this page, I am printing a selection of emails concerning hi-fi repairs and other
matters of interest, in the hope that you will find it of amusing and maybe useful.
In all cases, I am removing the customer's name and contact details, to protect
I receive an interesting email, I copy, with minor editing, key parts of the correspondence,
so that readers can see answers to problems they may have also encountered. The
style of the enquiry letters and layout changes, as the letters have been copy/pasted
from actual emails received and with personal details removed as a courtesy.
order is as received - so you may find some entries of no interest - but persevere
- quite modest enquiries are intermingled with seriously complex, expensive, new
and old units!
are just funny!
cannot dictate who writes what, and when - so below also gives a guide to the
'ebb and flow' of everyday enquiries.
the way I respond to all - advice is not dependent on the cost of the equipment,
or the nature of the enquiry - I like to help everyone!
there's the issue of the Patent Office and Capital Radio, (see the Capital
Gratitude from Ireland / Bush Arena Unit
again for taking the time to look after my Unit, thus as I said on our phonecall
earlier today, (Thursday 4th ), I am indeed looking forward to having the Unit
back home and adding a new Turntable and perhaps a CD Player to it. I have recommended
you to a friend of mine here in County Meath who has a working collection of valve
Amplifiers and who, is perhaps even more of a purist than me.
very Happy New Year to you too and if you feel I may be of assistance in the future
in relation to any other Irish potential Customer of yours, who perhaps is not
sure of the excellent Service you provide, I would be glad to assist in recommending
New Year and Talk soon.
for a chuckle!
Sony Radio/Cassette model CFS-205L
Please can you
supply, or advise a source for, drive belts for the above unit?
by asking Sony. If they cannot help, I can supply belts, but only if you can supply
samples, (eg bringing the old belts here, for my to assume they've stretched a
bit, and so supply new slightly smaller belts).
again if this presents a problem, (eg if you cannot visit, or the belts have failed
for your reply.
I get my hands on the unit (belongs to girlfriend) and strip it (not the girlfriend),
I might take up your suggestion.
following letter needs no explanation!
delayed writing for fear of tempting fate, but I think sufficient time has elapsed
to prove that the amplifier is bug-free. The improvement of sound quality is clearly
discernible and it is like having a piano - or even an orchestra - in the room.
I am very pleased indeed - so pleased, in fact, that I'm really glad the Armstrong
626 stopped working in the first place thus obliging me to have it repaired. How
else would I have got a new amplifier at that price?
you very much indeed, Mike.
Capital Radio and The Patent Office
Have just spent
a pleasant half hour looking through your website and for which you ask for comment
in your newsletter.
it is very good.
slight inconvenience is that there seems to be no link from the website to your
email address so I had to come out of it in order to write this.
hot link would make this much easier.
see the patent office have progressed to the age old trick of when bluster and
obstruction don't work, fail to reply to communications instead. Definitely a
David and Goliath situation and we both know who won the original battle!
wait for the latest news on this.
the ombudsman responded to your complaint yet? They usually are expected to respond
within a fairly tight time limit.
you need any witness statements, I am quite willing to confirm I first visited
you when at West Street, (we were there from 1972 until 1980), for a repair to
our youth club's amplifier which must have been in the mid 1970's. (An old HMV
amp crammed in a metal casing. The odd feature was a 'reverse' switch where left
and right channels would be swapped). You were in the phone book then as well.
don't ever recall going to Eastcote, (London Sound was in Eastcote from 1980 until
1990), although I did telephone you there.
an aside, I gave up listening to Capital once Kenny Everett died and prefer Heart
when in London now.
a customer dating back to the 1970's - we have quite a few!)
emailing - quite right - but I am still learning!
I am aware that the simpler methods of doing this can be rather clumsy. That's
why I haven't set that up yet.
whole website is DIY, and I'm strangely not good with computers!
the main purpose was to put information in the open - and it has worked - it does
Ombudsman, (or rather a case worker), telephoned to say he had started on my dispute
with The Patent Office - but there's no substantive news yet, (for those yet to
catch up on this - see the Capital Radio page).
