Confession time

January 9, 2010

I haven’t posted much in the last few weeks, and it wasn’t only because of the holidays. I’ve said that the music I post here would be the playlist on my Grandpa’s iPod; well, I also have what would have been the “iPod” itself: a 1946 Presto 64-A studio transcription turntable. It’s the only thing I have for playing the records.

About a month ago, it stopped working. I was devastated. We thought maybe the motor for the 33.3 drive had burned out and removed the whole motor/transmission assembly. I found a reasonably local guy who thought he could help me, so I took the whole thing up to him. He was able to tell with a quick look that the motor seemed to be fine, and informed me that it was probably the capacitor. That was a relief.

It took quite a lot of searching, but we finally found a capacitor that was close enough to the original specs (no one makes any exactly like what’s in there now). My sweet husband sat down to take out the old one and solder the new one in and discovered that the connection to the old capacitor was broken. A quick solder job and a test connection with the turntable proved that that had been the problem all along. Hooray!

But. When we took the motor assembly out, we found that the motor mounts had completely fallen apart. Everything in this turntable is set up to isolate vibration; there is no direct connection between the motor and the cabinet or the motor and the turntable. The mounts have a rubber isolator set in a metal case. 63 years of oil dripping on the rubber had made two of the four mounts completely disintegrate.

Again, a lot of research was needed to find replacements. There is no “close enough” on these; they have to be exactly the right dimension (especially height) or the whole turntable won’t go together. We finally found a tiny marking on one of the original mounts that gave the name of the manufacturer: Lord Mfg, Erie PA. It turns out that Lord Mfg. is still in business and now supplies the aerospace and other high-tech industries. A customer service representative was extremely helpful on the phone, and found a current part that matches the old one exactly!

The replacement mounts arrived yesterday. We’re installing them this afternoon, then I should be back in business. I’m planning to do a lot of recording in the next couple of days, so by the end of the week I should be able to get back in the swing of editing and posting.

On a side note, I know some people have been having problems with this site. I’m not sure what the issue is, but I’m working on a new site that will be hosted elsewhere. For now, make sure that any bookmarks here point to www.grandpasipod.com (not the tumblr address). That will both continue to bring you here while this site is active and will take you to the new site once I make the change. I’ll keep you posted as I get closer to making that change. My audio files will still be hosted at grandpasipod.bandcamp.com, and the podcast will also stay the same.

Here are pictures of what we went through over the last month.

Grungy and dead. Time to pull it out.

Okay, it’s out; now what?

All cleaned up

Out with the old, in with the new.

All back together, clean and with new mounts!

View from above.