Timaudio TT Motor Pod

kevinkr

Administrator
Paid Member
I purchased one of these on eBay recently largely on faith because there is so little information on these turntable motor pods. eBay's feedback mechanism of course reveals nothing about the longer term experience buyers have with this product.

I was able to find a couple of references to this motor in threads on some obscure audio forums that implied that the unit was OK.

I paid $99 for one without the optional rubber belt because the consensus online is that the offered belt is worthless and at $10 you can probably do better locally. (McMaster-Carr has an extensive selection of suitable belts)

I built a diy table for an upcoming audio fest I am hosting mostly because I thought it would be fun, other ways of powering it proved unsatisfactory so I purchased one of these pods a few weeks ago on eBay.

My initial impression is that it is a lot bigger than I thought it would be from the pictures, and perhaps did not interpret the published dimensions correctly. No matter as the TT was a work in progress and could be modified to accommodate the height.

The claim was made that this unit is extremely quiet and vibration free. Vibration is relatively attenuated, but noise is significantly higher than I expected. I can clearly hear the motor running from several feet away. (Obviously no music playing, and a very quiet room.)

The pulley is stepped, and the claim made (not by the seller) on some forums is that the two steps are for 33 and 45rpm - this in fact does not appear to be the case - with a 12" platter the smaller of the two steps does not permit the TT to run at even close to 33rpm, the larger step places 33rpm somewhere in the middle of the range, but I don't believe that it will run at 45rpm.

The design is very clunky and the 3 wire power cord uses a long piece of heat-shrink tubing for strain relief instead of a proper strain relief or cable clamp. The pot that controls the speed is loose (Nut and washer not tight) and I will have to open up the housing to hold the pot whilst I tighten the nut. The speed control knob which is multiple turn (probably 20 - 25 turns, I have not counted) looks like an afterthought. The pot itself feels pretty nice, and a better knob would increase the illusion of quality.

The machining of the housing appears to be pretty good, and the brass (?) pulley runs true, no observable run-out or eccentricity.

Torque seems adequate. The motor does not appear to be a low cogging type as I turn the pulley by hand. Extensive belt tension seems to cause a substantial increase in motor noise, tensioning for low noise and a reasonable start up time due to excessive slippage is important. I am not sure how long the motor bearings will last with a significant side thrust load on them.

I do not know whether this is a brushless motor and whether or not it utilizes some sort of servo control. Speed seems stable during operation, no idea about motor induced flutter..

Fishing line works well for driving the platter, but small circumference rubber belts (1/16" dia) should work well, should not be much bigger than this to fit the pulley correctly.

If you have one of these motors please feel free to post your comments to this thread, this motor sells in significant quantities on eBay and this might help people to decide whether or not the risk is worthwhile.

The competition is roughly 3X as expensive and whilst better looking may in fact not perform significantly better than this unit.

I will photograph the unit when I open it up and post what I find here.

I have attached a couple of early pix of the TT I am using this to power which clearly show the unit in question and how I am using it..
 

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simoon

Member
2010-02-15 9:05 pm
I am currently using one of these with quite good results, actually.

I had an old SystemDek IIX table with a bad motor. Instead of buying a replacement motor from Premotek, I decided to take a chance on one of these. They are about the same price.

With some effort, I positioned the motor at the correct height to align with the platter (an upgraded Isokinetik acrylic).

The results are quite outstanding. Isolating the motor form the chassis made a big difference.

I don't notice any noise coming from the motor. Mine is silent and the speed is accurate.
 

kevinkr

Administrator
Paid Member
Mine seems to have quieted down quite a bit since I got rid of the "Red Ed" mystery cartridge, a no brainer really since the left channel coils shorted out. I surmise the drag imposed by that cartridge might have had something to do with it. The AT-120E/T which replaced it seems like a decent cartridge even not broken in..

