Has your record player stopped spinning?
Don’t worry, you probably won’t need to buy a new one.
There are many possible causes for a turntable that won’t spin, and most are fairly easy to diagnose and fix.
Often, it is simply a case of not knowing how to play a record player correctly.
I’ll help you figure out exactly what is causing the issue on your record player and then help you rectify it.
For most problems, you don’t need any special skills to take care of the issue on your own. And the most you’ll need in terms of tools is a screwdriver, though you probably won’t even need that.
Let’s begin by checking the most common causes when a turntable stops turning.
Why Do Record Players Stop Spinning?
Record players stop spinning due to a number of reasons. In order to accurately diagnose the issue, it always helps to have an understanding of how a record player works. That is true whether you have a record player with a direct drive turntable or one with a belt drive turntable,
For that reason, I’ve covered some of the basics of the working mechanism of record players to help you diagnose and solve your particular problem more easily.
Arm Is Not Reset
If your record player suddenly stops working, it’s only natural to assume the worst, especially if something like this has never happened before.
While it’s easy to feel like something’s broken inside the record player and that your favorite device can no longer be salvaged, that’s rarely ever the case with a record player that no longer spins.
One possible problem could simply be that the arm has not been reset. If this is the issue, great! It’s very easy to fix.
Most manual record players have a tone arm that needs to be pushed back into the reset position for it to work properly. If it is not reset, the player will not spin.
If it looks like the tonearm may not be pushed back far enough, simply lift it and move it toward the right hand side. You should hear a clicking sound to indicate that it has been reset.
This is a surprisingly common problem that has left many users of record players wondering where they went wrong. Always make sure to always reset the arm before you start playing a new record, in order to avoid this issue.
Problems With The Belt
If the turntable is a belt drive model (read belt drive vs direct drive), it is possible that the belt has become loose or crumbled away. When the belt is not in its proper place, or is damaged, the platter stops spinning.
For this reason, it is imperative to first understand where the problem lies. If the belt is just loose or out of place, you can fix this problem by repositioning or tightening the belt.
If, however, the belt has completely withered away, you will have to buy a new one, since it is not possible for a belt drive record player to function properly without one.
Problem With The Direct Drive
With direct drive record players, it can be difficult to locate the issue. Another potential cause for a platter that has stopped spinning could be problems with the internal mechanism of the direct drive motor.
When it comes to direct drive record players, there are numerous possible reasons why the record player might be malfunctioning. These include debris and dirt stuck in the motor components and shaft. A jammed platter or a faulty on and off switch can create problems too. There is also the probability that the power to the motor is cut off or (ideally, though you’ll feel like an idiot) the player simply isn’t plugged in.
While it generally isn’t too difficult to fix these problems by yourself, it can be difficult to figure out which parts need replacement, and then to find the appropriate replacement parts.
Regular maintenance is the best way to prevent such issues. Keeping the appliance clean and free from debris is a good precautionary measure. Regular upkeep and oiling also help elongate a record player’s life.
How To Fix A Record Player That Spins Too Slow
Sometimes the problem is not that your record player won’t spin at all, but that it is spinning too slowly. This obviously distorts the sound, so it’s something you want to fix.
The good news is that it is usually a simple fix. Your best bet is to begin with the easiest solutions and work your way up. And the easiest of all is a simple cleaning and routine maintenance.
Cleaning And Maintenance
Oftentimes, a platter not rotating at the correct speed is simply due to dirt holding it back or too much friction. That’s why your first step should be a thorough cleaning of the turntable along with some additional lubrication.
Once you’ve cleaned everything, add a few drops of oil on the motor shaft and on the area where the spindle enters the housing. Use twenty weight synthetic oil.
If cleaning and lubrication has not solved the problem, it is time to take a look at the belt.
Adjust Or Replace The Belt
The first thing you want to do is make sure the belt is not rubbing against some other part of the record player. If that is not the case, it could be that the belt has stretched out a bit.
It is not uncommon for the belt to stretch a few millimeters and that is enough to slow down the turntable. If this is the case, your best bet is to replace it, but you could also try shrinking it back down first.
The best way to achieve this is to boil the belt. Simply boil some water, then turn off the stove and put the belt in the hot water. Let is soak for 4-8 minutes, before removing it. It should have shrunk back to its original size.
If the belt is not stretched too much, you could also remedy the problem by putting some talc on the bets and the pulley. This increases the friction, reducing slipping, and also brings the belt in closer contact with the pulley.
If nothing else has fixed the speed issue, it is time to get serious. You’ll need to make some fine-tuning adjustments to the turntable motor.
To do this you’ll want to find the manual for your model. If you no longer have it, there is a good chance you can find it online. Manuals are often available on the manufacturers’ websites.
