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  #1  
Old 01-01-2013, 05:04 PM
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Columbia model 105 LP player

Bought this off eBay about ten years ago. I got it NOS, and actually have the box for it too. Have had some free time over holidays and for some reason decided to put some effort into it. So far have polished cabinet with wax, and degreased/lubed 3 speed mechanism. These were sold for about $15.00 in the early 1950s, in order to attract people to the then new LP format which Columbia was promoting.

The case is solid wood (not plywood), and fairly crude. The turntable/motor appears to be made by Webcor (a guess, if anyone knows for sure I'd like to know), and the arm and crystal cartridge are Astatic.

The crystal cartridge has no output, and the idler and turret both have large flat spots due to the lack of a neutral position in the drive mechanism. I'm going to get in touch with the voice of music to see if he can supply me with a new idler and turret. Then have to figure out a way to keep them round when the turntable isn't on.

I've always been very impressed with the quality of 1950s mono Columbia records, and for that reason would like to return this record player to working order.
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:07 PM
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Here's the cartridge and idler wheel
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  #3  
Old 01-01-2013, 07:42 PM
bob91343 bob91343 is offline
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If you are good with mechanical stuff perhaps you could grind the wheel down enough to make it round again. Or perhaps replace the rubber with an O ring. Being an idler, the diameter isn't critical.

The cartridge is a lost cause; you can either rebuild it or replace it. I guess you'd need to find a source of styli as well. You could protect a new idler by removing the platter when not in use; that should reduce the pressure somewhat.
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Old 01-01-2013, 08:31 PM
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The turret is the one I'm most worried about, since it's a rubber part whose dimensions are actually critical! I may be able to grind down the idler a little, but I don't own a lathe, so accuracy is going to be a big issue. Years ago I attempted to chuck a Collero idler in my drill press and use a file to resurface it - it was a miserable failure, the drill press had way too much runout to be suitable for that purpose. I'm curious to see what VM can come up with in terms of replacement parts.

I agree with your suggestion to remove the platter when not in use.. I was thinking either that, or install some sort of circuit to turn it on for ten seconds every hour. I could also tie back the turret so it doesn't get a nice imprint of the motor shaft in it like the old one has. I don't think these were built with the intention of lasting 5 years, let alone 60!

As for the cartridge, I've been thinking seriously about rebuilding it. There's plenty of info on the net, and I think it'd be an interesting project in itself - the only issue being that it will still lack vertical motion, making it dangerous for stereo LPs, so replacement with a more modern cartridge is another option I'm looking at.

Last edited by maxhifi; 01-01-2013 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:16 PM
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That looks like a General Industries motor/turntable to me. I believe if you put the lever on 33, then move the lever half way to 45, the idler will be in neutral and away from the motor pulley. It will still be against the platter rim but the motor shaft makes a worse dent.

If you want your records to last you'd want a better cartridge than that old crystal, rebuilt or not. It tracks at a ton compared to some that came along later and its compliance is low. You can't use a really light tracking one in that arm, but maybe one at 3-4 grams? If that's the original, Columbia didn't even allow for a flipover cartridge with an LP and 78 needles. There was some use of a compromise stylus back then halfway between the sizes required for LP and 78, but it didn't work well for either.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:34 PM
dieseljeep dieseljeep is offline
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That's an Alliance motor and turntable. The GI motors has a die cast bearing bracket, where the Alliance used the stamped aluminum and brass assembly.
IIRC, Columbia also had a streamlined 33 only player, made by Philco and sold under both names. It had a neat bakelite cabinet.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:37 PM
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Some of theose mechanisms had an unidentified neutral position in between the speeds or just past the 78 position. Others had no neutral position and they probably figured that the unit would see regular use for the few years that it would be in service and then it would discarded.

I'd replace the cartridge with something like a Pfanstiehl P228. This is a stereo ceramic cartridge that has a flip-style needle for both LP and 78 rpm records. You may have to play with the tonearm counterbalance spring to get the tracking force right; but, I think a newer cartridge would be a much better option.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:57 PM
bob91343 bob91343 is offline
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From the picture of the cartridge it appears that a stylus will go in from either side, so that might mean it was a flipover type. Not sure, really.

The compromise 2 mil styli tended to tear up the records. It played either groove size equally badly but I think was most destructive with LPs.

Yes the spindle diameter is somewhat critical, although most of those players ran the records a bit faster than 78. So shaving down the spindle might be a solution. It does, as you found out, take precision tools and a steady hand to do the job. Chucking the spindle in a drill motor and bringing some emery or sandpaper gently against it might work but that old rubber tends to flake off.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:14 PM
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I'm glad for all the activity this little player has generated! Lots of knowledge on this forum, it never dissapoints! The Columbia has been sitting under the stairs for years waiting for its chance on the bench.

