In the last part, I made the tray operational. It's a precondition for this part: Inserting a CD.
Third Problem: Stuck Sled
In the opened tray, I put a random CD from my shelf. Then I pressed the close button. The tray closed, and a few seconds later, the player showed the number of tracks and total playback time. Yaaay! 🎉 The optical pickup seems to be working.
Daringly I pressed the play button, the disc started spinning, and then...
Nothing. No playback. Just silence.
I also noticed that the characteristical noise of the moving sled was missing when I changed through the tracks.
My first thought was that the laser was worn out after all. But then, on the other hand, the pickup would not have been able to read the CD's table of contents. It rather seems that the sled was stuck.
I disassembled the drive again. The pickup moves on a metal shaft and a plastic strip. Both were greased. I carefully removed the old lubrication with cotton buds and isopropanol, then applied a tiny bit of fresh silicone grease.
Next attempt... And this time, it was successful! After about 15 years, I heard music from my good old CD player again!
But I'm not done yet, as I already spotted some more problems. The player refuses to play higher track numbers, and the sled is still making strange noises on a track change. Also, the volume potentiometer crackles awfully and needs some cleaning. More of that in the next parts.