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    DACAL DC 300 CD Library

Product :

DC300

Manufacturer :

DACAL, Supplied by The CD Manager

Reviewed by :

Wayne Brooker

Price :

£139 (includes delivery)

Date :

July 14th , 2003.

 

   Page No:   2
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A Closer Look

First impressions when I pulled the DC 300 from the box was that it seemed unnecessarily big but when you look at how tight the CD carousel packs the slots it's not really feasible to reduce the dimensions easily. Remember we're talking about 150 CDs here, that's some stash!

As you can see from the front, some thought has gone into the styling of the DC300. It would have been so easy to throw the storage mechanism in a boring, rectangular box with a slot cut in the front but instead we have a stylish, curvy, black and beige unit with barely a straight line in site. Office or home the DC300 should fit right in.


Front View

 

The back of the DC 300 boasts three connectors, an A-type USB port, a B-type USB port and the power connector. These are all recessed to make damaging them less likely.


Back View

 

The main feature on the top is the round window. This is removable though I'm guessing the only time you'd need to is to help free a jammed disk or something similar. We can see that the fit and finish of the case is good with no seams or badly aligned sections, at least not in my sample.


Top View

The bottom bares the indents, recesses and moldings that go to form the internal mechanism and eletronics mounting points. There are also four rubber feet to help keep the unit secure and to no doubt reduce transmitted noise levels when stood on a hard surface. Although the USB standard allows you to connect up to 127 CD libraries DACAL suggest you stack them no more than three high.


Bottom View

 

Like the round top window the front sliding cover is manufactured from very dark plastic. Not only does this help to keep dust out it also keeps light out which is handy because not only will the UV component of bright, direct light eventually damage the reflective foil on a CD and the dye on a CD-R/RW, it will also fade your hand written labels. When the sliding cover is closed the carousel will rotate to the requested slot but it won't try to eject the disk and for added security the cover can be locked in the closed position essentially disabling the eject procedure. I use the term "added security" in its loosest sense because although you get two keys with which to operate the lock you don't exactly need to be a member of the master guild of locksmiths to get the barrel to turn, in fact pretty much anything flat enough to push into the slot will do. Think primitive deterrent rather than security feature.


Front Cover, lock and Arm

That surfboard shaped thing in front of the sliding cover folds down to catch the ejected disk and allow you to get a hold of the edge or to place a finger through the center hole for picking it up. This is a great idea but I kind of wish it felt a little more sturdy than it does. The entire disk ejection procedure is automated and the disk is presented to you as below.


An Ejected Disk

 

The good news is you don't even need to own a computer to benefit from the DC300. If you know the location of the disk you want or if you've logged it in the management booklet then you can key in the number directly using the front mounted keypad and press enter. There's also a recessed reset button that re-calibrates the carousel should it need it. The keys themselves are rubber and the action feels positive.
Above the keypad is a three digit, seven segment green LED status panel.


Keypad and Status LED Panel

 

Taking a glance in through the top window reveals how simple the electronics involved are. Positional sensing is carried out with a photo interruptor unit that feeds a signal to the motor which in turn rotates the carousel using a belt drive mechanism. Although belt drives aren't always as reliable as direct drive it should rule out any serious damage if something manages to jam things solid.


Internally

 

 


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