Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

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snavarre
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Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by snavarre » 23 Aug 2019 17:44

Found this battery operated turntable in my grandma's attic that was being cleaned out. To the best of my knowledge it's from 1964. It's basically a Philips AG 4000, but according to the instruction pamphlet that was with it, this unit was made for the Longines Symphonette Recording Society. Hence, the "Symphonette Holiday" name. They put out classical box LP sets by subscription back then. This unit is not a toy! It's has some serious engineering which Philips was known for back in the day. The pamphlet even states that this is a "rugged" unit that should give years of music listening enjoying. Any input regarding getting this turntable to work better is appreciated. I made a YouTube video showing how I got it to work. The issue I'm having now is the RPM speeds are too slow. I've cleaned everything I can like the rollers, pulley wheels, belts and platter. I got the 33 1/3 speed to get up to about 30 RPM from 27 RPM by doing this. Taking some advise from other forums I dropped a bit of sewing machine oil onto the shaft of the motor and now its sparking slightly! And the RPMs went down a bit. I've also read there's a speed control screw on the motor, but all the instructions I've seen are for the newer, enclosed-type motor. As you can see the motor looks different as it has an external spinning thingy (yes, that's a technical term :wink: ) on top. [youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X8N8Uf1bwfY&t=12s[/youtube]

https://photos.smugmug.com/Vintage-Audi ... -01-XL.jpg
https://photos.smugmug.com/Vintage-Audi ... -01-XL.jpg
https://photos.smugmug.com/Vintage-Audi ... -01-X2.jpg
https://photos.smugmug.com/Vintage-Audi ... -01-XL.jpg
https://photos.smugmug.com/Vintage-Audi ... -01-XL.jpg
https://photos.smugmug.com/Vintage-Audi ... -01-XL.jpg


lenjack
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by lenjack » 24 Aug 2019 00:58

You say it's not a toy. It pretty much looks like one, no matter how seriously they describe it.

Bob Dillon
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by Bob Dillon » 24 Aug 2019 01:40

The turntable must've had some kind of covering at one time, a piece of rubber or something. With the exposed metal and pin and small turntable size your records may actually slip while it spins.

circularvibes
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by circularvibes » 24 Aug 2019 02:33

The platter mat would have been slightly darker than the dark colour on the tonearm. As far as a battery portable goes, the Philips line was the bee's knees. The ceramic cartridge was about as kind as you could get in the era. It probably tracked about 6 to 8 grams. I would not be afraid to use it on reasonably decent records. As to the motor, you probably need to open it and clean out the old lube before adding new. The old and new won't mix nicely. Philips motors were known for corrosion that was green in colour. I wish I could tell you how to do it, but I never had to on my old machines. I'll admit to a bit of envy for your machine and wish you the best of luck in getting it going again.

KentT
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by KentT » 24 Aug 2019 13:47

lenjack wrote:
24 Aug 2019 00:58
You say it's not a toy. It pretty much looks like one, no matter how seriously they describe it.
Have you ever listened to a Philips/Mercury portable of this generation? One of these properly restored will surprise you sound wise, and it's not rough on records either. For a battery portable, this is one of the best ones of that era. It's far better sounding than quite a number of AC operated luggable phonographs, with a fairly decent amplifier, and a very good speaker. It beats a Crosley or all but the very highest end school phonos on sound quality too. I am not saying it's a 1960's $800-$1200 separate component system, but it's better than most of it's genre.

snavarre
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by snavarre » 24 Aug 2019 16:45

Bob Dillon wrote:
24 Aug 2019 01:40
The turntable must've had some kind of covering at one time, a piece of rubber or something. With the exposed metal and pin and small turntable size your records may actually slip while it spins.
It had a platter mat but it was so brittle it pretty much fell apart when I picked it up. Currently, the records don't slip, but I do have an idea to replace the original one with one of those rubber jar openers.

snavarre
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by snavarre » 24 Aug 2019 16:50

circularvibes wrote:
24 Aug 2019 02:33
The platter mat would have been slightly darker than the dark colour on the tonearm. As far as a battery portable goes, the Philips line was the bee's knees. The ceramic cartridge was about as kind as you could get in the era. It probably tracked about 6 to 8 grams. I would not be afraid to use it on reasonably decent records. As to the motor, you probably need to open it and clean out the old lube before adding new. The old and new won't mix nicely. Philips motors were known for corrosion that was green in colour. I wish I could tell you how to do it, but I never had to on my old machines. I'll admit to a bit of envy for your machine and wish you the best of luck in getting it going again.
Thank you! I gather my grandmother used it quite often back in the day. Yeah, cleaning a motor like that would be uncharted territory for me too. Makes me a little nervous just thinking about it. But probably needs to be done.

