help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

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DonM
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help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by DonM » 04 Feb 2016 01:30

Hi all,

Bit of a newbie here looking for some help getting a Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable I recently acquired up and running. My main hang up at the moment is the tonearm's ground wire, which has snapped off from where it was attached under the platter (see image below). First of all, is that where the wire should be running (through the crack around the tonearm's base), and secondly, does it need to be re-soldered to the metal connector (or rewired?), or is there a simpler solution?

Also, am I correct in understanding that the ball bearing used in the main spindle should be 1/4"? The one that was with the turntable when I got it is about 1/8th of an inch, but I'm assuming I shouldn't use it if it's the wrong size.

Thanks in advance for any advice (I'm sure I'll need some more before I'm finished with this thing).
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abril
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by abril » 04 Feb 2016 16:39

Hi

First of all 1/4 for the bearing ball sounds right to me,certainly not 1/8.
Secondly the ground wire should be connected on the underside there should be a ground screw on the underside of the main bearing underneath.
Difficult to describe and hope you know what I mean.
Had a Hydraulic Ref for about 25 years.

jeules0
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by jeules0 » 04 Feb 2016 19:45

Hi
I have two hydraulic reference decks, and yes I believe 1/4" is correct for the ball bearing.
I would just resolder the wire to the tab after cleaning off the rust on the screw terminal so you get a good connection.
Good luck with the restoration!
Chris

DonM
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by DonM » 12 Feb 2016 20:44

Thanks, and sorry for not replying sooner. I went ahead and ordered this ball bearing that I noticed was mentioned in a thread elsewhere: http://www.ebay.ca/itm/251236555443.

I'm still not entirely clear where the ground wire should be attached underneath. The only screws on the underside seem to be the ones that are holding the various components of the turntable in place. Would it work just as well if it's attached where the tab currently is (after cleaning off the rust)?

DonM
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by DonM » 16 Aug 2016 19:39

Hello again,

I wound up getting sidetracked from this project for a while but got back to it the other day and have run into another small problem. I purchased the ball bearing I mentioned above, but when I inserted it into the main bearing/spindle I found that it caused the platter to rest too high, so that the speed control arm is unable to extend over the fluid well. I'm now thinking there may have already been a ball bearing stuck in the main bearing after all that I inadvertently put the new ball on top of.

The problem is that I now can't remove the ball (or balls) at all. I first tried using a straw to remove it as I saw suggested and then removed the main bearing altogether and tried to shake it and gently prod it out but it really seems to be jammed in there. I don't suppose anyone has any other suggestions for getting it out? Or is there any chance there's another reason the platter would be sitting too high after putting the bearing in that I'm overlooking?

Appreciate any help.

DonM
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by DonM » 17 Aug 2016 01:21

Well, I'm at least now back to square one. I managed to get the new ball bearing I put in back out (with some duct tape on the end of a straw) but still can't see if there is another ball bearing in there or not, or what else might be causing it to sit too high. Is it possible the ball needs to be forced down a bit? There seems to be a slight lip near the bottom of the well that the ball may not be getting past. I'm hesitant to try that in case it gets permanently stuck, though.

Greg in UK
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by Greg in UK » 03 Oct 2016 23:26

I have this turntable from new (back in 1973) and made a discovery. I ran the earth wire and coupled it to the SME 3009 Improved earth wire but found that was a faint hum. The hum was barely audible unless the player wasn't playing a record and the volume of the amp was turned well up. This applied to all amps I used. I took the tone arm earth lead and connected it to various points including the polished steel strip that surrounds the base of the turntable. Hum disappeared. I ran the turntable earth wire to the same point and basically found it was surplus to requirements. I phoned Michell turntables on another matter and spoke to John Michell and he had no explanation as to why this would improve things as he said its part of the hinge for the Perspex lid and is trim only for the base. By the way the spirit level on my turntable no longer works and when I phoned back in the late 1990s there were no replacements. The drive belt being neoprene shrinks to give a tighter fit if dunked briefly into a saucepan of hot water (just under boiling point). Remove within 5 seconds by emptying pan into a sink full of cold water. The speed strobe that the belt goes around benefits from adding a wide base using a cardboard or plastic lip that helps the turntable from throwing the belt especially when starting or speed changing. If you have a wooden floor make sure your speakers are not on the same floor boards and beam supports that the turntable is on even if the floor is carpeted, this reduces the risk of a form of feedback (not microphone type howl). The resistor may have to be changed for the motor to a 10watt version. This was sent by Mitchell back in the late 70s. The resistor is not needed for 110v supply to the US made clock motor.

DonM
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by DonM » 04 Oct 2016 17:54

Thanks for all the advice. I did wind up soldering the ground wire back on the tab and attaching it where it was, which seems to work (or at least not cause any problems). I still have to make some adjustments to the tonearm and, I believe, add some fluid to the well at the rear of the arm (I assume that's the same silicone fluid used in the main fluid well?). It plays as it is, but is skipping a fair bit on even the slightest scratch.

