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 Post subject: Re: Columbia 156a viva tonal gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:00 pm 
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Victor III
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Location: My gramophone repair room
I realize now I have the same problem with my tone arm, that also was taken from a Columbia 153. It is too short, and also does not hook on the auto stop as it is supposed to do. Remarkably how Columbia has used two different tonearms for two different floor models from the same period. I have now measured the tonearm from this 153, and it is actually also approximately 3 cm shorter than the Plano Reflex arm from a Columbia 202 portable.
I should of course myself have discovered this earlier on, but after connecting the tonearm from the 153 to the 156A, and also already having serviced the motor, I just tested that the motor was spinning well after being winded up, without playing a test record, before I quickly moved on to another project.

Unfortunately I do not have the old tonearm for the 156A around me this weekend, since it is stored in my repair room, that are 30 kms away. Are you (phonosandradios), able to check the difference in length between the two tonearms? If you don't have a Columbia portable with a plano reflex arm, I will take some measures, and also upload a photo, so we can check if they are of the same length. Maybe it is as simple as using a tonearm from a Columbia portable? I am just thinking loud now, but some measurements should be able to tell if we are on the right path.

The question also arises of course, in how many different sizes were the Plano Reflex tonearm made? Let us hope it is only two, if so, the problem could be easily solved. I also admit that I was too lazy to remove a plano reflex arm from a portable before buying the scrappy 153, being too caught up in our conversation here, and not being as practical as I should have been. Maybe I already had the correct Plano Reflex arm available in my storage room on a donor Columbia machine :roll:

I upload two photos, the tonearm from the model 153, and the tonearm on a portable 202. They are measured exactly the same way, with a 90 degree at the end of the tonearm, visible on the photo taken inside the 156a ( but impossible to see on the 202 photo, since I am alone and can't have a third hand to hold the camera.;)

The tonearm base are different on a portable and a floor model, but without knowing the Plano Reflex arms too well, I hope all the parts around the base on the portable are removable, and can be exchanged to the parts found on the 156A. This far, I have only cleaned and oiled a Plano Reflex. I know they have pretty small ball bearings, and possibly also other issues that must be considered. I know there are members on the forum who are well experienced with servicing Plano Reflex arms, myself I am not there yet, but for sure I will dive into this trying to solve this problem with the 156A


Attachments:
Tonearm from portable model 202.jpg
Tonearm from portable model 202.jpg [ 655.33 KiB | Viewed 116 times ]
Tonearm from model 153.jpg
Tonearm from model 153.jpg [ 721.19 KiB | Viewed 116 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Columbia 156a viva tonal gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:23 pm 
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Victor II
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So many audio formats, so little listening time!
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:49 pm
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Location: Wiltshire, UK
I have measured the original tone arm and the distance between the two red lines on the photo below is 16.5cm. The crook is the same on both types of tone arm. Hopefully you find you have another of the right size for yours.


Attachments:
20201010_155732.jpg
20201010_155732.jpg [ 3.54 MiB | Viewed 116 times ]
I am interested in all forms of audio media including: gramophones, phonographs, wire recorders, the tefifon, reel to reel tapes, radiograms and radios.
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 Post subject: Re: Columbia 156a viva tonal gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Oct 10, 2020 12:36 pm 
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Victor III
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Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:58 am
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Location: My gramophone repair room
Amazing ! This original tonearm from the 156a is approximately two cm shorter than the tonearm from the 202 portable, and approximately 1,5-2 cm longer than the tonearm from the 153.
I know what will happen next week, I will open all my Columbia portables models and check the length of the Plano Reflex tonearm on them all, including the ones made in Japan. :geek:


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia 156a viva tonal gramophone
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:10 am 
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Victor III
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Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:58 am
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Location: My gramophone repair room
It is time to correct some of the latest information information submitted by myself to this thread about the Plano Reflex tonearm, that has proven to be wrong.
The Plano Reflex tonearm on the Columbia 156A, is of the same size as the Plano Reflex arm on the Columbia portables. The earlier measurements given must have been wrong, because when I today got hold of the 156A tonearm and compared it with tonearms on both the 112A and 109A portables, they are of the same length.
This makes the project easier to finish, of course, but there still are some challenges.

I could not find the past thread with inputs about disassembling a Plano Reflex tonearm, even if I remember Barry (Phono48) have talked about it in the past on the forum. I this morning decided to give it a try, since the Plano Reflex arm for the 156A anyway has to be discarded. I still wanted of course to save the base of the tonearm, to be used on a Plano Reflex tonearm from a portable.

I show some photos, we can see the ball bearings around the tonearm, they will not be too easy to put back in their position, but it needs to happen. We can also see the brass ring holding the ball bearings. This section is split in half, and the only way to remove it is by unscrewing two small screws from inside the tonearm base before unscrewing the part where the screws are fastened. I had no tool for this job ( if it exist) so instead I used WD-40 to allow this part to be released from the lower part of the brass ring. Then I used a small screwdriver in the screw holes, and was slowly able to unscrew the upper ring and disconnect all the different parts. Phonosandradios, take care of the ball bearings, they are easy to drop and get lost (even if they are not as tiny as ball bearings inside the HMV motors etc), something we of course don't want to happen.

I would have preferred to use the tonearm from a Columbia 109A that is already scrappy, and also already has lost its end section. I could then easily use the end section from the tonearm on the 156A, and avoid destroying a portable that is working. I am however not able to remove the tonearm from a Columbia 109A. I have unscrewed three smalls screws, two on top, and one one the side of the upper section of the base. I can't see no other way to remove the upper section of the tonearm base than using a plier and unscrew it, but it does not rotate at all. OR, is one supposed to also unscrew the tonearm by rotating the ring around the tonearm on top, as I just did on the 156A? Has somebody done this job before on a Columbia 109A?

My second option is using the arm from a 112A, when looking at it, the arm looks much easier to remove, since it is fastened in a different way than on the 109, but I would prefer not to destroy this machine, since it looks pretty good.

The red line on the 156A photo shows the split between the two sections of the brass part
The red line on the 109A tonearm base shows the screw holes, and the possible sectional part that needs to be removed to access the tonearm?

Maybe heat is needed to remove the tonearm from the 109A, but it would of course be important to know where it disconnects before applying heat.


Attachments:
Tonearm base Columbia 109A.jpg
Tonearm base Columbia 109A.jpg [ 448.99 KiB | Viewed 80 times ]
Plano Reflex from the 156A.jpg
Plano Reflex from the 156A.jpg [ 822.74 KiB | Viewed 80 times ]
Plano Reflex from the 156A (2).jpg
Plano Reflex from the 156A (2).jpg [ 561.89 KiB | Viewed 80 times ]
Plano Reflex from the 156A (3).jpg
Plano Reflex from the 156A (3).jpg [ 574.51 KiB | Viewed 80 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Columbia 156a viva tonal gramophone
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 6:35 am 
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Victor VI
An analogue relic trapped in a digital world.
Joined: Mon Oct 24, 2011 1:21 pm
Posts: 3420
Location: The Somerset Levels, UK.
Do not apply heat to the area lined in red. That assembly is die cast (pot) metal and can explode! After 90 years it will be brittle and will probably break if disturbed.


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia 156a viva tonal gramophone
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 7:22 am 
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Victor III
Keep winding up
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:58 am
Posts: 696
Location: My gramophone repair room
Thank you, Roger. I did not know pot metal could explode, that is very important to know !

Before reading your post, I still decided to go for the same procedure as on the 156A, and after using WD-40, I used a small nail checking if the ring around the tonearm base was rotating, and it was. I show some photos on how it is removed. I will test later soon if the nail destroyed the ring on top, particularly the screw holes.
Most important, we can see that the Plano Reflex arm from the 109A can not be used on the 156A, due to the connectors at the end of the tonearm. I quickly understood this before starting to unscrew the tonearm on the 109A, but wanted to take some photos, and also check if the tonearm was possible to remove.
Next up comes checking a 112A, I am more positive to this machine, since the base of the tonearm looks similar to the base on the 156A. I will try to disconnect the tonearm, without destroying the machine itself. I for sure don't want to sacrifice all my Columbia portables to find a tonearm that fits the 156A.

Update: I have reassembled the tone arm on the 109A. It is extremely difficult to put the 6 ball bearings back in position, and at the same time attach the tone arm in its proper position. By using grease to hold the balls, I finally succeeded on the third attempt. Losing a ball, it will autmatically fall into the horn.
Also, it is of course is not a good idea to use a nail in any of the top two screw holes to open the ring. There is a third hole in the ring on top that can be used for this purpose, but pay attention to not use any of the screw holes in this process or you will not be able to reinstall the two screws easily since a nail will of course destroy the thread.


