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The CD-i defective NV-RAM Timekeeper Battery issue

>> Sunday, April 22, 2007

From one day to another, some people might experience a problem with their CD-i player: at start-up, the player prompts the user to delete some items from memory (NV-RAM), but the player refuses to actually delete the selected item(s). As a result, the player does not load the player shell and cannot be used anymore. This article describes why the player behaves this way and how the problem can be resolved. The pictures are downsized thumbnails of Richard's Repair Guide, a french guide to repair several CD-i parts.

Every CD-i player is equiped with at least 8 Kbytes of non volatile memory (NV-RAM), that is used among others to store game scores, player shell settings, favourite picture selections, etc. One other important usage of the NV-RAM is to store the CSD (Configuration Status Descriptor). When a CD-i player is turned on, the operating system kernel is initialized and one of the startup routines includes the creation of the CSD. The CSD contains information about a certain CD-i system, such as the amount of NV-RAM available, which kind of pointing device is connected, the version of CD-RTOS used, but also wether a floppy disk drive is available, if a printer is connected, etc. If the CSD cannot be written, for example when the NV-RAM memory is full, the player should presen the user with an option to delete some items at startup, and should then proceed by loading the player shell.

In most Philips CD-i players, the most widely used NV-RAM IC is the M48T08 by STMicroelectronics. This chip, which is also called TimeKeeper, contains the real-time clock, a quartz cristall, a lithium cell and 8 Kbytes of static memory. The 'CD-i defective NV-RAM issue' occures from a problem in the lithium cell. According to documentation of the M48T08 provided by STMicroelectronics (which is available for download at the CD-i Technical Documentation / Hardware section on this site) the cell should be able to keep the stored data for at least 10 years, or even up to 25 years under optimum temperature conditions.

Unfortunately, this is not always the case. There are various factors which can affect the life time of the battery cell, which in such cases will be dramatically reduced. When the lithium cell does not function anymore, a tension difference will be detected and the memory will be turned into a 'write protect' mode. When the CD-i player is powered on, it cannot write the CSD and hence it presents the user with the memory screen. Of course the user will not be able to delete certain items because the NV-RAM can not be written to anymore. Hence, the player will become useless.

There is only one solution to fix this problem: replace the entire M48T08 IC with a new one. The M48T08 (official catalogue number: M48T08 150 PCI) can be ordered from virtually any electronics store for about US$ 25.00. Please note that this can only be taken care of by a certified electronic engineer or a truly skillfull amateur electrician, since it is a rather complicated operation. Also note that making any modifications to the player will permanently violate your garuantee.

The various Philips CD-i player models are based on different Printed Circuit Boards (see comparison table of all Philips consumer CD-i players on this site), and hence there are various implementations of the method used to mount the NV-RAM on the board. You might have to search for the location of the M48T08 IC. Please check if the identification of the IC states 'M48T08 150 PCI'. If not, your player might be equiped with a different NV-RAM module which cannot be replaced with a standard M48T08. You can use a soldering bolt to melt the tin that is used to fix the IC on the board. Be very carefull not to damage the board itself or other components. It might be best to use a pair of tweezers to undo each pin of the IC from the board after heating it with the soldering bolt. After you have removed the IC, make sure that there is no tin in any of the holes on the board where the NV-RAM was located so that there is no problem when placing the new one. Use the soldering-bolt and a tin piston to remove the tin that was left behind.

It might be best to mount a suitable IC socket on the board instead of directly putting the new NV-RAM on it because of these two important reasons: 1. Some CD-i boards have components and silicon tracks on both sides (like the Roboco board that is used for example in the CDI 450). When you use an IC socket it's easier to notice wether both sides of the board have tin on them in such a manner that the silicon tracks on both sides are connected to the IC holder. 2. When you are experiencing similar NV-RAM problems in the future, it's far more easy to replace the IC with a fresh one.

When the IC socket is mounted on the board, you can carefully put the M48T08 on it. Make sure that the IC is inserted correctly, take care of the pin that is marked 'pin 1'.`When the IC has been replaced correctly you can turn on the player. The CSD can now be written (you won't notice this) and the player will display the player shell. You can now use the CD-i player as before. Of course you'll have to replay all of your games to make sure you're number one at the high score lists again! :-)

As stated previously, this is a rather complicated operation. Do not take any actions if you are not completely sure what you are doing! Instead, contact your local Philips service organization or local electronics store and let them take care of things for you.

Interactive Dreams won't accept any responsibility from any damage to your equipment or any personal injuries that occured from carrying out these instructions!

More info here. Credits: ICDIA. Pictures: Topxicemu's Repair Guide.

