View Full Version : Elac Miracord 50h skips on new records


djflowe
01-08-2013, 04:22 PM
Hi, folks... I'm really enjoying my first turntable, a Miracord 50h. I picked it up off CL, and re-greased and packed the bearings according to the excellent guide here on AK.

I bought a new M97xE cartridge from Amazon, and I've set it up based on the original Elac manual using a Shure SFG-2 stylus gauge.

Here's where things get weird- I have some $1 records from my local thrift store, and some new vinyl I've purchased on Amazon. All the older vinyl plays just fine and sounds great. All the new vinyl skips horribly. I don't know if this is important, but it skips back a groove- it'll repeat a phrase over and over again, even with the anti-skate turned all the way off.

Not a hiccup on a 50 year old record, but I can't get through a single song on a new record.

Are the grooves on the older records worn deeper? What would be causing the tonearm to skip like this with a new cartridge and stylus?

The tonearm on the 50h has limited adjustment- no height or length. I've used shims to get the tonearm to roughly parallel to the record's surface.

Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

Twanx
01-08-2013, 05:42 PM
I had a cheapie 1960's classroom record player that did the same exact thing, i thought it had to do with the lightness of the arm but I didn't keep it around to troubleshoot

orthophonic
01-08-2013, 06:01 PM
What did you set the tracking force at?

djflowe
01-08-2013, 06:16 PM
After more research (listening to records) it's not as clear that it's just the new records that skip and old ones that don't. Just some records skip and some don't.

I've adjusted the overhang using the factory measurement point, and the platter is as level as I can get it. The skipping doesn't SEEM to correspond to any footfalls, bass, etc.

Is there something totally obvious I should be seeing?

djflowe
01-08-2013, 06:17 PM
What did you set the tracking force at?

The tracking force that Shure recommends is 1.75g, with the brush down.

Should I up it?

djflowe
01-08-2013, 06:18 PM
I had a cheapie 1960's classroom record player that did the same exact thing, i thought it had to do with the lightness of the arm but I didn't keep it around to troubleshoot

Everything I read about the Miracords says they're very solid and reliable. I feel like I'm making a very silly mistake somewhere in here.

SuperVehicle
01-08-2013, 06:24 PM
Hi, folks... I'm really enjoying my first turntable, a Miracord 50h. I picked it up off CL, and re-greased and packed the bearings according to the excellent guide here on AK.

I bought a new M97xE cartridge from Amazon, and I've set it up based on the original Elac manual using a Shure SFG-2 stylus gauge.

Here's where things get weird- I have some $1 records from my local thrift store, and some new vinyl I've purchased on Amazon. All the older vinyl plays just fine and sounds great. All the new vinyl skips horribly. I don't know if this is important, but it skips back a groove- it'll repeat a phrase over and over again, even with the anti-skate turned all the way off.

Not a hiccup on a 50 year old record, but I can't get through a single song on a new record.

Are the grooves on the older records worn deeper? What would be causing the tonearm to skip like this with a new cartridge and stylus?

The tonearm on the 50h has limited adjustment- no height or length. I've used shims to get the tonearm to roughly parallel to the record's surface.

Any ideas what I'm doing wrong?

Can you give me a link on how to re-grease and maintain the ELAC 50H? I'm pretty new and I can't a how-to thread. Thanks.

djflowe
01-08-2013, 06:33 PM
Can you give me a link on how to re-grease and maintain the ELAC 50H? I'm pretty new and I can't a how-to thread. Thanks.

Here's the link to larryderouin's excellent tutorial. I went slow, took pictures and it only took me an afternoon to clean and grease all the pivot points, adjust a few things and clean/repack the spindle bearings.

Plus it was kind of fun.

http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showpost.php?p=3100990&postcount=28

djflowe
01-08-2013, 06:39 PM
Can you give me a link on how to re-grease and maintain the ELAC 50H? I'm pretty new and I can't a how-to thread. Thanks.

Also- VinylEngine has a users manual and a service manual for the 50h. The service manual is only in German, but you can figure it out if you want it badly enough.

Twanx
01-08-2013, 08:03 PM
Everything I read about the Miracords says they're very solid and reliable. I feel like I'm making a very silly mistake somewhere in here.

I wasn't implying the two tables are comparable quality by any means haha

djflowe
01-08-2013, 08:07 PM
Looks like I did in fact miss something...

The tonearm was tracking smoothly- but I now realize it was stiff. I must have missed some points on the tonearm when I was lubricating the TT.

I put a bunch of white lithium into all the places I could reach on the tonearm pivot, and it's performing MUCH better already. There's still some stiffness and a few skips (so far), but dramatically improved. Strangely, the static and crackle is much improved as well.

I'll let the lubricant sit overnight and maybe hit it again tomorrow. Hopefully this will do it...

Gravelyguy
01-08-2013, 08:16 PM
Good job Djflowe!

I am sure you will figure it all out. The 50h is a very nice tt. I enjoy mine quite a lot.

