Columbia n.120a: help needed to save it!

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newbiephone
Victor Jr
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Columbia n.120a: help needed to save it!

Post by newbiephone »

Hi everyone!

A few days ago I came across a Columbia 120a machine in a local flea market. It's not in a particular good shape, as it seems to have spent a lot of time in a dusty and dump basement. The lid is missing and overall the whole machine is dusty, scratched and covered in rust, but I have carefully cleaned it and opened and I like to think there is still a chance to save it.

I am totally new to this world so any advice would be welcome. I would particularly be interested in finding out if the internal mechanism can be fixed.

I am attaching a few pics and a short video (which might appear as a link for download) . Any help would be much appreciated!

Thanks in advance!
Attachments
video-1634198302.mp4
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245466208_407116600862303_2511871793473508458_n (1).jpg
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Marco Gilardetti
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Re: Columbia n.120a: help needed to save it!

Post by Marco Gilardetti »

No offense intended, but entering this hobby with a machine that has a lot of problems and no clue was not a good idea. There is little that can be done just by looking at pictures and doing some storytelling.

First of all, it seems that the tonearm is frozen as it stands above the record. Try to spray some unblocking/penetrating/releasing spray on all joins of the tonearm.

Then the motor. It is unclear how the picture is oriented. Did you unscrew the motor and let it hang over the handle? The handle can be removed by turning it counterclockwise. Remove the handle, remove the motor, oil well everything you see, including the small leather pad you see in picture, and see if perhaps the motor will begin revolving.

newbiephone
Victor Jr
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Re: Columbia n.120a: help needed to save it!

Post by newbiephone »

Thank you Marco! No offence taken, I know the status of the machine is not ideal and my knowledge of the subject even less so, but one has to start from somewhere.

I will indeed try to follow your advice by removing and oiling the motor. As we have established that I know near to nothing about internal mechanisms, I was wondering what is the correct motion I am looking for. What I mean is how a functioning motor of this kind of machine is supposed to look like. I know that chatting over pictures and videos is not the best way, but if there is any indication of which kind of picture could help you better understand the overall status of the motor, please let me know and I will be happy to follow your instructions.

In any case, thank you again for your help!

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Marco Gilardetti
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Re: Columbia n.120a: help needed to save it!

Post by Marco Gilardetti »

Well, the three semi-spheric masses that you pictured in the 3rd photograph should revolve almost freely if the motor is quite all right, and should begin to revolve fast if you apply few turns of winding to the mainspring with the handle (turning it clockwise).

Don't overwind the spring, as you may need to completely disassemble the motor, and it can't be done if the spring is winded up.

If the handle doesn't turn clockwise at all, it probably means that the mainspring is fully winded already. Don't insist or you may break the spring.

newbiephone
Victor Jr
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Re: Columbia n.120a: help needed to save it!

Post by newbiephone »

Thank you so much! I will give it a try when I get back home and if it's alright with you I will let you know if I have any additional doubts (as it will likely be the case). Have a good day!

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Marco Gilardetti
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Re: Columbia n.120a: help needed to save it!

Post by Marco Gilardetti »

Of course, and there are also many other fellows here that will surely do their best to help you!

nostalgia
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Re: Columbia n.120a: help needed to save it!

Post by nostalgia »

I have the same machine in my storage locker, still not serviced. And yes, it is not the easiest way to start the hobby as Marco states too, but if you get problems, I will dig out my own machine and try help too. I have serviced a triple spring Garrard inside a Columbia of the same era last summer, and also others in here that will do their best to help you. Welcome to the forum ! :geek:

Here are the link to the restoration of the Columbia 156a, it may be of some help, even if this is a bigger motor, it is still Garrard of the same era: viewtopic.php?f=11&t=46490&hilit=columbia+156a&start=40
(You may need to look at different pages in that thread to get some ideas/help, since the photos were uploaded several times during the restoration.)

epigramophone
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Re: Columbia n.120a: help needed to save it!

Post by epigramophone »

Here is the 120a as it appeared in the 1929 Columbia catalogue, when it cost £9.10s.
You can now see what the lid should look like, but the only chance of finding one is probably from a donor machine.
Even if it bears the Columbia name, the motor will be a Garrard.
Many of us have built one good machine out of two.
Attachments
120a.jpg
120a.jpg (59.61 KiB) Viewed 38 times

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