How To Refurbish A Turntable – A Comprehensive Guide

Are you a music lover who enjoys the warm, rich sound of vinyl records?

If so, you may have invested in a turntable to enjoy your favorite albums. However, over time, even the best turntables can experience wear and tear, resulting in a less-than-optimal listening experience.

But fear not! With a little know-how and some basic tools, you can refurbish your turntable and restore it to its former glory.

In this article, we’ll guide you through the process of replacing the belt on your turntable, as well as provide tips for repairing other common issues.

So dust off your old records and let’s get started!

How To Refurbish A Turntable

Step 1: Remove the Platter and Protective Cover

Before you begin any repairs, it’s important to unplug your turntable from the power source. Then, remove the turntable platter, internal cover, and bottom protective case to access the belt and other components.

Step 2: Determine the Correct Belt Size

Not all belts are compatible with every turntable, so it’s important to determine the correct size for your specific model. You can search online for a replacement belt by typing in your turntable’s name followed by “replacement belt.” Alternatively, you can measure the length and width of your old belt and subtract 5-10mm to account for wear and tear.

Step 3: Replace the Belt

Once you have the correct replacement belt, it’s time to install it. First, wrap the new belt around the underside of the platter and hook your finger through one of the holes in the platter to pull it tight. Then, slip the belt around the motor pulley and lower the platter back onto the base, making sure that the center hole is lined up with the spindle.

Step 4: Clean and Inspect Other Components

While you have your turntable disassembled, take some time to clean and inspect other components. Use a soft cloth to wipe down the platter, tonearm, and stylus. Check for any signs of damage or wear, such as cracks in the stylus or bent tonearm.

Step 5: Troubleshoot Other Issues

If you’re still experiencing issues with your turntable after replacing the belt and cleaning other components, there may be other underlying issues. For example, if your turntable is producing a humming sound, it could be due to a grounding issue. If you’re not comfortable troubleshooting these issues yourself, consider taking your turntable to a professional for repair.

Tools You’ll Need

To successfully refurbish a turntable, you’ll need a few essential tools. Here are the tools you’ll need:

1. Small screwdrivers – you’ll need both flat blade and Phillips head screwdrivers to remove and replace screws on your turntable.

2. Needle nose pliers – small pliers are useful for bending and adjusting small parts on your turntable.

3. Files – various sizes of files will help you smooth out rough edges and remove any excess material.

4. Tweezers – these are useful for picking up small parts that are difficult to handle with your fingers.

5. Metric Allen wrenches – these will come in handy when removing and replacing cartridge bolts.

6. Metric deep well sockets – these are useful for removing and replacing nuts on your turntable.

7. Microfiber cleaning cloths – these are soft and gentle on delicate surfaces, making them perfect for cleaning your turntable without scratching or damaging it.

8. Soldering iron and solder – if you need to replace any electronic components, a soldering iron and solder will be necessary.

9. Solder wick – this is helpful when removing excess solder from a joint.

10. Third hand tool – this tool is useful for holding small parts in place while you work on them.

While this list is not exhaustive, having these tools on hand will help you get started with refurbishing your turntable. As you gain experience, you may find that you need additional tools to tackle more complex repairs.

How To Replace The Belt

Replacing the belt on your turntable is a fairly straightforward process, but it’s important to take your time and follow the steps carefully to avoid damaging any of the other components. Here’s how to replace the belt on your turntable:

Step 1: Remove the old belt

Start by removing the old belt from your turntable. This may involve lifting the platter off of the base or removing a protective cover to access the belt. Once you have the old belt removed, set it aside and clean any debris or dust from the area.

Step 2: Install the new belt

Take your new replacement belt and wrap it around the underside of the platter, making sure that it’s snug and centered. Then, slip the belt around the motor pulley, making sure that it’s properly aligned and seated in place.

Step 3: Test the tension

Once you have the new belt installed, it’s important to test the tension to make sure that it’s not too loose or too tight. To do this, gently lift up on the belt with your finger. It should have a slight amount of give, but not so much that it slips or wobbles.

Step 4: Reassemble your turntable

Once you’re satisfied with the tension of your new belt, it’s time to reassemble your turntable. Carefully lower the platter back onto the base, making sure that it’s properly aligned with the spindle. Then, replace any protective covers or other components that you removed earlier.

Step 5: Test your turntable

With your turntable fully reassembled and plugged back in, it’s time to test it out. Turn on your turntable and listen for any unusual sounds or vibrations. If everything sounds good, try playing a record to make sure that your turntable is working properly.

