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Thorens TD-124/II restoration / upgrade

Discussion in 'classic' started by Tony L, Dec 20, 2011.

  1. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Yes, that is my fear. The original iron platter is pretty inert, certainly compared to the alloy one, and I have heard suggestions that brass, stainless steel etc do ring like a dinner gong (as one would expect). It is the reason Swissonor stuck with a variation on the original cast iron when doing their very expensive replacement, they just didn’t think the dipped finishing through properly with the original black ones and ended up with some obvious ‘ripples’ on the idler track, which was a shame as it was otherwise a good and nicely made product. I notice they seem to be unpainted these days, so I guess I wasn’t the only one to flag that issue.
     
    user510 and torstoi like this.
  2. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    Just got home with this:

    [​IMG]

    It’s now playing Bing Crosby mono. Came with an SME Series II Improved and 2M Blue cart and the azimuth is way off, but that doesn’t really matter because I bought the M2-9R from the Classifieds, which also arrived today and I intend to get an SPU and ST-104-style plinth for it. Without music playing I can hear the motor whirring a bit but don’t think there’s any rumble through the speakers. I’m going to go through this thread and make it as quiet as possible. Overall condition seems very nice. I expect I’ll put my 1200G up for sale soon ;)

    [​IMG]
     
    narabdela, clownfish, torstoi and 4 others like this.
  3. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Nice. The azimuth on a 3009 can be adjusted just by twisting the headshell, the whole socket assembly is a (fairly stiff) friction fit and designed to move.

    PS A 2M Blue will be perfectly happy in that Series II Improved. It should be a very good match compliance wise.
     
    Nagraboy likes this.
  4. Evo

    Evo pfm Member

    Lovely deck Nagraboy. Mine makes a little noise. I clean the rubber from the pulleys ever now and again with some isopropyl.
     
    Nagraboy likes this.
  5. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    @Tony L Thanks Tony, I was about to investigate how to set it so that saves me a bit of reading. I’ve got the box and manual for the 3009 here too. The deck and arm were serviced by John Caswell in 2017 and he fitted the 2M Blue as part of the service. It’s sounding nice. I’ve levelled the deck using the finger wheel things and adjusting the speed was simple too. Such a perfect design!
     
  6. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    Twisted the headshell a bit to approximate correct azimuth, put a stereo LP on and…I lost the left channel and had ground loop noise on the left. I’ve removed the headshell and reinserted it and all’s well again. That was a relief!
     
    DAVEDWACK and Stuart Frazer like this.
  7. messengerman

    messengerman pfm Member

    Cast iron has been the favoured sink for unwanted vibration since the dawn of machine tools. More or less universally so. About the only material change in all that time has been with the concrete ballast when polymer cement was discovered to be better in that application than portland.

    Given the size of the machine tool industry and the huge amounts of R&D money spent chasing higher precision the fact that cast iron is still hanging in there tells us quite a lot.

    Of course the weight makes it a tricky material to use in turntables. And it is more expensive and harder to machine than aluminium. But perhaps we ought not be surprised it works well (magnetic issues apart).
     
    Dan K and DAVEDWACK like this.
  8. rabbit

    rabbit pfm Member

    Good looking turntable. Somebody has done some serious rebalancing of the step pulley which might indicate a problem with it or its bearing. The biggest cause of motor vibration is an over tight belt and the options of different belts has been discussed here ad nausium.
     
  9. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    That’s original from the Thorens factory, most have some, though it’s a lot in this case. It is very much an old-school hand-built deck so these things exist. The motor rotor has similar balance drilling.
     
  10. rabbit

    rabbit pfm Member

    Yes, but I'd never seen that much "correction" on one before.
     
  11. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    Should I look to replace the belt then? If so, where to find the right one? The one fitted is a Thorens belt fitted during service in 2017.

    When I saw the deck working at the seller’s house I only noticed a slight whirring but at my place which is in a quiet street, it seems louder. I can also hear ‘purring’ through the speakers between tracks, and the speed seems to wander a bit. Are there any easy adjustments or checks I can do myself to reduce this, short of taking the whole deck to be serviced again? I’m thinking it’s probably best to get the unit running reasonably quietly before fitting the M2-9R and (as yet undecided) SPU.
     
  12. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    Most of the noise will very likely be the belt. The Hanze-Fi one is the best I’ve tried to date. I get just a hint of rumble on very quiet stuff e.g. solo piano etc and I suspect that is normal unless you rigidly mass-load it into a very heavy solid plinth (I am no fan of mass subjectively so will trade a little noise for life and agility). My plinth is very lightweight, really just a stand.