Haven't used it much, I have an SME 20, and also a TD-124 I am restoring. The SME gets a lot of use..
 

limono

Member
2007-03-02 8:04 pm
So, is it worth the expense or not? I was contemplating one of those units as a chassis /pot donor for Maxon motor ,Mark Kelly controller. I don't see that even a friendly machininst would make a pot like that for less than a $100 and a bottle of something.I do have an urge to finish the 6 years old Teres/galibier project but I need another table like a hole in my head while I'm too lazy even to clean records with VPI RCM ;)
 

kevinkr

Administrator
Paid Member
So, is it worth the expense or not? I was contemplating one of those units as a chassis /pot donor for Maxon motor ,Mark Kelly controller. I don't see that even a friendly machininst would make a pot like that for less than a $100 and a bottle of something.I do have an urge to finish the 6 years old Teres/galibier project but I need another table like a hole in my head while I'm too lazy even to clean records with VPI RCM ;)

I know that feeling.. :D (RCM)

On the Timaudio thing, seriously how can you go wrong for $99 if the thing sort of even works - which it certainly does.. Actually fairly well so far. I don't have a many hours on it, but so far other than some sloppy assembly as noted above I think it is actually ok.. Worth the risk certainly. I paid more for a Premotec I'm never going to use.. Why not use it as is - it seems stable enough speed wise IMHO.. Of course bear in mind I have both an SME 20 and a TD-124 (eventually) for serious listening chores..

I'd say give it a whirl, the shipping was quick and uneventful..
 
I bought one and used it for a while. speed was somewhat stable, it was a definate upgrade to the well worn thorens motor i was using on my DIY TT. It was the first time I used a DC motor and found the sound seemed more dynamic. although this could just be because of the old motor. I agree do not waste your money on the belt. its just a big o-ring. My only complaint is that when I turned on my TT i would always have to check and adjust the speed. It was fine for my but my wife enjoys music as well and considered it too much of a pain and wanted me to buy a CD player! I worked out a better motor and contoller thats pain free instead.
 
I noted in some recent experiments that speed was slightly slow even maxed out. (It always was, but no one noticed but me) This I ascertained with a simple strobe disk I downloaded from Vinyl Engine.. Tore unit apart and it is definitely looks like a cheap POS, but it works - and better than it should.. :p Speed is pretty stable over long periods of time (hours anyway) and there is sufficient torque to get a 12" platter up to speed in a few seconds even allowing for my slipping fishing line drive belt.

The motor is a DC affair with some simplistic internal servo. There is an external 450 ohm 10 T pot to adjust speed. There are two 100 ohm resistors soldered in series with the pot to restrict maximum speed - as I needed a higher top speed since I use a 12" platter I removed one of the two, and have confirmed that it now runs fast enough to attain the proper speeds at both 33 1/3 and 45 rpm. (by changing pulley step)

I would recommend changing the other resistor to 47 ohms were I to do this again, but since it does run slightly faster than the target speed it is good enough for this application.

Stupidly I did not really investigate much further.. There is a label on the motor which I only noticed in the photograph, and I did not measure the supply voltage either.

The supply is mounted in the bottom of the housing, and is covered by fish paper.. I believe this is nothing more than a line operated switcher, and there is a ground wire prominently visible bolted to the case. (Which given the general level of assembly quality is a good thing - use at your own risk!)

I would say most of the value in this unit is probably in the housing and pulley. I doubt the motor was very expensive, and the PSU is probably some OTS thing you can pick up for a few $..

No idea how durable this motor pod will turn out to be, it is certainly unsophisticated, but as I indicated works quite well. I use it casually though and it will get infrequent use so I expect it will last a while.
 

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manitunc

Member
2009-10-18 9:44 pm
timaudio motor

I have two of these, one with the plexiglas frame around it and one bare. I cant get 45rpm out of either, and have to use the larger pulley just to get close to 33 rpm. The "speed adjuster" seems to just turn and turn without much effect. I am using two of them on one platter, but really dont know if they are both running at exactly the same speed.

My motors are quiet, however. Sometimes I have had a motor stall when the tension was too great on the o-ring belt they provide. Started up when tension loosened.

I guess its ok for what you pay, and actually looks pretty good in the aluminum case, but I wish there was a way to better control speed.
I see where they are offering a $400 unit now with an outboard controller. Anyone use one of these?
 
I noted looking on eBay that they have improved the $99 model at least externally. The unit now has an IEC power connector instead of the wonky captive cord set, and the nut for the speed control knob is now recessed. Perhaps the improvement in exterior design also reflects some internal improvements in assembly quality, although I expect the motor and PSU are still the same.

Anyone using one of these units whether newer or older should check speed with a stroboscope, noting that with a 12" platter removal of one of the series resistors and reduction of the value of the other in the speed control circuit may be necessary to get it to run fast enough to achieve 33 rpm and 45 rpm on the respective pulley step. (To play it safe I would make the minimum resistance something like 22 - 47 ohms.)

I've used this unit once or twice since I last posted and have had no problems with the unit. I don't expect the motor is very durable, but since I don't use it much this should not be an issue for me.
 
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Kevinkr,
Thank you very much for sharing your experiences / expenses with us. Well maybe not so much the expenses............. but your views are very much appreciated by at least me.
Thanks for the review, I've seen it several times on the "Net" and almost picked one up myself. If the DIY floppy doesn't work out.......maybe I will.

Ron
 

manitunc

Member
2009-10-18 9:44 pm
I just used my TimAudio motor attached to a VPI TNT super platter, the lead/delrin one that weights over 20 lbs, and the speed using the smaller pulley point was steady around 33.33 rpm overnight. I measured the speed with a strobe tachometer. I was actually surprised to see that first, it could turn the platter and second, that once the speed was adjusted, it stayed pretty true for a long time. Speed ranged from 33.32 to 33.4 which is only a .2% variance. Checked the speed variation over about a 10 minute time frame after being left on overnight.
not bad for $99.
I did find that there has to be minimal tension on the belt for this performance. If the belt tension is too tight, there is motor noise, a slow down in speed and more fluctuation. In fact, if it is too tight, the platter wont start turning at all without a push.
The DIY table is getting closer to completion
 
I just used my TimAudio motor attached to a VPI TNT super platter, the lead/delrin one that weights over 20 lbs, and the speed using the smaller pulley point was steady around 33.33 rpm overnight. I measured the speed with a strobe tachometer. I was actually surprised to see that first, it could turn the platter and second, that once the speed was adjusted, it stayed pretty true for a long time. Speed ranged from 33.32 to 33.4 which is only a .2% variance. Checked the speed variation over about a 10 minute time frame after being left on overnight.
not bad for $99.
I did find that there has to be minimal tension on the belt for this performance. If the belt tension is too tight, there is motor noise, a slow down in speed and more fluctuation. In fact, if it is too tight, the platter wont start turning at all without a push.
The DIY table is getting closer to completion

Mine too seems to perform reasonably well in terms of speed stability. I use fishing line with the minimum tension required to do the job - keeps things quiet. The platter, sub-platter, and main bearing are from a TD-125 MKI and the platter weighs about 7lbs.

I'd probably not run one of these for 24 hours continuously for any reason other than playing records, I'm not really sure, but at this price I doubt that this is anything but a dc brush motor with a very basic emf sensing servo arrangement. I doubt the useful service life of this motor is going to be more than a thousand hours or so..
 

arcorob

Member
2012-06-04 5:45 pm
Hello

I am contemplating one of these (the AC version, stepless) but I can;t seem to find out the RPM's on this. I would like to use it as a belt drive under the platter, not around..and withought knowing the RPMS...well...you get it...

Thanks to all in advance...R:D
 
I have one of those (AC) and it drives the whole platter (diameter)
at an appropriate speed. I don't have a worthy strobe system
to see just how fast or slow it might be, but it sounds
correct. It requires that you start the platter rotating
to get it going, but seems to work fine. Shortly, I'll be
putting it to real use, as up to now I've just checked it
out to make sure it worked.

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