3 reacties:

Calypso May 3, 2007 at 6:52 AM  

The polarity of the wires in this "book" is wrong.
The red wire + needs to be black - and the black wire - needs to be red +.

However the battery in the picture is connected correctly.
The outer contact of the battery is the positive + the inner contact is the minus -. Thats why it did work.

When the wires are cross connected, the battery gets shorted 0,7 V


Medical Elektronics Engineer
Member of the Blackmoon Project team

Bas May 4, 2007 at 8:48 PM  

Thanks for noticing, and I assume this is applicable on the picture only! While the battery insert is correct, the wires used are from the wrong colors.

More repair sections coming up ;)

Anonymous,  June 25, 2008 at 11:19 PM  

I don't know exactly what my problem is with my CD-I but it is a phillips one, I have no remote either, when I turn it on a bunch of colors show up them it goes to the menu screen, and when I put in a disc it does nothing, then I turn it off and on again (with the disc still in it) and the same thing happens, and on the player it says "ERROR" does anyone know whats wrong with mine, my email is PLEASE email me if anyone knows whats wrong.

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Games 0-F

3rd Degree - PF Magic
7th Guest, The - Philips Freeland Studios
Accelerator - SPC/Vision
Adventure of the Space Ship Beagle, The - Denshi Media Services
Affaire Morlov, L' - Titus
Alfapet - Adatek
Alice in Wonderland - Spinnaker
Alien Gate - SPC Vision
Alien Odyssee - Argonaut
Aliens Interactive CD-i - Dark Vision Interactive
Ange et le Demon, L' - Smart Move
Apprentice, The - SPC Vision
Apprentice 2, The - Marvin's Revenge - SPC Vision
Arcade Classics - Philips ADS / Namco
Asterix - Caesar’s Challenge - Infogrames
Atlantis - The Last Resort - PRL Redhill (Philips ADS)
Axis and Allies - CapDisc
Backgammon - CapDisc
Battle Chess - Accent Media (for Interplay)
Battleship - CapDisc
Big Bang Show - Infogrames
BMP Puzzle - Circle (for ZYX)
Brain Dead 13 - Readysoft
Burn:Cycle - Trip Media
Caesar's World of Boxing - Philips POV
Caesar's World of Gambling - CD-I Systems
Cartoon Academy - Bits Corporation
CD-i mit der Maus - SPC Vision
CD Shoot - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Change Angels Kick-off - HMO
Chaos Control - Infogrames
Christmas Country - Creative Media
Christmas Country - The Lost Levels - Creative Media
Christmas Crisis - DIMA
Clue - 3T Productions
Clue 2 - The mysteries continue - 3T Productions
Connect Four - CapDisc
Creature Shock - Argonaut (for Virgin)
Crime Patrol - CapDisc
Crow, The - Philips POV
Cyber Soldier Sharaku - Japan Interactive media
Dame was Loaded, The - Beam Software
Dark Castle - Philips POV
Dead End - Cryo
Defender of the Crown - Philips POV
Deja Vu - Icom Simulations
Deja Vu 2: Lost in Las Vegas - Icom Simulations
Demolition Man - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Demon Driver - Haiku Studios
Discworld - Teeny Weeny Games
Dimo's Quest - SPC Vision
Domino - Wigant Interactive Media
Down in the Dumps - Haiku Studios
Dragon's Lair - Superclub / INTL CDI
Dragon's Lair 2- Time Warp - Superclub / INTL CDI
Drug wars - Crime Patrol II - CapDisc
Dungeons & Dragons - PF Magic
Earth Command - Visionary Media
Effacer - CapDisc
Escape from Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Evidence - Microids
Falco & Donjon & The Sword of Inoxybur - BMi / Zephyr Studio
Family Games I - DIMA
Family Games II - Junk Food Jive - DIMA
Felix the Cat - Philips Sidewalk Studio
Flashback - Delphine/Tiertex (for US Gold)
Flinstones Wacky Inventions - Philips Funhouse
Fort Boyard: The Challenge - Microids
Frog Feast - Rastersoft

