TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

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oztayls
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TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by oztayls » 06 Jun 2019 08:54

Hi guys

While on a recent holiday to Tasmania, my wife and I stumbled across this old TD150 MKII in Hobart, looking a bit forlorn. It wasn't the prettiest TD150 I'd seen by a long shot, but the asking price was cheap, the thing worked, and the bearing looked good. It was missing a lid and the little anti-skate drape fitting. We took it back to our digs, packed it up and sent it home by courier the next day.

A day or two later, we were walking past a carpentry shop in Strahan, when I spied a bundle of Huon Pine all bundled up like firewood and for a stupid price for what is one of the world's rarest timbers. Perfect for a new plinth, so that was shipped back home as well!

So, this sows ear will soon be getting a facelift.
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oztayls
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by oztayls » 06 Jun 2019 08:59

So far, I haven't done much except sand the peeling paint off the arm board. Lurking beneath the black paint was a board of solid oak! It's as straight as a die too so it's going back into service. However, I couldn't bring myself to repaint it so it's been given a couple of coats of rubbing oil. I touched up the logo plate with some silver permanent marker pen.
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medwaybeat
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by medwaybeat » 06 Jun 2019 12:50

What a great find. Sounds like it will get the TLC it deserves

Alec124c41
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by Alec124c41 » 06 Jun 2019 13:10

Excellent!

Cheers,
Alec

oztayls
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by oztayls » 07 Jun 2019 02:09

I've just completed the basic plinth structure, so now have to complete the sanding, add the corner braces and the cleats to support the turntable deck. I can now also cut out the 9mm MDF base.

The slightly taller sides will allow the future use of arms that use DIN connectors without needing a hole to be cut into the base. As I'm sticking with the original power supply, the base also won't need holes for airflow. Of course, I'm replacing the caps as a matter of course as they are now well and truly out of spec.
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oztayls
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by oztayls » 07 Jun 2019 08:44

Plinth complete except for final sanding and the addition of its 9mm MDF base plate. Because Huon Pine is an oily timber, it can be left raw or just given a light oil. However, it will be coated in a rubbed satin varnish for extra durability.

I ordered a new dust lid for it today, in clear acrylic. Manufactured and shipped the same day! Awesome service and special thanks to Jason Humenuik of Marsden (near Brisbane) in Queensland.
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terzinator
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by terzinator » 08 Jun 2019 21:19

Brilliant. I just love how these old decks offer the opportunity for personalization/customization.

I mean, they are stunningly good and solid as they are, but so fun to upgrade to make even better. :beer:

oztayls
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by oztayls » 09 Jun 2019 06:28

I agree with you Terzinator, they do sound quite awesome! Apart from the plinth, I'm trying to keep the rest of the rebuild as original as possible. As you know, the original plinths were very flimsy, thin chipboard things and had a tendency to just fall apart. If the plinth didn't fall apart, then the veneer peeled off. At the time, the first cheap Japanese turntables were appearing and the Thorens accountants panicked and ordered cost cuts somewhere.

I'm now into the slow phase of the project as I can only get one coat of varnish onto the plinth per day because it's almost mid winter here and temperatures have dropped somewhat. The Huon Pine I used is well seasoned and is sucking up the varnish. I'm using Cabothane clear from a spray can (Cabots), which is technically a polyurethane designed for interior finishes like floors, window frames and general woodwork. The spray can is the cheapest way to buy a small quantity, so I just spray it on and tip off with a soft brush.

While the TP13A arm was off, I've checked the wiring and serviced the bearings. The vertical bearings are nothing more than a tiny ball and socket, the ball being hardened stainless steel rotating inside what is a finely milled silicon socket in a bronze or brass saddle. So simple but very effective when adjusted correctly. The trick is to wind in the centre screws gently until you feel them stop and then back off one of the screws 1/8 of a turn. This results in a barely detectable amount of "play". It is essential to ensure that the brass saddle is in the centre of the arm's housing or the saddle can bind against the sides of the housing. Therefore I feel that this adjustment is best done with the arm off the turntable so that you can eyeball the parts as you make adjustments.

Because the arm is such a simple design, there is very little to go wrong with it and it's so easy to adjust. A lot of folk see something that's so simple and assume (wrongly) that it can't be very good. They are wrong! I think that some of the TP13A's bad press is from people who either have a badly adjusted arm or just don't understand how to adjust and set it up properly.

Also getting some treatment today were the knobs which had the usual amount gunge on them. The black grip bands had very little paint left on them so I sprayed some paint onto a cotton bud stick and repainted them. I was almost tempted to make some new knobs from some matching Huon Pine, but the existing knobs are fine after a cleanup. Sometimes, making them from wood can look a little kitsch, but OK if they had sustained irreparable damage to justify that step. The tonearm rest got the same treatment. This particular brand of paint (see pic) bonds well to plastic so it's ideal for sprucing up faded plastic parts. I also used it for painting the MDF base board as it covers very well in just one or two coats.

