Project Debut iii Help


New member
Username: Vpayne

Post Number: 1
Registered: Apr-17
Hi there,

Apologies if I sound like an ignoramus with the following descriptions. My dad is the vinyl expert and has essentially provided all my equipment and upgrades over the years but he lives a few hundred miles away so can't help!

I am having a few issues which I assume are related:
1) sound is flat (getting worse over time)
2) turntable sometimes spins backwards when I switch on
3) motor sometimes makes a very gentle but clearly 'not-right' buzzing/whirring sound.

When the problems first started I replaced the turntable drive belt as mine seemed slack. Having fitted a new one this was definitely the case - the new one was much tighter. However it didn't fully resolve the issues and having looked today, the new one also seems to have slackened (4 months on)

I wondered if the issue was the actual motor suspension belt - I'm no expert but it also seems slack, and the position of the motor does not seem to be 'central' it's definitely pulling in. I figured if this is dodgy it might explain the problems, and be the reason the drive belts are stretching quickly?

I bought a new motor suspension belt then realised the whole turntable needs to be dismantled, as if replacing the motor, in order to fit it. I'm not stupid enough to attempt this myself (!) so I'm waiting for my dad to visit next month.

Wondered if anyone had any advice. If it seems, based on your thoughts, like I'm going to need other 'parts' then I'll buy these before my dad visits. I don't want him to come and have a go, be unable to fix it because we need to order something, then have to wait another 6 months for him to visit and finish the job!!

Thank you for your time, thoughts much appreciated.

(I haven't gone into detail about the rest of my set up, it's all good quality stuff handed down by dad every time he upgrades and I was gettting perfect sound previously so don't believe that I need to replace or add to any of the actual components of my system - more just repair!)

Platinum Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 18411
Registered: May-04

Belts stretch and there typically is no problem with a bit of slack in the belt when the platter is at rest. What the belt relies on is friction between the belt surface and the rim of the platter.

If the belt is not stretched out of shape (four months should be well within the lifespan of any belt), you can get a bit of help by placing the belt in a sandwich bag with a bit of talcum powder. Coat the belt and then shake the excess powder off the belt before returning it to the table. You do not want ANY powder falling off on your LP's or in the vicinity of the spindle shaft. The belt should have the absolute least amount of powder on it when you return it to the table.

If your table uses a flat belt, you can also try giving the belt a single twist at the motor pulley. This changes the way the belt makes contact with the pulley and can reduce some motor noise. Sustained speed stability is also a benefit of this twist though you can't expect this to solve major problems.

Look at the powder and the belt twist more as tweaks rather than solutions. If the electronics and speakers are not sufficiently transparent, you might not notice any audible improvement from either tweak.

If you have a strobe disc ( you should pay attention to the actual rotational speed of the platter. You'll need a light source to check the speed. Project sells this unit for stupid money; -strobe-test-vinyl-lp

All you need though is a working tube type florescent lamp. Those are getting more difficult to find but that's all you need. I certainly wouldn't pay Project a ridiculous price when the florescent will get the job done.

Unless the platter is running significantly slow, the belt is OK. Speed consistency is the real goal here. The specs for the table allow for some wow and flutter which are minor speed deviations while the platter is spinning. Actual platter speed (33 1/3 or 45 RPM) should not deviate by more than a few % points.

Many less expensive belt drive platters run slightly fast or slightly slow and that really can't be changed easily due to the nature of the AC synchronous motor. The ol'timer's trick of wrapping adhesive tape around the platter will change the diameter of the platter and thus change the speed of the platter. It will also compromise the friction between the belt and the platter so it is not recommended. Unless you have "perfect pitch" (which you do not list as a problem), most listeners are unaware of slight deviations from true "440Hz = A" speed. If this makes sense; speed consistency is more important than absolute speed accuracy.

The motor suspension belt should not wear out. The belt's compliance is a benefit and should not be a concern. When AC power is applied to the motor, the motor will pull slightly as torque is required to move the platter from a stop/resting position. The compliance of the suspension belt won't change this issue.

Nor is the linear distance from the motor pulley to the platter a critical issue. It is the physical diameter of the two (pulley and platter) which determines the rotational speed of platter relative to the rotational speed of the motor. Theoretically, you could move the motor several feet away from the platter and the speed will remain constant if you do not change the diameter of the pulleys or the horizontal plane relationship between the two.

You should, of course, make sure the table is absolutely level. If it isn't, speed can become a bit of a problem.

"I am having a few issues which I assume are related:
1) sound is flat (getting worse over time)
2) turntable sometimes spins backwards when I switch on
3) motor sometimes makes a very gentle but clearly 'not-right' buzzing/whirring sound."

I don't understand #1. Are you saying the sound is dynamically flat or something else? If that is your intent, what phono pre amp are you using? What is your reference for correct sound vs "flat" sound?

Are you still using the OEM Ortofon cartridge which came from the factory? When was the stylus last changed?

The Ortofon OM5 is a rather old cartridge design from the 1980's. IMO it should be seen as a temporary solution only. It gets the owner up and running at a minimal expense. It really should be changed out for a better, more modern cartridge which better suits the Project arm.

The current line of Ortofon cartridges would be where I would tell you to start. You will, of course, need to know how to install the cartridge and how to perform the adjustments required before you even think about taking the cartridge off your existing arm. Your father can probably tackle this job though it does become more difficult when you haven't done the work in awhile.

