The lid on the VPI 16.5 contacts the top of the suction tube when closing. It can stress the tube and also causes scratching of the lid. I suggest removing the tube for cleaning and not replacing it until you are ready to use the unit again.
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Any chance the cleaner you choose for your LP's might be attacking the pick up tube but not the records? What do you use to clean the records?
Do you remove the tubes and use special cleaners to "restore" them? Leave them out in direct sunlight to dry? Just thinking out loud here. Other than that, it has to be the tube adjustment set too low, causing stress from lack of support.
I have a VPI 17F which is essentially the same machine as yours. My tubes last about 3 years before the felt can no longer be restored washing them with Record Research fluid. No cracks in any pick up tubes with over 10 years working with my VPI.
We can't have that much difference in reliability without something being very different, and something that can be resolved.
Thanks for the responses, I am using a homemade solution made of 75% distilled water, 24.8% alcohol and about 5ml(.2%) of a surfactant. I don't remove the tube or assembly between use. I have been "parking" the tube so that the lid does not stress the tube. I don't detect that much heat from the unit, even after cleaning several albums in row, though I 've heard about that being a problem. I guess my problem is pretty unusual, so the adjustment is the obvious place to keep fiddling with, and that's what VPI said. But they don't mention anything about it in the manual that comes with the machine. Thanks again.
Yikes, that much alcohol can't be good for the stabilizers in the vinyl let alone the plastic tubes. Where did you get that formula from? You are doing extractive research my friend and I would caution you that you are doing permanent damage to your recrords.
I would stop this process immediately and use a proven, safe and effective solution instead. Sorry to be blunt, I just don't want you to suffer in the long run.
Where did you get that formula from?I don't want to presume to answer for Ritmoman, but the link below to TNT publishes many recipes, all with that amount of alcohol or more. I recall a previous thread here also where high alcohol content was implicated as a vinyl destroying agent, and in the same thread someone refuted the argument.
So, I don't know what the scientifically authoritative position is, but as usual it seems audiophiles can't agree.
Hello, thanks for the responses, seems my formula raises a few eyebrows, I got the formula from Dusty Vawter at Channel Islands Audio where I bought my VPI. From what I've read, including Michael Fremer's exhaustive review of fluids in Stereophile, alcohol will not harm the vinyl the short time it comes in contact with the record. It takes 30 minutes or more exposure to damage the plastic. Anyway, I don't want to launch a discussion of fluids, IMHO the commercial ones are way too expensive. I have not noticed any adverse effects to my record collection thus far. I'm pretty sure the cracking problem is not related to the fluid I'm using.