Sota Star Sapphire suspension question

Hey all; I picked up a beautiful Sota that has all the upgrades I would want. I'm coming from a VPI Scout and setup for the Sota is quite different. It has a ET 2 Arm. I have 2 questions, but if you have any comments please share. Initially I had the rubber feet screwed all the way up "locking" the sub chassis. I figured out I had to let the chassis go free. The arm board/arm side is lighter then the left motor side, is the where I load it up with lead to balance? Also, I tried my Benz SL and no matter what tracking force, the angle/weight are too heavy and distort my needle so I went back to a Dyn 20. Any thoughts on that. Also, I get no vacuum from the vac unit, I looked inside and it's clean but nada. Any thoughts. Thanks in advance. Jack
The lead shot goes under the armboard in a indent in the subchassis.
Three of the four corners of the floating sub-chassis have individual weights attached. The fourth corner carries the armboard/arm and contains the pocket underneath for the lead shot, to be added in an effort to balance all 4 corners level with the upper chassis. The underside of the sub-chassis uses four long bolts which may also be used to level the sub-chassis by screwing or un-screwing them individually.
It takes a bit of tweaking to make the ET2 arm work with the Sota's suspension. I had a buddy with that same set-up years ago. I am recalling his experience, not my personal experience so take this for what it is worth. The tonearm mass moving across the platter causes the level to shift. If I recall it correctly, you must level the platter (front to back) with the tonearm at the halfway point- the middle of the record so to speak. That way the platter is level minus a bit when the tonearm is at the edge of the record and level plus a bit when at the inner groove. Also, set the left side of the table (opposite the tonearm) just a bit lower than the right side of the table. All of that is after getting the correct amount of lead shot in the pocket. I think that you will find some cartridges will work better than others. Since the Sota is a floating chassis the arm will be putting some amount of side load on the cartridge's suspension.
I dont quite understand your comment about the tracking force and angle/weight being too heavy, so I cant comment on that. As for the vacuum pump, do you hear it running at all? What series of Sota Star do you have? Is it the one that has the aluminum face on the powersupply/pump or is it wood. If you open the pump enclosure, you will see the pump has a pressure switch plate. Sometimes that ges hung up, and just needs to be loosened. Or it could be the switch at the turntable end. Have you checked voltages and continunity between the pump and the table?. there is really little that can go wrong with this system and it is easy to fix once you isolate the problem.
Wow! My deepest thank you for all the information. I have to say I was a bit frustrated with initial listening, however it seems that its always something I did not do right to this point. Initially I still had the stryo locking the legs to the sub-chassie, so it was not floating. I did use Tonywinsc advice, the sub chassis did lean heavy on the left as you said and I was able to balance with lead.
Issue 1 - it seems the "weight" of the arm is too much for my Benz cart, even with the VTA in the highest position and no tracking weight, the needle was bending. I took that off and put on the Dyn 20 and it sounds pretty good, but I was looking for fantastic and its not there yet.
Issue 2 - the vacuum pump. I do hear it working when I have it connected to the table, and I can feel it working harder when I turn up the vac level. I did open the unit (its in a all black wood case with silver face) and saw nothing odd. I see 2 hoses, 1 from the pump deep in the back, going into a little air container and then a hose coming out that should have suction. Its a tight space and I was worried about doing damage,
Thank you again and any other suggestions would be very welcome! Happy NY !!
Thought I would add an update. First I would like to thank Bruce Thigpen from ET for writing back to me. It always blows my mind when someone who I both admire and respect take the time to give me advice and suggestions. Here is a guy who I consider a genius in the field of audio and he takes the time to get back, sweet!
Second, as usual, its my general stupidity that always does me in. I had nothing but the old metal fulcrum type of tracking force weight measurer. When I use that and put down the arm, it was seriously distorting my needle. When I did it but sight, so I made the arm neutral, then tacked on slight weight, not only did the needle not bend, it sounds great! I must not of tried that yesterday and I was just so frustrated I didnt think of it. I think so many things can be tweaked, I was overwhelmed. So I took a breath, slept on it and besides the vacuum not working, all is well. I did not call SOTA, I figured I would wait for the 2nd.
You might need to disassemble the platter bearing and check that the vacuum ports are not blocked. It wouldn't hurt to clean and re-lube the bearing since you may not know when it was done last- if you haven't done that already. I use a synthetic grease and get good results with that. I clean out the bearing hole with a cotton swab and then blow it out to make sure no fibers are left behind.
If you put your finger over the inlet to the pump, with no hoses connected, you should be able to feel some suction. It's not a lot, but it should be there. If so, then the pump is working. What makes you think it's not? There isn't a lot of suction, to protect yor records. Do you have the spindle cap? It works much better with it.
Manitunc; When I put my finger over the hole, with no hoses connected and the unit on and the vac set all the way to the right, the highest suction, I don't feel anything. I even tried cotton threads and no movement from them either. I opened up the vac and its very clean, all the hoses look good, I hear something happening, but no suction. I do have the rubberish spindle cap, do you know if this would use the reflex cap as well? Regards Jack
If you can't feel any vacuum at the pump inlet then you've got a problem at the pump.
both caps will work, but if you cant feel the suction, then the pump is not working. It could have a hole in the diaphram. Check with Sota to see about fixing or upgrading to the new pump/power supply which is quite a bit better.