View Full Version : Sony PS-FL1 Anybody/

05-20-2005, 01:40 PM
Hello fellow audionuts:
Man this is a great hobby but trying to get those "freebies" working right can lead to baldness. The latest thing that's got me pulling out my hair is a sony ps-fl1TT
that a neighbor gave me. This is a TT that pops out when you press a button, then retracts to play the record. Well, that's what it's supposed to do. This one retracts and the platter spins but the needle won't drop down.

Anybody have one of these? Or have some ideas? My usual MO is to reduce an otherwise nice item into worthless junk by "repairing" it only to find out later that there was some simple fix.

Any help would be appreciated. By the way, this is one of the most courteous forums I've ever seen. You must have a great sargent at arms.

Looking forward to joining the fun!


05-21-2005, 01:17 AM
The main common fault of all the FL series is the arm not being able to travel all the way to the end of the platter/record.
The needle not going down... I don't know. Are the arm&cart properly setup & screwed on?

First check the belts inside - dead belt, loose belt, worn-out belt or all-of-that belt.

02-06-2007, 01:43 PM
I know this is an ancient thread, but i fixed this same fault in my PS-FL1 yesterday.

This turntable uses an optical sensor to detect the edge of the record. Not very well, but it senses the difference between 12" and not-12" at least.

The sensor depends on a light that's at the far end of the turntable. This turns out to be a 5mm incandescent light bulb rated at 8 volts 5ma. If this bulb burns out, the sensor doesn't work, and the turntable will decline to drop the tone arm.

Mine was burned out. I replaced it with a similar bulb - rated for 14v - and my PS-FL1 works fine again. You should be able to find this sort of bulb at any auto parts store -- they are typically used to light up a car's instrument panel.

To replace it, do the following:

Lock the tone-arm in place and remove the rubber pad and cast aluminum turntable. the aluminum plate lifts straight up.

Turn the unit upside-down and remove the screws holding on the bottom plate there are three along the back, two on each side, and one in the middle. These are the screws that have an arrow pointing at them stamped into the sheet metal.

Lift up the plate from the front of the record player first. You will need to free the wiring harness from two retention clips at the back of the record player to lift the plate off completely.

You should see two small white wires leading through a hole at the back of the turntable. There are two small screws on either side of the hole. Remove these screws.

The bracket and lens assembly that holds the bulb will fall out of their own accord once the screws are removed.

You will need some slack on the white wires. There should be a couple inches bundled up near the pc board into which they terminate. You can free this up and pull some slack through the wiring harness.

Unfortunately you can't remove the bulb from the bottom side. Flip the record player right-side-up and remove the top of the case. You will need to remove the access panel on the top, and then remove the two screws on either side of the case.

You can now pull the bulb up through the hole a few inches, clip off the wires, slide a half-inch of heat-shrink tubing over the end of each wire, strip off some insulation, solder in your new bulb, and shrink on the insulation.

It may turn out that your bulb is slightly larger in diameter than the original. Use a drill bit (held in a gloved hand, not in a drill) to ream out the bracket if this is the case.

Insert the bulb into the bracket, slide the lens back into place (the thicker end of the lens goes at the top), and seat the assembly back in place. Use a piece of tape to hold it in place.

Turn the record player over again, take the slack back up on the white wires, and reinstall the small screws that hold the light assembly.

fasten the wiring harness back to the bottom plate taking care to ensure that the wiring harness does not interfere with the drawer mechanism. Replace bottom plate and screws.

Turn the record player right-side-up, remove tape from light assembly, un-lock the tone arm, and reinstall the top of the case and the access panel.

Power up the record player, press the eject, and reinstall the aluminum turntable plate and rubber mat, taking care to align the protrusions on the bottom of the mat with the holes in the aluminum plate.


02-06-2007, 05:41 PM
Hi Eric, Welcome to AK! We are honored that your very first post is such an incredible contribution to this forum. :tresbon: Thank you for taking the time to write it all out. I'm sure it will be of immense help to someone in the future. :yes:

02-06-2007, 05:52 PM
Hi! good to be here.

I found this thread when i was googling for ideas. I didn't find anything promising, and then thought "Hey, didn't that thing at the back used to glow?"

It's such an obtuse fix that i figured it needed to be recorded somewhere.

