Sony MZ-N1 write head repair

You may need to do this repair to the MZ-N1, MZ-N505, MZ-N707, or other units, if you find your machine is writing silence instead of audio, skipping during recording, or not writing anything at all to the disc.

This was initially observed on the MZ-N1 but the SonyInsider forum thread had several instances of MZ-N505 and MZ-N707 units with the same problem, the procedure should be similar for those machines.

The image below is an example of a broken write head. Users on the now defunct Sony Insider Forums posted that patching the broken cable was able to fix their device.

Find an old pair of headphones that you don't mind destroying. When you strip one of the cords you'll notice wires that are wrapped around some string. Separate two strands of wire that are different in color from each other. The wires should be extremely thin and lightweight:

Cut a longer length than the original flex cable you are replacing. Pre-tin the wire tips. Carefully remove the write head arm from the MZ-N1. Do not apply too much force on it or it will bend. (For this particular repair i removed the damaged flex pcb but you can use it if you wish to scrape the traces and jump to it instead). Solder the two wires to the two contact points under the write head and thread the wires through the two holes as shown:

Make a path similar to the original flex cable, giving enough length so the write head can move side to side without tugging the wires:

Tape down the wires so they stay tucked as close to the MZ-N1 assembly as possible to avoid damage when putting the case back on. Make sure the wires are taped down to the assembly running underneath the write head arm:

Next, solder the wire ends to the main pcb. Be careful not to put them in the wrong order. Look at the original flex cable for reference.

Have fun recording on your repaired Sony MZ-N1!

Credit goes to pureangst for the original tutorial on the Sony Insider Forum.

Be aware when removing the front panel PCB that the screws are driven into plastic and have a high chance they will no longer grip for a second installation.

  • guides/repair/n1_write_head.txt
  • Last modified: 16 months ago
  • by coryw