Possessed Pioneer PL320 turntable - tips for exorcism

goldfritter

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Hi all. This is my first post here, so go easy on me! I am an audio-noob without a lot of time, tools, or experience to work on hifi equipment, but with a love for music and good sound.

I was recently given a Pioneer PL320, vintage 1981. The original owner bought this along with a SA520 amp, and all the matching goodies - EQ, tape deck, tuner, the works, all with the classic silver look. He offered me the lot but I decided to take just the amp and the turntable because I didn't envisage using the rest.

The amp works fine and is powering my hifi/home theatre setup (consisting almost exclusively of hand-me-downs, so not a top-end system by any stretch).

The turntable currently houses some sort of DJ-scratching demon that refuses to come out. The platter will spin sedately for around 5 - 10 minutes, then start a ritual where it speeds up and slows down of its own volition, sometimes even coming to a complete stop and, I kid you not, playing in reverse. It really is something to behold. This happens no matter what the speed control switch is set to. Despite this, the sound from the player really isn't bad, especially taking into account its age.

Here is a video for the unbelievers among you: https://i.imgur.com/JzPtk2m.mp4 (I will brook no complaint over the quality of the music, you will understand that I don't want to sacrifice my good vinyl to this beast).

I've googled the issue and found some people claiming that a good clean of all the pots will solve the issue; others say the only solution is replacing the speed control board. Nilam Naran has already taken a solid look and done his best to clean the pots, but he reckons it's a lost cause, and a new board is the only solution. I've also spoken to Croak but he (understandably) doesn't foresee having the time to dig around inside a 40-year-old low-range turntable to salvage something of value.

So I am asking for ideas for next steps. I was thinking Catholic priest and holy water, but if anyone has any suggestions for other denominations (or people who would be keen for a project, or a source for a cheap board, or museum to donate to, or any other left-field suggestions), let me know. Perhaps I can Frankenstein the tonearm from this onto a working platter, or somehow bypass the faulty board? At the end of the day I don't need something that will make me cry because of the amazing sound (this device has caused enough tears already), just something that will let me listen to some records every now and then without an automatic remix each time I put it on.

Thanks!
 

Zilch510

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If it had sentimental value, maybe.  Otherwise you'd be better off getting a good quality, working unit from a trusted forum member.

If you're in the (Bellville, Cape Town) area, try Colin Liebenberg.  I've taken tons of stuff to him, always with success!
 

DeonC

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It seems to me that something goes wonky when the TT warms up. You could maybe get it ready so that, when it starts acting up again, you can open it up quickly and see which part is really hot. Could be the cuprit, or just downline from the culprit. Other than that I would say get another TT from the forum or one of the suggested members (I can also mention Andre, aka Ken Kessler, as a possible source). Just note, if the cartridge is a good one, keep it.
 

goldfritter

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Zilch said:
If it had sentimental value, maybe.  Otherwise you'd be better off getting a good quality, working unit from a trusted forum member.

If you're in the (Bellville, Cape Town) area, try Colin Liebenberg.  I've taken tons of stuff to him, always with success!
Thanks. It certainly doesn't hold sentimental value from me. I suggested to the original owner that he might want to sell the whole lot to someone who could be nostalgic for such a set, but I doubt there is much of a market for dilapidated budget-range 80's kit.

I'm in JHB, I will look around for good deals!
 

goldfritter

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Pax said:
:nutter: Very funny. :ROFLMAO:

It may even make a Justin Bieber song bearable, if not interesting.  It is a keeper! Just get another TT for the quality of music you used in the video :2thumbs:
Well it certainly improved Richard Clayderman, so it might work for the Bieb too. That said, buying Bieber on vinyl would be very odd... I suspect there aren't many turntable-owners in his fan club.
 

goldfritter

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DeonC said:
It seems to me that something goes wonky when the TT warms up. You could maybe get it ready so that, when it starts acting up again, you can open it up quickly and see which part is really hot. Could be the cuprit, or just downline from the culprit. Other than that I would say get another TT from the forum or one of the suggested members (I can also mention Andre, aka Ken Kessler, as a possible source). Just note, if the cartridge is a good one, keep it.
This is good advice, thanks. I'll likely keep it in storage so that I can A) take a look at it when (if) my hifi DIY skills have sharpened up a bit, or B) strip it for parts if necessary. I will see if I can get the cartridge model number at some point, I don't really know how to judge if it's a good one.
 

