Monday, May 12, 2008

Death of a CD Player

A couple of weeks ago, I was driving back from lunch listening to The Waifs on my CD player. I was on the very last track when it just stopped playing. Now I've had the occasional little skip and jump on CDs in the car before, so it took me a second to realize that nothing was happening. I pressed the little "display" button until it was showing me the elapsed time, and it was not moving. Huh. I ejected the CD, checked to ensure that there wasn't some sort of shmutz on it, and reinserted it. Nothing. I went through this exercise a few times hoping for a different result, as mentally challenged people will often do.

About this time, I arrived at the infamous parking decks of my office. I decided, of course, that it must be the CD itself, so I ejected the one that was there and inserted one of my Who CDs.

No joy. It wouldn't play. Idiot that I am, I went through this same exercise until, at one point, I pressed "Eject", the little screen scrolled over the word EJECT and..... nothing happened. Crap. Now I'm pushing buttons like some monkey in a lab trying to get a food pellet and the CD player is completely ignoring me. The bastard.

I pull out the user manual from the glove box and read that there's a way to reset the entire system. Just push this button and hold it while holding this other button down for 5 seconds while standing on one leg with your arms extended touching first one and then the other finger to your nose and reciting "Jabberwocky" backwards. It worked. It reset the entire system, including the clock and all the preset radio buttons. It didn't work. The CD still won't eject. So now I'm driving around with "Baba O'Reilly" in permanent limbo in my car.

I was able after a few resets to get it to the point that it tells me the correct time and I can listen to the radio, but as soon as I try to do anything with the CD player, it locks up completely and I have to reset the whole thing, clock, radio presets, again.

I went to the manufacturer's website and told them what had happened. They responded that it sounded like the problem was beyond their ability to help me with and directed me to a site where I could find the nearest place that services this particular model. Of course it's in Tibet and I have to deliver the unit there in person. So I went around to the web sites of various chains in the area (Circuit City, Best Buy, etc.). All they'll do is pull the unit from my car and send it off to the manufacturer. So that's weeks with no music at all in my car plus $50 just to diagnose the problem, and I fear the diagnosis is "DOA". At least now I have the radio.

So I'm in the market for a new car CD player. I don' t need anything super-fancy, just AM/FM and something that will play CDs and MP3s. I don't have (and don't intend to get) an iPod, so I don't need the capability to hook one up, I'm loath to spend the money to subscribe to satellite radio (see "About Me" on the right... Scottish, you know), and I don't want a multi-disk changer, so I think I can get a unit that does everything I want for a couple of hundred dollars.

Any suggestions out there? Make, model, a good place to buy? I am aware that not having an iPod makes me something of a Luddite, but surely there are people in the blogging community who still listen to CDs in their vehicles.


lacochran said...

Have you thought about taking your CD player out for a nice dinner and maybe a movie before you ask it to put out--er, spit out the CD?

Gilahi said...

I've taken my CD player everywhere for the past few years. It's been with me through good times and bad. I don't think that asking it to give up something that was mine to begin with is asking too much.

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