03-26-2011, 04:43 PM
Hi guys.....came across a FL-1....everything seems to work ok....Except.....does anyone who has one of these knows what type of tiny screw or whatever piece that connects the two arms that raise up when the turntables closes to the plastic cover piece???? I have the cover ...the arms are there......but the screws seem to be hard to find out what I need......Thanks much...Danny

12-29-2012, 04:55 PM
First of all I want to thank Ericj for a wonderful article here on fixing the common problem of the Sony PS FL1's arm not lowering onto the record. Sure enough the miniature lamp at the rear of the deck had burnt out just as explained here and elsewhere on the internet. Finding ericj's detailed fix was a God-send in repairing my problem.

Even though this is an older post for an older machine, there are still plenty of these being used out there so I would like to add a couple things that I did to help the next guy do the same thing.

I followed the above procedure to a tee but instead of using a bulb from the Auto Supply I used a miniature bulb from Radioshack, their part number is 272-1141. From the picture I have uploaded you can see the bulb is only slightly bigger than the original bulb an the right. The RS bulb is rated at 12 volts and 25ma and has 1 3/4" leads, and has done the trick for me. I will also add that I ran a number 30 drill thru the entire bulb mounting, and then followed up with a number 13 drill 1/2 way thru the same mounting. This gave a really nice and tight fit to the bulb. I did not have to make any modifications to the bulb cap as it did fit but tightly also.

Thanks again Ericj for going above and beyond in detailing your repair procedure. :music:

03-30-2013, 03:44 PM
I know this is an old thread but this is where the information is. I replaced the bulb inmine today as per instructions but the arm still wont lower. I hit play, the arm goes over the record but wont lower. Any ideas ?

05-03-2013, 10:18 PM
Somewhat related to the topic, but my bulb went out today and I still had no problems as I played a few records just fine.

I'm not sure if eventually it will stop working, but I'm thinking the bulb isn't totally necessary for things to work?

05-05-2013, 09:11 PM
I know this is an old thread but this is where the information is. I replaced the bulb inmine today as per instructions but the arm still wont lower. I hit play, the arm goes over the record but wont lower. Any ideas ?

It's been quite a few years since I worked on one of these, but my best guess is the tonearm cueing is not working properly. Obviously since there is no manual cue lever in this model, so it has to drop the arm automatically. It's been so long (over 15 years ago) since I've been inside one, I'm trying to remember if there was a small belt that turns a cam to release the cue lever or not (some models had that) might want to check. The other probable cause is the silicone grease that was used as damping fluid for the cue lever has gotten old and dirty/sticky. You'd have to take apart the cue assembly and clean it out and replace the grease. If the arm is moving to the correct drop point and not cueing, this could be a relatively simple fix.

07-15-2014, 10:20 AM
Just a semi-quick FYI about the "bad bulb" problem and issues related to it...

Someone above said 8V 5ma and recommended an auto parts store interior bulb while someone else recommended some other values of part from radio shack.
These will all make the auto-size sensor system start working again but you have to be careful about the specs. Too high a wattage will melt the plastic housing of your unit around the bulb and can also overwork power supply components that run the bulb.

Does anyone have the PS-FL1 service manual available for the exact lamp specs?
If it's really 8V 5W spec then we should look for something as close to that as possible.

All the lamp (light bulb) does in the PS-FL1 is shine down onto the two photo-sensors beneath the platter through those 3 pairs of inner and outer slits in the mat so that when the start button is pressed the sensors can tell the table whether it needs to move the arm over to play a 12" or 7" record that's been placed onto the platter, or of course that there's no record on there at all which causes the unit to start the platter as requested, lift and move the arm to the 12" position, realize there's no record on the platter at all, stop the platter, auto-return the arm to the resting post, and end the cycle to avoid damaging the stylus.

I can't say about the FL3 or FL5 but the FL7/7II/9 Linear-tracking models have 2 LED photo-drivers instead which are mounted on a bar directly above their platter. (The FL9 also has a track-sensing mechanism above the platter to "read" the record's layout as the unit closes and allow it to behave a lot like a CD player complete with a track "skip" button, 2-digit "tracks" display, and track number buttons to allow for user selectable track sequence programming...)

