MD Service Mode Warning

What happened to these users could happen to you!

(A service manual might have helped. They are available from Sony Publications,
see the MiniDisc FAQ for the address.)


Yesterday I entered test mode, just for curiosity, just to see what error rate would look like and things.... I thought I didn't change anything, but I guess I did. Now my JE500 is playback only! Start a recording and it says "retry" for a couple of seconds, then it gives up and says "disc error". Of course TOC writing doesn't work either.

Anyone has any idea how the different things in test mode works? How to make writing work again? Any help appreciated! Thanks.

Norway, December 1997

About a month ago I posted to the list stating that I was unable to record with my 701. After tons of testing and taking the thing apart dozens of times, I concluded that I was S.O.L. I ordered another 701 from S.D., and when I got it today one of the first things I did was take note of ALL test parameters for my new 701. After going back and comparing this with my non-recording unit, I found quite a few things that had changed (some that I didn't remember touching). I went and set all options to what my new unit said was default. I fired up the old unit and viola! it records.

Wisconsin, USA, February 1998

When I first got my 702 I tried entering test mode, and at the first screen I pushed the >> button twice (thinking it would bring up a menu). Upon inspection today, I discovered that this moves the optical head. Big mistake.

So today I did the auto-align and things seem better so far. This mistake may have been performed by others too, so if you did this, here's how to fix it.


  1. Enter test mode by holding Enter/Sync, DISPLAY and PLAY at the same time. TEST appears.
  2. Press BASS/DEL
  3. AUTO1 appears
  4. Press PLAY
  5. Adj.Ok appears and my problems were fixed. (Press STOP to exit test mode)

Help! I seemed to have changed some of the parameters on the MZ-E2 test mode. Is there any way to change them back to the factory defaults?

-Alabama, USA, Sept 1998

I entered test mode, just to see how it look like.... I thought I didn't change anything, but I guess I did. Now my MDSJE500 is playback only! Recording doesn't work and TOC writing doesn't work either.

When I record something I can't play it. When I eject the disc and reinsert it the MD RECORDER always says "Blank Disc".

Is there any way to fix my MD recorder?

Please help me.

Croatia, March 1999

I was trying the "Nintendo sequence" for getting my MZ-R50 into service mode to disable the SMCS (I have a Holly Cole CD that won't copy to minidisc - it splits a 40 something minute CD into about 300 tracks, with breaks between each of them). I am fairly sure I didn't actually change any parameters, though I did press buttons at random to see what they did (very stupid move). Took the battery out, popped it back in, hit play, and all I got was a rapid series of "pings". At this point I was very scared. Turns out I was lucky; that minidisc is now in the bin - I guess I destroyed the TOC, but everything else seems to work fine.

My Big Tip: leave service mode alone unless you have a few spare minidisc units...

October 1999

I got into service mode and of course I now have a non-functional MD unit. Does anyone have the default setting for the MZ-R2, or an outline of the abbreviations in service mode. Luckily this is my experimentation device so I can do anything with it. Thanks for the advice.

He follows up

I found your site, got excited, got into service mood, changed everthing, lost control, lost use of my Minidisc unit, found another owner, got the defaults, and now would like to send them to you so that if this happens to anyone else the can regain the use of their player. Mine now works again.

January 2000

I am writing this mail after searching all the Minidisc pages that you and the others have. I have a Sony MZ-R90 MD recorder. About a week ago I got into its service mode wrongly. I don't know how I did it and can't get out of it. I took its battery out and it didn't work. I think it has an onboard battery. What should I do to get out of the service mode????
From subsequent email it appears this user actually got into service by accident, as a result of his battery running down. -eaw

Turkey, April 2000

Help I was in the service mode on the R55 and changed the MECHA setting. I did not mean too all I want to do is to get it back to the default setting so I can open my mini disc again.

USA, June 2000

I have the Sharp MD-MS701 and I tried the test (aka "service") mode for fun. Suddenly, the recorder couldn't read the TOC. I tried it over and over, but I seemed nothing would fix it. Then I had a brainstorm. I thought if the Minidisc Recorder is like a RAM in my PC it would forget all adjustments if I switched off the power. So I did it, I pulled off the recharge-cable and then the rechargeable battery. After I applied power and switched it on again and it ran! Now a stone has fallen from my heart. This might be important information for some other Sharp 701 owners.

Germany, August 2000

I was wondering if anyone has documented the default bios settings for the MZ-R50 or if someone could take the time to check them for me...My little cousin was playing with my minidisc player and I think I had left it in test mode the night before (I have to put it in test mode to fix a LCD problem, my screen is blank after 3 days unless I go into test mode and turn it off again) anyhow, I turned it on and the laser was clicking beyond the minidiscs specs....I took it to sony and they told me it was gonna cost me 80$ for them to retune the bios using the if anyone out there can save me 80$, i'd appreciate it greatfully!

USA, March 2001

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