Thank you for
the support - but facts like this do not seem to have helped. I mentioned the
problem in newsletters for a year, with a request to customers to contact the
Patent office, and as far as I can tell, some 10 - 20 actually went to the bother
of writing to the Patent Office, or Capital Radio - or both, every month.
think, however, that the bottom line is "money". Capital Radio paid more in fees
than I did.
have complained that the Patent Office have breached my copyright to the name,
a rather more important facet of the dispute.
crucial test of whether I am right, (concerning the law on copyright), hinges
on whether they have acted correctly. As a result, to avoid action for breach
of copyright, it is essential for the Patent Office to arrange for Capital Radio
to win. Yet despite this, they claim the right to judge the merits of Capital
- thank's for the email. I hope you don't mind, but in view of its content, I
am putting it, with this reply, but with names removed, onto the Correspondence
Estimate on Dynatron repair >Date: Sat, 11 Jun 2005
I have a Dynatron gramaphone that at the moment suffers from a severe case of
'dry switch' on the volume/tone controls.
deck is a beautiful Garrard 4hf but this does not operate on the 78rpm setting.
I would be grateful
of an estimate as to the cost of repairing these faults.
I am delighted
to be able to help.
Dynatron range of gramophones, including the one that you own, are very well built
units that are a delight to work with, even though they are now considered very
overhaul is not cheap, but is most definitely worthwhile.
electronics will, by now, have deteriorated considerably - not just as you have
noticed, and so will require considerable attention.
Garrard 4HF is a unit I know well - dating back to the mid 1960s, when I remember
a friend purchasing one - which gave trouble, leading us to ride on my motorscooter
to the Garrard factory in Swindon, (we did such things in our teens!) - and having
a minor accident on the way back, (I hit the kerb! Not quite sure how - it was
not exactly invisible)! Whilst at the factory, we were shown around the repairs
workshop - where we learned a lot about turntables!
much? A difficult question, but certainly not less than £150.00. If there is more
wrong than you advise, the cost may rise to possibly £300.00. - but I think this
is most unlikely.
work will carry a full 12 month guarantee - in writing.
next stage is for you to bring the unit here, for a more realistic estimate.
if you would like to discuss this with me, and are in the UK, please telephone
me on the technical helpline number below during our normal working hours. It
is a premium rate line, with the charge helping to pay for my time.
wording below is as required by the telephone line service provider.
technical help and advice, please ring Mike Solomons on 020 8868 9222.
look forward to seeing your Dynatron gramophone, though if you have any further
queries before coming here, please ring, write or email, and I'll be happy to
- Armstrong Receiver
Date: Fri, 10 Jun 2005
I have an
Armstrong 600 series receiver from the mid 70s.
has developed a fault which I can only describe as a loud hum/buzz. This is heard
through either speakers or headphones although the music can still be heard in
the background. The level of noise is altered by the volume control but is distinctly
audible even when the volume is at it's minimum setting. The unit was unused for
a few years but was recommisioned and had been fine for about 4years but has been
out of action now for about 18 months.
you think it may be repairable and are there any improvements that can be made
to the receiver.
volume control had also become noisy - dirt probably - my cleaning attempts met
with some limited success but the problem returned.
advice gratefully received - some idea of your estimate for repair would be good
although I appreciate that this is difficult without seeing the receiver.
600 series - the 621 amplifier, the 623 and 624 tuners, the 625 and 626 receivers,
(tuner - amplifiers), are very much favourites of mine, as are the rest of the
Armstrong range, (see our Armstrong page)!
The noisy volume
control fault is the result of a design defect, for which I found a good long
term remedy many years ago. Although cleaning helps a little, my modification
will almost completely silence a noisy control - even if it is left dirty!
design defect would seem to have been the result, (I am unofficially advised!),
of a corner cutting exercise when the amplifier sections were first put into production.
As a result of this problem, thermal instability results from attempts at adjusting
the amplifier to give its best possible performance. By copying "best practise"
with other contemporary and newer designs by other manufacturers, I have found
a way, with minimum intervention, to resolve this problem. The result is improved
reliability, combined with often a quite significant sound quality improvement!