In the older models that got a single incandescent light bulb mounted behind a projector lens at the rear of the chassis to drive the auto-size sensing system instead, when the lamp burns out the table doesn't know that so it always assumes there's a 12" record on the platter whenever the start mode gets requested (via the start/stop button) because neither sensor beneath the platter sees any light (same scenario as if there really was a 12" on the platter covering all the platter mat slits) and therefore it always attempts to play a 12" record when the start button is pressed, including DROPPING the arm (and the stylus!) onto the platter whether there's really a record on there or not!!!

So, if the lamp is burned out, and assuming you've pressed the Start button, if the arm moves over but won't lower and the turntable doesn't automatically make the platter stop turning and try to auto-return the arm as if it were cycling the turntable off then the burned out lamp isn't your problem. I don't know how it behaves in manual play mode though.
On the FL1, if the orange LED light that's centered above both the "arm lifter" and "start/stop" buttons never stops flashing but the arm never drops and the platter keeps turning then I can tell you that it isn't completing one of the necessary cycles although I haven't had to dig far enough into mine to provide any further info on that.

When I first received my FL1 from ebay the platter and mat were up off the spindle and bouncing around inside the unit with the tonearm's counterweight somehow off the arm and wedged beneath the platter near the front of the unit, plus the tonearm was unsecured and moving around freely, the cartridge was dangling by the wires with no headshell screws or nuts (but the headshell and cartridge mounting holes weren't broken at all) and the stylus tip was broken off.

Once I fished the counterweight out, reinstalled it onto the tonearm and reseated the platter/mat I plugged the unit in, turned it on, pressed the start button, the platter spun up and the arm moved over to the 12" position but the arm stayed lifted, the orange status LED just kept blinking, and that's all it would do unless I pressed stop which would make it stop the platter and return the arm to the resting post and the status LED would go off.
No matter what button presses I tried, opened or closed, automatic or manual, that's all I could get it to do.

So I flipped it over, removed ONLY the screws with the imprinted arrow symbol beside them on the bottom panel, slowly lifted the bottom panel open, carefully untethered the large wiring harness from its' 2 clips (carefully noting exactly how it looped around each of them!!!) so that the bottom panel could be set aside, then once it was all exposed I pulled a couple of packing peanut bits out of the greasy mechanisms, shook a couple of headshell screws out from the inside of the unit when I heard them rattling as I moved it but couldn't see them and didn't know what the noise was, then I turned it on with it still upside-down and the tone-arm unlatched (with the stylus protector guard in place!), hit the start/stop button, watched some motors move and eventually stop with no clue exactly what they were trying to accomplish, hit that button again and saw more motor activity again that based on the underside of the mechanism seemed to be moving the arm back to the resting post, didn't see anything obviously jammed or broken so I just put it back together, flipped it back over, tried it again, and other than the burned out size sensor bulb making it think there's a 12" on the platter at all times, everything else is now working properly ever since... No idea why...

Note that the platter mat installed 180 degrees "backwards" (NOT the same as "upside-down") will exhibit the exact same symptoms as a burned out size-sensor lamp, even with a good working lamp!
If your PS-FL1/3/5/7/9 always starts and drops the tonearm even with no record on the platter, and always goes to the 12" position to drop the stylus even if there's a 7" 45 on the platter then your platter mat is sitting on the platter 180 degrees "backwards"...
If you look into the slits of the mat and see them filled by silver metal of the platter, it's on "backwards". If you look through the slits and see through the platter into the chassis below then it's sitting on the platter in the proper position.

Also note that unlike the FL7/FL9 Linears with their belt driven linear tonearm transport mechanism, if there's even one belt in the FL1 I sure didn't see it.
The table deck open/close motor is a shaft-driven worm gear drive mechanism (no belts), the only tonearm motor I could see is also a worm gear drive mechanism, and the turntable platter itself is driven by a direct-drive motor.
That's not to say that there might not be another tiny motor with a tiny belt hiding in there somewhere that might raise and lower the arm but I was under the impression that the tonearm movement motor uses a gear and some cam lobes to execute all of those functions although I could be partially mistaken on that...

I can also tell you that unlike the PS-FL1/3/5 with their traditional style full-length tonearms the PS-FL7/7II/9 Linear-tracking turntables do eventually have a tendency to get stuck along the way as they're playing a record which is usually either a simple slipping/worn belt underneath on the transport drive motor pulley or a misaligned optical sensor inside the tonearm transport housing.

