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Worried about my Technics SL-P990

Discussion in 'Digital Sources' started by TommyTomTom, Nov 10, 2017.

  1. TommyTomTom

    TommyTomTom New Member

    I bought a Technics SL-P990 a few months back for a great price. It's worked flawlessly up until the past two weeks where it sometimes fails to read the disc upon the first use of the day. Once I've opened the tray and closed it again, it usually reads the disc with no problems and plays as soon as I press the start button.
    However, today, it was having none of it. I had to turn the unit off and on again 3 times before it read the disc, and then it took a little longer than usual to start play. I just turned it off and on again and the same disc I was using was slower to load than usual. Pressing play caused it to start immediately, so it seems that the symptoms are a little inconsistent. It seems to go between slow load, fast play, and fast load, slow play, and whenever one of these issues is occurring, it is clearly visible through the mirror above the tray that the motor is struggling to get up to speed.
    I have some experience in working on Turntables and rectifying some minor issues in amps, such as cracked solder joints and fitting a new volume pot. I've done some re-cap jobs with success so I know how to solder and am confident in opening up equipment to take apart and work on. However, this P990 seems mighty complicated. I like a challenge, but I feel it's likely that servicing this is going to require some very specialist tools, such as an oscilloscope. I already have a multimeter, good Hakko soldering station and all necessary tools (I learned properly), De-Oxit contact cleaners and 99.9% iso alcohol, and plenty more bits and pieces.
    Basically, I'd like to hear from some who are experienced with this unit to tell me how big a job may this be? and if I should just simply embark on following the service manual? Also, how likely are the caps to be the problem, given the unit's age, and the fact that they are very high quality Nichicons and Elnas? I think it's been stored for some time given it's condition, which wouldn't help the caps. I know from working on simpler Technics equipment that they didn't write their service manuals thinking of problems that may occur 30 years down the line as well so it could well be a problem that's not outlined in the manual. I read something about the 'slider rails' being gunked up with old grease, on this forum, however, the symptoms of that person's machine were different to mine, although they seemed worse so I suspect that's what I would have to deal with if I continue to use it. I'd appreciate a little more info on that as if it's slider rails are greased, then that is surely a job that needs doing by this point. I've replaced old grease in Technics automatic turntables that had turned in to a sticky black goo and certainly didn't assist the moving of parts, also, the grease I have is Electrolube Special Plastic Grease. It works fantastic on turntable automatic mechanisms, but would it be suitable for the P990's slider rails?
    Another strange thing that it does is upon turning it on, the play button lights up and track display shows 'zero', with the 'random' function illuminated on the display. Is this normal? I feel that the search wheel may also be out of calibration and is it just doesn't seem quite right.
    If it's of use, I can record a video of what it's doing, but hopefully my explanation of the symptoms will give someone who's dealt with this machine a rough idea of what's going on and what can be attempted first before I go shopping for oscilloscopes and the like. I'm going to get one eventually anyway as I'm going to embark on a full rebuild of Sony STR-V4L and Technics SA-303 receivers.
    I'm more than happy to put some hours in this machine. It's such a good player, and the program function, search dial, and 20 track immediate access buttons are incredibly useful. I also think it sounds incredible. I'm used to hearing a Technics SL-1610 turntable with a EPC-270C cartridge, fitted with a JICO stylus, and whilst there is obviously some difference, playing a CD on the P990 never leaves me feeling as though I'm missing something. The sound is really very impressive for a CD player and I won't be going shopping for something better any time soon, unless a P1000 comes up!
    Luckily, I came across a really good deal on a silver SL-P550 the other day, and I just had to snap it up. It's arriving today fortunately so I can temporarily swap these units around while I work on the P990.
    Oh and a little side story, I spent over 200 UK pounds on one of these a little further back than when I ended up with my current one. Called the guy, spoke with him to ask about the service he said it had. He didn't have much to say but I really wanted it so went with it any way. It arrived, I plugged it in and it wouldn't load or play at all. The motor wasn't getting up to speed, just like the one I have now. Sent it back, he said he'd fixed it, received it, and it would load, but not play, sent it back and he said he thought it was the IC and there was nothing he could do. Then I found my current one, that was working great, and got a refund for the rip-off.
    Thanks for reading!


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  2. TommyTomTom

    TommyTomTom New Member

    Come on. There's got to be somebody.

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