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Ongoing Pioneer PL-530 project

Discussion in 'Pioneer Audio' started by DCH, Sep 11, 2018.

  1. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    Posted this over in the Turntables forum, thought y'all might be interested.

    I got a kinda-sorta working PL-530 last week and have spent some time trying to fix it up. It has a few issues: a crack in the front of the plinth; the infamous PL-530 tonearm wobble; the infamous PL-530 auto-return-not-going-all-the-way; and no dustcover.

    Here's how it's going so far, with the commentary I put on the Imgur album:

    [​IMG]

    Got this gorgeous if in need of work Pioneer fully automatic PL-530 locally for $70. I knew it needed refurbishing. I knew I might not be able to do it, but $70 is a gamble I'm willing to take on what could be a fantastic table. The issues: no dust cover or hinges, crack in the plinth, tonearm is wobbly and the auto-return doesn't go all the way back to the tonearm rest. The good: all the automatic functions seem to work pretty well (although after I'm done they might not any more... we shall see).

    [​IMG]

    Closeup of the plinth crack. Looks like something fell on the front of it, although there's no obvious impact on the surface of the top of it.

    [​IMG]

    Mostly clean, all the pots and buttons work and the strobe works. Holds speed at both 45 and 33 great.

    [​IMG]

    Tonearm is intact, but this has a problem that is apparently common to the PL-530 - I can wiggle the tonearm around a lot, as though it's not totally anchored to anything. This is caused by the plastic inserts it's screwed into cracking over time. It's the bigger issue I'm hoping to fix.

    [​IMG]

    Original Shure M91E cartridge installed. No stylus. I've ordered a cheap-ish N91ED stylus from Amazon that will primarily be a test to see if the cartridge itself is in good working order. If not, Nagaoka MP-110 here I come.

    [​IMG]

    Surgery begins. Platter is off. I've DeOxited everything I can think to DeOxit. All in all the veneer is in really good shape, other than the giant crack on the front.

    [​IMG]

    Shot of the bottom before removal. Tonearm is locked in place and I've balanced the table between a stack of books and a Gilt box. For access and whatnot.

    [​IMG]

    Bottom cover seems to have taken a bit of damage, too. I'll fix that with a little Loctite or JB Weld. At the end of it all.

    [​IMG]

    The majesty exposed! I can't tell you how much fun I had pushing the start-stop buttons and watching the little pulleys pull. The mechanical parts of this turntable are so neat and fun to play around with. All the capacitors visually appear to be in great shape - no leaks, no bulging. Which is good. I don't wanna dick around with them. There's enough other stuff to do.

    [​IMG]

    The crack from below.

    [​IMG]

    Closeup of the automatic mechanicals. I'll be detaching the arm you see here, because I need to get to the plate underneath it. This picture is 90% so I remember what everything looks like assembled. I do have the service manual, but this is... slightly more helpful.

    [​IMG]

    Round plate controls the tonearm movements. Hard to see in this picture, but that little swoopy outcropping actually has a rise of about a centimeter. I believe that's the cueing mechanics.

    [​IMG]

    Arm detached, cueing (I think) plate removed. Those little E-brackets are kind of a pain in the ass to get off without launching them across the world.

    [​IMG]

    The stuff I removed. The little washers are very important to keep, and the little plate you see with the spring in it is involved in the auto-return.

    [​IMG]

    See the foam there? That is the reason these tables' auto-return functions stop going all the way back - the foam has deteriorated into basically soap fizz over the decades. I will be replacing this with a 1/4" x 1/4" square of foam weather stripping, which will in theory totally fix the auto-return. Hurrah.

    [​IMG]

    Tonearm wires soldered onto the PCB. I must desolder. I have never desoldered (or soldered) anything in my life. Luckily I work with engineers with equipment. FYI, a desoldering pump is ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY and REALLY AWESOME. Once again, this photo is 90% so I remember where each wire goes when I resolder.

    [​IMG]

    Desoldering done! Next step is to remove that three-cornered plate. The screws are both soft and REALLY tightly in there. I got one out, stripped two, and await the arrival of a screw-removing pliers to continue. Monday night's surgery has ended. We'll pick this up Tuesday evening when the pliers arrive and when I have time to go to Ace and get some plastic-oriented superglue or epoxy.

    [​IMG]

    Since I couldn't make any further progress on the internal mechanicals, I popped some Gorilla wood glue into the plinth and clamped it for the evening. This won't fix the vertical crack on the front, but it will get the plinth strengthened. I'll fix the main crack tomorrow - planning on putting more wood glue into the crack and clamping a short piece of 2x4 on the top and bottom of the plinth itself.
     
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  2. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    OK, afternoon update time. First off, I have to shout out to this thing for being absolutely freaking amazing, and I'm not sure I'll bother with screwdrivers ever again for removing tight screws:

    [​IMG]

    Using this I got the last 2 screws out of the 3-sided plate:

    [​IMG]

    Also, real quick, here's the result of last night's clamping:

    [​IMG]

    Also picked up some foam window seal to hopefully fix the auto-return function:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    More on testing that later. Here's the next layer under the three-corner plate:

    [​IMG]

    You can see a couple of little screws coming sideways out underneath this plate. I removed those, and...

