Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Sometimes I could slap my friends

No, I don't mean slap that way...I mean slap them for things they should be better at maintaining.

I am referring to my friend Jeff who used to be a bike mechanic, and now works for a coffee roaster. I went there today to buy some of my favourite beans and, though he wasn't there, I ended up coming home with his turntable. His co-workers, also old friends, know I like to work on vintage gear and especially turntables gave me Jeff's Technics SL-B2 to take home and repair if I could.

Admittedly this table has spend much of it's life in this warehouse-like space, but "come on Jeff! It's filthy!" At least I would have said that if he was there. Jeff does not even know I have the table.

Technics SL-B2

They did not give it to me to dust it off. It had other issues, and what they reported was it would not shut off. Before I began to work on it I had to clean it.

Technics SL-B2 2

The good thing is that nothing was broken or cracked that I could see. Mostly dirt and perhaps a burnt or melted spot on the lid. The base for the carbon fibre brush was held on to the plinth with masking tape.

I opened it up and examined the return mechanism, expecting something had popped out of somewhere. It took maybe 5 or 10 minutes inside to trace down the problem.

The Auto-return mechanism is run by a cog on the bottom of the spindle which is turned by the belt of course. This engages with a larger toothed cam at certain positions of the tonearm or when "asked to" by pressing the Start/Stop switch on the deck. The cog on the spindle had sort of fallen off the bottom of the spindle.

Technics SL-B2 4

I except it might have happened from being knocked around or something being dropped on the top of the spindle. The cog fits on some knurling on the shaft and had dropped off the bottom. With some long needle nose pliers I was able to snap it back on. Cycling through the actions of tonearm and switch confirmed I had fixed it.

I will still be doing more cleaning and lid polishing and will make sure the cartridge is aligned correctly before I give it back. However after less than an hour on it I would say it looks (and works) a heck of a lot better. I'll take a couple of pounds of coffee as payment...and give Jeff a good slap!

Technics SL-B2 3