Resurrecting a B&O Turntable

| by Ken | in Technology Add comments

My Bang & Olufsen turntable had been stowed away for years.  It always lived prominently on top of my A-V rack.  Of course, a turntable needs to go on top so the lid can open all the way.  When I got my first plasma TV, the TV was so wide, it chewed up space not only on the center rack but on both side racks too and that meant nothing else could go on top.  But I wasn’t listening to vinyl anyway, so the turntable was packed away.

But vinyl is hip now and I had now “archived” other components such that there was now room on a lower shelf for the turntable.  No, the lid can’t open all the way.  But it opens enough to get a vinyl record in safely.  I put the turntable there a year ago but didn’t plug it in.  I didn’t have time to futz with that stuff at the time.  Last year for Christmas I got a record (original “Boston” album on picture vinyl) and I put getting the turntable working again on the to-do list.  Now, nearly a year later, it finally got to the top of the to-do list.  Time to dust it off and plug it in.

The turntable is a Bang & Olufsen Beogram RX2 (model 5833).  It is the only component I spent money on partly because of the cool factor.  So it would be really nice if the thing still worked.  When I had packed it away, I used the styrofoam that came with it to protect the tonearm so I removed that.  Then I had this vague memory that I needed to remove the aluminum platter.  I did that and found three table turn clamps which I turned to release.  I gave it a spin and it sort of turned but not exactly as loose as I would have expected.  Ah-ha – I forgot the table height clamps – three more screws to turn and then pivot the rings.  Lastly, I installed the cartridge (MMC5) on the tonearm.  All set now!

I plugged it in and pushed the start button and it did indeed spin right up but then it spun right down.  Hmm.  Repeated attempts produced the same results.  And the tonearm was partly moved back but not all the way.  This old analog computer was getting hung up on something.  I checked the belt and it seemed fine.  (Which is really amazing, by the way, when you consider that this thing is at least 27 years old and I wouldn’t have thought a rubber belt would have lasted more than 10 years.)  So off to Google!

I found an archived post thread at beoworld.com where somebody had gone through the trouble to document what to do for the repair with detailed pictures.  Unfortunately, the detailed pictures didn’t survive the archiving but the text did and it was enough for me to go on.  The upshot is that there are two “open switches” – “open” in the sense that they are not covered or contained – and the contacts on the switches merely need to be cleaned.  And switches that aren’t connecting fits the symptom I saw where the analog computer was hung up on something.  The post author described fiddling with the mechanisms to get the switches to open and close and using acetone on a paint brush to clean the contacts.  Impressive.  Personally, I just blasted the two switches with contact cleaner.  And for good measure, I soaked one end of a scrap piece of inkjet cleaning blotter paper in contact paper and wedged that between the contacts and moved it around.  After a few minutes to make sure the cleaner had dried, I plugged it in and give it a try and the turntable did not shut off like it had before!

I reassembled the whole turntable and found an old record I didn’t much care for to test it out.  Perfect!  Then I switched to Boston’s Boston and gave that a try.  Beautiful.  So excited.  Thank you “chrx”, Beoworld, and the Internet in general!!

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