Audio Desk Systeme - Vinyl Cleaner – Repair of Water Pump Failure


After the water pump of my beloved Vinyl Cleaner from Audio Desk Systeme stopped working I searched the web and found that I’m not the only one with this problem. But nowhere did I find a blog or post that would describe a repair procedure – other than to mail the machine back to Germany for an expensive repair.

If your machine is still under warranty you should of course send it back for warranty repair. But if your machine is out of warranty (like mine) and your only option is to spend lots of money to get it fixed, you might want to consider repairing it yourself.

The way the vinyl cleaner is designed does not allow any maintenance or replacement of any component located inside the machine without destroying something. The whole machine is glued together! Something I have not seen before to this extent – especially not on a high dollar item like this. Only the components in the upper compartment where the white cleaning rollers are located can be accessed thru the opening in the top cover.

To get started you need to separate the bottom PVC plate from the bottom of the tank. Both plates are glued together. I used a flat pry-bar to carefully separate the bottom plate without breaking it. Shining a flash light thru the water sight glass you can see the blue water pump thru the drain hole of the tank.

To get to the water pump you need to remove the bottom of the tank (or parts of it) which is glued to the recessed side walls.

Use a permanent marker to draw straight lines on the tank bottom – 5 mm inbound from the side walls. The PVC side walls are 5 mm thick. Try to cut slightly inside that line to not cut into the recessed side walls. I used a Dremel with a cut-off wheel.

Once the bottom of the tank is removed you have access to the water pump and all other internal components. To disconnect the pump wires from the main board you need to remove the front panel with on/off switch. Follow the pump cable from the tank and disconnect both wires from the terminal.

In my case it turned out that the pump actually did not fail - it was simply seized up. Once I rotated the little impeller by hand and hooked it up to the 24 V DC power supply in the sink it started to pump fine again.

In case you find your pump to be dead and need a replacement look for “Barwig Tauchpumpe Typ 3 24 V DC”. Price is around 18 EUR (appr. 20 USD) at amazon.de or conrad.com. Unfortunately I was not able to find a supplier who would ship to the U.S.. You may need to be creative – or plan your next vacation in Germany ...

If you use aquarium grade silicone adhesive instead of strong PVC adhesive to put it all together you will be able to undo everything easier in case you need to access the inside of the machine again. 

Feel free to email me if you have questions or need pictures.

Decibell

decibell
That's an interesting journey! I'm surprised that anyone as handy as you bought one of these rather than DIY with a generic USC and Vinyl Spin or similar.  For several years I've been using an Elmasonic and a DIY external pump and filter.  No problems yet with the Elma or the filter/pump. 
WOW. thank you for the great post. This should certainly get the company to reconsider how it builds the $$$$$ machine. I would be hesitant to buy one knowing it is a pain you know where since returning it to GERMANY for repair is rather extreme. Where you able to talk to them or correspond? How did they explain away the ridiculous way they build the machine? Do they have any plans to make ease of repair better?
Golly. What she said. Glad I have a partly DIY set-up.
The new "Degritter" is a better designed (120kHz) and built ultrasonic, and about half the price. 
@dgarretson 
I bought the Vinyl Cleaner a few years ago in German - at an amazing price. And since I exported it I did not pay the 19 % VAT. It worked great without any hick ups for about 1400 records. It's the best thing since they invented chocolate - as long as it works! But the way Reiner Glaess puts these things together really is an engineering shame! But when I bought it I did not know that it is all glued together. Taking it apart took me about one hour. Putting it back together another hour. Because it is extremely convenient and very efficient I will keep it and accept the messy design.
@elizabeth 
I did not talk to them and have no idea if they have plans to change the design.
I'll say it again - the OP makes me glad I bought a Loricraft PRC-4 over 12 years ago.  So far (knock on wood) nary a problem, and it does a great cleaning job.

That said, over the past few years there have been a number of reports on this forum of problems with the Audio Desk vinyl cleaning machine.  If I were to go the ultrasonic route, I would choose DIY - - many choices available at a fraction of the cost of Audio Desk.
@decibell Bravo! I admire the informed courage of anyone who picks up a dremel and vivisects a sealed unit, which to the average audiophile is a sacrosanct immaculate conception.
I’ll say it again - the OP makes me glad I bought a Loricraft PRC-4 over 12 years ago. So far (knock on wood) nary a problem, and it does a great cleaning job ....

