Sometimes skips, sometimes doesn't

I have an ancient ('85) dbx DX3 CD player that I stubbornly nurse along. The dbx dynamic processing board (DAC?) in this ol' girl simply blows away anything else I've heard. Its only problem is its proclivity to occasionally suffer skipping episode; sometimes a few blips, sometimes a hard, sticking stutter. Cleaning the disk helps, even if it's already clean. Often, wiping just the outer edge seems to clear the problem. I can put the skipping disk in my Sony DVD player and it'll play just fine (though not sound as good). Some evenings, its a frequent problem, but at other times, it'll go days without a skip on the same disks that made it stutter before. What I find odd is that old disks with visible surface scuffs have no effect on playability or skipping. I just had the unit cleaned and aligned by a good shop, which improved the skipping situation considerably, but it's still an annoying problem. Is there something more to skipping than disk surface cleanliness?
I don't know, but I have the very same problem with my new Theta Carmen. It's quite annoying.
Two potential sources of the problem. 1. the laser needs to be cleaned. Try spraying it with compresssed air. That works for my players. 2. some part of the transport mechanism, e.g., the rails, is(are) worn, defective, or just needs to be lubricated. I have an old meridian 506 that I had to send back to the distributor to be repaired.

Try cleaning the laser first. If that doesnt work, likely it needs servicing.
I agree, the laser could need a good cleaning or possibly the player, because of it's age and dated technology, is less tolerant of errors or small drop outs in program material. The error correction circuitry and algorithms have come a long way in 16 years. Best of luck to you.
Does anyone know how to clean a car CD player?
Sounds like the laser could be out of alignment with the CD track it is trying to read. An easy repair for any technician.
was aligned and cleaned last month ($125!!)
Another possibility is that the power being fed to the laser or the laser itself is sagging under load. Lasers do burn out or "go soft" after a while, so it is possible that you may have to either juice up the power supply to it in order to keep it alive. If that is the case, the laser is on its' last leg and you really need to find a replacement assy for it if you would like to keep the machine up and running.

Since most of the older machines shared common parts, this might not be too hard to do if you can find someone knowledgable in your area. They should be able to tell you who made the laser assy and what model it is. Once you've figured that out, you might be able to order a brand new one or be able to swap one out of another machine that you pick up for a "steal" due to its' age. Sean
Most likely a weak laser due to the age of the unit, an alignment could possibly help, as mentioned above. I had an ol' Luxman with the exact same problems which I sold to someone who was able to fix it -- by replacing the laser. You may be better off looking for a new or more modern used unit.