CD-i Games Index G-M

Go - CapDisc
Golden Oldies - SPC Vision
Golden Oldies II - SPC Vision
Golgo 13 - Japan Interactive Media
Great day at the races, A - CD-I Racing, Dove Films, Total Vision
Guignols de l'Info, Les - Canal+ Multimedia / INTL CDI
Heart of Darkness - Amazing Studio (for Virgin)
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The - Philips Kaleidoscope
Holland Casino CD-i - HMO
Hotel Mario - Philips Fantasy Factory
Inca - Coktel Vision
Inca 2 - Coktel Vision
International Tennis Open - Infogrames
Jack Sprite vs. The Crimson Ghost - PF Magic
Jeopardy - Accent Media
Jigsaw - Novalogic
Joe Guard - DIMA
John Dark: Psychic Eye - CapDisc
Joker's Wild!, The - Accent Media
Joker's Wild Jr., The - Accent Media
Kether - Infogrames
Kingdom - The far reaches - CapDisc
Kingdom 2 - Shadoan - CapDisc
Labyrinth of Crete - Philips Funhouse
Laser Lords - Spinnaker
Last Bounty Hunter, The - CapDisc
Legend of the Fort - Microids
Lemmings - DMA Design / Psygnosis
Lettergreep - Wigant Interactive Media
Lingo - SPC Vision
Link - The faces of evil - Animation Magic
Lion King, The - Virgin Interactive Entertainment
Litil Divil - Gremlin Graphics
Litil Divil 2: Limbo Years - Gremlin Graphics
Lords of the rising sun - Philips POV
Lost Eden - Cryo (for Virgin)
Lost Ride, The - Formula (Lost Boys)
Lucky Luke - The video game - SPC Vision
Mad Dog McCree - CapDisc
Mad Dog McCree II: The lost gold - CapDisc
Magic Eraser - Circle (for ZYX)
Mah-Jong - Japan Interactive Media
Making the Grade - 3T Productions
Man Before Man - Cryo
Marco Polo - Infogrames
Mario Takes America - CIGAM
Master Labyrinth - AVM AG/HQ
Mega Maze - CapDisc
Memory Works, The - Compact Disc Incorporated
Merlin's Apprentice - Philips Funhouse
Microcosm - Philips Freeland Studios
Micro Machines - Codemasters
Monty Python's Invasion from the Planet Skyron - Daedalus CD-i Productions
Mutant Rampage - Body Slam - Animation Magic
Myst - Sunsoft (for Cyan)
Mystic Midway - Rest in pieces - Philips POV
Mystic Midway 2 - Phantom Express - Philips POV

Compact Disc Interactive

Compact Disc Interactive

Games N-Z

Name that tune - Philips Fantasy Factory
New Day - Bits Corporation
NFL Hall of Fame Football - Philips POV
Othello - HMO
Pac Panic - Philips ADS / Namco
Palm Springs Open - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Pool - SPC Vision
Pinball - CapDisc
Plunderball - ISG Productions
Power Hitter - ABC Sports / Fathom Pictures
Power Match - Two's Company
Pursue - BEPL
Pyramid Adventures - Compact Disc Incorporated
RAMRaid - PRL Redhill
Return To Cybercity - Fathom Pictures
Riddle of the Maze, The - Fathom Pictures
Riqa - Bits Corporation
Rise of the Robots - Mirage Technologies
Sargon Chess - Spinnaker
Scotland Yard Interactive - AVM AG/HQ
Secret Mission - Microids
Secret Name of Ra, The
Shaolin's Road - Infogrames
Skate Dude - Viridis
Smurfen, De - De Telesmurf - Infogrames
Solar Crusade - Infogrames
Solitaire - BEPL
Space Ace - Superclub / INTL CDI
Space Ranger - Studio Interactive
Special Operations Squadron - SPC Vision
Sport Freaks - SPC Vision
Star Trek - Philips POV
Star Wars: Rebel Assault - LucasArts
Steel Machine - SPC Vision
Striker Pro - Rage
Strip Poker Live - Greenpig Production
Strip Poker Pro - Interactive Pictures
Super Fighter - The Super Fighter Team / C&E
Super Mario's Wacky Worlds - NovaLogic
Surf City - Philips Sidewalk Studios
Tangram - Eaglevision Interactive Productions
Taco's Toyroom Troopers - Creative Media
Tankdoodle - Creative Media
Tetris - Philips POV
Tetsuo Gaiden - Creative Media
Text Tiles
Thieves' World - Electronic Arts
Tic-tac-toe - BEPL
Tox Runner - ISG Productions
Treasures of Oz - Philips Kaleidoscope
Ultra CD-i Soccer - Krisalis
Uncover featuring Tatjana - SPC Vision
Uninvited - Icom Simulations
Video Speedway - ISG Productions
Vinnie the Pinguin - Pandemonium Labs
Voyeur - Philips POV
Voyeur 2 - Philips POV
Whack-a-Bubble - Creative Media
What's it worth - Marshall Cavendish Multimedia / Spice
Who shot Johnny Rock? - CapDisc
Wordplay - BEPL
World Cup Golf - US Gold
Zaak Sam, De - Toneelschool NL
Zelda - The wand of Gamelon - Animation Magic
Zelda's Adventure - Viridis
Zenith - Radarsoft
Zombie Dinos From The Planet Zeltoid - Philips POV

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