Thursday, January 28, 2010

Victor 1-5 Repair (Part 1)

I am the proud owner of a Victor 1-5 portable phonograph. It's serial number 16284. I would be more proud if it worked. The VV 1-5 portable was introduced in 1926 as a "step-up" model from the basic VV 1-6. It was in turn replaced by another series of 200 series portables: the economy model VV 2-35, the mid-range VV 2-55, and the premium VV 2-60 model which all came out in 1928 and 1929. these are not particularly rare or valuable which to my advantage means that at least the parts will be readily available.

The problem is that though the platter turns, the weight of the tone arm leads it to stop doing so. This is a common problem that can have a number of causes. The VV1-5 is a single spring model so if it turns at all, the spring is not broken. We are probably looking at a problem with hardened grease. It needs cleaned.

STEP ONE: Research
Read about the phonograph. The best way not to break things is to do a little reading ahead of time. One simple tip from a more experienced user can avert catastrophe. I started here. Victor also usually has a diagram inside the device instructing the owner how and where to oil the device. This one is scanned below. The discoloration is because Victor varnished it right onto the underside of the plinth.
STEP TWO: Detach the turntable
Technically the turntable is just the platter that spins. The chassis is called a plinth. First rotate the tone arm out of the way so that it is not damaged by the disassembly. Then pull the E-clip (E-ring) off the spindle. The turntable should lift right off. Yes that's rust on the bottom of the turntable. Yes, that's bad. Even though the rust is light, it means one horrible thing: Moisture may have gotten at the mechanism.STEP THREE: Detach the plinth.
The turntable is mounted directly to the top by four small Flathead screws. Underneath it is a sound box. The VV1-5 used the Victor used a No. 4 Sound box which connects to the elbow. The elbow is that stationary metal mount connecting to the tone arm. Mine is marked #50 in chalk. I wish I knew what that means. See Step#1.
STEP FOUR: Examine the motor.
the motor is still attached to the plinth. eventually this will need unbolted but for the moment It's convenient to leave it be. The first thing I noticed is that the speed adjusting screw was screwed down so far by the previous owner the level it adjusted has slipped off. It was permanently set to the slowest possible speed. This alone could be the problem.