served as AC feedback decoupling capacitor. if they dried out, the gain of each amplifier would be degraded.

however, if this is true. then the whole unit might facing the same problem as it is hard to believe only the e-cap on this head amplifier board dried out.

thanks

dalpaul
10-11-2010, 02:07 PM
a good new i like to share with you.

the DCC 900 has been fix.

the reason is one trace from pin 14 of J103, which is 8V to Q102/3/4 was broken.

these 3 transistors are supplying bias to the head.

it is thus simply.

although electrolytic capacitors still function but i had ordered some tantalum SMD capacitors to replace them.

a fact that i need to mention is there is some strange smell from the machine when i open the cover. it is very hard to forget.

i would assume this is the smell from the leaking electrolytic capacitors.

plugandpray
10-25-2010, 12:54 PM
:thmbsp: