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Old 29th July 2013, 01:04 AM   #1
rongon is offline rongon  United States
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Default Pioneer PL-400 help request. (record size switch problem)

Is there someone here who is familiar with Pioneer PL-400 single-play auto turntable? I disassembled it, but now I can't get the record size switch to work again.

I have the service manual for it.

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It's the x service manual (additional) for Pioneer PL-400. You will need to be a vinylengine member to access that. Membership is free.

On page 12 (6.2), there are instructions for re-assembly, with illustrations of how to orient Spring A and Spring B.

Click the image to open in full size.

I thought I got them lined up correctly, but the turntable always gets stuck on the 25cm (10") setting, even with the switch set to 30cm (12"). Something isn't hooking up correctly. (I get into trouble with auto-changers. They're so fiddly, and I'm so un-mechanical.)

Here's a pic of how I have the springs oriented:

Click the image to open in full size.

The references to the "panel boss" and the "panel rib" confuse me. What's a "boss"?

I hope somebody can help me out of this jam. I really should have left well enough alone...

thanks in advance.

Last edited by rongon; 29th July 2013 at 01:24 AM.
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Old 29th July 2013, 02:40 AM   #2
rongon is offline rongon  United States
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In Step 9, where it says, "Rotate the motor clockwise while pressing down on the center of the arm base," does that mean clockwise when looking at it from the top, or looking at it from the bottom, which is how you're looking at the assembly when you're reading the service manual page 12?

These things always get me confused.

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Old 29th July 2013, 10:59 AM   #3
rongon is offline rongon  United States
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Default Never mind, I fixed it somehow.

I disregarded the printed instructions and studied the illustrations. Arranged the springs and levers where I thought they should be, re-assembled, spun it up, and it works again.

In other words, "there's a trick to it." The trick was to get everything so that it looks like Fig 6.3. Ignore Fig. 6.2, it's misleading.

"Lever D" has a grease-covered pin sticking up. That pin needs to be lined up so that it sticks up through the middle of Spring A, as in Fig. 6.3.

"Level A" (that should be "Lever A") has to be caught by the "Slider," with "Spring B" in there, again as in Fig 6.3.

Put the size selector switch at 25cm.

Replace the bottom plate to the top plate (carefully; don't let the springs go out of position).

Set the tonearm on its rest and clamp it into place.

Screw the feet back into the base (the feet hold the lower metal plate to the top plastic resin plate).

Undo the tonearm rest clamp.

Set the record size selector to 25cm (10").

I did not do the rotate-the-motor step (Step 9). I just made sure the platter was in "loose" mode (the machine had been cycled off), connected the AC plug to wall outlet, pressed START.

You'll know it's right if the mechanism makes gently clunking noises as the mechanism works. It should set the needle down on the 10" spot. You can then switch the record size selector to 30cm (12") and it should work properly.

If the mechanism makes loud clunking noises while it's working, then the springs and levers didn't catch correctly, and it will only work in the 25cm position. You'll have to open the deck back up and try again.

I won't be opening this thing up again unless I really have to.

A young guy on YouTube stripped out the auto mechanism from his Goodwill-bought PL-400 and made it into a manual turntable. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYg1J2vbX24 (I think that's pretty clever!)

Just FYI: If you happen to find one of these for like $25, it's worth it. I would not recommend paying more. The best part of this one is the tonearm, it's quite decent. The base and direct-drive mechanism are cheap. If you tap on the base while a record's playing, you'll hear a pronounced 'boom.' The feet are not height-adjustable for leveling the base. The PL-400 I have locks onto speed very quickly, and stays there. It came with a rebranded Shure cartridge that works. Once adjusted properly, it sounds surprisingly OK.


Last edited by rongon; 29th July 2013 at 11:25 AM.
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