    [​IMG]

    Bang, the whole tonearm fell off. Not supposed to do that at this point. But it did, because...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Herein we find the crux of the problem. These two plastic holes are supposed to squeeze in place a couple of brass screw recepticles:

    [​IMG]

    ...which pull the tonearm onto the base when screwed in via where these lovely Photoshop arrows are pointing:

    [​IMG]

    Mine did nae do that. So now the tonearm is out, next step will be to use some Gorilla epoxy to either attempt to repair the cracked plastic on the tonearm or to aggressively glue those brass bits the **** in to the tonearm so it NEVER MOVES AGAIN MUAHAHAHAHAHA.

    Sorry, gotta do a little evil genius stuff to keep from getting annoyed with engineering that doesn't think to be 30-years-in-the-future-proof.

    Anyways, carrying on, will keep updating. Unless you guys want me to STFU and stop, in which case I will.
     
    Last edited: Sep 11, 2018
    LesE likes this.
  3. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    Day 2's plinth clamping/gluing. I really hope this fixes the crack (which will always be visible, but hoping the wood glue and pressure gets it to the right shape)

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  4. IMF_Pioneer

    IMF_Pioneer Active Member

    Messages:
    185
    Location:
    Australia
    Must say that I've really enjoyed this very explanatory post, but did you really have to drop the "F" bomb ?
     
  5. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    Meant no offense, censored it.
     
  6. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    Ugh now my fingers smell of epoxy and probably will for a month.
     

     

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  7. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    Another update: ended up deciding my best course of action, since the plastic was cracked but all the pieces were still contiguous, was to mix up some Gorilla clear epoxy, dunk the very back end of the brass fittings in, and then cram the brass fittings back where they belong. The epoxy came along so hopefully will ooze a bit into all the cracks and sure it up for the foreseeable future.

    Tonearm right now (epoxy curing):

    [​IMG]
     
  8. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    Incidentally, if anyone has any feedback about tracking down a dust cover and hinges for this beast, I'm all ears (assuming when it's all reassembled it still is a turntable and not just a pretty chunk of laminate veneered stuff)
     
  9. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    OK. More progress. Epoxy set and the tonearm is SOLIDLY set in the table. I have resoldered the tonearm wires:

    [​IMG]

    Please excuse if the soldering is messy... I've literally not soldered anything in at least 20 years, if ever. And I've:

    [​IMG]

    Reassembled the whole kit 'n kaboodle. I don't know if I did it right. I think I did. I hope I did. I'll find out tomorrow when the plinth is done setting (still in the grip of some very serious clamps).
    I scared the bejeezus out of myself by dropping an E-clip. Wouldn't have been a concern but I could not for the LIFE of me figure out where it went... for like, 10 minutes. That's frustrating. Finding it was cathartic.
    No leftover parts. So I got that going for me. Which is nice. Updates tomorrow evening when I try to actually (gasp) use this turntable. Somehow. Without a stylus. Just make it work.
     
  10. IMF_Pioneer

    IMF_Pioneer Active Member

    Messages:
    185
    Location:
    Australia
    Hi DCH,

    I guess you are wondering why there are no contributors to this thread,

    Well as far as Pioneer is concerned I very much feel that there's not that many turntable lovers in this Brand category, nor Reel to Reels either.

    It all seems to be about Amplifiers and Receivers when talking Pioneer. To be brutally honest there are far better turntables out there made by manufacturers that specialise in TT's only. Speakers also very much fall into the same category of brand orientation.

    I used to have a PL-530 and felt it was one of the best looking TT's out there, but in TT's looks are definitely not what it's all about.

    Mine was cosmetically in absolute Mint Condition but had a bit of an electro-mechanical issue underneath that I never could quite solve, thus I eventually sold it to an interstate buyer who repaired it and got it functioning correctly. I'm glad that happened and it was also in good hands and appreciated for what it is.

    Sadly Pioneer never made it into the Turntable appreciation status as they only ever really made one model that was marketed as a "Broadcast Standard"table, that being the PL-41, yes I do have one of those neatly packed away under our bed. This was the model that started it all for me in audio when I first saw one back in around 1972 at a family friends home. It was bought duty free in Singapore on the way back to Australia along with a high end Sony amp and Wharfedale Dovedale 3's. From the day I saw that PL-41 at an age of 10 years old I always knew I had to have one. Whether I use it or not was never the issue, it was about having one to simply admire.

    PS. I moved on to a Linn LP12.
     