Dave

gridleakrick
01-08-2013, 10:44 PM
djflowe,
Grease is typically used on sliding parts and oil is used on rotating parts, in a mechanism such as a turntable. Did you use grease where you should have used oil?
Rick

Sam Cogley
01-09-2013, 12:09 AM
If that white lithium contains petroleum distillates (like many of them do), it's not good to get it on any plastic bits.

sregor
01-09-2013, 07:35 AM
:lurk: There is a clutch mechanism in the automechanism that may not be adjusted right. It's been too long, but I think it is one of the adjustments larry mentioned in step 8 of his 10H thread http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showpost.php?p=3100990&postcount=28. If these aren't adjusted right, the arm won't move smoothly. Good luck.

KentTeffeteller
01-09-2013, 08:04 AM
Try the clutch mechanism adjustment first. If not then the M 97xE is too high compliance for the 50h tonearm. I think you need something less compliant closer to medium compliance for that tonearm.

djflowe
01-09-2013, 08:19 AM
djflowe,
Grease is typically used on sliding parts and oil is used on rotating parts, in a mechanism such as a turntable. Did you use grease where you should have used oil?
Rick

Crud.

Yes, I used lithium grease liberally on the tonearm mechanism. There don't seem to be any plastic bits in there, but I may be missing something. That would explain why it got better right at first and then has slowly gotten worse again.

Question for the you guys- Can I disassemble the tonearm mechanism? I have a vision of the time I took apart an alarm clock when I was 8 and sent springs and tiny bits all over the room. The anti-skate mechanism seems pretty complex, and the German service manual I have doesn't seem to address removing or disassembling the tonearm at all.

I'd like to get it completely apart, clean off all the lithium grease and oil it appropriately. Can I do that?

I'll also take a look at the clutch mechanism tonight and see if I can relax that.

djflowe
01-09-2013, 08:21 AM
:lurk: There is a clutch mechanism in the automechanism that may not be adjusted right. It's been too long, but I think it is one of the adjustments larry mentioned in step 8 of his 10H thread http://www.audiokarma.org/forums/showpost.php?p=3100990&postcount=28. If these aren't adjusted right, the arm won't move smoothly. Good luck.

Could you guys give me more info on the clutch adjustment?

The adjustment he's describing in step 8 is for the tonearm lift height, which I've set to the service manual specs (40mm). I don't see another obvious adjustment point, but that would make perfect sense.

orthophonic
01-09-2013, 09:44 AM
I have a 97xe in one of my Miracords and it works perfectly, it is not a mismatch.

djflowe
01-09-2013, 11:02 AM
I have some Mass Airflow Sensor cleaner that's supposed to degrease without harming plastic. If I can figure out how to disassemble the tonearm without ruining it, I'll pull it apart this weekend, clean and rebuild. I hope the clutch adjustment will be obvious when I'm in there.

I've heard from reading dual.de that tonearm disassembly is possible, but no idea on steps.

Sam Cogley
01-09-2013, 12:18 PM
You need to get the old, gunked-up lubrication out before putting new lubrication in will do any good. Having looked at the underside of my 45, I don't think it will be that hard if you're careful.

djflowe
01-09-2013, 12:26 PM
I'll give it a shot, probably this weekend. I'm supposed to be moving on Friday, so I'll be focused on packing for a couple of days.

I started trying to take it apart last night and got scared. I couldn't tell if everything was so gunked together it wouldn't slip apart easily, or if I was fighting a spring assembly I couldn't see.

sregor
01-09-2013, 08:57 PM
Could you guys give me more info on the clutch adjustment?

The adjustment he's describing in step 8 is for the tonearm lift height, which I've set to the service manual specs (40mm). I don't see another obvious adjustment point, but that would make perfect sense.

I don't have one to look at, but I believe it is actually the 1 mm adjustment in figure 10 in the German vinylengine service manual (after the 40 mm adjustment).

djflowe
01-14-2013, 12:58 PM
I don't have one to look at, but I believe it is actually the 1 mm adjustment in figure 10 in the German vinylengine service manual (after the 40 mm adjustment).

Thanks, Steve. One of the guys on dualboard.de just confirmed your fix. We moved over the weekend, but if I can get some quiet time with tools and the TT, I'll see if that does the trick.

