Garrard 401 service & tweaking my new project.


I just got a 401 from Europe ~ could use some help in the following areas:

~ how do I convert to 110~120v?
~ I intend to replace the bearing. There are a few aftermarket co. That have brass thrust plates. Anyone try any of these? Comments?
~ I believe I will also need to replace the idler wheel, anyone experience the artesian fidelity replacement?
~ how do I service the motor to keep it running quiet?
Thanks
phduncanson
Disclaimer.. I rebuild Garrards.

To convert to 120v 60hz, remove the nut which holds the plastic cover on the wiring block on the lower end of the motor. Look for the 2 wire or metal bar, 'jumper straps'. There are 4 metal contact 'posts'. The jumpers are connected to these. For 120v, each of these two outer sets of posts should be connected with a jumper. Coming from the UK, or Europe, the jumpers are most likely both connected to the center two posts, with the outer two posts left untouched. If you get it wrong, the motor will run slowly.

For the idler wheel, there is a chance that yours is still good. It should have no pitting, or flat spots, or any other visible flaws. With the motor running and platter spinning, when you hold your ear, or a stethoscope to the chassis, or to the plinth, if you hear a thumping sound, or other irregular sound, the idler wheel is a possible culprit. The aftermarket idler wheels seem like a good idea, but in my experience, the quietest combination I have found, are original idlers in good condition, with the idler bushings replaced. Replacing the idler carrier bushings is relatively straightforward, but because that casting is not a precision piece, alignment can be an issue when replacing them, also being sure to seat them to the correct depth. You should feel very little play, almost none, in the idler wheel when the bushings are good, but the wheel should still turn freely.
If you decide to replace the idler wheel with an aftermarket one, be sure to listen with your ear pressed to the plinth, or to the chassis, or ideally, with a stethoscope, before and after. you will know immediately if you made a good decision or not. Personally, I recommend replacing the bushings and listening for noise in the idler. You may lack the experience for a proper judgement call, but often, the original is quietest. In a Garrard in good condition, the idler wheel assembly is the single biggest source of noise. Very delicate adjustments can make a big difference. The idler wheel takes noise from the pulley surface, from the motor and motor shaft, and delivers it directly to the platter.

For the motor, somewhere on the internet there are a couple of write ups for servicing the motor and checking the coils. In the process of finding these articles, you will likely also find other good info.

Servicing a Garrard looks deceptively simple. Yes, a mechanically inclined person can strip it down and put it back together pretty easily. There is a learning curve, and getting optimum performance (quiet) from the deck requires experience.

Another note, if you remove the power switch assembly from the underside of the deck, take care not to disassemble it, unless you are prepared for a can of worms. The switch assembly on the raised strobe version has contacts inside that are often very close to failure due to the design. I have seen several sets that were just 'hanging by a thread'. repairing these is a delicate job. If the switch is working, careful about opening it up, for either the raised strobe, or the flush strobe model.

A powerful Ultrasonic cleaner is a great tool for servicing these decks. With a large one, everything including the platter and chassis can be very effectively cleaned. The little ultrasonic cleaners are pretty much a joke and not worth messing with.
I got my 401 on ebay UK, and changed the voltage to 115V. It is quite easy to do, just change the connections on the connection block. If I remember correctly, the block is marked where to connect for the different voltages.

You can go to vinylengine.com, register, and download a free manual, which will help a great deal with anything you care to do with your table.

Unless your 401 was subjected to many, many, years of constant use, with little or no maintenance, your idler wheel should still be in good shape. On mine, the rubber wheel contact is still resilient, ao all I did was sand it very lightly. If it spins free, the bearings are still good.

These tables were very well engineered and built, and last and last. The same applies to the spindle bearing and shaft. Just remove and clean it inside and out, if it looks good, and the oil wasn't too funky, it's probably in good shape.

I would suggest you get it mounted up in playing condition, without doing too much at first. You might be surprised how good it is without spending what it costs for an aftermarket spindle bearing and shaft. Just because they cost a lot of money doesn't mean they will work or sound better.

If the motor is quiet, and runs a steady speed, it's still good too. You will want to lube it, too, before using your table.

Almost all the parts you will need will be available at Perfect Sound in the UK, at reasonable prices, should you need them. It may be necessary to change many of the springs, as they may have strecthed and lost tension.

The only available replacement idler wheel I've seen lately is, as you mentioned, the Artisan Fidelity.

