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My Victrola Won't Crank (or the turntable won't turn). What would you suggest?


ANSWER:  There can be many reasons why your turntable/motor won't function, but the usual causes are:

1. Broken spring(s)

2. Solidified lubricants in spring barrel or gears (most common problem)

3. Damaged governor

4. Missing, worn or damaged gears

 

For electric motor Victrolas (VE models):

1. Damaged motor brushes or windings

2. Loose electrical connections

3. Broken or damaged control switches

 

If the crank is stuck (won't turn), then remove it by cranking it backwards. Once unscrewed, it will pull straight out. It is quite possible that the motor might already be wound to the maximum amount and it has become jammed, and/or the springs are laden with hard grease. By removing the crank, you can then lift or tilt the motorboard upwards via removing the screws on top, and inspect the motor components for obvious physical damage. If everything looks intact, then you probably have damaged or jammed springs. WARNING! If you suspect that overwinding or jammed springs might be the case, DO NOT attempt to open-up the spring barrels or disassemble the governor. The result will certainly be a room full of flying knife-sharp springs or other parts which will pop-out with incredible force, most likely straight into your face. More than one home handyman has been seriously injured by taking apart spring barrels without the proper tools and bench setup.

 

Try this experiment. Release the brake, and pull the turntable platter off (grasp both sides and pull upwards). Then see if the center spindle turns freely after winding or (for electric models) when powered-on. If it does, you may have a brake that is not properly releasing, or the brake assembly parts may be rubbing on the bottom of the turntable. These types of issues will simply 'stall' the turntable platter from moving freely, and should be easy to resolve once the platter is removed. You can also attempt to increase the speed via the speed control knob on the motorboard. If the motor still doesn't turn, or makes a loud racket while running, your motor will need servicing.

 

Instructions for repair for each motor type and configuration are beyond the scope of this website, but the reader is strongly encouraged to purchase a copy of Eric Reiss' book "The Talking Machine Companion" (see the Recommended Reading page) for simple diagnosis and instructions. Alternatively, a number of excellent repair services are available, listed on the "RESOURCES" page.

 

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