1. I think it is an Alliance motor, after reading the above comments, I did a google search for Alliance phono motor, and came up with photos of motors identical to mine. Nice to have that bit cleared up!

2. None of the Alliance idler wheels or turrets appear to match what's on my player, however there's a Webcor idler/turret set which does. Most portable phonos have only an idler, not a turret - I think mine is an earlier 3 speed design than most. I received an answer from VM, and he's going to set me up with new rubber for the old Columbia.

3. Probably now is also a good time to change the motor mounts, so I don't get an obscene amount of motor noise transferring into the platter.

4. I'm never going to use this record player for my brand new Beatles box set, but 4g is certainly healthier than the 10g which the old crystal cartridge is rated for. VM can supply an EV stereo cartridge with a 0.7 mil conical diamond, which looks to be a good choice. One thing which does concern me, is that the new cartridge will have good bass response, and send too much rumble and motor noise on to the amplifier. I'm also not keen on using a 2 mil stylus on any LP I actually want to listen to, for obvious reasons. That said, I like how the old crystal cartridge looks, and have never actually had one which works.

5. Still need to figure out how to deal with the lack of a neutral position - maybe just keep it stored with the idler and turret removed? I am quite sure mine has no hidden neutral position, I've tried everything and the turret is always being pushed against the motor shaft with a spring.

Will keep forum posted on progress,

Best Regards

Max
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  #10  
Old 01-06-2013, 07:26 AM
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The Philco made single speed 33 1/3 only attachment was Philco made as correctly posted earlier. That Philco attachment was the first 1948 LP player when Columbia launched the LP Record in 1948. You have the second or third model Columbia LP era attachment. It is beautiful. Yes, try the EV Stereo ceramic upgrade so it will be easier on record life. This Columbia is a very interesting early LP player and historically interesting. Those hash marks between speeds on the speed indicator are most likely neutral positions to protect the idler wheel. Try them.
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Old 01-06-2013, 01:01 PM
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As Kent noted, I'm pretty sure those bumps between 78 and 45 and 45 and 33 are the "neutral" points for between uses.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:15 PM
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Back in the city today and have some spare time to look at my old electrical stuff... You guys nailed it - the bumps do put the idler into a neutral position, just tried it - thank you, this solves half the problem. I don't expect this little record player to ever be a "daily driver" once restored, so I want to make sure the rubber isn't being ruined in storage/display like the old stuff was. The old idler and turret actually rejuvinated really well, they're just destroyed by not being kept in neutral.

The old turret is so indented from the motor shaft, that it makes a clunk-clunk-clunk sound when the turntable is running. Still have to figure out how take pressure off the turret when the player isn't running, but it should be fairly easy, all it needs is a tiny bit of pressure to take the turret carrier away from the motor shaft. I have a few simple ideas in mind and will post the result once the project is completed.

Last edited by maxhifi; 01-06-2013 at 02:26 PM.
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Old 02-10-2013, 12:11 AM
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cbenham cbenham is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by maxhifi View Post
Back in the city today and have some spare time to look at my old electrical stuff... You guys nailed it - the bumps do put the idler into a neutral position, just tried it - thank you, this solves half the problem. I don't expect this little record player to ever be a "daily driver" once restored, so I want to make sure the rubber isn't being ruined in storage/display like the old stuff was. The old idler and turret actually rejuvinated really well, they're just destroyed by not being kept in neutral.

The old turret is so indented from the motor shaft, that it makes a clunk-clunk-clunk sound when the turntable is running. Still have to figure out how take pressure off the turret when the player isn't running, but it should be fairly easy, all it needs is a tiny bit of pressure to take the turret carrier away from the motor shaft. I have a few simple ideas in mind and will post the result once the project is completed.
Try West-Techservices http://www.west-techservices.com/
to get the idler and the turret rebuilt. They do great work.They also rebuild crystal phono cartridges if you want to keep everything original.
Cliff
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  #14  
Old 04-23-2016, 10:37 AM
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maxhifi maxhifi is offline
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I finally got to this, ordered a new turret and cartridge from the VM website. I used a CZ-800 cartridge. i I had to remove the reaistor and capacitor to get the cartridge to sound good and it definitely needs motor mounts but connected to a similar age Philips radio with an 8" speaker sounds good!
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Old 12-16-2018, 07:58 PM
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KentTeffeteller KentTeffeteller is offline
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Nice hearing this. The CZ-800 cartridge is a big improvement, and upgrade. Glad to see it play again.
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