Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

music box
seb101
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Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by seb101 » 25 Nov 2019 23:10

Hi all!

I am the accidental but now very proud owner of a Thorens TD 166 MkII. My girlfriend and I were clearing her parents old house and found it, in it's original box, with original purchase receipt! My immediate thoughts were that it wasn't much of a looker and probably rubbish (sorry!) but when I picked it up and felt the weight... I had second thoughts. You don't engineer that much weight into something to be cheap and rubbish. So I was very pleased when I got it home and looked it up online to find it is a well respected player.

Having given it a few days to dry out (I'm sorry to say it was in a slightly damp attic) I plugged it all in and was amazed to find it worked, first time. Paired with a Pro-Ject Phono Box MM phono stage it sounds absolutely divine. It came with a Ortofon VRS30 MkII cartridge on the tonearm and a spare (unused!) duplicate stylus.

Having done hours of internet reading I am preparing to give it a good service and replace the stock RCA cable with jacks on the rear as the original connectors are badly corroded.

I have a few questions... I'd be immensely greatful for your advice...

1. The heavy outer platter has tarnished and has some white 'spots' on (see photo). Could you advise what metal this is made from and whether it would be acceptable to give the visible outer edge a polish? Is the original finish of the outer visible 'side' of the platter machined or polished?

2. Similarly the 'deck' of the player is quite tarnished (or maybe just stubborn dirt) - any advice on cleaning this? Is it ever polished?

3. My belt 'slips' on start-up and shut-down making a rubbing noise - but once up to speed it is fine. Is this normal? Are replacement belts easy to come by?

4. All the internal photos I've seen of TD 160s to date show a simple solder pin board on the internal end of the tone-arm wires, however in mine the signal cables go into a white 'box' on the underside of the tone arm assembly. How do I access the terminals to solder the new wires for the RCA jacks? Does anyone have a wiring diagram?

5. A few guides I've seen suggest that the preferred method for installing jacks on the rear is to make a recangular cutout and glue an alumnium plate over the cutout, installing the jacks in the plate. This seems complex and more destructive to the player. Is there any reason I cannot (or should not) just install the jacks directly into the wooden frame by drilling holes in the wood itself? The threads on my chosen connectors are certainly long enough to support this.

6. Inside the box with the player was a boxed and unused ADC LMG-1 magnesium headshell. Thinking this might be an unfinished upgrade I looked at installing it but it didn't take long to realise this is completely incompatible with the installed tonearm. Is this a possible upgrade path? I assume it would need a whole new tonearm? Is it worth the effort?

Thank you :)

https://i.ibb.co/W69sRGR/IMG-3442.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/Tw9CFXp/IMG-3443.jpg
https://i.ibb.co/BT83Fh1/IMG-3447.jpg

StephDale
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by StephDale » 25 Nov 2019 23:48

Well, you've come across a good turntable. Let's get you started with some answers to those questions:

1. The platter is made from a zinc alloy - either Zamac on Monel I think. It would originally have been machined, not polished.

2. The top of the player, and indeed most of the hard surfaces, can be cleaned with cream cleaner, such as Cif. Use damp cloths rather than loads of water. In fact, start with just a clean damp cloth - most of it should come off.

3. Sounds fairly normal to me. You'll get hold of a new belt with little trouble, they're about £25 a shot for a genuine Thorens one. If you do an internet search you may find a shop locally to you or you can buy on line. Most Thorens tables have a standard belt, that includes all of the Thorens TD14x and TD16x, such as your '166.

4. There may be something in one of the service guides here on VE; https://www.vinylengine.com/library/thorens/td166.shtml. In general, I wouldn't muck about with the tonearm wiring or external cables if they're working. If the connectors are heavily corroded then I'd certainly consider swapping them for some alternatives, but I think that changing the cable might not help. For a start you'd have to source a set of low-capacitance interconnects!

5. See answer to 4.

6. No, it isn't. The TP11 is a good arm that's entirely in keeping with the quality of the turntable and any cartridge you're likely to want to fit. Bettering it is not a cheap exercise. You might get something for the ADC headshell on an auction or sales 'site as I believe they're quite desirable.

I hope that's a start. It's worth noting that there are an awful lot of these tables out there that have been fiddled with, it's the good condition original players that seem likely to be the ones that will hold their value.

One thing I would do is get the player out of the plinth (remove the base and, after releasing the cables, remove the four screw caps in the corners and undo the four screws) and use some dilute yellow aliphatic resin 'carpenter's glue' to make sure the corners of the plinth are nice and strong. This is particularly the case if the turntable might have got damp!

Steph

Alec124c41
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by Alec124c41 » 26 Nov 2019 02:01

The belt slipping on start-up is normal. The motor can be up to speed almost immediately, but that relatively massive platter takes a bit more time.
Some of the Thorens turntables had a clutch built into the motor pulley or spindle. My TD-150 did not. Dusting the belt with talc powder was suggested to ease that initial slip.