Gerlach

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I think you will need one of this guys:

images


tumblr_nz6yvhx0ea1v1wyaqo1_1280.jpg
 

vleisman

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Great first post Mr Fritter.  :thumbs:

I am a bit skeptical that prayer or exorcism will work on this one. Perhaps baptism, but probably only if done in the river Styx. In present condition it certainly has novelty value and could be used to impress Millenial hipsters. I would advertise it as an automatic DJ scratch machine. Focus on the trendy 'I love Parkhurst' or Braamfontein type groups and charge at least R7500 up. 

 

goldfritter

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Gerlach said:
I think you will need one of this guys:

images


tumblr_nz6yvhx0ea1v1wyaqo1_1280.jpg
Yes thank you, this is exactly what I need. Do you know of any in the JHB area? Or can I just pop into the nearest Orthodox church with the afflicted turntable? Actually no, I don't want it to burst into flames as soon as I cross the threshold.
 

goldfritter

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vleisman said:
Great first post Mr Fritter.  :thumbs:

I am a bit skeptical that prayer or exorcism will work on this one. Perhaps baptism, but probably only if done in the river Styx. In present condition it certainly has novelty value and could be used to impress Millenial hipsters. I would advertise it as an automatic DJ scratch machine. Focus on the trendy 'I love Parkhurst' or Braamfontein type groups and charge at least R7500 up.
Thanks for the vote of confidence. Maybe a drop of beard oil in each pot would fix it? Else I will sell it to a hipster and convince him that random speed ups/slow downs is how vinyl is supposed to sound, it makes it more authentic and closer to the artist's original vision.
 

Bernard

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My Rega 3 would play fine for awhile. Then slow down. Stop. Then start playing backwards. Nobody believed me. The PCB board for the motor was very simple. The ceramic resistor was cooking. I replaced that, as well as the cap while it was open. Problem solved.

Sent from my telephone.

 

goldfritter

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Bernard said:
My Rega 3 would play fine for awhile. Then slow down. Stop. Then start playing backwards. Nobody believed me. The PCB board for the motor was very simple. The ceramic resistor was cooking. I replaced that, as well as the cap while it was open. Problem solved.

Sent from my telephone.
Thanks, this is helpful. I'll take this into account if I ever take another crack at it.

Show your doubters my video to prove that turntables can go mad!
 

croak

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Bernard said:
My Rega 3 would play fine for awhile. Then slow down. Stop. Then start playing backwards. Nobody believed me. The PCB board for the motor was very simple. The ceramic resistor was cooking. I replaced that, as well as the cap while it was open. Problem solved.

Sent from my telephone.


Different kettle of stew.  Not even fish. 


 

SeanS

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sounds like a good excuse to upgrade..  :giggle:, never a better excuse
 

goldfritter

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SeanS said:
sounds like a good excuse to upgrade..  :giggle:, never a better excuse
One step ahead of you, I have solved the problem by avoiding it! I bought a Philips GA212 from Supergrand and it's already hooked up and helping me work through the stack of old LPs I got along with the Pioneer. It is sounding excellent for its age and price.

So far the best-sounding record is the Top Gun soundtrack, so I it seems we are finally out of the danger zone. The only other one that is playable is an Enya album; only time will tell if we find other decent ones among the pile.
 

DeonC

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goldfritter said:
So far the best-sounding record is the Top Gun soundtrack, so I it seems we are finally out of the danger zone. The only other one that is playable is an Enya album; only time will tell if we find other decent ones among the pile.

:BWAHAHAH:
 
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