The spirit level on mine isn't working either. I'm also on the lookout for some replacement feet, as well as the little support arm that attaches to the back of the lid, although both unsurprisingly seem to demand a fair bit on eBay.

Greg in UK
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by Greg in UK » 04 Oct 2016 19:26

For feet I would go to a sports shop and get some squash balls, slowest version (and therefore the softest) has a white or yellow spot and cut in half. People used squash balls to support stands and turntables as a cheap but effective damper. The hydraulic fluid is quite thick under the turntable platter and the fluid in the SME arm damping is a BIT thinner. The support arm for the lid is a steel rod on a pinned hinge and freely swings with zero need to oil or help swing down it comes with a rubber foot.
Michell may have spares for the feet and the lid arm support but not the lid which is a dust magnet like you wouldn't believe. Michell may be contactable for spares and if so I would ask if they have any neoprene belt. I have the original and a replacement but not for sale. The little rubber supports for the records come on a strip and peel off and may be easy to pull out if the old ones are barely there. Again Michell may have spares. Best of luck.
John Michell did offer to do an upgrade (unknown what was actually being offered for improvement) on my turntable but you're in Canada which presents shipping problems unless you have your own jet!
The skipping is probably due to records being like rolling hills rather than flat, a record clamp may help, but a 7" record at 45 versus an 12" LP at 33 was less inclined to throw the stylus into the next groove. Increase the tracking weight until you can see the stylus change angle vertically by a few degrees to the cartridge may help the tracking. The squirrel hair tracking brush and stylus brush were quite rare when the turntable was in production, best of luck getting those.

Greg in UK
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by Greg in UK » 04 Oct 2016 23:45

Looking at your photo the clamped wire should reach into the trough that supports the turntable platter. The hydraulic fluid in the well then acts as a brake for the turntable and gives +/- 3% speed variation by turning the wire in or out of the hydraulic fluid which seems to be missing. No doubt Mitchell can tell you the spec of the fluid. From memory it's like pouring Heinz tomato ketchup out of a bottle, it takes for ages, don't try rushing that operation, just let gravity work in its own sweet time. The hydraulic fluid I have never changed and is a pig to clean and remove from anywhere it shouldn't be! The bearing in the strobe I did oil which did reduce a tiny amount of noise that was not picked up by the stylus.

DonM
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by DonM » 08 Oct 2016 23:52

Yeah, that photo was from when I was taking everything apart to try to clean and restore it a bit better. I will try to track down the correct fluid for the arm -- there is still some in it, and I thought the regular silicone fluid might work just as well to top it off.

As far as the feet, I'm actually using some hockey pucks at the moment, which was recommended by a Michell dealer in Montreal. I did get some new pads for the platter, as well as a new belt (it seems to be a good fit right now, but I'll keep the hot water trick in mind). Those parts thankfully still seem to be readily available.

rayolight
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by rayolight » 08 Jul 2017 09:57

I have read with interest your post re fitting new ball bearing and although late in the day would like to offer my own findings. I've had my Reference Hydraulic from new circa 1978 and after reading posts on fitting 1/4inch silicon nitride ball I decided a cheap upgrade would be in order so I ordered one and fitted it.I think that your problems fitting the ball were the same as mine .The old ball bearing is not 1/4inch or at least not on mine and found that after fitting the new silicon nitride ball the fluid well did project as with yours. Unfortunately I've not been able to get the ball back out ,did all the things you did, so what I did was to add another set of washers to the screws that hold the bearing assembly underneath thus dropping it down enough for the paddle not to catch .I must say that since doing this I am sure that there is an improvement in background noise.I find that the new 180gm disks are very prone to rumble and by fitting this slightly oversized ball it has improved
Cheers
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gofar99
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by gofar99 » 08 Jul 2017 22:49

Hi, While a different player, my Saturn came with one that is smaller, about 3/16 inch in size. I wonder if yours is not a 1/4 inch one but perhaps a metric size that is a triffle smaller.

rayolight
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by rayolight » 09 Jul 2017 08:21

gofar99 wrote:Hi, While a different player, my Saturn came with one that is smaller, about 3/16 inch in size. I wonder if yours is not a 1/4 inch one but perhaps a metric size that is a triffle smaller.
Thanks for that Bruce I think you may be right ,but the strangest thing is that although the new ball is slightly bigger the fluid well sits and performs with no noticeable problems in fact I genuinely think it performs better

Caroleuk
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Re: help with Transcriptor Hydraulic Reference turntable

Post by Caroleuk » 27 Oct 2017 02:58

Hi, while I have been doing a bit of genning up on Transcriptors I did notice that there were two sizes for the bearing ball, although at this time I can't remember what they were?
On the same subject, I have been offered a Transcriptor Saturn however I will come minus it's tone arm. is there a suitable replacement tone arm that won't break the bank.

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