You can pretty much spend as much, or as little (as it is with most things audio) as you like. either way, you should have a great sounding table.

If I can be of further assistance, don't hesitate to contact me.

Congratulations, enjoy,
Dan
Great, thanks mangos & islandman! That's more than helpful! For some reason ~ in my research I learned that when switching from 220v to 110v the idler wheel also had to be changed. Is that not true?
Phduncanson,

First, I would like to thank Chris for his superb job of describing the switchover in voltage. Although I have done it (once, several years ago now), my memory these days is for the birds.

As for the speed, the idler wheel remains the same. What changes is the hub that is driven directly by the motor. The pulley sizes are different from 50hz to 60hz.

The 60hz pulleys can be purchased, as I previously mentioned, at PerfectSound, in the UK.

The strobe markings will be incorrect, as they are for 50hz. That is a small concern, though. There are some 60hz platters out there, but they are quite rare, and expensive. If you decide to go whole hog and replace your platter with a copper or stainless steel one (extremely expensive!), the strobe markings become a moot point anyway.

By the way, I am not in any way a schill, but I can recommend Woodsong Audio, as I've dealt with Chris, and found him very good to do business with.

Enjoy the process, I know you will enjoy the result.

Regards,
Dan
Ok, so I need a 60hz pulley and a 60hz platter. Ok. Very helpful again~
A new 60hz pulley and a 50 hz strobe will work fine. You do not need a new platter. Loricraft used to sell a 50hz strobe, I think they still do.
Word! That's what I'm talking about mangos! Thanks the more ~
Hello Phduncason, I did not mean to imply you need a new platter. The 50 Hz platter works fine, the strobe function just doesn't work, due to the frequency mismatch.

Some with money to spend, and are perfectionists, will seek out a 60 Hz platter, just so everything is just so. I can't afford to be one of those people, and use an inexpensive KeyStrobe speed checking system which works well for me.

To each his own.

Regards,
Dan
No worries islandman. I did not take it that way ~ I just know for me, that I like things to be functional ~

I just got a chance to open and look at the 401. It is super clean (except for dust) ~ even the break pad is still close to off white. Only noticed that one of the motor springs is a bit stretched ~ looks like I only need to clean and oil this!!

Any recommendations for spindle & motor oil?
I highly recommend the following lubricants for your 401 project:

1. motor bearings: ZOOM SPOUT TURBINE OIL (http://amzn.to/1IDrnYc)

2. spindle: Mobil Rarus 427 Air Compressor Oil (SAE Grade 30, Viscosity Index 100, Viscosity SUS @ 100 Degrees) This matches the spec required by Oilite for their sintered bronze bearing products and contains no detergents that would clog the pores of the bearings preventing them from self lubricating (http://amzn.to/1TeTyjp)

3. idler wheel bushes: Singer sewing machine oil (http://amzn.to/1dGv1DD)
Phduncanson,

I'm glad to hear you've gotten a very good example of a 401. For spindle bearing oil, I use that which is sold by Northwest Analog in the UK.

I also use sewing machine oil for the idler bearings.

How long do you anticipate it will be before you get to hear it for the first time?

Best regards,
Dan
Phduncanson,

My Garrard 401 has been completely restored by Christopher Thornton at Artisan Fidelity and I couldn't be more pleased with the quality of both the parts/components and the work he has performed.

With regards to the Artisan Fidelity replacement idler wheel, it's really a no brainer! When you get a chance to hold the AF wheel you can truly appreciate the quality and of course, the sonic improvements are not subtle. More clarity, better image focus, an enhancement of the drive in the music that these tables are known for.

I know that Artisan Fidelity is continually researching and testing components and I believe that there is an upgraded version of the AF idler wheel in the works. Better ask Christopher though!

Any questions feel free to shoot me an email.

Cheers,

Tim
Why would changing the voltage on the voltage create a condition where the strobe wouldn't work? It's still 33.3, or is it the voltage on the lamp?
phduncanson,

I hope your enjoy your 401!  Great table.  I have a grease bearing 301 that I really enjoy.  Just a thought and not trying to be a killjoy here, there are some motors in 301 & 401's that will never run quite.  I have a few friends that have 301's & 401's, and even after total rebuilds they ended up replacing the motor completely.  

Also, you can have your idler wheel rebuilt if needed.  And though it's been said, if your bearing had oil in it, then it's fine.  Remember top speed is 78 rpm, not enough to flatten out a bearing in oil.

Best,

Norman