Troubleshooting for record players necessitates having electrical and mechanical understanding. We have taken the time to learn the basic principles of diagnosing your record player’s problems and the mechanics of how to fix them. So let us help you along your troubleshooting journey.
The fact of the matter is that just like with any other mechanical item, sometimes record players stop working or work, but not as well as they once did. Having the capability to do some basic troubleshooting for your record player on your own will save you time and money.
Of course, you always have the option of taking it to a professional and having it fixed, but that often isn’t necessary. Frequently, the problem is something basically simple, and you could actually handle it on your own.
Keep in mind, though, that occasional maintenance while your record player is still working correctly can be very helpful. It extends the lifespan of your player and helps to avoid future difficulties.
Read on to learn some basic record player troubleshooting procedures you can use to determine your record player’s issue when problems arise.
Thorough Inspection of the Record Player
- Begin your inspection by turning off and unplugging the turntable. Carefully scan the turntable for any indication of damage. Look for broken parts, dents, chips, and missing parts. Compare them to the picture in the manual describing the turntable when it was new.
- Examine the connections of the turntable. Begin right at the power source by inspecting the cables and plugs for damaged or frayed connections.
- Enlist the help of a multimeter to examine the cables for continuity.
- Use the multimeter to test for continuity and any shorts coming from the plug leading to the cartridge. Examine the output cable to make sure the electrical and physical connections are secure. Here a signal tracer would come in handy to help create a test signal when testing the signal path through the wires.
Thorough Cleaning of the Record Player
The simple fact of the matter is that a dirty turntable will not work properly. Nowadays, most record players come with dust covers and seals to prevent dirt from entering the device; eventually, they can still collect dirt and dust.
Allowing these particles to collect will affect the performance of your device. Furthermore, the dust can also cause damage to your record player.
It is strongly advised that you thoroughly clean your record player to remove any dust you can.
You can use an anti-static cloth to clean the player’s surfaces. Also, you can rub some alcohol on the unit when removing tougher dirt and fingerprints.
It would be best if you were very gentle with your record player, especially around sensitive parts such as the stylus, which merits special care.
Cleaning the Stylus
The stylus should be cleaned every time the record player is used. Although there are specialized stylus brushes that are made for this, you can use a paintbrush with very soft bristles. The most important thing is that you should only wipe from back to front. Never clean it side to side because this can also damage the needle.
It can be a bit costlier than the brush, but space-age polymer bubble cleaner is the easiest and most recommended way to clean the stylus.
Once you have established that all the other components are operating properly, check the cartridge. There are many instances when a cartridge can fail. Usually, the needle will be operating properly and all the connections, but the cartridge fails to produce a signal. You need to note the record player and cartridge’s manufacturer and model when buying replacement parts because they vary dramatically.
A screwdriver is generally all that you need to disassemble and replace the bad cartridge.
Replacing the needle is an easy and basic troubleshooting procedure you can perform on your own. However, needle replacement varies slightly based on the exact model of your record player. For this reason, it is advised that you first check the manufacturers manual and follow the outlined steps. Lacking the manual, you can directly contact the manufacturer or your brand distributor.
The needle is tiny, so you may have to use a magnifying glass to check and remove it.
Once the new needle is in, you should not rush to play your favorite records first. Use an old record that you don’t care about to test the capability of the new needle.
Replacing Tonearm Cables
Replace damaged, frayed, or faulty tonearm cables. Use solder-less or crimp connections to make the connection replacements to the record player cartridge. Be very careful when threading the replacements through the tonearm because the wires are thin, and it is straightforward to damage them. Also, the cable connections can be corroded or dirty. Remove these connections and use sandpaper or emery cloth to clean them and reinstall.
Repair Power Source for Record Player Troubleshooting
Repairing the power source is a little more complicated than record cleaning and needle replacement. Nevertheless, it should not be an issue. In most cases, the power source will cease working because of prolonged use. Snapped wires or a broken circuit are probably the cause of the problem.
You can start to troubleshoot by examining the source of power and determining exactly what is causing the failure.
If you have a broken circuit board, the only fix is to replace the entire part. That might involve soldering; hence, make sure this is something you will be able to do.
If snapped wires are brought on the problem, you can either replace them or reconnect them. If you dislike the thought of doing any of this, then you should consider buying another power source. They are not expensive.
Visual Examination of the Drive System
Modern record players come in two types: belt drive and direct drive. With direct-drive record players, switching ON the AC motor rotates the drive wheel that, in turn, rotates the record player. Repeated extended use of the drive wheel can make the rubber lose its grip or deteriorate over time and can lead to the motor needing to be replaced.
A belt-driven record player uses a motor to drive a belt that rotates the record. If the belt breaks down, replacement is required. Furthermore, the switch or the motor can also cause the record player not rotating as it should. Therefore, it is crucial to inspect the housing and motor for burn marks and replace them accordingly.
Belt Replacement for Record Player Troubleshooting
A broken belt will affect the operation of any belt-driven record player. If the belt is broken, then you need to buy a new one to replace it. You should check your device’s instruction manual because it provides a record player troubleshooting guide on how to replace the belt.
Necessary repairs of the belt are relatively simple, and you can do them on your own.