Cost is easy
to estimate - to restore your unit to work virtually "as new", with the further
benefit of the above mentioned modifications, is unlikely to cost less than £150.00,
and most unlikely to exceed £220.00. Please also allow £25 for packing and return
carriage, (UK mainland only), if you live a long way away, and intend to send
the unit here by post.
work will carry a full written 12 month guarantee. Not as good as buying a new
one - but quite close - and with some quite considerable advantages!
been both an Armstrong retailer in the 1970s, and also a factory recommended repairer,
over the years my enthusiasm for these units has been developed by seeing a lot
for repair - with some followed through from new to now, (my parent's 626 receiver
was purchased in about 1973, and has broken down only once - and I can be certain
of that wonderful record!).
others are seen at, typically, 10 year intervals - an astonishing testament to
the quality of the units.
yes - I would be delighted to see your unit here for repair!
please look generally at the website, where you will be able to learn much more
about London Sound.
Subject - Thank you
thank you for the excellent work you did on my Sony PS 5520 deck.
am now all organised and about to start transcribing my LPs (1958 onwards) onto
CD. If any of your clients are interested, I'm using "audio cleaning lab" produced
by MAGIX, as the processing software, it really is first class. It's available
you wish to use this email on your website, that's fine.
>Date: Fri, 13 May (It had to be Friday 13th!)
recently purchased an acoustimass 6 series 3 BOSE system but of U.S spec.
other day I tested it out using a continental converter, then finding out the
hard way that it only requires 110v. I replaced the fuse and bought a new plug
adapter that downgrades the power from 240v to 110v and it still doesn't work.
Could you offer
any advice what the problem could be.
for your time
Sorry to be
the bearer of sad tidings, but it is my experience that connecting 110v equipment
to 230 volt mains, is a bit like driving a car quite fast into a brick wall, (imagine
your stopping distance is 300 feet, and the wall is 150 feet from you - - - ).
may find a repairer prepared to carry out the required work, I will not, as I
find, in such circumstances, the overload causes damage in an unpredictable way,
so although the equipment is repaired and works - it is likely to fail again!
for repairers giving short guarantees of one to three months, but impractical
with our twelve month guarantee!
could try asking the manufacturers for help, and also look at your home insurance
- are you covered for "accidental damage"?
I regret that all I can do is offer sympathy.
you know of anywhere where I can purchase an IDLE WHEEL for a Garrard 404. I purchased
this from the States and now find that when playing the records sound is extremely
would be appreciated.
Firstly, I presume
that you mean a Garrard 401, not a 404, (unless, maybe, this is a version that
I have never seen or heard of).
that I am right, I think it safe to say that original idler wheels are no longer
available, but I have heard that there are various suppliers claiming to be able
supply substitutes, though I have no personal experience of these.
I do not think that a replacement idler wheel will help you. The clue is in the
purchase having been made from the United States. In the United States, the mains
supply is at a higher frequency than here, so as a result, the motor runs 20%
faster, (these motors have their basic operating speed set by mains frequency).
In order that the deck may play at the right speed, the motor pulley is smaller
in diameter for decks used in the U.S.
If you bring a deck with such a motor here, or to most other countries of the
world, as the motor runs slower, so does the deck, until the motor pulley is changed
for the standard larger diameter version, or a higher frequency power source is
a complication, when these decks were new, to cover manufacturing tolerances,
the factory offered a range of pulleys all differing very slightly in size, and
a pulley would be selected by trial for correct operation.
might be able to find a spare 50Hz pulley in someone's stockroom, but as you would
not be able to try a number of different options, it would require considerable
good fortune for the pulley you locate to happen to be correct for your deck.
My advice to
you is to try either to return the deck, or sell it to someone else in the United
States, or another country with 60 Hz mains power.
you cannot do this, try to find a motor pulley, though I admit I would not know
even where to start to look.
