Just bought my third cabinet system, a Magnavox 836. The turntable is running just a bit slow (enough to notice but not enough to be sure I was hearing it until I put on one of my favorites). I took the turntable out of the console, thinking I would see about a belt (I know that can be an issue), but there are just gears. Am I missing something? Please advise, it's got such great sound I really want to use it!!
This is probably a rim drive table and the gears operate the automatic functions of the table. If you can remove the platter, you can try cleaning the drive puck and the platter rim with alchohol. The more likely problem is the rubber puck has dried out and is no longer the correct diameter to spin the platter at the right speed.
Okay, did a bunch of reading online and feel I have a better idea of what may be going on. I assume you are talking about the idler? I did remove the platter and cleaned both it and the rim it rides against. This did not solve the problem. I found idlers to buy online, but wondered if instead it might be possible to adjust the mechanism so that the idler would ride slightly up or down (can't remember which way at the moment) from where it currently does (it is a gradual rather than stepped surface) so that it might turn faster? It appears 45s play correctly so perhaps just this adjustment is needed and not a new idler? Tell me if I'm way off!! Thanks!!!!
Additionally, if someone could recommend a general maintenance guide for older players I might purchase, I would really appreciate it. I have 4 old players that I would really like to keep working (and I am afraid even the smallest adjustments are foreign to me--such as adjusting the arm and such) Thank you!!
I don't have a clue which table is on your Magnavox. If you are willing to sacrifice 45 RPM, you might be able to jerry rig the idler to sit at the correct point for 33 RPM. However, it is more likely that adjusting the idler to sit correctly at 33 RPM will make 45 incorrect. So, choose your poison. Your best approach is to find which manufacture supplied the table for your model and which model turntable was used on your model player. You can then do some on line research to find more answers. You are going to find most people do not consider the older consoles and tables to be worth much and therefore not much is available to refurbish these players. Most of the consoles and portable tables used a ceramic cartridge which is very basic and has not been supported by parts houses. Phanstiel was the manufacturer for many of the stylus assemblies and some parts for these tables, check if there are still any references for that company. Finding someone in your area who services these tables would be the best approach. Check with the used record shops in your area, often they know someone who does repairs on vintage equipment. You can also place something along the lines of "vintage audio/turntables" into a search engine but you're going to have to wade through dozens of entries before you find any useful information.
Before fiddling around with the idler position, it might be worth seeing if you can do anything about the speed of the motor driving it. Whether you can depends on the type of motor - if it runs on an AC motor, which many of the older (particularly pre-60s)turntables do, discount this option straight away as they get their speed from the frequency of the mains power, and as such are not adjustable. Many turntables with DC motors (i'm not familiar with your model so can't be sure) have adjustable parts inside to control motor speed, and I imagine that adjusting that would be easier for you (depending on how confident you are to mess about with the electronic guts of your system). Unfortunately this would also mean sacrificing 45rpm, unless of course you do simply have a motor problem and it is just less noticeable at the higher speed. 45rpm records are less susceptible to motor fluctuations, so it is quite possible that this is the case. It might be worth buying a 'stroboscopic disc', which under normal mains light will tell you if your turntable is going too fast or too slow, and by how much. Many turntables have the same kind of idea built in around the rim of the platter, but guessing by your post this is not the case for you. Anyhow, whether you choose to try the motor or the idler wheel, I imagine either approach would work equally well and wish you the best of luck getting it fixed. Hope this helps.