Are you using a ball and race, cone and cup, knife edge, unipivot, hydraulic or other type of bearing?
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As Viridian and Dan_Ed suggested, there's no generic answer to your question. It depends on the tonearm. Many unipivots are designed to be lubricated/damped around the bearing but some are not. If lubrication/damping is called for, the optimum fluid varies from arm-to-arm as well.
If you're asking about a particular arm, please identify it. There's a good chance someone on this board will have experience with it.
Of course you could always ask your dealer (if any) or the arm's manufacturer (assuming they're still around) or even read the owner's manual! Many manuals are available at www.vinylengine.com
Thanks for the info. The arm is a Bio-Tracer on a Sony linear tracker. I was a little hesitant to mention this as either Sony, or it seems linear tracking, get very little respect from the audiophile community. There does not appear to be lube on the pivots but I think I might try a very small amount of teflon grease. My thinking is that I may be able to run the pivots with a slight amount of pre-load if they have some lubrication. The service manual says nothing about the tonearm pivots. Any opinions on this would be greatly appreciated.
Hey 80stech, we do everything from Lencos to Walkers around here so don't be shy about asking for help with any table. There may not be someone with an answer but I've never seen anyone turned away for having "approved" equipment. Linear tracking is highly regarded around here, although it is usually expensive and complicated with the systems we crazies tend to gravitate to. It would probably be a good idea to post on Audio Asylum as well. There are probably more users of that particular table there, and on a few other sites as well.
I'm unfamiliar with the mechanics of the Bio-Tracer arm, but why would you want to "pre-load" tonearm pivots? What force are you pre-loading against? Why wouldn't you want the arm to respond to that force with as little resistance as possible? On most tonearms, the lower the friction in the arm bearings the better, in both the vertical and horizontal planes. Just playing devil's advocate...
BTW, teflon grease (or any lubricant) will be a dust collector, especially in an exposed location. Apply it once and you'll find yourself cleaning it off and reapplying it periodically, perhaps regularly, depending on your environment.
It's great to be thinking outside the box, but I'd proceed with caution.
If I understand correctly the pivots must have zero clearance to transmit vibrations effectively. By giving a slight pre-load to the pivot points and would be making sure that the arm stays tight even when the temperature changes. I may be splitting hairs but isn't the abiltity for the pivots to have zero play and very little friction the main difference between a cheap arm and a very expensive one?
The Bio-tracer arm uses the standard pivots but also has an electromagnetic sensing-drive system to keep the needle centred in the groove. It's like an on-demand dynamic tracking force and anti-skating compensation. Thanks for the input
Dear 80Stech: +++++ " There does not appear to be lube on the pivots but I think I might try a very small amount of " +++++
why do you want to do it?. I don't know all the tonearms out there ( vintage or today ones ) but I know several and in no one I find/found nothing like you ask on the pivot bearing ( oil damping is other subject ) and I assume yours does not needs. My advise is that you leave it in " peace " about before you can/could infringe some kind of damage to the tonearm, things are that IMHO the pivot/bearing is the more delicate part on a tonearm.
Btw, do yu read something about or some one told you about?
Regards and enjoy the music.
Check out this link. Look at the far right column and you'll find a couple of linear arms in the list, the PS-FL77 and PS-x800. The links show service manuals for both, but I am not registered with Vinyl Engine so I can download them. Anyway, this may just be the information you're looking for on that arm.
Thanks Dan_ed, I downloaded the Psx-800 manual but it doesn't mention anything about lubricating or adjusting the tone-arm pivots either. They are probably assuming that anyone getting that involved would know what to do.
I still would like to know exactly what makes a tone arm "good". Maybe I should start a new thread?