The only other option that I can think of, would be to try to find a 60Hz power
supply of some sort. I could manufacture such an item, but on a "one-off" basis,
it would be a very expensive option, possibly matching the price of abandoning
your present unit, and purchasing a 50Hz version of the deck!
am sorry to have to give you this bad news, and would be happy to expand further
on this either by email or telephone, if you want further clarification.
if you would like to discuss this with me, and are in the UK, please telephone
me on the technical helpline number below during our normal working hours.
one here in Portugal with what I THINK is a duff transformer, (if I'm wrong and
it turns out to be dead common component, I'll fix it myself).
the transformer needs rewinding, and I give you the transformer, removed and ready
to roll, on my next trip to the UK, roughly how much and how long?
failure seems unlikely, but possible. Rewinding is very much a last resort. Start
by asking Naim if they can supply, and if not, seek a substitute.
regret that I have never needed to replace a Naim transformer - in any model -
so cannot advise from practical experience. It's quite straightforward - transformer
failure on Naim equipment is, in my experience, extremely rare.
to transformer rewinding, we do not do this - try to find a transformer rewinding
with a small item like this, I am reasonably confident that Naim will probably
be able to help, and if not, a substitute can be obtained, at a much lower cost
than rewinding the original.
it does prove necessary, you could get the whole amp here, and I will try to carry
out repairs within 48 hours - but note the word "try" - something quite simple
like further faults becoming evident after the unit is made to switch on can be
enough to add to the time taken. However, if you are in England for only a short
while, I will try hard to complete the work before you leave.
first, look at the other suggestions that I have made, then let me know what you
find, and ask further when you've looked at the simple options first!
an old amp and not worth spending large sums on, (the 120 is pretty much Naim's
failed years ago, and the only reason I have asked for it to be dug out is some
clown paid £100 for one on ebay, so a cheap repair and a flog seems the way to
mode strongly suggests transformer trouble - I haven't collected it to put it
on the bench yet, but I'm fairly confident that is what I will find. Anything
else I can probably fix myself. Unlike later amps, the transformer is a major
structural part of the assembly - substitution is not possible: a direct replacement
from Naim would be uneconomic, (ahem), even if available, and the identical physical
transformer from 1972 seems unlikely. Hence it will need to be fixed, and cheaply.
was while googling for someone who could rewind it that I found you!
you happen to know of anyone who specialises in rewinding transformers of this
size it would be most useful. All I can find is people who fix power stations...
you will find a common problem here - just because it cannot be sold for much,
it doesn't mean that the parts are cheap! Remember, when it was new, this was
an expensive amplifier. The selling price may have fallen, but the parts haven't
see any way for you to repair the amp for under £100 - unless you find something
very silly, like a blown fuse!
no, I do not think that rewinding the transformer would be worthwhile. Firstly,
I suspect that it would cost some hundreds of pounds to do, (regrettably I do
not know who to approach), and secondly, until you have the repaired transformer
in place, you cannot easily find out if a fault in the amplifier was responsible
for the transformer failure, and has also to be dealt with!
have the amplifier repaired properly and use it, regardless of cost, or if you
want to dispose, why not advertise it on Ebay as "faulty". This way you will receive
less money, but less hassle as well! Also, of course, repair becomes the responsibility
of the new owner.
as long as you advertise it truthfully, this would seem the best approach.
I bought the thing with one blown channel as scrap in 1982 and fixed it for way
less than £100 in about twenty minutes, but I've never needed to get a transformer
rewound: I hadn't twigged it was an expensive job.
turns up I'll just check it IS the transformer then either bin it or recycle the
boards to drive something.
Thanks again for the info
selling it whole as "faulty" - probably the best option.
remember to adjust for inflation - £100 on repairs in 1982 is probably equivalent
to £500 today! But we also have to consider the effect on its value of an amateur
repair - however good and however long ago.
