Magnavox Collaro S-600/W600 changer repair

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Magnavox Collaro S-600/W600 changer repair

Post by Wildcat445 on Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:29 pm

I have a 1961 Magnavox Symphony console stereo, model 1ST655. It was originally equipped with the first year version of the Collaro S-600, "Imperial Micromatic" four speed record changer. It has a Euphonics E-1 ceramic stereo cartridge. It has two needles, one for LP/45's and one for 78's. The original changer in my stereo was damaged beyond repair. It had a casting broken under the platter that held one end of the reject arm. I found a used changer on ARF several years ago. It was advertised as correct, complete and good, only needing TLC. When I got it, it was a W600 changer, commonly found in the later Astro-Sonic solid state instruments. It is basically the same as the S-600 with a 12 inch versus a correct 9 1/2 inch platter. It was neither correct, complete or good. It arrived missing its tone arm, motor and turret, drive tire, and, as I later found, several pieces from the changer mechanism. The thing had been a parts changer. It was worse than the one I already had.

I now had money in a junk changer, my original working but ruined changer. I had enough parts, though, to make one working changer. The challenge I faced was that I was not interested in record changer repair. I had never done it, didn't want to do it, and I bought another changer, reputedly good and working, to prevent my having to dig into one. I took the parts, mixed and matched them, and ended up with a somewhat satisfactorily working changer. I put this kluge into my Symphony mostly for looks and decided that I really did not need a working turntable. I had plenty of others I could use.

The passing years, my acquisition of other Magnavox instruments and my wife calling my Symphony a "Mediocre Magnavox" due to its broken changer got me to thinking about fixing the changer in the Symphony, pending my finding and restoring an original, correct, Imperial Micromatic changer. There are usually several Collaro changers on ebay, but now that I need one, nary a Collaro in sight.

This changer had myriad challenges. It stalls when the changer cycles. The speed is wonky, lots of wow and flutter. The needle is junk. It drops the record on top of the tone arm. It will find itself being a parts changer once I find the correct changer in any case. I pulled the changer back out of the cabinet, replaced the motor mounts, cleaned and oiled the motor, cleaned and lubed the mechanism and the center platter bearing. It kinda sorta works better, but is still nothing to brag about. Replacement of the drive tire eliminated the wonky speed. It plays records well now. The needle replacement was straightforward with the expected result. I replaced the cycling drive tire, and that stopped the stalling with the changer cycling. Dropping the record on top of the tone are has proven to be a more stubborn bad habit. I'm not sure I still have all the parts in the changer mechanism that belongs there. I have a manual, but it had just as well be written in Chinese as hard as it is to figure out. The exploded view of all the parts makes no sense, referring to the area where the tone arm lift rod goes. The Collaro Conquest in my Imperial is totally different, so it is no help as a model. It appears to me that the tone arm does not raise far enough. A Collaro changer should raise the tone arm to the edge of the record, swing back over the rest, drop the record, then put the needle at the appropriate spot on the edge of the record. This tone arm does not raise to the edge of the record, but slides in UNDER the record. It does not "see" a 12" record, so it "thinks" it is changing a 7" record, and drops the 12" record on top of the tone arm. It needs to raise up probably an inch higher than it does. I see the rod there, but I can't see a way to get that much adjustment on the raising of the tone arm. It plays records really well manually, so this piece of junk may serve as a manual turntable until I can find another correct one, or I can figure out where I messed up. Changers are not my strong suite. I managed to muddle my way thru the VM I worked on recently, thanks to Bill Cahill.
I just need to figure out what's wrong. I haven't given up yet.

WC

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Re: Magnavox Collaro S-600/W600 changer repair

Post by 75X11 on Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:15 pm

You have guts to work on those. I would be leery of operating a changer with a bent to damage it's own tonearm like that. I would imagine Bill would have some ideas on it.
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Re: Magnavox Collaro S-600/W600 changer repair

Post by Wildcat445 on Fri Jan 23, 2015 9:39 pm

The word "bent" may be the secret. You are using it as a noun, I am using it as a verb/adjective. Something may simply be bent. This thing is gorgeous on the topside, but is a mess on the business end. This changer differs from the VM I did by its operation of touching the edge of the record to gauge the diameter, then drop the record. Most turntables have an arm the record strikes as it falls to tell the tone arm where to drop. I can see how even a slight bend could throw that whole procedure off. This changer had been packed in a piece of burlap, wrapped in shipping tape and stuffed into a box too small to properly contain it. The UPS guy handed the changer to me with one hand, and the box with the other. The possibility that something is damaged is great. I don't see what that is, though. I bought this from an ARF member who was noted for somewhat less than successful business reputation. He kind of got "run out of town on a rail"' for selling "not as described" items to several ARF members. I'm not gonna suffer any great loss if this thing just plays records manually until I can find a GOOD correct replacement changer. This will make a worthwhile project pending something better.

WC

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Re: Magnavox Collaro S-600/W600 changer repair

Post by 75X11 on Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:36 pm

Are the ceramic cartridges holding up on these units given their advancing age? It seems that many devices using formed crystal transducers are beginning to go bad steadily over time.
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Re: Magnavox Collaro S-600/W600 changer repair

Post by Wildcat445 on Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:45 pm

Two of my Magnavoxes have Electro-Voice model 26 cartridges, one has a Euphonics E-1, one has a Euphonics U-1, one has a Astatic 127 (I think) and they are all still going just fine. A Pfanstiel 228 is the alleged replacement for these, and it reportedly works just fine in Magnavox instruments. Magnavox never provided a magnetic cartridge, as least not back this old. These old changers use a 1/2" mount cartridge with at least .5 volt output. The Collaro changers were rim drive with a four pole motor and rumble was not a consideration, even on the Concert Grand. It has been my experience that as long as the compliance of the cartridge is still acceptable, they seem to work fine after all these years.

WC

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Re: Magnavox Collaro S-600/W600 changer repair

Post by Wildcat445 on Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:14 am

I may have found the problem.  There is a spring, a two-loop spring with long legs and hooks on each end.  This spring tensions the lever that pushes up on the tone arm.  At rest, there should be tension on this lever.  The changer mechanism releases the tension on the spring and lets the tone arm come to rest.  That spring is missing.  I can't tell if the round mount the spring goes on is broken or not.  This thing will be a manual changer for the rest of its life.  I may have that spring on the changer at home, but that is more trouble than it is worth.  I am on the hunt for a good, correct changer for this stereo.

WC

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Re: Magnavox Collaro S-600/W600 changer repair

Post by 75X11 on Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:24 am

There has to be a online supplier of tiny springs and associated hardware, one would think.
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Re: Magnavox Collaro S-600/W600 changer repair

Post by Bill Cahill on Sun Jan 25, 2015 8:50 am

I think you're looking in the wrong place for your problem. Show us some pictures of this so I can help. Let me see that spring. If it's what I think it is leave it alone.
VM changers are unique in their size selection, and, actually are generally very good.

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Re: Magnavox Collaro S-600/W600 changer repair

Post by Wildcat445 on Sun Jan 25, 2015 6:44 pm

The one that is giving me grief is a Collaro, Bill. The VM is humming right along.

My solution to the problem I'm having with the Collaro is to find another, correct, complete, undamaged changer and go thru it. I already have new drive tire and changer tire, needle and whatnot to use on another table. I truly believe that the W600 I currently have was damaged in shipping, in addition to its being used as a parts changer. Your assistance may be required to get a better one working correctly. I appreciate your input.

WC

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Re: Magnavox Collaro S-600/W600 changer repair

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