YouTube - MiniDisc Repair - Panasonic SJ-MR230 - fixing super-sensitive buttons!

I recently realized that I hadn't showcased any Panasonic models even though I have a few! I know I fixed some before starting this blog/YouTube, and I've been more focused on Sony and Sharp models with a Kenwood thrown in once.

Here's a fun one, then! The Panasonic SJ-MR230, affectionately called the "answering machine" for those that know what those are... It was a nice solid, chunky player that came with a dock and speakers (powered by the adapter going into the dock) that surprisingly aren't terrible considering how small (and old!) they are.

It was released in late 2002 as a smaller, non-NetMD sibling to the SJ-MR250. 

This particular model was sold as "working when docked" and yes, it was working, but there was a problem... the face buttons, specifically the Stop/Play/Pause and Fwd/Rev buttons were SUPER sensitive where brushing the surface of them would cause the player to pause/play or skip tracks.

This can happen as older models get dirt or dust in the button area or if the buttons have been "smashed down" for too long and a bit of padding may help.

Please check out the video for the walkthrough, but for those that would rather get an idea of it by reading, here goes:

First off, I will say that this Panasonic model has an interesting assembly/disassembly process. It's unlike the Sony or Sharp models you may have seen me work on.

  • Since the goal is the front panel buttons, we start with the screws around the top lid
  • Then, we remove the bottom screws, battery door, and remove the bottom case
  • From here, you'll notice it's still difficult to remove the lid. 
  • After some careful inspection, you'll see the lid and MD tray are actually "hooked" together differently on each side. 
  • One side of the top lid has an "L"-shaped hook that catches onto the MD tray. You can gently space them apart enough to separate them.
  • The other side a rectangular "U"-shaped bracket that hooks onto the MD tray. You can gently separate them if you slightly close the lid.
  • After that, you'll want to unclip the flex cable where the display connects to the main board
  • From here, you're still "stuck" until you notice that the plastic trim around the body is actually removable and is hiding some of the mechanism we need to remove the top lid.
  • From the rear/bottom of the device, gently push in/pull down the plastic trim until you can work it out of the hole that each end goes into. Do this on the left and right side.
  • Move it gently aside for now, we don't have to remove it
  • Now as you gently move the top lid, it can completely lift out of the body, taking some hinge pieces with it.
  • Once you have the top lid removed, flip it over and remove one screw holding the display components.
  • Once you have that removed, take out the display board and unscrew one screw holding the 4-button array.
  • On each button, I added a tiny piece of self-adhesive foam (kids/crafters often use this to decorate other objects). It's thin (~ 1mm) and self-adhesive so I cut some 2mm x 2mm squares and placed them on all 4 button pads.

From here, I reassembled everything and now the buttons are firm and work properly. Nothing super-touch-sensitive!

This fix has been done on other models as well - as long as they use those metallic dome-shaped buttons, this could help fix your issue!