Nevertheless, if you do not have a use for it, and cannot sell for the price of
a repair, I agree - it isn't worth your while to repair it. But remember others
- to an enthusiast, it may be worth more than you think - so rather than scrap
it, why not explore selling it as it stands first?
a Kolster Brandes (KB) FG50TL radiogram recently from a friend.
father was quite a collector and had purchased new valves for the set, all but
a couple, a 6SL7GT and a 7R7. I replaced the others and whilst the radiogram comes
on and there is a low hum, there is no output from the turntable or the radio.
I understand that the radio was a very powerful set and the model top of its range
at the time, but I guess it is beyond replacing just the valves to get it working
suggest what might be the problem (maybe the two valves not replaced), or alternately,
would it be possible to have it restored by yourselves?
idea of cost?
would appreciate if you could suggest what I should do. I would love to get it
working again and would be heppy to find someone who can restore the electrics.
I hope you can help
or restoration of such a radiogram will be likely to involve major repair work,
and be very costly. I will start with the "how much" - then get down to the "why"
and "What you get"!
think, from your description, that the work will be unlikely to cost less than
£300.00 - and could cost up to £600. I do not think it would be likely to cost
more, but if I have to revise the estimate upwards at any time, if you refuse,
there is no charge at all. In that event, your only cost would be return carriage.
I may change my mind on these figures on seeing the unit, but the above figures
are very cautious - you could well get a pleasant surprise!
"why" relates to the age of the unit. I am guessing only that it is around or
more than 50 years old - and at that age no components can be taken on trust -
resistors, capacitors, the loudspeaker(s), transformers
- all are suspect, all have to be checked, some replaced, and it is likely to
be quite time consuming work.
is not unusual in such a repair to find twenty or thirty failed parts - which
can, in a sense, be likened to being twenty or thirty repairs!
there's the record deck. A year or so ago, repairing a mid nineteen thirties Philips
radiogram, I even found myself stripping and repairing the record deck pick up
cartridge! More usually, record decks of this era usually need to be part stripped,
bearings cleaned, and re-lubricated. Sometimes parts required for replacement
actually have to be 'manufactured'!
problem is that if the work is bodged, the results are unsatisfactory, and if
carried out to a high standard, a very great deal of work is required.
the work is to be carried out by me, I will need the radiogram brought here. I
will on receipt, either confirm, or if necessary, revise my estimate.
repairs will be carried out to a standard which will allow me safely to issue
our normal twelve month guarantee, despite the age of the equipment.
will also check very carefully for electrical safety issues, and carry out any
necessary work, to ensure that it is safe. I will then issue a PAT safety test
pass, and attach a safety check label.
regret that I cannot assist with "cosmetic" work, so I will be unable to assist
with defects in the external appearance.
am sorry if I have "put you off" - but I always find it is best to be realistic
at the outset, rather than, as others do, start with a low estimate, and allow
it to creep up once you are committed!
you will have seen above, I do reserve the right to increase the estimate - but
if I do, you always have the option to "back out" without paying for any work
carried out up to that point - i.e. you will never find yourself having to pay
me anything, unless the unit is repaired and it works well, and the figure you
pay has already been agreed. If you decide to go ahead, please telephone me in
advance - 020 8868 9222 - and we can discuss the final details. For further information,
please look at the "repairs", "Basic
Information", and "Correspondence" pages. Also please look elsewhere on the
site - it should tell you more about me, and London Sound. As a reminder, it is
found at <<< http://www.londonsound.org >>>
Studio Standard by Fisher
by your website you must be pleased with the effect it is having.
have a Fisher TAC-M22 combined tuner and twin cassette unit (plus a linear tracking
is there is no sound. I've taken the cover off and has a look and am satisfied
that the slider volume control is the problem. It
seem to be a loose connection/solder. I'm quite happy to look but would probably
solder the whole lot!
you give me a quote for that problem and general look over?
purchased the kit in 1986 and this is the first time it's gone wrong.
As you may probably gather, I'm no computer expert - so setting the site up has
caused a few nervous breakdowns - but I do like the result - people seem pleased!
And thank you for the comments - most appreciated.
to your problem - I do not think your fault diagnosis is correct. Although you
see a volume control as one item, it actually is two - one for each channel. It
is unlikely that the connections to both channels broke simultaneously, so if
the unit failed on both channels, it is more likely that a fault common to both
channels exists - maybe power supply or output protection device.