snavarre
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by snavarre » 24 Aug 2019 23:13

I got the motor apart and cleaned. Wasn't too difficult although putting it back together was a challenge because the two magnetic arms that rub on the copper coils had to be spread apart to get the shaft assembly through. Oy. Now there's no more sparking. However, the speed is still the same running about 29 RPMs at 33 1/3. Also, for some reason there's static from the motor now when it runs. I think t had something to do with the sparking. There must be a speed adjust on the top mechanism, but I have no idea.

https://photos.smugmug.com/Vintage-Audi ... -01-X2.jpg
https://photos.smugmug.com/Vintage-Audi ... -01-XL.jpg
https://photos.smugmug.com/Vintage-Audi ... -01-XL.jpg

On a side note I found two used Longines Symphonette LPs at a thrift store today. I really want to play them on this unit! :D

circularvibes
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by circularvibes » 25 Aug 2019 01:13

If it isn't sparking now, is the noise still there? That usually means that there is a bad capacitor or the motor brushes are worn out. There may also be a ground that is disconnected. As to the speed, try to remove the idler and clean inside the bushing as well as the shaft it sits on and put one drop of oil on the shaft before reinstalling. A very light sanding of the rim of the idler may increase traction. Clean the rubber and the inside of the platter with isopropyl alcohol or Windex. Try cleaning the platter bearing and the shaft again as well as there may be a sticky residue. Again, minimal oil is needed. If you used grease, that might slow it too. There is a small spring that puts tension on the idler, as a last resort, try shortening it by one turn. Let us know how you make out.

snavarre
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by snavarre » 25 Aug 2019 01:45

circularvibes wrote:
25 Aug 2019 01:13
If it isn't sparking now, is the noise still there? That usually means that there is a bad capacitor or the motor brushes are worn out. There may also be a ground that is disconnected. As to the speed, try to remove the idler and clean inside the bushing as well as the shaft it sits on and put one drop of oil on the shaft before reinstalling. A very light sanding of the rim of the idler may increase traction. Clean the rubber and the inside of the platter with isopropyl alcohol or Windex. Try cleaning the platter bearing and the shaft again as well as there may be a sticky residue. Again, minimal oil is needed. If you used grease, that might slow it too. There is a small spring that puts tension on the idler, as a last resort, try shortening it by one turn. Let us know how you make out.
Thank you!

Yes, the noise is still there even with no sparks. I wouldn't be surprised if the bushings are worn as at times when it was sparking there was smoke.

Dumb question. Which is the idler?

https://photos.smugmug.com/Vintage-Audi ... -01-XL.jpg

https://photos.smugmug.com/Vintage-Audi ... -01-XL.jpg

Damien Taylor
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by Damien Taylor » 25 Aug 2019 01:54

This fella here is your idler wheel.
idler.PNG
(594.5599999999999 KiB) Downloaded 55 times

snavarre
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by snavarre » 25 Aug 2019 01:57

Damien Taylor wrote:
25 Aug 2019 01:54
This fella here is your idler wheel.
idler.PNG
That's what I thought. Thank you guys!

circularvibes
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by circularvibes » 25 Aug 2019 02:35

Do I see two black rubber belts? If so, they may very well need replacement. What I see seems to be very slack stretched belts. That would be your speed problem right there. As to the capacitor, I would replace all the silver cans on the PC board, one at a time from largest to smallest and see if the problem goes away. Do you have an electronics parts supplier or surplus shop you can go to for parts? By the way, have you tried batteries yet? I am curious if the noise is still there with batteries as opposed to AC. I would also remove and clean/lube the pulleys as well. They still look dirty.

snavarre
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Re: Mercury The Symphonette "Holiday" Portable Turntable by Philips

Post by snavarre » 25 Aug 2019 02:56

circularvibes wrote:
25 Aug 2019 02:35
Do I see two black rubber belts? If so, they may very well need replacement. What I see seems to be very slack stretched belts. That would be your speed problem right there. As to the capacitor, I would replace all the silver cans on the PC board, one at a time from largest to smallest and see if the problem goes away. Do you have an electronics parts supplier or surplus shop you can go to for parts? By the way, have you tried batteries yet? I am curious if the noise is still there with batteries as opposed to AC. I would also remove and clean/lube the pulleys as well. They still look dirty.
Yup, two belts. I was very surprised they were still intact. I have a Philips GA-212 and when I got that used unit the belt was melted due to age. Any idea where I can get belts for this?

It's all battery powered - no AC, so yup, the noise is there.

Was wondering about the capacitors, but like the taking a part the motor, this would be uncharted territory for me to replace. I think I could do it if necessary. But yeah, don't think Denver has any parts places like that anymore so would need to find.

Thanks!

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