By following these steps, you can replace the belt on your turntable and get back to enjoying your favorite records in no time!

Troubleshooting Common Issues

Even after replacing the belt and cleaning other components, you may still encounter some common issues with your turntable. Here are a few troubleshooting tips to help you diagnose and fix these problems:

1. Skipping or jumping: If your turntable is skipping or jumping during playback, it could be due to a worn or damaged stylus. Try replacing the stylus with a new one and see if the problem persists.

2. Uneven sound: If you notice that the sound is uneven or distorted, it could be due to a misaligned cartridge. Check the alignment of your cartridge and adjust it if necessary.

3. Humming or buzzing: If your turntable is producing a humming or buzzing sound, it could be due to a grounding issue. Make sure that your turntable is properly grounded and that all connections are secure.

4. Speed issues: If your turntable is playing too fast or too slow, it could be due to a problem with the motor or speed control mechanism. Check these components and make any necessary adjustments or repairs.

5. Auto-return issues: If your turntable has an auto-return feature that isn’t working properly, it could be due to a problem with the mechanism or adjustment screw. Consult your turntable’s instruction manual for guidance on adjusting the auto-return mechanism.

By following these troubleshooting tips, you can diagnose and fix common issues with your turntable and get back to enjoying your vinyl collection with optimal sound quality. Remember to always take care when handling sensitive components and seek professional help for more complicated repairs.

Cleaning And Maintenance Tips

Regular cleaning and maintenance is essential to keep your turntable functioning properly and to ensure the longevity of your vinyl collection. Here are some tips for cleaning and maintaining your turntable:

1. Wipe down the external surfaces of the turntable with a microfiber cloth two to three times a month to remove dust and debris. If it has accumulated a lot of dirt, you can use a little bit of rubbing alcohol for a more in-depth cleansing – but be sure to dry it with a clean cloth afterwards.

2. Clean the stylus regularly. The stylus is the most important and most sensitive component of a turntable. After every few uses, brush it gently with a stylus brush, most commonly a carbon fiber brush. Be careful not to bend the needle, and wipe gently from back to front.

3. Clean the inside mechanisms a couple times a year. If your turntable is reacting slowly or does not maintain a constant speed, that is a key sign that the inside needs some TLC.

4. Always use microfiber and antistatic cloths when cleaning any part of the record player.

5. To clean your records before playing them for the first time, apply a fluid to loosen dirt, and then completely remove that fluid, along with the dirt. This is best done by a record cleaning machine, which will contain a vacuum system, so your records will come out spotless.

6. To clean the spindle, take off the platter and pinch the spindle; when you pull it up a bit, you will be able to see the grime that has collected around it, which you can wipe off with a microfiber cloth. Add a drop of oil to the spindle once it is clean before you put the platter back on.

7. Use your anti-static microfiber cloth to dust your record player’s surface. If you see fingerprints or other such stains on the surface, you may want to consider applying rubbing alcohol or even ionized or distilled water to the cloth.

8. Cleaning your records is important, but it won’t do much good if your turntable’s needle is dirty. Styluses get dirty by picking up dirt from your records, which can build up if you spin vinyl regularly. Vinyl Buddy’s Stylus Cleaner can help you avoid that.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your turntable stays in top condition and provides you with many hours of high-quality sound from your vinyl collection.

Upgrading Your Turntable: Is It Worth It?

Upgrading your turntable can be a great way to improve sound quality without having to buy a brand new unit. But is it worth the investment? The answer depends on a few factors.

First, consider the age and condition of your current turntable. If it’s relatively new and in good working order, you may not see a significant improvement in sound quality by upgrading certain components. However, if your turntable is older or has some wear and tear, replacing key components like the cartridge or tonearm can make a big difference.

Next, think about your budget. Upgrading certain components can be more cost-effective than buying a new turntable, but it can still add up. Make sure you’re comfortable with the amount you’ll need to spend to get the desired improvements.

Finally, consider your personal preferences and listening habits. If you’re an audiophile who values high-quality sound above all else, upgrading your turntable may be worth it to you. On the other hand, if you’re a casual listener who doesn’t notice or care about subtle differences in sound quality, it may not be worth the investment.

Overall, upgrading your turntable can be a great way to improve sound quality and extend the life of your unit. Just make sure to weigh the costs and benefits before making any decisions.