Cheers,
Alec

spensar
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by spensar » 26 Nov 2019 04:06

I had jacks put on a TD 160 by drilling two holes, one for each jack and it worked great. Just be sure to check there is enough room for the dust cover to open up all the way. We originally were going to put them in the middle but that would have kept the cover from opening up all the way. I used the Neurtik ones from parts express.

https://www.parts-express.com/neutrik-n ... k--092-232

Bandit127
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by Bandit127 » 26 Nov 2019 05:43

If you do buy a belt it must be the correct thickness. The centre of the belt adds to the pulley diameters for the drive. Too thin (or thick) and the ratio of the pulley and platter diameters changes and the speed will be off. For this reason I would buy genuine Thorens.

tlscapital
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by tlscapital » 26 Nov 2019 07:29

Before belt swap, dry clean with some isopropyl solution the belt, pulley and outer sub-platter. Then new belt if ever...

As 'StephDale' suggested; first swap the corroded RCA's for low capacitance new ones for an instant improvement.

Like every addition, replacement, upgrade and tweaks, you might do, do them one at a time to evaluate them solely.

That way, you'll be much more aware of what does what, how and where for your playback enjoyment. Have a nice day !

seb101
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by seb101 » 26 Nov 2019 08:59

StephDale wrote:
25 Nov 2019 23:48
Well, you've come across a good turntable. Let's get you started with some answers to those questions:

1. The platter is made from a zinc alloy - either Zamac on Monel I think. It would originally have been machined, not polished.
Thanks! That helped, it would appear that these spots are common 'white rust' which affects zinc and alloys - according to online sources it can be removed with a weak acid like lemon juice or vinegar.
2. The top of the player, and indeed most of the hard surfaces, can be cleaned with cream cleaner, such as Cif. Use damp cloths rather than loads of water. In fact, start with just a clean damp cloth - most of it should come off.
Will definitely try that.
3. Sounds fairly normal to me. You'll get hold of a new belt with little trouble, they're about £25 a shot for a genuine Thorens one. If you do an internet search you may find a shop locally to you or you can buy on line. Most Thorens tables have a standard belt, that includes all of the Thorens TD14x and TD16x, such as your '166.
Good to know, I'll stick with this belt unless I get any other issues.
4. There may be something in one of the service guides here on VE; https://www.vinylengine.com/library/thorens/td166.shtml. In general, I wouldn't muck about with the tonearm wiring or external cables if they're working. If the connectors are heavily corroded then I'd certainly consider swapping them for some alternatives, but I think that changing the cable might not help. For a start you'd have to source a set of low-capacitance interconnects!

5. See answer to 4.
I am undecided on the best approach to this. The original cable doesn't look particularly high quality, however if it's got nice clean copper on the inside I will probably use it for the short distance between the tonearm terminals and the new RCA jacks internally.
6. No, it isn't. The TP11 is a good arm that's entirely in keeping with the quality of the turntable and any cartridge you're likely to want to fit. Bettering it is not a cheap exercise. You might get something for the ADC headshell on an auction or sales 'site as I believe they're quite desirable.
I thought this might be the case, so I will likely sell it on and use the proceeds to buy a good interconnect cable!
I hope that's a start. It's worth noting that there are an awful lot of these tables out there that have been fiddled with, it's the good condition original players that seem likely to be the ones that will hold their value.

One thing I would do is get the player out of the plinth (remove the base and, after releasing the cables, remove the four screw caps in the corners and undo the four screws) and use some dilute yellow aliphatic resin 'carpenter's glue' to make sure the corners of the plinth are nice and strong. This is particularly the case if the turntable might have got damp!

Steph
That was all very useful, thanks so much. I will certainly give the glue a shore-up!

medwaybeat
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by medwaybeat » 26 Nov 2019 09:26

I would not bother fitting jacks as it is just another connection in the signal path. I'd replace the whole lead.
I used flash wipes to clean most TT parts. They work wonders at removing nicotine too. I'd be cautious of using a cream cleaner as they are abrasive and may damage the text on the top plate.

Chiltern
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by Chiltern » 26 Nov 2019 10:33

medwaybeat wrote:
26 Nov 2019 09:26

I used flash wipes to clean most TT parts. They work wonders at removing nicotine too. I'd be cautious of using a cream cleaner as they are abrasive and may damage the text on the top plate.
I agree, the top plate is finished with thin anodised alloy, very easy to damage, and once the anodising is polished through not much can make it look better.

seb101
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by seb101 » 26 Nov 2019 11:01

tlscapital wrote:
26 Nov 2019 07:29
Before belt swap, dry clean with some isopropyl solution the belt, pulley and outer sub-platter. Then new belt if ever...

