Master the Skills of Record Player Repair and Be Successful

William Cramer by William Cramer | Last Updated: June 16, 2020

It is difficult to find a repair shop for your record player in these days. Even if you find out a shop where enable to repair a record player or a phonograph.

Most centers will not look at them carefully. In case they do, they cannot diagnose the exact matter.

Do not worry about that because you still have another option – undertake record player repair by yourself.

How to Repair a Record Player 

Record player repair requires mechanical and electrical knowledge. The record players run on the foundation principles of geometry and physics. Typically, the turntable rotates the record at a set speed.

The needle works on the vibrations the groove generates. This physical vibration is transformed into sound or an electrical signal which is amplified for playback.

After learning fundamental principles of diagnostics and mechanics, you can discover and fix record players of historic or sentimental value.

Step 1: Prepare for replacement

You should turn off and unplug your record player in advance when you want to restore an old record player.

Then, you check the record player directly for signs of damage. Look for dents, chips, and broken parts.

Do not forget to compare these to a photograph or manual describing the product when it is new. After that, you should make a damaged parts list for replacement.

Step 2: Examine all connections of the record player

Pay attention to the power source by checking all plugs and cables for unraveling and damaged connections. Substantiate that the outlet of the record player is plugged into which is not turned off.

Step 3: Check all cables

In this time, you should turn on the multi-meter to inspect for continuity at all cables.

Then, you should not miss out checking the turntable plug and wires by connecting the leads of the multi-meter to both ends of the examined cable.

Thereafter, you need to replace faulty sections.

Step 4: Connect the multi-meter to the signal meter cable

To check for shorts and continuity from the plug to the cartridge links, you should connect the multi-meter to the signal cables.

Then, you need to scrutinize the output cables for secure physical and electrical connections.

Next, you use a signal tracer to produce a test signal path through the output cables. Establish the operation of the output cables and replace one or both of these when necessary.

Step 5: Focus the needle on the tone-arm

To ensure the needle on the tone-arm works well, you should turn the turntable on and check it on a record at the same time.

Then, you need to replace the needle if it is missing. In this time, you listen and compare the sound output before and after.

You may also want to clean the needle.

Step 6: Inspect the cartridge for operation

A cartridge sometimes can fail. This happens when all connections are running and the needle accurately operates, but the cartridge does not make a signal.

Please keep in mind that the design and the manufacturer should pay attention to the cartridge and the record player when purchasing replacement parts.

Step 7: Change a new cartridge

Take a screwdriver to replace the cartridge and disconnect the old one. Then, you put a new screwdriver.

How to Repair a Record Player

Step 8: Check the tone-arm cables

If you find out faulty, frayed or damaged tone-arm cables, then you could replace it on a regular basis.

The cables ought to connect to the phonograph cartridge with the crimp or the connections.

When replacing the threading with the tone-arm, you should draw attention to the wires because these are thin gauge and easily damage.

Furthermore, cable connections could be dirty or corded. In this situation, you should get rid of and clean the connections with emery cloth or sandpaper. Do not forget to reinstall them.

Step 9: Inspect the drive system

High-end turntables have two main types which are direct-belt turntables and belt-drive ones. With direct-drive turntables, an AC motor is turned on and rotates a drive wheel which also rotates the turntable.

The rubber on the drive wheel enable to get worse over time or lose the grip and it must be replaced.

In general, the belt fails first and this is the main reason for replacing.

Moreover, the motor or switch has failed if the turntable cannot rotate at the exact speed. Check the motor and housing for burning marks and changing (if relevant).

Step 10: Verify the turntable platter for vertical movement or distortion

When you discover the wraps or vertical movement show a twist in the turntable platter, change a new platter.

If you fail in fixing it, I suggest you should bring it to a professional place for fixing. Or you can consider to buy a cheap turntable under $200.

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Final Words

Well, when you understand each part of the record player and how it works, record player repair is very simple as it does. Even if you are able to find out a reputable repairing shop, learn a new thing is not a idea!

William Cramer, the founder of Fire Inside Music, started to learn music in 2012 with a piano. He has continued to level-up his playing skills and wanted to share his journey and knowledge with other beginners. He launched Fire Inside Music in 2017 to make playing music more approachable for everyone looking to master a musical instrument.