How to Fix a CD Player in a Boombox: A DIY Guide

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Typically, you will hear the sound skipping when you play a CD. While this could mean that something is wrong with the track, it could also be an indication that you have a faulty CD player. After all, most CD players in boomboxes have outlived their intended lifespan, which is why knowing how to fix a CD player in a boombox is important.

We are well aware that this article serves no purpose to the current generation, but there are folks who still have a massive collection of audio CDs of their favorite artists. On and off, they tend to use their CD player to listen to them. However, CD players occasionally tend to break down. We’ll only understand why if we know how it works.

How Does a CD Player Work in a Boombox?

The CD player in a boombox is powered by a rotating motor on a plastic disc stamped with a digital code. This code represents the specific sounds.

When the CD is rotated by the player at high speed, the audio on the CD, which is lesser than the width of the human hair, is then read by the laser beam. This produces an electric stereo sound signal. This signal then gets transferred out to headphones or speakers and amplifiers that produce the audio.

Why Does a CD Player in a Boombox Stop Working?

Unfortunately, CD players can either work or not work. These players can be quite fragile. However, it is not always the CD player’s fault if there is an issue. At times, you may be trying to play a dirty or damaged CD in the player. While most of the parts in the CD player are trouble-free, there are some that are moving parts.

While we will give you the solutions on fixing a CD player in a boombox, it is always ideal to hand the player over to a technician. The most an average man can do is clean the machine or the CD thoroughly or just replace the wiring.

Identifying the Problem

It is quite easy to figure out that there is an issue with the CD player. However, the solution may not be as obvious. Some ways you will be able to identify the issues include:

  • If the sound from the player is all distorted
  • When the CD player’s tray does not close or open smoothly
  • If you find the CD constantly skipping
  • If the CD appears to be playing but has absolutely no audio
  • If the CD player just does not work at all

Typically, these are the most common problems you will find in a faulty CD player. Now let us talk about how you could possibly solve these problems.

How to Fix a CD Player in a Boombox

Before you even begin fiddling around with your CD player, you must disconnect the device from the power source or pull out the batteries from the boombox. Preferably, wait for at least an hour after that before you try fixing the player.

  1. The Lens

Cleaning the lens could be the simplest way to get your CD player up and running. Always use a lens cleaner to clean the lens in the CD player properly. To reach the lens, you will have to unscrew the CD player’s top cover. The lens will be adjacent to the central disc drive.

To clean it, take a small amount of the cleaning solution either on a cotton swab or on the applicator that came along with the cleaning kit. If you aren’t using a lens cleaner kit, you can use isopropyl alcohol.

Rub the applicator in small circles, very lightly against the lens until you find it looking clearer than before. Let this dry thoroughly for a while. Thereafter, you can try playing your CD to test.

In most cases, this should solve the issue. However, if the CD is still skipping, then it is most likely a hardware issue.

  1. Hardware Issues

The CD player has a couple of hardware components that could potentially cause the CD to skip. In such cases, you will have to unscrew the CD player to open the case. Then, locate the potentiometer and the read head.

Depending on the type of boombox you have, you may also need to remove the bottom cover in order to get access to the electronics board. Do note that touching these parts could potentially void your player’s warranty.

  • Fixing a Misaligned Potentiometer

This is placed right above the laser and if misaligned, could cause issues with the player. This is typically represented by a square piece that is small and has a plastic disk on the top. This disk has a slot that is adjustable by using a screwdriver with a small flat head.

Before you start to make any adjustments, it is imperative that you mark the spot with an indelible marker so you can return it to its original position if needed. After that, gently adjust the potentiometer and locate the exact position where the player can recognize the disk and can play it without skipping.

It goes without saying that this is entirely a trial and error process. Make small rotations of +/- 30 degrees, as these would work the best. As an added measure of safety, when you test the player, put the case back on.

  • Fixing a Misaligned CD Read Head

If you find the player working normally but not able to find any audio on the CD and constantly shows an error message, that is when there is an issue with the read head. This is also represented in the same way as the potentiometer.

To fix this issue, grab a flathead screwdriver and adjust the plastic disc to realign the read head. You will be required to keep the boombox plugged in. Keep hitting play and stop until all the adjustments fix the player. Again, keep putting the case back on the player every time you test it to avoid shocks.


Certain issues in a CD player are easy to fix, while others require some sort of technical skill. While knowing how to fix a CD player in a boombox could benefit you, we would still suggest to handover the boombox to a qualified technician if there is a hardware issue.


Hey there, my name is Scott and I am the creator of this site. Being a kid from the 80s, I have a soft spot for boomboxes and want to let everyone know how cool they still are today.

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william bellmore - March 30, 2019

I just bought one and can not get the cd to start

Louise Shield - August 14, 2019

I have an AIWI CD Player boom box the arm does not catch the CD therefore the CD wont play. I cant get anyone in my area (Inverness, Scotland) to sort this)

linda evans - August 3, 2020

i bought a cd player one month ago and its just stops out of the blue but cd is still spinning fast. I have cleaned it and cds over and over.

    Scott - September 11, 2020

    Hi Linda, since it is probably still under warranty, I wouldn’t go DIY on it. Best to have it checked under warranty.

Raymond Marshall - July 18, 2021

Most lower priced boom boxes have the same problem. When about 45 minutes have played, the last 20-25 minutes of the CD has the problems. You hear like scratchiness or skipping, progressively getting worse as the CD goes on towards the end of the program, which is farther to the outside edge. It doesn’t matter if it is a WAV or MP3 format. My suggestion is if you burn your own CD’s, don’t put anymore than 45 or 50 minutes of music on it.

Grace - August 27, 2021

Hi l have a CD cassette boom box hardly used noticed took a while to read CD then when it did played for a little while then no sound from anything nor radio it barely used bu5 no5 under warranty it’s $90 not worth going to get fixed l think but got from my son fo4 a present and it’s new still thanks grace

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