If you can’t get your hand on any type of instruction manual, you’ll need to locate the adjustment screws on your own. Two common locations are beneath the platter and on the underside of the record player itself.
Turning these screws clockwise speeds up the platter. Turning them counterclockwise slows it down. Make sure the unit is completely level before making any adjustments.
This process is one of trial and error. Make small adjustments and test. You can test by listening, but it would probably be more accurate to use a stroboscopic disc to check the rotation speed.
If you have the opposite problem and the record player spins too fast, read this article.
Tips To Keep Your Record Player Spinning
Record players stop spinning when there are issues with the motor or belt. Timely maintenance and cleanup keep the record player in good condition.
Take time to oil and dust the record players and regularly check the condition of the belt. Focus on keeping the on and off switches free from dust and make sure to cover the record player with a protective dust cover.
Additionally, if you feel that the sound quality, pitch, and speed are lacking, inspect the record player for signs of belt decay.
Like other appliances, a record player needs to be cared for. If you look after your record player, it will not stop spinning and will produce amazing sound for a long time. And if it does turn out you need to replace the belt, read on…
How To Check And Fix The Belt
You can fix a record player that won’t spin by inspecting the condition of the belt. Check if the belt is in the proper position. Also, check the condition of the belt and see whether it is corroding or needs a replacement.
Here are ways to ascertain if the record player needs a belt replacement. Before the belt stops working completely, it will show you some warning signs that indicate its time is nearly up. Most notably, the record player spins at the wrong speed and produces poor sound quality.
Here is how to fix a turntable that won’t spin, by replacing the belt.
To replace the belt and restart the spinning process, you first need to find a compatible belt. The instruction manual has all the details about the size, width, and thickness of the belt required for your model.
If you no longer have the manual, search for it online. Most manuals are available on the internet. If you can’t find yours, search for the company that makes your turntable and contact them to ask for a manual, or to ask directly what kind of belt you need.
After you have the belt, start the replacement process. Before you start, unplug the record player and remove the plastic covering protecting the platter.
Next, remove the platter from its position. To do so, unscrew the C shaped clip with any screwdriver that fits. Keep the clip safe for later use.
After the platter releases, flip it to its backside. You will notice a circular lid on the inner side of the platter. Gently straighten your belt and move it over the circular inner lid. Continue moving the belt slowly until it snaps in place. If the damaged belt is still in place, obviously, you need to remove it first.
Flip the platter over and place it on its original position. Pull the belt from the access points and pull it over the drive motor. Push the platter into its place and attach the C shaped clip. With this, the belt and player are ready to use.
Here is the whole process summarized:
- Switch power off to the turntable to prevent electric shocks
- Pull the plastic mat off and set it aside
- Remove the platter
- Place the platter upside down on a flat surface
- Stretch the belt over the center of the platter, making sure it fits properly
- Stretch the belt over the small peg near the platter’s edge
- Turn the platter over and place it on the turntable
- Turn the platter to expose the motor through access holes
- Hook the belt around the motor
- Spin the turntable in both directions to see if the belt works fine
- Check the belt to make sure it is installed properly
How Does A Record Player Work?
When you make a record player work, a stylus reads the grooves. A stylus is a cone-shaped needle that hangs from an elastic metal band. It is set at one end of the tonearm, which moves across from the side of the turntable while the stylus moves with the spiral groove.
As the stylus moves through the grooves, it picks up vibrations that travel with the metal band to a cartridge containing wires at the end of the arm. The vibrations are turned into electrical signals by a coil in the magnetic field. These signals are then transferred to the amplifier. The boosted signals are then converted into sound through the speakers.
Can You Fix A Warped Record? How?
Yes, warped records can be fixed using two glass sheets larger than your album but small enough to fit into your oven.
First, preheat the oven to 175° F/ 80° C . Take your warped record and clean it before placing it in the center of one of the glass panels. Place the other glass panel on top of it and then put them both in the heated oven.
Let the sandwiched record “bake” for a couple of minutes, before pulling it out and setting it out on a plain surface at room temperature. Place heavy books or other heavy objects over the sandwiched record. Once it has cooled down, remove the glass panels and the record should be back to its old, flat self.
Is It OK To Leave A Record On The Turntable For An Extended Time?
You should never leave a vinyl record on the turntable. Always put it back in its sleeve after use, and store it properly. Removing it from the platter after you are done listening to it keeps it protected against dust and dirt.
Just because your turntable has stopped spinning does not mean you need to buy a new record player. Run through the list of possible causes and check each one.
If you are unable to determine why it has stopped spinning, it is most likely an issue with the motor. You may need to get a new one, which you could swap out yourself, though I would suggest taking it to a professional.
Depending on how much your record player costs, at that point it may actually make more sense to buy a new one. But most of the time, the cause is much simpler and something you can easily fix yourself.