audio blog vinyl  

Technics Tonearm Repair

SL1210MK2 tonearm

This Technics turntable was a great find from a pawnshop. It had seen several years of service as a DJ unit and needed repair. I would service the unit for high fidelity playback and so its history concerned me. The shop owner was aware of its busted tonearm and locked up platter he offered to take $100 cash. I replied; "How about $75?" I was worried about the locked up platter and busted tonearm. I wanted to recant my offer and walk away.

Once home I packed the turntable in my closet and decided I was crazy for collecting such things. I had another Technics that was running fine. However, I was back in audio-tinkering mode and could not resist the offer. The extra turntable would be for parts or used to mock up a layered plinth for the Technics SL1200MK2. Later I pulled the chassis, removed a loose screw from the platter and to my surprise the table was in working condition. Nevertheless, I over tightened the pivot screws and so the table returned to the closet needing a new tonearm.

Since the forums are charging a vinyl reformation I decided it was time I contacted Kevin at to get the ball rolling. The upgrade I had in mind was called for the Cardas rewired tonearm, MG5 oxygen free interconnects, and a replacement armrest. Kevin assured me that the fluid dampener was necessary but I was out of money and it would have to wait. Being fairly employed forces me to taken longer journeys in audio.

Technics Replacement Parts

When the parts arrived I setup the workbench and expected to work slow. In a short time table was dissected and the soldering iron hot. I planed to use the existing circuit board for the tonearm wires. However, I pealed the copper tinning and was forced to reinvent the wheel.

Technics Tonearm Circuit Board

Technics Tonearm DIY Circuit Board

The next day I visited Radioshack for bus wire and breadboard to rebuilt the circuit point-to-point style. The cutout and screw holes were made with a Dremel. The interconnect leads were soldered first and routed. I made the traces long to keep heat away from the tonearm leads. I soldered the tonearm wires last. Kevin had informed me to use locking forceps to clam the Cardas wire. I would risk melting the housing it not clamped. Instead I used a flat head screwdriver to hold things down and soldered with one hand. This was very tricky but I managed without destroying the wire.

Technics Tonearm Rewire

Once the solder cooled it was time to clean up and reassemble the turntable. Because the MG5 interconnects were slightly larger than the stock cables; I was unable to crimp the cable about the stop pull. Therefore I replaced the lower plastic with a cable tie. The cable is held in place tightly without pinching.

Technics Phono cable clamp Modification

While I had the deck disassembled it seemed quite logical to isolate the arm board from the chassis. Using hobby foam I cut a dampener for the arm board.

Technics Armboard Modification

I drafted and template for the arm board. In the future I may sample different tonearms with the SL1200MK2 turntable. However I am happy with the outcome the new tonearm and Cardas wire is breaking in now. I will report the findings as time permits. Tags


Post a Comment