Sony Error Code C:31:23 DIY Fix
created by Jason Katman 2.17.08

I hate this error code.

I've had this infrequent code with my Sony GV-D1000 walkman video deck ever since I bought it back in January 2003. Only until recently, I Googled this code to find that others have ran into this same pesky problem with other Sony video devices. I always thought the problem was tape brand related as the code would rear its ugly head during playback and mostly during rewind jobs on either Sony brand or Panasonic brand mini-dv tapes. My assumptions were close, but not close enough! Isn't the internet great???

I came across this forum:

Which upon reading, found a DIY fix from an Iranian fella by the name of Ahmed Jasim. He explains that a 'white lock pin' is the culprit allowing the black rubber roller to become out of place which in turn makes the Sony device throw error code C:31:23. I've read about the 'bitch smacking' you can do to Sony devices throwing this code. I didn't feel like bitch slapping my tape deck for various reasons. Hence my reasons to go with Ahmeds method.

Btw, this damn code prevented me from selling this Sony tape deck to a potential Craigslist customer tonight!
This angered me and pushed me to try and fix the deck and to create this web page!

So here we are.

I figured I'd help out Ahmed Jasim by creating this how-to page with detailed pictures explaining his procedure in getting passed this hellish error code and getting on with your personal video project!

For starters, you're doing this fix AT YOUR OWN RISK.
Be very careful when performing the tasks below and to not damage or lose any of the small parts inside your camera!!!

For the record, I do not know how different Sony video camera internals are vs. my Sony tape deck (hopefully very simliar). I hope you can use this article in the same fashion with your Sony video camera ;)

  1. First off, here's a picture of my Sony mini-DV tape deck -- with error code being flashed, mind you!


  2. I carefully remove the tape deck's tape cover:

  3. Now I've gained better access to the internals through the top (mini-DV tape is still in the deck):

    With the tape ejected, you can better see what I'm trying to access :

  4. Another angle.
    This is the "White Lock Pin" Ahmed speaks of and black rubber roller; source of the C:31:23 problem.
    What happens is this white lock pin becomes unseated by moving upwards somehow and allows the black rubber roller to raise upwards which in turn causes the tape to be read funny (or something to this nature) causing the code.

    I was rather amazed at how easily both White Lock Pin and black rubber roller can be removed with a pair of need nose pliers.
    Makes you wonder how the the hell does the white pin stay in if the deck is ever turned upside down?!?:

    When I took these photos, I realized something, the white lock pin looked a bit cracked - and it is! I wonder how long its been like this?

  5. The next step is to cut a piece of plastic tubing from a ball point pen's ink tube - for replacing the white lock pin.
    Try cutting to the exact size of the White Lock Pin if you can. If it's a tad longer, it will work, just don't go overboard.

    I compared the newly cut ink tube piece to the White Lock Pin and noticed the inner diameter is different. This is a potential problem as the ink tube
    piece may not produce a secure-snug fit onto the metal shaft which both rubber roller and White Lock Pin reside on.

    I looked for another ball point pen. I found one that contained an ink tube that had a smaller inner diameter close to the original White
    Lock Pin's diameter. It will suffice for now until I find a better solution (such as shrink tubing).You may have to do the same when
    replacing your Lock Pin.

  6. Carefully place the newly cut ink tube onto the metal shaft, in place of the old White Lock Pin.
    Remember, this new tube will not fit as snug as the White Lock Pin, but it should magically make your error code go away because its properly
    keeping the black rubber roller in check.

  7. I placed the same mini-DV tape back into the deck that was giving me the error code. With my fingers crossed and my hopes high, I hit the play button:

    I popped in another tape just to make sure I wasn't seeing things and it played too! I tried a 3rd tape as well. ALL SUCCESSFUL!
    I fast forwarded and rewound a few times to see if I could generate the code again, but I could not!

    We're not done.

  8. Now, before you close everything up - PERFORM THIS TEST: