How To Fix A Record Player That Won’t Spin

vinyl record

Home HiFi Music Systems stock a range of record players, music systems and turntables. So we thought our blog post on how to diagnose and fix a record player could be useful for our customers. You don’t need any special skills to take care of your record player, but you will need a screwdriver.

Why Is My Record Player Not Spinning?

Record players will stop spinning for a number of reasons and will vary on the model, for example, record players with direct drive turntables or with a belt drive turntable. Common reasons include:

The Arm Is Not Reset

One common problem can be that the arm has not been reset. This is a simple and easy to fix issue. Most manual record players have a tone arm which will need to be pushed back into the reset position for it to work properly. If it is not reset, the player will not spin. However, if the tonearm is not pushed back far enough, simply lift it and move it toward the right hand side. You’ll hear a clicking sound to indicate the tonearm has been reset. Always make sure you reset the tonearm before you start playing a new record to avoid this issue.

Problems With The Belt

If your turntable has a belt drive, it is possible that the belt may have become loose or crumbled away. When the belt is not in its proper place, or is damaged, the platter stops spinning. However, if the belt is just loose or out of place, you can fix this problem by repositioning or tightening the belt. But if 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.

Problems With The Direct Drive

It can be difficult to locate the issue with direct drive record players. For instance, one cause for a platter that has stopped spinning could be a problem with the internal mechanism of the direct-drive motor. But when it comes to direct drive record players, there are numerous reasons why the record player could 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 not switched on. Generally, it 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.

But 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 prolong a record player’s life. Our Steepetone Record Player Cleaning Kit is therefore recommended when purchasing a record player, to keep it as clean as possible.

How To Fix A Record Player That Spins Too Slow

Sometimes the problem is your record player is spinning too slowly, rather than not at all. This will distort the sound, so it’s something you want to fix. The good news is that it’s 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

Sometimes 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 need to do is make sure the belt is not rubbing against another part of the record player. If this is not the case, it could be that the belt has stretched out a bit. Whilst it is not uncommon for the belt to stretch a few millimetres, it can be enough to slow down the turntable. If this is the case, you will need to replace the belt. But first, you could try shrinking it back down.

The best way to achieve this is to 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 should have shrunk back to its original size. But if the belt is not stretched too much, you could try putting some talc on the bets and the pulley. This will increase the friction, reduce slippage, and also brings the belt in closer contact with the pulley.

Fine-Tuning Adjustments

If nothing else has fixed your speed issue, you may need to make some fine-tuning adjustments to the turntable motor. To do this you’ll need the manual for your model. If you no longer have it, manuals are often available on the manufacturers’ website. But 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 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.

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. So take time to regularly 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

Fix a record player that won’t spin by inspecting the condition of the belt to see whether it is corroding or needs a replacement. And check if the belt is in the proper position. Before the belt stops working completely, you’ll see some warning signs. For example, the record player spins at the wrong speed and produces poor sound quality. You can 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. Check your instruction manual for details about the size, width, and thickness of the belt required for your model. Before you start, unplug the record player and remove the plastic covering protecting the platter.

Next, remove the platter from its position by unscrewing the C shaped clip with a screwdriver. 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

Fix A Warped Record

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 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.

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.

Finally, you should never leave a vinyl record on the turntable. Always put it back in its sleeve after use, and store it properly for example in a vinyl storage case. Removing it from the platter after you are done listening to it keeps it protected against dust and dirt. Plus your collection will remain organized.

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