here's a picture (not well taken) of when i first got it:
the leatherette was falling apart at the corners, there was a huge mound of dust underneath the motorboard, and the motor didn't even work to begin with. i started off by spraying every metal part with WD-40 (my new best friend) to loosen the rust and scrubbed with a metal brush. the tonearm is originally chrome with a mirror finish, unfortunately corrosion has eaten away most of the chrome right down to the brass(?) piping. i did the best i could but it is far from how it is originally supposed to look like.
the motor was badly clogged with dust and congealed oil. i removed everything (gears, spring, etc) and again...cleaned with WD-40.
this gramophone was designed to play 78rpm records which are pretty rare nowadays. when i mean rare, i mean records with songs that i know and would like, there are hundreds and hundreds of obscure artists and songs on 78's records that i have found but dare not buy because i might not like them. i go around looking for records that are more 'popular'...but sadly those are set at a 'non-popular' price.
the old spring had issues maintaining a proper speed. it kept fluctuating between 76-79 rpm which is close enough if you think about it, but the variations in speed meant that the pitch of the song changes as well. it is kind of irritating to listen to a song that way, but thankfully the new spring solves that problem and maintains a steady 78rpm give or take a puny decimal place.
while searching online, i found an ingenious way of checking the turntable's speed with the use of a strobe disc. it is basically a circle of lines that are equally spaced apart and when the turntable is moving at 78rpm the lines would seem to be standing still. i fine tuned the motor speed selector until it registered 78rpm and left it at that.
the original soundbox that came with the gramophone turned out to be a cheap replica made in india. apparently it was extremely common with gramophones that were bought in south-east asia and were a standard issue. i looked online for an authentic soundbox and found a HMV 5b that was in need of repair and i had it shipped over. when it arrived, it was missing a rubber connector and had a hole in the diaphragm that affected the sound output.
i bought a rubber connector and a new diaphragm, but the 'new' diaphragm came with a hole as well and i got a refund for it. unfortunately that still left me with a leaky diaphragm and i couldn't find any new ones online (at least for now).
i ended up gluing some aluminium foil over the hole which seems to be a good fix. it won't sound 100% as good but it was much better than leaving the hole there for all the sound to leak out of.
i use modern needles bought from a guy in the US to play my records. although i do have some old needles left over from the original owner of the gramophone, i try not to use these as i trust the modern needles would do less wear and tear on the records, but i did manage to buy an original needle tin just for the sake of completing the collection!
needle tins are a collector's item as they come in thousands of designs and varieties. some claim that their needles are able to play hundreds of records before needing to be replaced, but modern science discovered that each needle is only good for one, at the most two, plays before a new needle is needed otherwise the worn out tip would gouge out the grooves of a record. this tin that i have states that each needle is good for 20 plays which is a lie! sure it'll play for 20 plays, but the record would sound like crap after awhile when the grooves are all gone. rare needle tins have sold for more than 100++ USD, this one that i have is a pretty common one but could still be worth something in the future so i'll be holding on to it for some time.
well the awesome thing now is that the gramophone works...it might not sound as good as it is supposed to sound but it is good enough for me. maybe one day i'd come across someone who is selling the diaphragm and i'll be able to hear the songs like how they're supposed to be, until then i'll be happy with what i have!
and in case you didn't know, this is a portable gramophone that folds up nicely into a suitcase to carry around.
and finally here's a video of it in operation, playing sundown boogie by bill haley and his comets.