I cannot easily give an estimate, as there would seem to be too many variables
to be considered - especially as a cassette deck is incorporated, which itself
may require expensive servicing.
to do the job properly, you are unlikely to be looking at much less than £150.00.
- and a 'worst case scenario' could easily raise the estimate to £250.00. - at
which point you may feel tempted either to give up, or go elsewhere!
unless you get a twelve month repair guarantee, whatever the repair cost, it will
not be worth doing.
I am to help, the next stage is to bring the unit here, where I will be happy
to take a close look, and give you a clearer free estimate.
contact details are on the website - please either come over or 'phone to arrange
to come over for me to offer a view on whether to repair - and how much.
hope that the above helps, and look forward to hearing from you
a quick message as you asked - The Hacker Radio with dead batteries I brought
along to you last Saturday Morning.
suspicions were right about the batteries being dead - the shop where I bought
them from changed them and until now the Radio is working perfectly.
for your advice and time that you spent looking at it, was well appreciated.
think your website is excellent would never have found you unless it was for that.
Anything else I may need looking at or repairing in the future I will ask your
advice and bring it along.
Thank you very much for help.
can I say?
lady who wrote the above came to me with a Hacker portable radio for repair. My
suspicions were aroused, so rather than book the radio in for repair, I checked
the batteries, (a couple of PP9 - large and quite pricey 9v batteries). Both were
completely flat. A brief check with new batteries showed the radio was not at
fault, (yes, I did check the on/off switch with a testmeter!), so I advised my
customer to return to the shop where she had very recently purchased the batteries.
The rest of the tale is above!
recently tried - and failed - to recomission a Heybrook TT2 turntable with a Rega
arm (not sure of the model) and Ortofon VMS10E cartridge. It's been in storage
for some time and the setup is all wrong: can't get things right for the stylus
to track properly without distortion.
could use some TLC from an expert (and possibly a new cartridge).
whether you could give it an overhaul and setup, and if so for an estimate,
whether this is kit you might be interested in purchasing. I'd be tempted to play
all the vinyl just once more on a revitalised TT2 and record to minidisc as I
go, then sell the kit on to someone who would it appreciate it more than my DVD
/ iPOD obsessed kids!
thing to consider - how old is the stylus? If you don't know the answer, or it's
over a year, then stylus replacement must come first - your distortion may only
be due to a faulty stylus and nothing more! If a new stylus provides the answer,
please let me know, (we can supply if required), but if you've already tried this,
or if you try a stylus and it's not the answer, the next stage is for the unit
to come here. Let me know if you need a stylus, and I'll advise price, (sorry
not being very helpful - this is Sunday morning, and I just dropped in to collect
something for myself!). Email again if you want to order a stylus, or seek any
other help, and I'll write back Monday.
RE: Turntable service enquiry
Wow, that was unexpectedly quick service! (the original email, my reply, and his
further email all took place on a Sunday - my second email was about 7.30 am Monday
point. I'm sure it's antique. The cartidge itself appears to be fine: could you
quote for a replacement stylus?
emails are not a normal part of the service!
had some work to do at home - and called in to collect some tools kept here at
the shop - and checked the emails whilst I was here!
also put your letter, (without your name), onto the correspondence page of the
website, as I will this, and your reply - could well help others! I hope you don't
mind, (if you do, I'll remove the whole correspondence).
I can offer two versions of the stylus - original Ortofon, and a very good substitute.
Including postage, the substitute costs £29.00, and the Ortofon version costs
£54.00. I am sure you can obtain them cheaper somewhere - but the supplier which
I use is very good - good quality products - no 'elderly' boxes!
am in the process of arranging a safe secure credit card internet payment system,
but for now, I think it wiser to ask you to telephone, (during our normal hours!),
and I can take your card by 'phone. Alternatively, of course, I would welcome
a cheque in the post, (though card payment would be quicker).
if your travels bring you this way you would be welcome to call in - I have checked
- both types are in stock. It's certainly worth a try - you'll need a new stylus
anyway - but if that's all, you don't need to pay me for an overhaul!