The PS-FL1 (and likely the FL3/5) with their traditional tonearms, if they have an issue of "getting stuck" like that, it's not the same problem.

As rough and unloved and confused as my FL1 was when I opened its' ebay box yesterday, and other that the burned out size sensor lamp making it think there's always a 12" record on the platter, once it magically started cycling properly somehow on its' own after my initial peeking into its' underbelly, only needed a fine tweak of the start-point adjuster screw to make it set down just past the lip at the actual start of the record instead of about 1/4" into the first track, and it has been behaving properly and tracking an entire album side without any issues like a good turntable should...

I also managed to use the flashlight mode on my cell phone, holding it inside the cover above the rear size sensors to simulate the unit having a working size sensor bulb, then put a 7" (45) on the platter and pressed the start button and not only did the tonearm automatically choose the 7" position and find the right spot on the 7" record to drop the needle on, it played the whole song and then cycled off at the end of the record exactly as it should've done...

For those who don't know or haven't figured out yet, there's a "manual mode" versus the full automatic mode.
If the turntable is open and you move the arm to any point above the record and then press the arm lifter button it will start the platter then drop the arm at that point and play. When it gets to the end I think you'll need to press stop (the start/stop button) to get it to cycle off and return the arm to the resting post.
Note that the auto-size selector won't operate with the turntable in the open position and I'm pretty sure the auto-return won't either until you press stop after you're done listening to that record.
That applies to the FL7/7II/9 tables as well, although they require use of the left/right arm mover buttons instead of physically moving the regular style tonearm of the FL1/3/5...

07-15-2014, 12:30 PM
Another bulb replacement part thought...

Years ago I had a traditional top loading Sony PS-LX55 linear tracker which had this same type of light bulb driven auto-size sensor setup and eventually its' bulb burned out. Not sure if it's the same spec of bulb as the PS-LX55 was a smaller unit than the PS-FL1 but likely so.

Since I haven't been able to find a download of the service manual for the PS-FL1 and the service manual for the PS-LX55 was readily available online I decided to see what spec of bulb the PS-LX55 used and although its' service manual doesn't give actual lamp specs a google search of the PS-LX55's Sony part number for its' "Pilot Lamp" showed a 4.5V 0.04A (40mA) bulb which seems close enough to a certain 6V 25mA bulb that Radio Shack sells. Radio Shack also sells a 6V 50mA bulb which is already a bit higher current/wattage than the PS-LX55's bulb spec and in theory it would pull even more current than its' rated 50mA when operated at only 4.5V instead of its' intended 6V so I don't know how good a choice either one of those 6V lamps would be in this application but since my rusty late night math says that a 6V 25mA bulb being run at 4.5V would likely draw around 35mA which is really close to the original PS-FL55 "pilot lamp" bulb spec I'm likely going to try the 6V 25mA one myself and see how it does in my PS-FL1 for the auto-size sensor system, assuming it physically fits in the mounting space, the next time I get a chance to tinker with my PS-FL1 again...

If anyone has the actual PS-FL1 service manual and can google the pilot lamp's sony part number to compare to this information, that would be very good to know for sure.

chef free
01-08-2015, 11:33 AM
My daughter just brought one of these home last night. I has no mat so we can't test it yet. So far it won't drop the tone arm just like everyone else in this thread has described. With your help, I'm going to get this thing working! It's so cool that my daughter is getting interested in vintage gear!

05-11-2015, 06:42 AM
Thanks to everyone who's posted in this thread with their insight on the PS-FL1.

I had the same issue where the needle wouldn't drop. Here's what I can offer up from my experience.

Yes, my light was burned out, but no, that did not/does not correct the needle dropping. It's fairly easy to replace, with some patience, and following all of the advice above.

Ultimately I think I just had a stuck component. With the needle locked in place, and the unit flipped upside down, I powered up the unit, cycled it, and hit play a couple times to watch the various pieces move (when doing this, with the bottom cover off, you have to hit the black switches on the bottom center of the unit to trick it into thinking the tray has closed.) Finally I followed the motions that move the needle and when it was ready to stop I gave the larger circular gears and metal piece an additional push to follow through. I think that unstuck whatever piece was stuck.

After that, I put everything back together and it has been fine since.