Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

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Stevenjm
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Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by Stevenjm » 22 May 2019 02:43

Greetings all - I've inherited a vintage Rek-O-Kut Rondine Jr L-34 from my great uncle after he passed away. Here's the backstory - you can skip this paragraph if you want to get to my question. He was a great audio guy. He owned a record shop in a small town and played records for the kids (my dad/mom/aunts/uncles) on Saturdays. Super gruff guy on the outside but warm and giving to all who were his friends and family with an amazing vinyl collection. He always had a space in his back room to 'fiddle' with stuff and he'd bring me back there and show me reel to reel and his mixing boards he kept after he retired. He loved music, sharing it with people and had so much history to share and I was the one 'kid' that liked it as much as him. I went on to have my own collection, I've kept all my vinyl from growing up and still listen to it today on a newish Audio-technica turntable. My first job was in radio as a DJ and actually spun some vinyl in college in the 80's and had my dream of working that gig for a few years before finally 'growing up'.

Fast forward many years and he's passed away and left his widow to carry on. She passed about a year ago and the family is dividing up some of the family items. I took a few of the albums, nothing was mint, it was all used, loved and enjoyed. I'm sure if he had kept some and never played them, it would be a goldmine but he wasn't a collector, he was a listener, player, entertainer. He wanted everyone to enjoy.

He had 3 turntables in the basement and one is a vintage Rek-O-Kut Rondine JR. that to me, seemed like a great item so I was given it by the family. It's not functioning, power is connected and you can hear a slight 'hum' from the motor but nothing turns. I'm very willing to take this item apart but am unaware of availability of parts and what are the right steps to take in taking this baby apart/cleaning/upgrading and putting her back together. I'd give it a go and wonder if it's easy/hard/mysterious on getting parts for it and if it's too advance for a novice to try? Ideally, any advice on what tools/cleaners to use and some guiding steps (or online guides) and I'll be a good student to work on this sucker with a goal of making her play some tunes again. I've got space and time and funds to put towards it so...what do you all think? I've done plenty of tinkering with computers and electronics as a hobby over the years and feel this looks rather low tech and hope it's approachable but know it'll have it's own challenges.

smee4
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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by smee4 » 22 May 2019 03:06

Remove the platter and see if the motor is actually spinning when powered on. See that the idler wheels are in decent condition and mechanically move to contact the motor and platter rim when you change speeds. Old turntables often need the old grease removed and cleaned up and re-lubed. Sometimes moving bits need freeing up, and old rubber needs replacing.

AudioFeline
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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by AudioFeline » 22 May 2019 07:47

We don't see Rek-O-Kut's in our part of the world, but it looks like a nice turntable.

I would be wondering if the grease/lubricants have solidified with age. The motor may also need disassembling, cleaning and lubing. It's important to use the correct lubricants to get the best performance, there are lots of threads discussing this. Pay attention to the idler topics.

Stevenjm
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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by Stevenjm » 22 May 2019 12:56

Thanks to you both - I'll take the platter off and start digging into threads in this forum and see what I can find. My hope is that it's a proper cleaning and then seeing if that helps. Is it safe to assume that some replacements on some of the rubber items is needed after years and years? Also, the lubricants, I'll see what makes sense/is suggested and get some for sure. Taking apart the motor, happy to do so and will see what I can find here and on the web. Let's do this!

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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by AudioFeline » 22 May 2019 13:09

Keep any cleaners that you will need to remove lubricants away from any of your rubber components. The condition of the idler wheel is important. One common fault occurs when the wheel is left pressed against the drive wheel with the power off, and the pressure creates a flat spot or dimple in the wheel. Sometimes these can be shaved down. Other wise, or if the rubber has severe degradation, it may need to be replaced. There are a few specialist places on the web who can replace the rubber if needed.

A longer-term project might be to upgrade the plinth to extract greater performance. With idler turntables, the heavier the plinth the better the sound.

BTW, it sounds like you were very fortunate to have a great uncle who could share music and hifi with you. It seems he was a very positive influence in your life. What were his taste in music? The range of audio gear he had sounds interesting - can you recall what the other two turntables were, and other audio gear he had?

Please keep us updated with the restoration, and pics are always nice! I'm sure your great uncle would be proud of you.