- no I do not wish to buy your turntable - although we occasionally have items
for sale, London Sound is primarily a service not sales organisation)
Thorens TD 160 Turntable
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005 21:30:06 -0000
have a Thorens TD160 Turntable in need of repair. An Engineer has looked at it
and confirmed it needs a new motor. He is unable/unwilling to progress this any
deck was serviced about three years ago and a new cartridge fitted. It was my
Dad's deck origionally and so I would like to repair it if possible. Any ideas?
look forward to your reply, hopefully soon.
Will it help
you to know that I have repaired a lot of Thorens turntables - and never replaced
usual procedure is to strip and repair the existing motor, and then re-fit it.
As far as I am aware, the originals are no longer in production, and no one holds
old stock, which makes the above procedure the best option, (I suppose you could
buy a second hand deck and transfer the motor from it - but as the motor is the
same age, it will probably need attention soon, as well!).
next stage is to bring the deck here, I will look at it, and give you an 'on the
spot' free estimate.
further details of our repair policy, procedures, and
our twelve month guarantee, please explore the website - especially the "Repairs"
please look at the basic information page for opening
hours, parking etc. I look forward to hearing from you soon.
Date: Fri, 4 Mar 2005 17:06:07 +0000 (GMT Standard Time)
I was looking
at another website when I was re-directed to your site.
was interested in the range of repairs you offer and would like to have some idea
what it might cost to bring my Grundig TK 20, (a well known 1950s open reel tape
recorder (i.e. a real "vintage" item - ed), into good working order.
purchase the recorder in November 1958, and to-date it has never had a major problem.
After many years of languishing in the loft, I recently bought the recorder down
- and lo and behold when I plugged it in it still sort of worked!
problem is the spools don't wind too well without some manual help. I assume the
drive belts have deteriorated and will need replacing and, no doubt, the whole
recorder will require a safety check. Perhaps you could give me some guidance
on the cost I am likely to incur.
I hope you don't mind my using your first Name?
TK20 takes me back to my youth! In my teens, I started Radio Edgware, London's
first hospital radio station - which was donated a TK20 in its first few month's
of operation - so I have known of and used this machine from time to time over
almost my whole life, (and still own one today)!
to the detail of your machine. The fact that it works at all says an awful lot
about the quality of manufacture, and that you have not abused it. But after about
47 years, I think it may just be due for servicing!
If you bring it here, I will replace or resurface all rubber parts as required.
Belts will probably have failed, but usually thicker rubber items simply need
to be thoroughly cleaned, and maybe very lightly abraded to remove a hardened
moving parts will also require to be cleaned and relubricated, (not just lubricated
alone, as the old lubricants if not cleaned out will contaminate the new, and
soon cause further difficulties).
electronic part of these units, despite being "old fashioned unreliable valves",
(as the advertising in the 60s would have had us believe!), is superb. I doubt
if I will find even half a dozen faulty parts! You are right to mention electrical
safety. This can be a serious issue with older units such as this - and so I will
be very careful to check for insulation that may have deteriorated in the mains
and high voltage circuitry.
issue that has to be looked at is low voltage insulation, as failures here can
be a fire risk.
in answer to the two key questions - yes I am happy to look at your unit, and
confident that reliable repairs can be carried out, to be given a twelve month
as to cost?
would like to see the unit to be sure, but will probably say between £200 and
£300. It is unlikely to be less, due to the time I will spend checking, even if
to find little wrong, but it is extremely unlikely to be more (the upper figure
has to assume a "worst case scenario").
hope you are interested, and look forward to seeing you, in due course. If you
haven't already looked at it, please visit the London Sound website. It is still
only partly set up - I am doing this myself as a self education project, but it
should tell you a little about London Sound - and about how we will handle your
telephone or emal if you want to ask further questions - or just drop in during
our working hours, (as detailed on the website - Basic Information
page). Oh, and thank you for the courtesy of asking about use of my first
name. It has become so widespread, that I now find it is almost an auxiliary trading
name - please feel free!
have an Audionote Oto SE Integrated valve amp in need of repair.
damage is to the power supply board. Can you give some kind of estimate of a turn
around time if the repair is fairly straight forward?