I also made a new backing board from 9mm MDF.
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oztayls
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by oztayls » 18 Jun 2019 03:44

Some pics of the restoration. Here I've pulled out the TP13A's bearings. There seem to be two types, a needlepoint and ball type. I have the ball type. Close inspection under a microscope confirmed they are in great condition so they were cleaned up and put back with some Dry Glide lock lubricant. These bearings are simple to adjust and the previous post describes that procedure.
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oztayls
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by oztayls » 18 Jun 2019 04:36

I had some 1.5mm damping material left over from another project so I've applied some to the sub-chassis. The good about this product is that it's self-stick and is easily removed.

I made a new baseboard from 9mm MDF and damped that as well before adding some new anti-vibration foot pads.

As you can see, I applied some damping to the motor as well. Damping the motor is always a good performance mod to do.

The power supply caps and resistor are very old. Surprisingly they are still within range but they were replaced as a matter of course with mains supply X2 grade components. It is essential to use X2 grade as otherwise there is a risk that if a component fails, power could leak to chassis and pose a shock risk.

There was an annoying suspension squeak that I had to solve, so I though the spring grommets had to be the cause as nothing else moves relative to anything. On close inspection, the grommets were below par and starting to crack, so these were replaced with new Linn top and bottom grommets, whereupon the squeak disappeared!
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oztayls
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by oztayls » 18 Jun 2019 04:49

The turntable arrived without its anti-skate weight and drape arm, so I had to make them. The stock weight is 1.4g so the piece of stainless steel rod was ground until the required weight was reached. I didn't have fishing line fine enough so I pulled a strand of dyneema (HDPE) from an old sailing rope and used that. It works!

The new clear acrylic dust cover arrived to complete the project. I mounted the new Ortofon Super OM cart and replaced the stock 5E stylus with a Stylus 30. The "30" is a nude fine line.

Time to play some records!
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Tonybro
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by Tonybro » 18 Jun 2019 07:30

That's a beautiful restoration.

Well done.

taru03
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by taru03 » 29 Sep 2019 01:25

Hi there. Amazing restoration! Congrats from Cambridge, Ontario. As I see your'e a handyman, so I would like to ask you something, if you don't mind. I got a TD150 MK2 in good condition for a low price. The big thing is, the tt came with a not original Thorens head shell. The previous owner tried to fit a generic head shell and he put 4 pieces of metal inside of the little holes at the end of the tonearm, to make contact with the generic head shell (you know, pins are longer in the original Thorens head shells). With a small tweezers I could take out 2 of them, but the other 2 are deeper, so I can not use the tweezers. Any suggestion? A magnet maybe? Also It's better to replace the RCA wires, if I can obviously take out the metal pieces? Thanks in advance!

oztayls
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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by oztayls » 29 Sep 2019 02:51

taru03 wrote:
29 Sep 2019 01:25
Hi there. Amazing restoration! Congrats from Cambridge, Ontario. As I see your'e a handyman, so I would like to ask you something, if you don't mind. I got a TD150 MK2 in good condition for a low price. The big thing is, the tt came with a not original Thorens head shell. The previous owner tried to fit a generic head shell and he put 4 pieces of metal inside of the little holes at the end of the tonearm, to make contact with the generic head shell (you know, pins are longer in the original Thorens head shells). With a small tweezers I could take out 2 of them, but the other 2 are deeper, so I can not use the tweezers. Any suggestion? A magnet maybe? Also It's better to replace the RCA wires, if I can obviously take out the metal pieces? Thanks in advance!
Thankyou! It's hard for me to imagine what has been done by the previous owner and why. The TP50 headshell is still today one of the best headshells you can have on your turntable. There is a screw underneath the headshell connector fitting to facilitate removal. However, if it is damaged, I would buy a new tonearm and a TP50 headshell and rewire the tonearm. The headshells can sometimes be pricey, but not much more than a good generic one anyway. Keeping your Thorens TD150 Mk2 original is important and obviously, they are not made anymore and people are looking for originality. In any case, the arm is VERY good, much better than a lot of people think.

With the tonearm rewiring, you can save a lot of money by using fine motor winding wire and it will sound just as good as the Cardas. It is OFC (oxygen-free copper) and comes insulated with a good long-lasting resin. You can either buy a little roll from an electronics store or use the wire from a GOOD quality small electric motor. Use coloured shrink tube on the ends to identify the wires and twist them all together, being careful not to kink the wire. You need 5 wires as one is the ground.

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Re: TD150 MkII found in Tasmania

Post by spensar » 06 Oct 2019 17:00

Excellent! The wider plinth looks great, as does the light wood colour.

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