I have had my Loricraft since the eighties..........zero problems and cleans extremely well and without the unwanted static charge the others create.........
( and so quiet it can be done while others are sleeping!......on the same street ,in the same house..... in the same room....)

Seriously though , this is one of the obvious drawbacks I saw with the consumer bought ultra sonic types is accessibility and ease for the user to repair if needed. They seem to clean well enough , but durability and the length of in service with zero issues the Loricraft has been my experience owning for decades, personally, would be hard for me to see a change worthwhile to me. If I didn’t own a RCM , I likely still would lean toward the advantages the Loricraft offers my wants and it’s cleaning ability can’t be knocked.
Decibell- I had the same issue with a pump failure on my original ADS Vinyl cleaner which was way out of warranty.  When I contacted the importer about it (Ultra Systems), they had me send it to them for evaluation and possible repair.  As alternative to repairing it, they offered me $3000- almost what I had paid for it - for my machine as an exchange towards a brand new Vinyl Cleaner PRO which has a long list of engineering improvements including ceramic bearings on the pump and motor AND came with a new 2 year warranty as well.  Seems fair, and I was not about to cut into the machine like you did- that took guts!
jwpstayman - Lucky you! That is quite a different story from what I read about others having to pay $800 plus $100 intl. shipping for an out of warranty repair. I bought my machine in Germany 6 years ago for $1600. Today's list price in the US is $4500 plus VAT - that is insane! Too many hands between manufacturer and end-user!
After all it took me just two hours, and $10 for silicone to fix it. After 1400 cleaned records my investment is .07 cents and 5 seconds per cleaned record. And you don't see a thing from the outside since the bottom plate covers the silicone seam. It does such an amazing cleaning job while being convenient like a toaster that I will probably keep it until I'm deaf ;-)
@decibell If the total cost was $1610, and you cleaned 1400 records, the cost per clean is not 7 cents but $1.15. 
noromance - ok, my "repair investment". I still have my machine and am intending to use it for many years to come. Boxing the unit up, bringing it to FedEx, paying for shipping and for an out of warranty repair is the comparison I tried to make.
@decibell My OCD is acting up again.
@decibell Would appreciate some photos, in particular the part about accessing the water pump as I have the same issue and was quoted about USD900 to repair via dealer. 
@decibell - this is good information and worthwhile for someone who has an out of warranty unit that cannot be traded in for an upgrade. @jwpstayman is fortunate- Robert Stein at Ultra Systems, the distributor here in the States, has generally tried to accommodate customers with problems.
 I had one of the earlier AD units, before the new "Pro" model, which is supposed to be better, but I think all of these units  (not just the AD) will eventually fail.
I did talk to the distributor of Elma in the States about field replaceable parts and was told that was a non-starter-- I don't know if the ultrasonic transducers can be found on the open market-- i have to believe that unless there is some special tuning that is employed, that would be the other remaining 'part' that fails here. (The AD is obviously more complicated, with not only a drive system to spin the LP and a blower to dry the record, but also those rollers used as part of the wash cycle).
As to Loricraft v ultrasonic, I have a Monks Omni- same principle --and still find that ultrasonic brings something extra to the cleaning process, so I use both. 
Thanks for the post, decibell.
From my experience, AD units unfortunately are more prone to issues regardless of model but I also have the KLAudio unit which while a lot less reported issues, do have occasion problems as well. The difference for me at least is KLAudio is much more responsive and field service is actually possible.
 Everyone I know who was an early adopter of the vinyl desk had problems. It’s shameful the company is not taking care of those people even though it’s out of warranty. It’s obvious there were design flaws and the pro model was brought in to address this.  
Make sure you use the AD unit relatively often, like once a week. Or empty the tank if not in use. If it sits a few weeks with water in it the pump gets unhappy and will eventually break. This is a problem with the first models more than the second Pro version which has an upgraded pump. I made the upgrade myself and I’m very happy with new AD unit but it’s still good practice to keep the water circulating or empty it.
The issue with emptying the AD tank if not in use is the float can get stuck to the bottom and won’t budge. I have had that issue and was only remedied by leaving water in the tank for a period of time. 

What makes the pump stop working if it is immersed in water for a prolong period of time? Would be good to understand.