I have another Audionote power amp currently in a repairers for 2 >months!!!!
which if you can repair I will get back off them.
Repairs to these
amplifiers rarely fit into the "straightforward" category! However, they are repairable
- and you may reasonably expect it to take a week or so - certainly not a month
said that, power supply faults can sometimes prove difficult, if "special" parts
are needed. However, apart from unique parts which involve either being dependant
on just one manufacturer, or serious redesign to find a replacement, such repairs
are generally relatively straightforward.
power supplies in well designed equipment rarely fail alone. Usually, and this
is what I fear, amplifier power supplies fail due to a fault in the amplifier,
overloading the power supply - so we have to consider the cost of at least checking
the amplifier as well as its power supply.
how much? I need to see the unit, but I think it unlikely to cost less than £150,
but equally unlikely to cost more than £300. If you can bring it here, I will
give you a better considered estimate "on the spot". If you refuse the estimate,
there will be no charge at all. I hope you have found this useful - and look forward
to hearing from you. Meanwhile, if you've not already visited it, please look
at our website
Fri, 25 Feb 2005 18:41:42 -0000
live in Harrow and have seen your website. I have a Panasonic combined tuner/double
cassette/CD/amplifier midi system which is about 6 years old, (maybe more). Everything
works very well except for the two tape decks. I don't really want to throw it
away and can't see anything equivalent on the market. Could you tell me whether
this is a kind of repair you might be able to consider, and perhaps give me a
rough estimate of what it might cost to repair the tape decks? If you can do this,
then I would bring it to your shop for you to have a look.
You may have
a simple head/tape path cleaning problem - follow the manufacturers instructions
on head and capstan/pinch roller cleaning, or 'phone me for advice.
I am sorry - but I would not advise professional repair - but this is not because
it cannot be done - it should not be a particularly hard problem - the difficulty
is the way it is combined with other equipment.
first problem is that although the cassette deck fault should be relatively easy
to resolve, we have to accept that a double cassette deck is two pieces of equipment
- a sort of double repair!
that is not impossible - but then we have to take the rest into account. To repair
the cassette decks, I will have to partially dismantle, therefore accept responsibility
for, a cd player, radio tuner, and amplifier.
all adds to the cost.
- the main problem - the cd player! It is my experience, that cd players of this
type tend to fail at this age. Even if it is apparently perfect at this time,
there are two ways that I can deal with it. Either overhaul at a prohibitive cost,
or carefully exclude responsibility in a skillfully worded restricted guarantee.
do I suggest?
could go to a 'bodger' who may repair inexpensively, but with little by way of
guarantee, or you could buy new.
I cannot help with either option - except with general purchasing advice.
buy a replacement, I suggest firstly that you go to a reputable dealer - not a
scruffy risky place where you feel uncomfortable. Either buy another "all in one"
system, which you can afford to throw away when it fails, or buy a "true" separates
greatest problem seems to arrise when people purchase a "separates system" which
is not really "separates". With many such systems, the items are interdependant,
with the result that if one part fails, it cannot be repaired as a separate item,
and cannot be replaced - and even though it costs more, it still has to be scrapped.
Not always, but very high cost is often a resultant problem.
advice, therefore, is either purchase a very simple "all in one" system for under
£200, or buy a "true" separates system. The way you differentiate what I call
a "true" separates system, is to see how it is sold. Is it all sold as one neat
package, or do you wander around the shop picking up a tuner here, and a cassette
deck on another shelf etc.
hope the above helps - but also want, especially wish to thank you for an idea
you triggered. I will be publishing this correspondence soon on the website, (with
your details removed), so that others with a similar problem may read these notes,
and also be helped. Meanwhile, if you wish to 'phone me for further advice, please
do so - the number is 020 8868 9222.