Attachments:
Plano Reflex arm for 109A (left) and 156A (right).jpg
Plano Reflex arm for 109A (left) and 156A (right).jpg [ 595.87 KiB | Viewed 67 times ]
109A tonearm (1).jpg
109A tonearm (1).jpg [ 372.77 KiB | Viewed 67 times ]
109A tonearm (2).jpg
109A tonearm (2).jpg [ 458.56 KiB | Viewed 67 times ]
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 Post subject: Re: Columbia 156a viva tonal gramophone
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 9:12 am 
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Victor III
Keep winding up
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:58 am
Posts: 696
Location: My gramophone repair room
The 112 portable tone arm does not fit the 156A, The length is not the problem, but the connection to the horn is.
On the 112, we can see there is a notch in the lower part of the tone arm, at the point where it enters the horn. On the 156A this lower part is complete without a notch. When I discovered this, I wisely aborted the dissasembly of the tonearm on the 112. Been there, done that for today.

I upload a photo of the tonearm connector on the 156A, and also the end of the Plano Reflex arm with its unique end section. If someone has a Columbia floor/table/floor model with a Plano Reflex tone arm with this particular end/connector, it would be very nice to know. If being really unlucky, this particular tone arm end section/connector was manufactured for the 156A only.

This particular connector and unique tone arm end section is visible without disassembling the gramophone in any way!


I have now also checked the Columbia 202, it has a third variety end section of the Plano Reflex tone arm for portables, and can not be used for a 156A.

Plano Reflex arms checked so far, that can not be used on a 156A ( and also very important, can not be inter changed between the models because of the different connections to the horn)

Portables: 202, 112A, 109A, 100 (two versions)
Floor models: 153A ( same connection as 156A, but shorter arm)


Attachments:
156A tone arm connector.jpg
156A tone arm connector.jpg [ 407.03 KiB | Viewed 60 times ]
156A tonearm end, complete ring.jpg
156A tonearm end, complete ring.jpg [ 404.33 KiB | Viewed 60 times ]
Columbia 112A tone arm end.jpg
Columbia 112A tone arm end.jpg [ 440.1 KiB | Viewed 60 times ]


Last edited by nostalgia on Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Columbia 156a viva tonal gramophone
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 3:42 pm 
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Victor III
Keep winding up
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:58 am
Posts: 696
Location: My gramophone repair room
Continuing to check the Plano Refles tone arms on my portables, I found these two photos, earlier uploaded to a thread. The show my two Columbia 100 machines, a black and a blue machine. What I did not spot, and what we did not pay attention to, when the differences between these machines were discussed ( viewtopic.php?f=11&t=43889&p=264051&hilit=plano+reflex+pot+metal#p264051) is the now obvious difference in the tonearm connector on the machines.

We can see that the tonearm connector on the blue Columbia 100 looks similar to the connector found on the 156A ( at least the part visible before dissasemblying the tone arm from the machine), while the black 100 has a tone arm support that looks very different, and consequently will never fit the tone arm base of the Columbia 156A.

Unfortunately I have both machines in my storage room 50 km away, so I can't check the blue 100 this evening, even if I really would have loved to check the tone arm. ( The tonearm itself looks like it has broken and later on been glued together, but that's another story)


Attachments:
version 2.jpg
version 2.jpg [ 36.43 KiB | Viewed 38 times ]
version 1.jpg
version 1.jpg [ 33.64 KiB | Viewed 38 times ]
Columbia 100 tonearm base, version 2.jpg
Columbia 100 tonearm base, version 2.jpg [ 835.13 KiB | Viewed 38 times ]
Columbia 100 tonearm base, version 1.jpg
Columbia 100 tonearm base, version 1.jpg [ 610.73 KiB | Viewed 38 times ]


Last edited by nostalgia on Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:23 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: Columbia 156a viva tonal gramophone
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2020 4:26 pm 
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Victor II
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So many audio formats, so little listening time!
Joined: Fri Oct 11, 2019 4:49 pm
Posts: 282
Location: Wiltshire, UK
I can't believe that there were so many variations of the tone arm and its connectors. Thanks for posting all the information you've discovered on this as it is very useful to be able to rule out machines as possible donors.
I am interested in all forms of audio media including: gramophones, phonographs, wire recorders, the tefifon, reel to reel tapes, radiograms and radios.


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 Post subject: Re: Columbia 156a viva tonal gramophone
PostPosted: Sat Oct 17, 2020 5:23 pm 
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Victor III
Keep winding up
Joined: Thu Jun 13, 2019 1:58 am
Posts: 696
Location: My gramophone repair room
Update: I have now also checked the blue Columbia 100 with the tone arm connector that on the photo looked somewhat similar to the connector on the 156A. However, the tone arm had the same connection as the 112A portable, and to complicate it further, it also had the short version of the Plano Reflex arm, similar in length to the tone arm found on the 153A ( floor model)


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