Zenith has been a leading name in electronics technology for nearly a century. Back in the early times of technology, Zenith products were in every house.
Among the famous products that Zenith manufactured were their record players. So, it’s not a surprise that many people still look for a vintage Zenith record player for their homes.
If you’re a fan of Zenith record players, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll guide you through the entire process of opening up the record player, inspecting its parts, and finally getting it to work.
How to Fix a Zenith Record Player
Zenith record players are available in either a portable form or as part of a console stereo. Either way, the problems that you’re going to face will most likely be the same.
The three parts you want to inspect in a vintage Zenith record player are:
- The amplifier
- The turntable
- The tonearm
Usually, the problems with these parts aren’t major, and you can fix them with just some cleaning and re-oiling. However, you might need to replace some parts to get your record player functioning properly.
Fixing a Vintage Zenith Record Player 101
Before you get into anything, dust off your Zenith record player and turn it on. It should take a minute to warm up before working.
Examine the unit carefully. Does the tonearm land perfectly on the vinyl? Is the turntable spinning smoothly or not?
Listen to the quality of the sound. Take all the time you need to observe your Zenith to figure out what parts exactly need your attention.
After you inspect your Zenith, it’s time to get to work. Here are some helpful instructions that can help you get your vintage Zenith record player working like a brand-new one:
Also Read: How To Fix A Crosley Record Player
First: Open up the Back of the Unit
To access the amplifier and pop up the turntable, open up the back of your record player unit. It’s the same process for all types of Zenith record players.
You just need to take out a bunch of screws and remove the back of the unit. What’s going to be different are the parts on the inside.
If you have a Zenith console stereo, it’ll be more complicated on the inside. Zenith consoles come not only with a turntable but also with an AM and FM tuner.
When you open up the back of the console unit, the first part you’ll see is the amplifier. It’s the part with all the tubes in it.
Related: How much is a Zenith record player worth?
You should also find a black transformer, a mid-range speaker, and a woofer. On the top of the inside of the console, you should find the phonograph section.
If any of these parts are missing, it’ll probably stop your record player from working or cause it to function improperly. So, you should check for all of this before you buy a vintage Zenith console stereo.
On the other hand, a portable Zenith record player is a bit simpler than this, with only a turntable and an amplifier.
Make sure that you unplug your Zenith before opening it up. You don’t want to electrocute yourself.
Second: Check the Turntable
When someone gets a vintage record player, the turntable is the part that usually has the most problems. It might not be spinning well or at all.
To inspect and fix the turntable, you need to remove it from the phonograph unit. That’s why you need to open up your Zenith from the back first.
You’ll notice that the turntable is spring-mounted by two little black widgets. Just flip them vertically, so you can lift the turntable.
Don’t forget to unplug any cables connected to the turntable before you lift it up.
Now, remove the little C-clip found on the spindle and lift the platter. Be careful when lifting the platter as a washer might lift with it. Make sure that the washers are in their place.
Check the drive wheel. Is it too dried up? If it’s not, cleaning it with a bit of alcohol will do the trick for you. However, if it’s too hard already, you might need to replace it with a new one.
Flip the turntable upside down, clean it well from any dust, and clean any grease build-up. You’ll find the gear drive on the platter. This also needs some cleaning and maybe even a bit of lubing.
Must Read: How to fix a wobbly record player?
Third: Adjust the Tonearm
A common problem that you could face with the tonearm is it not landing in the right spot on the vinyl. To fix this, lift the tonearm and look for a black screw at the base.
Turn the screw counterclockwise, then give it another try. If this doesn’t help with the problem, try twisting the screw the other way.
Just keep adjusting the screw until the tonearm finally lands perfectly on the vinyl.
Fourth: Replace the Cartridge
Replacing the cartridge will have a great impact on the sound quality of your Zenith record player. If you’re already happy with the sound quality, you might want to avoid messing with the cartridge.
However, if you’re not satisfied with the sound quality, it’s not difficult at all to replace the cartridge.
Lift the tonearm and unscrew the cartridge. Then, gently disconnect the wires from the old cartridge.
Related: Why is my turntable playing too slow?
Now, connect the wires to the new cartridge and screw it in place. Give your Zenith a try and listen to it. Your music should sound a lot cleaner and richer after this.
Fifth: Inspect the Audio Amplifier
First and foremost, make sure that the unit is unplugged since the tubes in the amplifier run on pretty high voltage.
To remove the amplifier chassis from the unit, disconnect the speaker leads, the power chord anchor, and all the plugs. Don’t forget to also undo the screws and the knobs on the sides.
Here is when things get a little more technical. There are two things you most likely need to do to fix the amplifier if it’s defective:
- Test the tubes and replace them if needed
- Replace the old capacitors with new ones if needed
Not everyone has the tools needed to do this at home. So, you might want to take your amplifier to an electrical repair shop for this part.