  11. r_deming

    r_deming Active Member

    Messages:
    413
    Location:
    Twin Peaks, CA
    pl 530 was my first turntable about 10 years ago. mine had all the same problems as yours, but I had neither the skill or patience to really get in and fix it up. I did fix the auto return, and I had a rough time fixing the tonearm base. After I glued in the brass fittings it never sat level with the rest of the table. I wish I still had it, I would completely strip it down and either build a new plinth or at least use real wood veneer in place of the vinyl decal.

    Keep it up, can't wait to see the end result
     
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  12. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    I have yet to determine if I have the skill or patience to fix it. The tonearm is back in, but this morning I flipped it over to see the little spring from the auto-return sitting on my desk mocking me. I know for a fact I'm nowhere near ready to do a full re-veneering or build a custom plinth; if I can get everything here working, I'll be very pleased with myself :)
     
  13. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    Updates, updates, updates! Crack is still there. Less noticeable, but I think I've done all I can...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I'm... actually not convinced it's that much less noticeable. I am, however, kind of tired of fighting with it. I put a zinc plate in the back, screwed it in and superglued it to the inside of the plinth, but... at this point it might just be what it be. I'll ask my uncle who is an amateur woodworker if he has any suggestions. But for the time being, I'm mostly just thrilled that...

    IT WORKS!

    After putting it back together, I realized that something was amiss... see anything in this picture?

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    "No extra leftover parts" my foot. Fortunately I knew immediately where it had come out of, and put it back:

    [​IMG]

    Kind of important. Kind of like, really very important. The little spring powers a big chunk of the automatic functions. I'm not sure which parts, but at the very least the auto-return (which was one of the things I was trying to fix... the top of that spring is attached to the little plate I replaced the foam on).

    But yeah. The "it works" test. Automatic start:

    [​IMG]

    ...and auto-return. Should go solidly back to the tonearm rest, and...

    [​IMG]

    It does! Tonearm is solid as a rock, functionality is functional, now I'm just waiting for my stylus to arrive to see if it makes music. Or if I buggered up the soldering. That should hopefully get here Friday. Until then, I call this a mostly successful adventure. I fixed the mechanicals. I kinda made the crack in the plinth better (humor me). I'm feeling what EA would describe as a sense of pride and accomplishment.
     
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  14. IMF_Pioneer

    IMF_Pioneer Active Member

    Messages:
    185
    Location:
    Australia
    You've done extremely well by bringing an item that was probably destined for the trash back to life. Beautiful reincarnation I call it.

    I feel you are going to have a real hard time obtaining a lid assembly. I bought one back in the 1980's brand new from our local Pioneer spare parts stockist for a TT that I was building and as such I based the plinth size around the lid itself. This JH table (Aussie designed) was loosely based around the looks of the PL-550 which I really wanted and liked back then, but just couldn't afford. The wood grain veneer is genuine Australian Oak and not vinyl, but you'll see the similarity in the colouring to the 550.

    I still have that table packed away as it's a bit of audio art that I'll never sell due to it being a combined effort between a good family friend that passed away many years ago and myself.

    Below are a couple of shots of it as it appears on a website here in Australia.





    and a slightly manipulated shot from the rear.




    And below is the table it was based around.

     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
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  15. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    It plays music! I didn't think to try the headshell from my JVC upstairs in it, but in doing so music emerged from the table and played through speakers and whatnot! Weirdly, there was a lag of sorts... it seemed like I heard the needle drop, heard the unamplified music coming off the surface of the record itself, and then a second or so later it was coming through the speakers. Loud, mostly clear (I messed up the headshell a bit changing out cartridges, so it's not the table's fault), and totally functional. I am fairly pleased right now.
     
  16. LesE

    LesE 110284 Subscriber

    Messages:
    854
    Location:
    Ontario, Canada
    Sounds like the cartridge shorting switch may be out of adjustment. The contacts should open just after the stylus sets down on the record. The shorting switch adjustment is covered in the SM on page 44.
     
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2018
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  17. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    Thank you. I'll try to adjust that tonight.
    Down to the page even... wow.
     
  18. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    Music emanates from it! Video is up here proving it works! My replacement stylus came today, went into the cartridge and popped right on. Et voila! Moozak!

    I'm both shocked and ecstatic that it works. I need to adjust a couple little things - where the tonearm drops and the shorting switch - but it's so satisfying seeing this project actually working out. Crack is still there, I'll live with that, but I'm digging everything right now.
     
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  19. MCL74

    MCL74 New Member

    Messages:
    5
    Thanks for the thread. A friend has just inherited this deck from his father as well as 1200 albums. He for sentimental reasons wants to make it work. i for sentimental reasons want to help him. will let you know how it goes
     
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  20. DCH

    DCH Active Member

    Messages:
    127
    Location:
    Beantown, USA
    I hope it helps! FWIW too, if your friend doesn't have the dust cover and hinges (which are crazy expensive unobtanium), I found from another thread you can replace them with the dust cover/hinges from a PL-A35 - credit goes to @kapohoguy in this thread.
    I'll pop a pic up later, my PL-A35 cover and hinges arrived and got installed over the weekend. Works great. Looks great.
     
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