FTGH: Pioneer DRM-602X 6-CD changer

Tothwolf tothwolf at concentric.net
Sun Jan 18 01:15:25 CST 2015

On Sat, 17 Jan 2015, Chuck Guzis wrote:
> On 01/16/2015 12:08 PM, Mouse wrote:
>> I have this six-disc CD changer by Pioneer which I do not expect to 
>> have further use for - or, more precisely, the chance of future use is 
>> small enough I don't consider it worth the space it takes to store it.
> I had a couple of those--I don't remember the brands--both were standard 
> half-height devices.  One was SCSI, the other ATAPI.  2X devices. 
> There's very little software out there that knows to take advantage of 
> the changer feature.
> One gave up the ghost with 3 CDs inside--it wasn't simple to get them 
> out.
> They eventually joined a bunch of other CD-ROM readers and were recycled 
> when I went to CD-RW type devices, which were also much faster.
> To the best of my recollection, both were purchased via the old OnSale 
> auction site.

These Pioneer cdrom changers are extremely well made. I own quite a number 
of them and have serviced tons of them over the years. The outer metal 
cover slides off after removing 6 screws and the pc board hinges up to 
allow for servicing of the changer's mechanical parts. They are quite 
complex and have a lot of moving parts, but they are 100% serviceable.

These particular changers present themselves to the system as one SCSI id 
with multiple LUNs, which most OS will then map as 6 individual drives. 
The changer will automatically switch discs when you attempt to access a 
different drive. One major limitation (intentionally done by Pioneer as a 
halfbaked scheme to help prevent music piracy) is that these changers 
cannot do digital audio extraction or digital audio playback (analog audio 
playback works fine). I seem to remember Pioneer eventually released a 
firmware update (2 physical EPROM chips) for the 624X and maybe 604X to 
allow CDDA, but I don't know about the earlier models.

Always, always, always eject the 6-disc magazine before moving or shipping 
these changers. They originally had a bright yellow warning label on top 
of the changer indicating this, but a lot of people would peel it off. If 
you don't eject the magazine, one of the disc trays will almost certainly 
swing out and damage the optics. I received a number of changers damaged 
just this way, including a DRM-600 where a disc tray shattered part of the 
support structure (the 602X, 604X and later were designed differently but 
the optics can still be damaged).

I'm not sure if the service manuals are still available from Pioneer, but 
I still have original hardcopies of the 604X and 624X manuals. [I would 
like to find a set of Pioneer DRM-5004X service manuals if someone reading 
this in the future happens across any.]

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