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markm1111

Linear tracker won't track

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I have a Technics SL-QL1 linear tracker turntable that I'm trying to get operating. I have had it serviced by Chris Kimmel in Sydney, who replaced the usual bands, cleaned and greased everything, as per the normal recommendations for servicing these things. Unfortunately at the time he didn't have a replacement stylus and neither did I. The stylus already on the machine was unusable, so it couldn't be tested for actual playing.

 

Some months later (life just gets busy....) I finally received my new stylus from LP Gear. On it goes, and I try to play the first record. No luck, the needle won't track. I tried adjusting the stylus pressure up, again no luck. The tonearm moves back and forth across the record when manually changing tracks, but once the tonearm is dropped by the cueing button it does not track across the record in the groove. It just keeps playing the same thing over and over. I have tried the lead in groove, and tracks right across several albums. All have the same result. 

 

I am hesitant to take it back to Chris as it is not an expensive TT, so I don't want to spend huge dollars trying to find and fix the problem. If I can pinpoint the problem in advance I can then hopefully know what cost I would be up for. So, does anyone have any ideas on what the problem might be?

 

Thanks in advance

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The first thing I would do is ask the tech if he specifically replaced the tracking belt/band? It may have been working fine for tracking across the record but not for play tracking.  It appears the play tracking is assisted by the servo motor, as the stylus moves out of alignment the servo motor makes micro adjustments to move it across the record.   

 

The video below shows the same type of mechanism in operation.  Maybe try taking the cover off and seeing if the servo is trying to adjust?  If not can you a position mechanism on the stylus, is it dirty or sticky?

 

Downloading a service manual might help to understand how this system works.

 

 

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14 minutes ago, Dwizzle said:

The first thing I would do is ask the tech if he specifically replaced the tracking belt/band? It may have been working fine for tracking across the record but not for play tracking.  It appears the play tracking is assisted by the servo motor, as the stylus moves out of alignment the servo motor makes micro adjustments to move it across the record.   

 

The video below shows the same type of mechanism in operation.  Maybe try taking the cover off and seeing if the servo is trying to adjust?  If not can you a position mechanism on the stylus, is it dirty or sticky?

 

Downloading a service manual might help to understand how this system works.

 

 

Thanks Dwizzle, that makes sense. I'll check with the tech what he did. I'll also try pulling the cover off, although that is a little difficult with the tionearm integrated into the lid. Will give it a crack. I have already been through the service manual and could't find anything that enlightened me, although that could be because I don't know exactly what i am looking for.....

 

Stylus is brand new, I can't see anything sticky on it. The sound is fine, just keeps skipping back to repeat the single part of the groove, so don't think it would be a stylus issue.

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30 minutes ago, markm1111 said:

If not can you see* a position mechanism on the stylus, is it dirty or sticky?

Sorry I should have said tone arm, not stylus. 

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22 minutes ago, Dwizzle said:

Sorry I should have said tone arm, not stylus. 

Ahh, that makes more sense. I did look for that in the manual, but couldn't find it. Will check again

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@markm1111, going by your description that the tonearm will move back and forth freely while changing tracks the first thing I'd check is the cueing mechanism.

If it is hindering the movement or not letting the tonearm go all the way down it will stick in a groove.

The next thing I'd check would be to take off the cartridge so it doesn't get damaged and then lower the tonearm arm and see if the tonearm is moving freely in the lowered or playing position and is working correctly.

 

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11 minutes ago, Martykt said:

@markm1111, going by your description that the tonearm will move back and forth freely while changing tracks the first thing I'd check is the cueing mechanism.

If it is hindering the movement or not letting the tonearm go all the way down it will stick in a groove.

The next thing I'd check would be to take off the cartridge so it doesn't get damaged and then lower the tonearm arm and see if the tonearm is moving freely in the lowered or playing position and is working correctly.

 

Thanks Marty, I'll try that too.

 

One thing I do need to check is the mat thickness. When I got it serviced the old mat was completely r**ted, so the tech replaced it. Not sure if he matched the thickness

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3 minutes ago, markm1111 said:

Thanks Marty, I'll try that too.

 

One thing I do need to check is the mat thickness. When I got it serviced the old mat was completely r**ted, so the tech replaced it. Not sure if he matched the thickness

If the new mat is too thin the cueing mechanism could be hindering the tonearm. :thumb:

An easy way to check this would be to place a second record underneath the one being played to raise the height.

Obviously it's best to use rubbishy records while trying to figure this stuff out. 

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OK, have tested this a bit more last night. When the tonearm has a slight pressure applied against it, it moves. I had the lid open but with the lid detector switch depressed, which tricked it into thinking it is playing. No issues at all, seems to work as intended, as does the cueing mechanism. All the regular service and belt replacement seems to have been done.

 

However, during my explorations, I took a closer look at the platter mat the tech had given me. Turns out, it is actually too big! It is a 295mm mat, when the platter seems to require either a 292mm (approximate measurement to the best of my ability) or 290mm. The lip is raised, so the mat has to sit within the platter slightly rather than just sitting on top. Not sure if it needs to be slightly under 292mm in order to fit.

 

I looked at some pictures of the mat and platter, and noticed the mat sitting inside this lip, but also protruding what looked about 3mm above it. This means my mat is too low. I can't just put a record underneath because it won't sit inside the platter. 

 

So, i need to find the exact measurements. Can't find anything online despite several hours of searching. Does anyone have a SL-QL1 with original mat that could measure it for me? I need diameter and thickness. Alternatively, or there any other Technics model mats or aftermarket ones with the same dimensions that will substitute?

 

Thanks in advance

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28 minutes ago, markm1111 said:

 Does anyone have a SL-QL1 with original mat that could measure it for me? 

It looks like these guys have one for sale in working order.

You never know they might be willing to help by measuring theirs, worth a call.

 

http://revolutionturntable.com.au/shop/specials/pre-owned/technics-sl-ql1-automatic-linear-tracker/

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SNA Journeyman:

 

I have an SL-QL1. The measurements of the turntable mat are 291+ mm in diameter (enough to fit down into the depression on the platter) and approx. 3mm in thickness. (I do not have a micrometer caliper on hand to do the exact measurement, but I did use a good quality steel ruler.)

 

Unfortunately, my own mat has hardened so I have been looking for an alternative. One promising possibility is a " Way Excellent II Turntable Mat" from Herbie's Audio Lab which I intend to purchase and try. The reason(s) for recommending it are that it can be ordered in different diameters and thicknesses (including 292 mm and 3 mm) and, it is not rubber but the reviews seem to be quite good. The URL is:

 https://herbiesaudiolab.com/collections/turntable-mats/products/way-excellent-ii-turntable-mat?variant=12672063537207

 

Stewart Cameron

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