Thursday, June 18, 2009

Don't Toss that Turntable

Do you still have your old records? Is your old turntable broken in a closet? Why not enjoy those nostalgic tunes again like so many other people lately?

Sounds like a job for you, The Fixer!

I remember all too well when CDs were new and within a few years, vinyl records were declared dead. Well, record sales never completely stopped. Now CD sales are declining while record sales, though small, continue to grow! After all, the ritual of playing records is way more fun and rewarding than pressing play on your iPod or CD player.

For right now, let's focus on a simple fix for your belt drive turntables. It turns on but the platter spins too slow or takes to long to spin up. Easy to fix! Just replace the belt.

You can still get new belts for old turntables from several reputable sites online (see below). That's what I did for my old JVC AL-A1 and for a recently acquired BIC 980 (pictured upper right; recognize the album, anyone?). You can still get new styluses and cartridges. And there's quite a few selections to choose from, too!

To replace the belt, follow these simple steps for most belt drive turntables. You might want to check --register for free and get a free service manual for your turntable, if available.
  • First, remove the turntable mat. Next, lift the platter up off of the spindle and the belt should come loose. If you can't remove the platter, consult the service manual
  • Place the new belt around the belt drive surface on the platter. Some platters may have a convenient place to temporarily clip the belt so it'll drop over the motor pulley, otherwise, hold as best as you can.
  • Place the platter back onto the spindle and manually spin it until one of the access holes permits a good view and access to the motor pulley.
  • Place the belt over the motor pulley.
  • Replace the mat
You may want to replace that old stylus with a new one to prevent (further) damage to your records. I'll list a few of my favorite sites to get cartridges, stylii and all these other parts.

If the (semi-) automatic mechanism on your turntable is broken that is quite a bit more complex to fix, but it is doable. You can get help on the AudioKarma forum among others. Generally speaking, most automatic turntables need their mechanisms fully disassembled and cleaned and lubricated. That is how I got my BIC 980 to work perfectly once again.

Lastly, to get rid of those pops and crackles on old records, well... I'll save that for another article so I can do that topic justice.

SoundStage Direct
AudioKarma forum
Cartridges, stylii, belts, record care
Cartridges, stylii, belts, record care
Parts for your Dual, Garrard or BIC
Various turntable parts
Free manuals for turntable, protractors
Great mail order record store for new records
Here's a great place to get used records!
Friendly helpful folks on The Best vintage audio forum


  1. Very good post. I was taking my Dad's old record player apart today, it simply doesn't work, there's nothing blindingly wrong with is internally.

    Either way, I like what this blog is about. Recycling is always good but doing it through extended its original life span is even better and saves even more resources and energy.


  2. Have BIC 980 is good working condition (had since new). Am in need of A-8 BIC Stylus Setting Gauge.

    1. If it helps, you can align the stylus with a printable alignment protractor. Search for 'baerwald protractor'. HTH

    2. If it helps, you can align the stylus with a printable alignment protractor. Search for 'baerwald protractor'. HTH