Any information about this old beast?

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by Aladdinsane, May 17, 2018 at 8:10 AM.

  1. Aladdinsane

    Aladdinsane Active Member

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    Old no name idler drive "from my uncles sock hop days". He was a dj before he became an engineer...

    I tried adjusting the arm and about 100 bearing balls fell out and rolled under my couch
     

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  2. FONSguy

    FONSguy Super Member

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    Looks like it WAS an Empire arm.
     
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  3. Aladdinsane

    Aladdinsane Active Member

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    Are you referring to the bearing balls falling out? Is there no way to get those back in?
     
  4. revox-b77

    revox-b77 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Looks like a nice unit to me. Best be looking for the bearings.
     
  5. Aladdinsane

    Aladdinsane Active Member

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    I'm pretty sure I found them all, just not sure how to go about getting them back in...

    But yeah it seems pretty solid to me. Never really seen anything like it. I just did a little relubing/restoration on my dual 1219 so I'm at least somewhat familiar with idler drives, I'll probably repeat the process with the motor and drive system on this thing and see how it sounds. Pretty cool looking.
     
  6. gadget73

    gadget73 junk junkie Subscriber

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    hm, hybrid belt/idler drive should narrow it down somewhat. I confess I do not recognize it though.
     

     

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  7. tnsilver

    tnsilver AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    TA looks empire 980/990 to me. The platter looks empire'ish/rek-o-kut in dimension and the on/off switch is likely RS. The upper deck appears to follow the empire'ish plinth style too but the execution looks totally DIY. The belt is just speed control connector - not a drive belt. It's an idler. I'm pretty sure it's a DIY project.
     
  8. empirelvr

    empirelvr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Tonearm is an Empire 98 arm, the first one they sold. And yeah, those ball bearings...I warned about that in my main Empire thread. A pity you didn't have that information. Would have saved a lot of swearing I'm sure! :D

    As long as you have them all, you can reassemble the arm with minimal fuss.

    Unfortunately that's not the stock Empire headshell, but what looks like a generic "standard" one. It might work, might not. (IIRC, it will fit, and tighten, but the pins won't align exactly. Might cause issues like hum.) Originals are rarer than hen's teeth, sadly.
     
  9. savatage1973

    savatage1973 Addicted Member

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    My thoughts exactly--the "tell" (to me, at least) were the rather "rough" cuts around the openings hidden under the platter.
     
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  10. empirelvr

    empirelvr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    What happened is the little collar that is held by a set screw onto the end of the arm (where the wires are poking out from) must have been loose and finally slipped some, allowing all the ball bearings to do a jailbreak.

    As long as you have that collar and all the ball bearings, you CAN get it back together again. Won't be easy, but it can be done.
     
  11. Montycat

    Montycat AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Do we know the size of those bearings? Rule of thumb around those little balls in any shop I've worked is replace them if they get dropped (and contaminated) or even if you bothered to just open them. They cost pennies. If you can get the size that is.

    The other rule of thumb is that the right quanity, if not known already, is a full race less 1. In other words, if you could make 25 just fit, 24 should be right. It leaves just enough leeway so they don't have to touch each other.
     
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  12. malden

    malden Super Member

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    That's really a strange looking turntable. The arm as stated is Empire and the platter may be as well but the rest of it looks odd. Particle board plinth? Cube motor? What does that belt do?
     
  13. tnsilver

    tnsilver AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It looks as if the belt connects the speed control knob to the larger wheel with that tan lever, which raises and lowers the idler on a stepped pulley, or somehow impedes it.
     
  14. malden

    malden Super Member

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    I think I get it, the smiley face is the speed selector and the black knob controls pitch. Definitely home made, probably done by the uncle while in engineering school, hopefully not after...
     
  15. empirelvr

    empirelvr AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Sadly, I do not. But if the OP has a modern digital caliper, it should be easy to determine.

    Over the years I've wondered if changing the types of the ball bearings would have any appreciable change in performance (i.e.: ceramic or jeweled bearings instead of the steel ones Empire used.)
     
  16. tnsilver

    tnsilver AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I've replaced BTD-12S stock steel balls with overly expensive tungsten balls after overhauling the bearing cups. There's 18 of them, at around $5 a pop. I can't report an audible difference but the TA stopped binding, which got me happy enough. For the next one I spent $5 on 20 silicon nitrate balls from China and got exactly the same effect. Stainless steel balls do get rusty (don't ask me how) or rough or dirty over the decades.
     
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  17. Aladdinsane

    Aladdinsane Active Member

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    Thanks for all of the info everybody. The turntable will probably sit around for a bit until I have the time/motivation to restore it to its former glory. Should be a fun project though
     

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