Stevenjm
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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by Stevenjm » 23 May 2019 01:52

I'll take some pics and also found this site after a little searching....excited to begin! http://jelabsarch.blogspot.com/2012/06/ ... -tips.html

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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by smee4 » 23 May 2019 03:33

Yes, I noticed lots of good resources myself. I am most familiar with Garrards, but plenty of Rek-o-cut info.

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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by smee4 » 23 May 2019 03:35

Another thought, take plenty of photos as you disassemble it, and lay out each piece in the order you remove it if you can. Sometimes it can be difficult to remember things like which order washer and clips and bits and pieces, are meant to be assembled in.

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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by Stevenjm » 25 May 2019 16:57

Taking pics! The plinth is the one it came in. The motor mount is loose, so that may be part of the issue as I look closer as to why it doesn't spin the platter.

Important platter question, how do I take it off correctly? I was thinking 'lift' but it's not coming up easily and I'm thinking the motor has to be taken out to 'release' it? Not sure but it seemed that this thing should come up on it's own without having to take things apart.

Will start taking some of this apart from below with the motor and start to inspect and clean!
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Stevenjm
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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by Stevenjm » 25 May 2019 17:05

Missed one pic!
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smee4
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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by smee4 » 25 May 2019 23:11

Nice looking table. Good project.

When you say the motor mount is loose, could that be the rubber anti-vibration mounts are perished? Rubber sometimes needs to be replaced in old tables. Also, the sub-chassis it is mounted on it appears to be spring mounted.

Removing the platter... Some platters are held on with a central circlip. Sometimes it is not visible without removing the mat or some type of cover in the centre. I have even seen designs with the retaining clip underneath. Even after removing the clip, if the platter hasn't been removed for years, they can be tight. Many/most sit on a taper and can get quite a grip. Usual practice is the hold the edges of the platter up, and tap on the spindle (use something that won't damage the surface)

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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by AudioFeline » 26 May 2019 03:17

If you want to keep the original plinth it could be improved by adding layers of hardwood ply underneath, to build up mass. Nice solid motor.

Also, the headshell armlift has been rotated around to the wrong side (admittedly not a big thing at this stage of a restoration).

Stevenjm
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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by Stevenjm » 26 May 2019 21:12

Spent some time and money working on her today and have a lot of updates -

Following the instructions and walk through I found which had great advice! Took the platter off, part of the reason it was so hard to 'lift' is that the lubrication was probably older than me! Bearing looked good, took those pieces apart and set them to the side. Later, I did clean it out with some denatured alcohol before setting the bearing back in and adding in lubricating oil as directed. Now, she turns beautifully, very smooth and inserting and removing of the platter in the well is far easier/better. Good stuff.

Motor was taken out, used some compressed air to dust off but that thing was pretty nice when looking it over. Added a bit of lubricating oil on it and the movement was always good. Of course, I snapped the ground wire so had to solder that back on later once I re-connected and finalized all that.

The Idler wheels, took them apart, cleaned and added lubricant to those and they seemed hardened but I didn't have much to compare to them and that's the problem now. they are glazed, time to order new ones so I'm off to seeing about getting them online. The motor turns them but they are LOUD. They also are inconsistent on engaging between 33 and 45 RPM so I'm guessing the glazing is what's killing it now with sound and inconsistency with shrinking.

The motor works, the whole thing is very straightforward for a first project...right now it's onto ordering new idlers. Anyone have any other thoughts/suggestions?

Stevenjm
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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by Stevenjm » 26 May 2019 21:53

Research shows I can't really order something new to replace the old one, is there any resource someone knows of?

My options appear to be
1. Try to order new replacement
2. Send in old Idlers for refurbishment
3. Is there anything that can help restore the old idlers? I read about applying lacquer thinner and other options.

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Re: Noob/Newbie with a Turntable

Post by smee4 » 27 May 2019 00:07

You can use fine sandpaper to rough up the surface and maybe give them a bit more grip. I usually do this with the idler in place but the platter removed. I then engage the fastest speed and manually hold the idler in the correct spot if necessary, then with the idler turning I hold the sandpaper against it's outer edge. This ensures evenness - you don't want lumps or non-circular idlers.

I don't have the links to hand, but yes there are places that refurbish idlers.

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