At the least, your father can tell you what's involved and what tools you will need. You might also check with any local audio retailer in your area. Most will install a cartridge if you buy the cartridge from them. Otherwise, most decent shops will do the install for a minimal fee.

No easy answer to #2. This shouldn't happen with an AC synchronous motor; US705US705&oq=how+does+a+synchornous+motor+work&aqs=chrome..69i57.12168j0j1&sour ceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

What could be occurring would likely be located in any passive components related to controlling the motor's speed beyond the basic concept of a synchronous motor. Project may have placed a few passive parts (resistors and caps) in line with the motor to act as a (somewhat) filter for AC spikes and noises. Off hand, that would be the most likely cause of backward rotation of the motor at irregular times.

How do you correct the occasional backwards rotation? Simply shut down the AC power and start again?

AC synchronous motors are relatively quiet. I've had clients who complain about a noise of some sort and then tell me to place my ear up against the offending object to detect what they are hearing. The most obvious repair to this situation is to not place your ear up against the offending item.

In other words, use the table/amplifier/speaker as it was intended. You probably don't listen to music with your ear plastered up against the motor. Right? Therefore, if you cannot detect the motor noise from your normal listening position, then it's unlikely to be a faulty motor.

Do not place your table on top of your receiver/amplifier. It should be located at least two feet (or the length of the tonearm's interconnect) away from the power transformers for any other component.

Ideally, the method of operation for an AC synchronous motor will be to lock onto the 60Hz pulse of the incoming AC line. This 60Hz is what controls the speed consistency of a synchronous motor. With a few minor exceptions, your AC power provider assures you the incoming AC Voltage will be pulsing at a constant 60Hz.

What we have learned over the years though is the AC line is typically filled with crud from other appliances in the home. If you live in the typical American neighborhood, even the noise from your neighbor's appliances can enter your system through the common ground lines which run between the homes over several blocks.

Because most American neighborhoods have what would be considered dirty AC lines, AC line filters have become popular add ons for many audiophiles and many computer users; DESC&page=1&c1=tab-products&c2=grid q=ac+power+conditioners&aqs=chrome..69i57.8119j0j4&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8

Isolation transformers are also good choices since they can put a brickwall between the AC noise and the input to your components; 05&oq=ac+isolation+transformers&aqs=chrome..69i57.13392j0j9&sourceid=chrome&ie=U TF-8

Be careful when selecting any transformer based protection. The transformer may act as a brickwall filter to noise which is desirable, but also act as a spongey type of filter which prevents rapid fluctuation in current delivery which is far less desirable for an audio system.

Line conditioners/isolation transformers should be large enough in their capacity to deal with your entire system's requirements. Buying more will not necessarily get you more.

Of course, if there are problems within the table (those resistors and caps), then there isn't an add on device which can solve those problems. There is no easy way to test an in circuit resistor or cap, which means you would have to disassemble the table to some extent and remove (desolder) any passive part which you suspect might be problematic. That really is best left to a qualified technician.

You can try a few things first. If it's possible to unplug or shut down all appliances in your home, do so and then test the motor for noise. Typically, this means you have to get to the main service panel to totally shut down major items such as AC and refrigerators. If the motor still makes noise at a level which is noticeable from your listening chair when all other sources of line noise within the home have been eliminated, you'll have only proven the appliances in your house aren't the only culprits.

You can also try reversing the position of the AC power plug on the Project as it enters the wall outlet. Since this plug is likely a polarized plug, you'll need to buy a "ground lift"; CFVOewAodFY4PMw&Q=&ap=y&c3api=1876%2C%7Bcreative%7D%2C%7Bkeyword%7D&is=REG&A=det ails

Then you'll still need to clip or grind the tags off the hot side. Clipping typically requires some rather heavy duty snips. Ground lifts are available at any home improvement/hardware store for about $1-2.

If your home is new or old, there is always the possibility the outlet feeding AC to your table has been reversed in its wiring. This would place the ground/neutral line of the plug at the hot side of the plug. Correcting this would likely solve most of your AC noise issue.

You can also buy a device to check for correct wiring; Ground-Plug-120-V-Receptacle-Electrical-Fault-Detector/956772578?wmlspartner=wlp a&selectedSellerId=5332&adid=22222222227068146907&wmlspartner=wmtlabs&wl0=&wl1=g &wl2=c&wl3=172774240021&wl4=pla-308045939004&wl5=9026910&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla& wl10=115057137&wl11=online&wl12=956772578&wl13=&veh=sem


Try the ground detector device for a cheap start. If the ground appears to be reversed at the outlet feeding your table, move the table to another outlet which tests as correct and see if the motor noise is reduced or eliminated.

You use the word "sometimes" in your list of problems. If this is the case, I would tend to suspect another source of noise exists. That would mean the noise is entering the motor through the ground plane of the wiring. Large AC motors are the most common source for this sort of noise. If you can locate the source for your "sometimes" noise, then you might be able to reduce the noise by switching off the device. Unfortunately, this isn't an easy answer to most large motor noises.

Reversed wiring should not make the synchronous motor sometimes run in reverse direction. This one problem suggests you might want to contact Project or their closest rep. Explain the issues you have and follow their advice. This might mean you need to ship the table to a qualified service center.

Do the easy stuff first which will give you more data to hand over to Project. Then determine what course of action is best for your system and your budget.

There's not much more I can do over a forum. This sort of problem is typically a hands on, hunt and try, follow a logical path to the issue type of troubleshooting.

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