It'a good buy for the Unitilite

You may have read many complains about the CD drawer jam on top of the fact that people don’t use much CD player now a day. I had the same issue about a month ago. I asked my dealer and was told that the unit should be sent to an authorized dealer for repair. Before sending my unit to a local Naim dealer, I did several tests. It seemed the CD drawer didn’t have enough force to push the CD door that has a strong spring. When I pried the door open and hit stop, the drawer came out smoothly. My conclusion was that the mechanical parts were working fine. It contradicts with many Naim dealers’ claim that the entire CD mechanical unit must be replaced and that would cost $800-$1000 plus two-way shipping. I sent an email to the Naim technical department and asked how to open the unit cover and was replied that I would have to unscrew the four feet of the unit. I follow the instruction, but the cover wouldn’t come out.

I have been a cassette tape lover and own three Nakamichi cassette tape players: Dragon, CR4A and CR3A. Occasionally, one of the players needed service, and I always brought it to a local vintage electronic repair shop. I emailed the technician and asked if he wanted to take a look on my Unitilite. He told me that he should be able to fix it. So I dropped it off and got his call just after 24 hours that the unit has been fixed. Oh, my lord! When I went to the shop to pick it up, he explained to me that he had to remove the four screws next to the four feet, not the feet as instructed by the Naim technical support. On top of that, there was a secret hook that was covered by a tiny rubber button in the front center of the bottom of the unit. Most importantly, he had found the cause of the issue: the CD drawer control belt has worn out. All he has to do was to replace the belt, and the unit now is working like new.

When I got home and test the unit, I happened to discover that with the drawer opens, we can use a tweezers to replace the belt in 10 seconds without opening the cover! I can’t believe that Naim conceals the instruction to open the cover and even intentionally instructed me the incorrect way to open it. I also can’t believe that replacing a 50-cent belt in 10 seconds could cost the Unitilite owner almost $1000! After all, Naim Unitilite is a great unit that has very clean sound from many sources. If you see a Unitlite on sale for about $1200 - $1500, it’s a steal.

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Pto, thank you for the great post ! Indeed Naim did wrong it with belt force opebing vs spring force closing. Do I understand correctly that guy at the shop opened the case, when you find the way how to replace without opening ? Did you make any photo or can do it ?

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Yes, he opened the case and replaced the belt. I saw and suspected the belt, but the technician is like my friend for many years. I would rather let him do it. It’s just the belt, and so many Unitilite had this problem. Why wouldn’t Naim just tell people how to fix it? They didn’t even tell me correctly how to open the case! What do they think?

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@pto This is very useful information because I have the same problem on my old Unitilite and there is zero information available either from Naim or by googling it. Thank you posting and welcome to our community!

Best

David

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My unitilite suffers from this. As I don’t play CDs on it these days it is not something that conerns me to be honest. In fact I keep forgetting that it doesn’t work properly. On the rare occasions when I do, I have found that manually opening it with my finger allows the tray to operate normally so never even considered getting it fixed at vast expense. Now thanks to this excellent tip might investigate fixing it myself.

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Same here, I discovered ages ago that draw flap could be pulled down allowing the draw to move freely.

There’s a saying ‘couldn’t punch your way out of a wet paper bag’, that’s what the draw feels like. Not enough power to force draw open.

I’ve toyed with removing the draw cover…yes dust becomes an issue.

I do find that often a third attempt in a row to automatically open seems to work, but not always.

I’d be interested to know what the belt is and where you obtain one in UK.

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@pto, once again thank you. Believe many of us do appreciate your post !

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Any idea of the belt size and is it flat or round?

You found the other thread:)

It’s square. The belts are usually sold in a set. You take the old belt out, then choose on the set that is slightly smaller.

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Here is the picture of the Naim Unitilite with open cover. May be this is the only picture that the Unitilite’s owners can find on the internet.

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Well following advice here, I bought a pack of drive bands on eBay and took the old band out without having to open up the Unitilite at all. In fact taking the cover off the Unitilite wouldn’t help. You can see the band through the open CD drawer. It’s the only band you can see, so no risk of getting the wrong one. Don’t forget to start the door opening off before taking the power off the Unitilite. It will likely jam but once it’s started to come out, it’s easy to pull it the rest of the way.

I chose a new one just a bit smaller than the one I took out and put that in place. It looks very difficult but with a pair of tweezers it took me only about 10 secs to get it in and around the two wheels. It went in at my first attempt.

To help others I can say the original band is about 25-30mm in diameter. And it’s a square cross-section. The band I fitted was a bit thinner and I suspect it may not last as long as I might like, but I have about another 20 of that size and now I know what to do to change it if I need to.

And it works again!

Thanks very much for the help.

Best

David

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So the major Achilles heel of the Unitilite has now been addressed with an easy and cheap fix. Excellent. Well done OP for posting - I am sure many owners will appreciate this fix and the money it saves.

Also it will save the remaining stock of mechs for when a real failure needs sorting out.

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Just waiting for my new rubber band to arrive (28mm inner dia and 88 circ).

I took the old one off and then put it back on to ensure I could do it. Very straight forward.

The only potential issue I can see, is that if you go too small it could place strain on the two spindles/cog.

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Good job David! As I mentioned from beginning, I could have tried to replace the belt myself without opening the cover. Nonetheless, I would like to see the parts inside the unit, and had my technician friend to take care of it for me. As we can see, we didn’t know or we weren’t sure that replacing the belt would resolve the issue.
At least now the Unitilite’s owners won’t have to pay a thousand dollars to replace a 50-cent belt. Comparing to other units, Naim Unitilite is a great unit that I’m using daily for my computer with two sets of A-B speakers: The Focal Electra 1008 Be and the Focal Dome 2.1.

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Hi porkyg where did you buy the belt.
Trying to get that size but no luck

Well my belt arrived, put it on, but no change. I suspect the measurement I took is not accurate as the belt was old. Therefore I’d suggest going for the kit as shown above, which seems to be available on a couple of sites.

I bought my belt kit on eBay. I searched for cassette deck drive belts as a search for CD player belts didn’t show up the packs of belts. I paid about £10 for 50 belts in various sizes. They were a bit thin, as I said before, but anyway it was a trivial cost to get it going again.

Best

David

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I was able to repair my UnitiLite with a square belt of 1.2 mm thick and 27 mm circular diameter. It has exactly the same size and thickness as the original one. The old belt had become stiff and lost its elasticity, and by that its grip.
@Richard.Dane: perhaps you can check if the factory is aware of this information. It is perhaps also good to send it to the distributors and dealers. It looks like more units have this issue and it is so easily repaired.

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