Liberal application of spray cleaner and lubricant without any disassembly did not improve matters.

gridleakrick
01-15-2013, 12:13 AM
On the old Miracord, Garrard, Dual, BIC, etc. turntables the original grease will now be the consistency of bubble gum. The only sure cure is dis-assembly, cleaning off all the old grease and relubing with a modern grease. I use SuperLube Synthetic Grease with PTFE (Teflon). It will never dry out or gum up.
I use isopropyl alcohol and a scraper made from a popsicle stick sharpened to a chisel shape to get off the old hardened grease.
Sometimes, you can get your turntable working by squirting some solvent into the parts and joints but all you are doing is partially dissolving the old grease and loosening it up a bit. When the solvent eventually evaporates, everything will get gummed up again. Do it right the first time and you will never have to do it again.
Rick

djflowe
01-15-2013, 09:24 AM
On the old Miracord, Garrard, Dual, BIC, etc. turntables the original grease will now be the consistency of bubble gum. The only sure cure is dis-assembly, cleaning off all the old grease and relubing with a modern grease. I use SuperLube Synthetic Grease with PTFE (Teflon). It will never dry out or gum up.
I use isopropyl alcohol and a scraper made from a popsicle stick sharpened to a chisel shape to get off the old hardened grease.
Sometimes, you can get your turntable working by squirting some solvent into the parts and joints but all you are doing is partially dissolving the old grease and loosening it up a bit. When the solvent eventually evaporates, everything will get gummed up again. Do it right the first time and you will never have to do it again.
Rick

Thank you, Rick. I looked last night and the spring pin/clutch assembly is too tight- it's dragging on the bottom of the tonearm. But there's also tons of crud in there, so as soon as I have the time I'll disassemble, clean and attempt to adjust. I'm definitely nervous about taking something apart I can't get back together, but I have to learn somehow.

gridleakrick
01-15-2013, 08:12 PM
I'm definitely nervous about taking something apart I can't get back together, but I have to learn somehow.

1. Get several large plastic trays with many compartments (from Walmart, Target, The Container Store, etc.) like a big cafeteria food tray.
2. Take LOTS of pictures FROM VARIOUS ANGLES (so, for instance, you'll know that the flange on that lever points up-not down, etc.) with your digital camera. If you don't have a digital camera, borrow one. If not, then make lots of sketches. As you dis-assemble a sub-assembly, TAKE A PICTURE OF EACH STEP (take off a nut then take a picture; take off the lever under the nut then take another picture; etc.
3. As you dis-assemble things, put all the parts, screws, washers, etc. from each sub-assembly together in the same tray compartment-in the order in which they were removed. That way you won't mix them up.
It's a very satisfying feeling to be able to say "I successfully fixed my turntable."
Rick

JonL
01-15-2013, 08:53 PM
And don't knock the tray onto the floor. Ask me how I know.

Eric n Kc
01-15-2013, 09:04 PM
Just a shot in the dark, but have you tryed stacking two records on top of each other and seeing what happens? Eric

djflowe
01-22-2013, 09:00 AM
Thanks to everyone for all the ideas, suggestions and guidance. I put a lot of work into the TT this weekend, and I've resolved some issues and found others.

1. RESOLVED- Gunked up tonearm bearings. You guys were right, there was all kinds of old hardened grease in the bearings, and the pivot was moving slowly. I wasn't able to completely disassemble the tonearm, but I got it far enough to clean out the two sets of bearings. Much better, smoother motion.

2. RESOLVED- Clutch dragging on bottom of tonearm. I had to rig a plastic washer in place to correct it, but the spring pin was dragging through the whole range of motion. This really frees up the motion.

3. NOT resolved (and possibly created)- Automatic mechanism dragging. The Elac has a big wheel driven by an idler gear that pushes/pulls/trips the various parts of the automatic mechanism. The tonearm has two metal arms extending in a "vee" at the ends of its range of motion that trip the auto-return process.
I horsed some things around in there and I think I bent the tab of the autoreturn lever. It's back in (what I think) is the appropriate place, but I can hear and feel the metal arms that come from the bottom of the tonearm pivot scraping and catching across the bottom of the big wheel. Plus, the autoreturn is all out of whack now. It kicks the tonearm back about halfway through the last song on the side, and puts it down about 5-10 degrees past the tonearm rest.

Crap.

Can I get in there and just start bending/tweaking things?

fondofmusic
01-12-2014, 07:22 PM
The tracking force that Shure recommends is 1.75g, with the brush down.

Should I up it?

I am having the same trouble.. I have a Grado 78 cartridge and its suggested tracking is more in the 4 to 5 grams. That setting sounds way low for a 78 record?

DKirk
01-15-2014, 10:57 AM
1. Get several large plastic trays with many compartments (from Walmart, Target, The Container Store, etc.) like a big cafeteria food tray.
2. Take LOTS of pictures FROM VARIOUS ANGLES (so, for instance, you'll know that the flange on that lever points up-not down, etc.) with your digital camera. If you don't have a digital camera, borrow one. If not, then make lots of sketches. As you dis-assemble a sub-assembly, TAKE A PICTURE OF EACH STEP (take off a nut then take a picture; take off the lever under the nut then take another picture; etc.
3. As you dis-assemble things, put all the parts, screws, washers, etc. from each sub-assembly together in the same tray compartment-in the order in which they were removed. That way you won't mix them up.
It's a very satisfying feeling to be able to say "I successfully fixed my turntable."
Rick

That's good advice, but it probably doesn't apply to an ELAC. Very little disassembly is required to get to the parts that require lubrication/adjustment.