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Can a magnet damage a DVD player?

Old 12-30-02, 01:49 AM
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Can a magnet damage a DVD player?

Can a refrigerator magnet damage a DVD player? I received a very inexpensive Mustek DVD player as a gift. At one point, someone touched it with a refrigerator magnet, which caused the DVD player to turn on and start playing. Ever since then, there have been a number of times where the DVD player hasn't worked; it seems that the player is unable to read the DVD. A DVD put in the machine would appear like it was constantly spinning, and the image would freeze or sometimes different shots would combine in one image. Other times, the player appeared unable to recognize the DVD in the first place. There would be repeated spinning, and the screen would indicate "No disc." When that happened, the eject button would often stop working (and I would have to turn the DVD player off and on again to be able to eject the DVD). However, at other times, DVD's have played fine. The DVD instruction manual said pretty clearly to "Never bring a magnet or magnetized object near the unit." However, a Best Buy clerk did not think a magnet could damage a DVD player, and the person who touched the player with the magnet did not think he had caused the player to malfunction as it has. So could a refrigerator magnet have caused all the problems I experienced? If not, do you have any idea what caused the problem and how it could be fixed? Thanks for any help you can give.
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Old 12-30-02, 07:38 AM
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I am not an EE but it would seem to me that if the magnetic field was strong enough it might damage the chips or flash the memory on the players board.
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Old 12-30-02, 09:19 AM
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A magnet can disrupt or damage just about any microchip if it's strong enough, just like it can on your computer. It can wipe out flash memory, neutralize a chips' memory altogether, etc.. Magnets are not your friend.
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Old 12-31-02, 08:01 AM
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Thanks, Brian and renaldow. So I guess my bottom line question is: is it clear enough that touching the refrigerator magnet to the DVD player is what caused the damage that I would be justified in seeking reimbursement from the person who did that? (I can't think of anything else that happened to the DVD player that could have caused that damage. The player itself was only bought 3 or 4 months before.)
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Old 12-31-02, 08:54 AM
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I'm an EE and it is not "clear" to me, but I suppose it is remotely possibly. The magnetic field will probably not hurt any of the chips. A static magnetic field definitely won't. A moving magnetic field can induce a current and voltage in one or more turns of wire, so depending on how rapidly the magnetic was moved, it is possible ( but not likely) that it induced enough voltage to damage something.

Another possibility is that the player uses relays to actuate AC power to most of the unit, or uses relays to actuate certain motors, etc. Relays are magnetic devices in which an electromagnet actuates an electrical switch. The magnet might have had enough stray field to actuate a relay. If actuated out of proper sequence, again there is a slight risk it could damage something.

A third possibility is that the magnet attracted a piece of magnetic material (steel or iron) strongly enough to bend it.

All seem very unlikely, but I can't say for sure it didn't cause it.
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