[78-L] HMV Junior and Columbia 113a repair work ongoing...

Ron L'Herault lherault at verizon.net.invalid
Thu Jan 12 07:06:46 PST 2017

I'd love to see some pictures and/or diagrams to illustrate what you've

Ron L

-----Original Message-----
From: 78-l-bounces at klickitat.78online.com
[mailto:78-l-bounces at klickitat.78online.com] On Behalf Of Inigo Cubillo
Sent: Thursday, January 12, 2017 9:06 AM
To: 78-L
Subject: [78-L] HMV Junior and Columbia 113a repair work ongoing...

Just to thank everybody for your valuable help for my questions, made last
november, about how could I get parts for reparation of these two machines.

In the end, after following the various clues you gave, I ended working with
George Vollema (Great Lakes Antique Phonograph, MI), Ken Priestley
(Holmfirth Antiques, West Yorkshire, UK), and Meadows & Passmore (Brighton,

Overall, the repair of the HMV is on its way. It needed a new speed lever
assembly, plus matched springs for the governor. The original governor was
missing the weights and sliding disc, so I fitted them from an old no 34
motor, which happened to fit in the original axis, but I didn't have matched
springs, so it worked but with a disturbing vibration. Ken has supplied new
matched springs, and surplus spring sets slightly larger and slightly
shorter, for me to be able to adjust the speed range properly. Ken also gave
advice for the wood work; the gramophone base was badly warped and needed
straightening. after some weeks submerged in water, it recovered a flat
shape, and now it is drying in the press. George supplied a new speed lever
assembly from an old style Victor IV, which happens to carry the same motor
as the HMV Junior.

For the Columbia, no 15 Viva-Tonal soundbox, George has supplied new fine
rubber gasket tubing, and Meadows & Passmore have supplied a new aluminium
diaphragm. The back rubber joint was also badly rotten, so I made a new one
using rubber joints made for WC water tanks. From two of these, I've cut out
two washers to be glued together (using silicone) to form a back rubber
washer of adequate thickness.

So thanks to all you who provided advice, adresses and contacts to be able
to get the parts.

Which follows is for curious gramophone tinkers like me. I love making
slight modifications in gramophones for improving their overall performance.
With the Columbia no 15 soundbox from the 113a portable, it is possible to
improve the alignment/tracking problems it has from origin. I don't know if
the US Columbia equivalent model (163) has the same problems, for the
tonearm is slightly different from the british model 113a. The 113a suffers
from bad tracking azimuth, and also bad zenith angle between needle and
record surface. The tonearm and the pivot distance are very short, and the
construction of the tonearm is such that when carrying the needle to the
center of the TT, the needle falls almost on the spindle, with the diaphragm
plane purely radial; there is too small offset, a very small overhang, and
no inwards azimuth tilt at all. This produces a constant outwards tracking
error, small at the inner grooves, but very bad at the outer grooves of a
12-inch record. Besides that, the built-in soundbox fixing screw and notch
provide a zenith angle of some 45 degrees between needle and record surface,
which is too flat for an orthophonic-like soundbox. Doctors recommend some
65 degrees instead.

The use of a self-made rubber joint with no screw holes, to be glued to the
neck piece and to the soundbox backplate, provides a chance to adjust the
zenith angle, rotating the soundbox with respect to the neck piece. Thus, a
65 degree angle can be achieved. This is better, especially when using
bamboo needles, as the needle point bisector falls then just vertical on the
record groove, providing better sound, less dragging force, less needle
wear, and less stress on the soundbox, etc.

This zenith adjustment makes the tonearm effective length shorter, for the
needlepoint falls shorter to the tonearm pivot. But instead of aggravating
the azimuth issue, this reduces the inadequate overhang and, for this
geometric design, improves the tracking error in the inner grooves. This is
what can be measured on the actual machine. It can be observed that the
tracking error is small from the middle to the end of a record, where it is
vital to align the needle with the grooves. As a counterpart, the outwards
tracking error at the start of a 12-incher is very bad.

For a better azimuth adjustment, two ways are possible: to use a wedged
rubber washer, and/or a curved neck coupling tube (trunnion) which can be
designed to provide an offset distance and inwards azimuth tilt which reduce
the overall tracking error as desired. I must confess that I've used a
wedged silicone joint in the past for adjusting a better tracking error,
with overall good results. But it caused another collateral problem: due to
the great thickness and softness of the silicone joint, it was too compliant
for a good performance. So now I've stuck to a flat rubber joint, as in the
original design. Still I have to test the curved trunnion for improving the
azimuth. Will report later.


Inigo Cubillo
Madrid, SPAIN
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