As 'StephDale' suggested; first swap the corroded RCA's for low capacitance new ones for an instant improvement.

Like every addition, replacement, upgrade and tweaks, you might do, do them one at a time to evaluate them solely.

That way, you'll be much more aware of what does what, how and where for your playback enjoyment. Have a nice day !
Sound advice. I tend to get really sucked into projects so it's good to be reminded to take it step-by-step!

I'm going to do the following in the following order:

1. General clean and service following https://www.vinylengine.com/images/forum/thorens.pdf
2. Gluing to reinforce the frame (as suggested by StephDale)
3. Replacing the existing signal cable.
4. New base and feet.

bernard1
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by bernard1 » 26 Nov 2019 11:03

I am the accidental but now very proud owner of a Thorens TD 166 MkII.
Congratulations !

Having done hours of internet reading I am preparing to give it a good service and replace the stock RCA cable with jacks on the rear as the original connectors are badly corroded.
I would't do it (and in fact I didn't do it on my own 166 MKII) because the cable is not that bad and, as others said, adding connections in the signal path is never a good idea. Keep the cable and replace only the RCA plugs.
If you absolutely want to add RCA sockets on the plinth, then use the Neutrik model Spensar has suggested.

The heavy outer platter has tarnished and has some white 'spots' on (see photo). Could you advise what metal this is made from and whether it would be acceptable to give the visible outer edge a polish? Is the original finish of the outer visible 'side' of the platter machined or polished?
The platter is aluminum-zinc alloy and may be cleaned with some Mirror (or British market equivalent). I would say the original finish was "satin" but not polished, although some people choose that finish.

Similarly the 'deck' of the player is quite tarnished (or maybe just stubborn dirt) - any advice on cleaning this? Is it ever polished?
I'd say there is a thin brillant layer on it. Don't use aggressive cleaning product, only a dampened cloth.

My belt 'slips' on start-up and shut-down making a rubbing noise - but once up to speed it is fine. Is this normal? Are replacement belts easy to come by?
If you have a pulley with clutch, and you probably have, there are two felt discs at the top and bottom of it. If you hold the pulley and switch the motor on, the motor axis must spin freely in the pulley, with some resistance, though. If not, dismantle the clutch, there are two hexagonal screw on the top metal part and beware of the spring, don't loose it! Clean the motor axis, the parts of the pulley and reinstall, leaving some play. The spring will auto adjust the play.
As tlscapital said, clean thoroughly the belt, the pulley and the inner platter.

All the internal photos I've seen of TD 160s to date show a simple solder pin board on the internal end of the tone-arm wires, however in mine the signal cables go into a white 'box' on the underside of the tone arm assembly.
Same on mine. That box has an inner metal layer that isolate the signal from external interferences.

How do I access the terminals to solder the new wires for the RCA jacks? Does anyone have a wiring diagram?
There is a screw that hold the white box on the board. Once again, keep that cable ! At least use the existing cable to the RCA you want to put in the plinth.

A few guides I've seen suggest that the preferred method for installing jacks on the rear is to make a recangular cutout and glue an alumnium plate over the cutout, installing the jacks in the plate. This seems complex and more destructive to the player. Is there any reason I cannot (or should not) just install the jacks directly into the wooden frame by drilling holes in the wood itself? The threads on my chosen connectors are certainly long enough to support this.

Neutrik RCA sockets suggested by spensar are the best option, if you follow this way. Drill a hole in the plint and screw them on.

Japi Roelofs
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by Japi Roelofs » 26 Nov 2019 13:49

To get rid of the tarnish on the outer platter, I use fine steel wool to clean and polish it. You can make it as shiny as you want, but in the end the shine won't last and it will return to a dull finish. You can then polish it again, or just leave it like it is.

Alec124c41
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by Alec124c41 » 26 Nov 2019 14:37

If you polish metal, consider using a bit of car wax to protect the surface.

Cheers,
Alec

seb101
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by seb101 » 26 Nov 2019 15:49

Look at me doing exactly what I was told not to and combining upgrades... however with good reason.

I'm torn between the convenience of having RCA sockets on the turntable and keeping it 'as original' so I've devised the perfect work-around - build the sockets into the base. I'll carefully remove the original cable from the solder points under the tone-arm and keep it incase I ever want to restore it to 'stock'.

This is going to required a bit more effort than the base I had originally envisaged - but I'll keep you up to date with the build!
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tlscapital
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Re: Proud accidental owner of a TD 166 MkII

Post by tlscapital » 26 Nov 2019 17:26

Not that it's a "bad" move but this is 4 steps in one;

- Double the RCA connectors with female ones.
- New cables.
- Heavier base.
- Spikes cone feet.

Evidently you'll hear differences or improvements... but due to what mostly or specifically ?

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