    The speed should be very solid though some slight speed up or down (depends on the specific motor oil) is fairly normal over the first side or two as the thing heats up and the resistance of the motor coils changes and the oil flows better from the pores of the sintered bushings. I’ve had both ways, the very light Shopper oil seems to start fast and slow a little after half an hour, more viscous oil the reverse. I’ve obviously not found the exact right formula yet, though use a thicker oil as I’m in a high-voltage area and a little more drag means a little less eddy brake needed. I can’t remember what the stuff I’m currently using is called, but it’s well liked by folk who restore open reel tape decks and is certainly safe on sintered bronze. I just have my speed control set for half an hour in as from that point it stays put. I never notice the very slight initial slowness and I have a fairly decent sense of musical pitch.
     
    torstoi and Nagraboy like this.
  13. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    Thanks for those tips Tony. I think you’re right about the noise coming from the belt. It really does rattle along very quickly and it does sound like a rubbery springy sound in my estimation.

    I’ve had the platter off just now, and noticed some shedding of the belt onto the main motor pulley. To be expected after 4 years of use - the seller hadn’t taken the platter off in that time. I’ve scratched the biggest lumps of it off. I guess I’ll have to look into removing and cleaning the pulley properly.

    I can also see that the idle wheel looks quite wobbly as it goes round. Surely worth replacing that?
     
  14. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    A little run-off (up and down movement) is fairly normal. I’ve not seen an original idler without it. It obviously shouldn’t hit the faster speed below on the step pulley. Assuming that is ok I’d not worry too much unless its bearing is worn (i.e. it rocks). The sintered bushing can be replaced. Audio Silente make a nice replacement idler, though I’ve not tried it. Real ones are rocking horse shite, especially NOS ones.

    It is impossible to make the transport of a TD-124 too clean. Everything in the motor, motor pulley, step pulley, belt and idler need to be absolutely spotless and correctly lubricated. Really lab-grade clean. Isopropyl will clean the metalwork fine, warm soapy water can help the rubber components (i.e. just wash the belt).

    The motor is the big one that needs carefully assessing. Really you need to strip it down and assess condition, clean and relubricate it (or pay a self-appointed expert an often comical amount to do it for you). It is well documented here and elsewhere on the internet. It can be a little fiddly, but it is something you need to know is ok. It is just basic mechanical engineering, not the mysticism some attempt to sell.
     
    Nagraboy likes this.
  15. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    I think the idler wheel does rock a little bit Tony. I can easily move it up and down with two fingers on the left and right edges of it. Think I’d prefer to keep the original type of idler rather than use a metal one but if needs be I’ll use the Audio Silente version.

    I’ve taken the belt off and the motor is actually really quiet! An inconsequential amount of noise I reckon - I guess that means I can leave it as is? Presumably the work done 4 year ago sorted things out for the time being. After switching off, the motor pulley spins for 70 seconds which seems good.

    I’m going to clean the belt as you suggested and see if I can do the same with any of the other parts you mention too. Just ordered some isopropyl alcohol for the job.

    I’ve also just ordered the belt, motor springs, and Audio Silente idler wheel from Hanze, as well as a Swissonor plinth that looked perfect.
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2022
  16. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    New Audio Silente idle wheel, Hanze motor springs, and Hanze belt arrived earlier today.

    I’m trying to fit the motor springs but it’s proving impossible. How do you refit the little clips that hold them on? I’ve already lost one of them that pinged off somewhere. At least I still have the old one I took off. Is there a special technique for replacing them? The video said no knowledge is required…no one should ever use that phrase!

    Also, does anyone know how to remove the idler wheel? I’ve looked at the service manual but it doesn’t seem to help.
     
  17. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    The little clips do just clip on and off, though as you have noticed they have the ability of flight and then hiding when landed. I’ve got quite adept at this now and use a plastic spudger thingy to flip them off and press them back without marking anything. A screwdriver works as well, but can mark the fibre washers.

    To remove the idler you have to undo the machine screw holding the retaining arm and then remove that arm. There is a little spring washer under the screw, so try not to drop it.

    [​IMG]

    You can see the retaining arm has been removed in this picture, it is on the newspaper just in front. That done the idler just lifts straight up and off. Give the new one some oil on the bearing surfaces.
     
    user510, torstoi and Nagraboy like this.
  18. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    Thank you Tony. I’ve managed to put the springs in but had to reuse the old clips as they were more flexible. Doubt it makes any difference to the sound.

    Unfortunately the springs look slanted to the right in their positions as if the motor is not aligned in its correct position. With the motor running there is a slight high pitched sound which stops when I gentle push the rod (over which the springs fit) to the left, straightening the spring’s shape.
     
  19. Nagraboy

    Nagraboy Ausculta fili

    See the wonky springs below. The shafts are a few mm to the right of where they should be.

    [​IMG]
     
  20. Tony L

    Tony L Administrator

    As long as the posts are not actually hitting the metal chassis it should be ok. The belt-tension inevitably drags things in that direction a little (all currently available belts are too tight for the 50Hz pulley IMHO), though twisting the springs around their axis may find an area they sit better - they tend not to be quite symmetrical.
     

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