Soldering Tonearm Wires

Discussion in 'Turntables' started by dbxdx5, Jul 12, 2011.

  1. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I apologize in advance if this would be better in the DIY forum, but I've got to think there are a lot of you out there who've "been there, done that." My TT is a Perpetuum Ebner 2020, and I'm trying to solder the tonearm leads to the metal tabs that the RCA output cables are soldered to. This is all part of a muting switch. The problem is that I've soldered all eight wires--signal and ground for left and right for both tonearm wire and output cables--TWICE, and each time I only get sound out of the right channel. Actually, the second time the sound was fainter. So assuming for a moment that the muting switch is ok, what could I be doing wrong with the soldering? Too much solder? The wrong type? I believe it's regular rosin core. I can't see any stray strands that could be grounding things out. The green arrow in this photo shows that's there clearance between the contacts and the ground in the "play" position, so this should mean that the muting isn't the problem.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Parnelly

    Parnelly Well-Known Member

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    Have you checked the rca wire's and connections? Get a volt meter and test the wires for continuity. You can test between the headshell ends of tone arm wires and the tips of the rca wires. Make sure the cart is unhooked though.
     
  3. dr*audio

    dr*audio Fish fingers and custard! Subscriber

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    Start at the rca plugs and measure from the pin to the shield. 0 Ohms is a short, 100 Ohms or so if you have a MC cartridge, higher if it's a MM.
     
  4. 62sunbeam

    62sunbeam Raconteur Subscriber

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    I'm guessing it's an issue with the tonearm leads.

    Did you resolder them? Did you properly strip them first?

    Disconnect your cart or attach a headshell with cart leads but no cart and then check continuity from the cart to the switch and then from the switch to the RCA s. If all checks out your switch might need cleaning or replacing.

    Good luck

    Eric
     
  5. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It's an old Stanton 500 cartridge, so you're saying I don't have a short if the resistance measures higher than 100 Ohms? Just want to make sure I understand, since I'm a total newbie when it comes to using a voltmeter and measuring resistance. (Headed out to buy one today.)
     
  6. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I did resolder them. And while the first time I didn't do a great job of stripping the leads, the second time I was extremely careful.

    Sorry if this is a stupid question, but how do you check continuity?
     
  7. 62sunbeam

    62sunbeam Raconteur Subscriber

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    Continuity means continuos as in the path through a wire is continuos or without a break or resistance.

    Basically you attach one lead from a multimeter set to ohms and then touch the other end. You want to see it drop to 0.

    A 1 or some other number will indicate a break or resistance.

    You can usually also set it to make a tone if the circuit complete.

    Good luck

    Eric
     
  8. dr*audio

    dr*audio Fish fingers and custard! Subscriber

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    Correct. Harbor Freight has a nice, cheap DMM for under $10. Set the meter to the 200 Ohm range and make your measurements. Then check from the rca connectors, the pin to the Red and White wires at the cartridge, and the shield to the green and blue wires. Should read close to 0 Ohms.
     
  9. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Ok, thanks everyone. I picked up a multimeter. I'll run the suggested checks and report back.
     
  10. Parnelly

    Parnelly Well-Known Member

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    I recently did my dual table and the problem was at the pins that connect to cart. Due to where i live it would have taken some time to get new pins so i clipped the wires off and soldered them to the outside of the pin. No muting in the dual though.

    As well you can google and youtube for info on how to use the meter if you are second guessing yourself.
     
  11. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Update: I tested the continuity, and the problem appears to be with the left channel tonearm wire between the muting switch and where it attaches to the pin that connects to the cart. Sometimes I get no continuity, but then I twist the headshell a little and suddenly it's there. Here's the other odd thing: When I tested the right channel, I'm getting continuity from touching the pin for the signal wire (green arrow in photo below), whereas when I get the intermittent continuity from the left channel, it's from touching the ground wire (red arrow). :saywhat: Any thoughts?


    [​IMG]
     
  12. Parnelly

    Parnelly Well-Known Member

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    Either its a bad connection to those pins or the tonearm wires are shot. I would try to re attach the wire to the pin if possible and test them again.
     
  13. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Thanks Parnelly. I'm going to try to reattach the wire. If that doesn't work, can you point me in the direction of who sells a selection of different tonearm wires? Do I need to match up the new wires to the electrical characteristics of the originals somehow?
     
  14. Saints27

    Saints27 Active Member

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    Get another set of tone arm wires with the cartridge clips attached and run them straight to a fresh set of RCA cables.

    No muting, but a cleaner signal bypassing (what is by now) substandard connections throughout the table.
     
  15. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    So you're saying that the wires would have the pins shown in the photo above already attached? And then solder the other ends of the wires to the RCA cables, right?
     
  16. Saints27

    Saints27 Active Member

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    My bad, looking closer at the proprietary headshell, I now see this can't be done with this type.

    Sorry. I wish you the best of luck.
     
  17. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Super Member

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    Sounds like you may have a bad cartidge lead wire or connection since you're getting intermediate sound when playing with the cart mount. Those intermediate wire connections between the cart and the tonearm can be a bitch sometimes. Make sure all 8 connctions (4 at the cart, 4 at the tonearm) are pushed in all the way and snug. You should also apply some deoxit to all of the contacts before reattaching the wire hook-ups.
     
  18. Eagle1

    Eagle1 Super Member

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    Bad wire or connection from the cart to the tonearm. Remove left channel wire and check for continuity/short. Give the wire a workout by twisting it while testing. If your test shows resitance then clean the contact surfaces of the cart, wire ends and tonearm connections.
     
  19. ghazzer

    ghazzer Sansui addict Subscriber

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    I am not familiar with your TT. If it is a full auto, and there is any chance that you were reading resistance relative to ground, please go back and re-check the resistance you found. Use clips to attach the DMM leads to both ends as before and then monitor the resistance while you slowly move the tonearm between the rest and the center spindle. There may be a control circuit built in to help monitor the position of the tonearm, and you may be reading a round about path to ground, especially if the resistance changes as the tonearm is moved.

    IF the above is true, you should NOT replace the wires until you know how that circuity is implemented. You might hose up that auto feaure.

    .
     
  20. dbxdx5

    dbxdx5 AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    So someone with infinite patience explained how to check the resistance of all the wires. Turns out I have a break/bad connection in the wire BELOW the one where the red arrow is pointing in my photo (so the bottom-most wire). Unfortunately, in attempting to see if the bad connection existed at the headshell pin and not at the muting switch, I inadvertently broke the wire at that spot. :dammit: So now I have the original problem--broken wire at the muting switch--and a new problem--same wire broken at the headshell pin. I tried resoldering the wire to the pin, but that space is both too small for me to remove insulation to get bare copper and too tight to not melt the plastic with the soldering iron. My next step is probably going to be to have someone with more patience and better soldering skills just rewire the tonearm back to the muting switch. Unless anyone has other ideas?
     

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