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Thread: Zeta tonearm strip down and bearing change.

  1. #1
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

    Posts: 3,166
    I'm jamie.

    Default Zeta tonearm strip down and bearing change.

    So ive been busy over the last week,there has always been a slight bearing rattle since i bought the zeta in the lateral top bearing.

    you can here it in this video.



    so what to do??
    After further adjustment to the top bearing i became clear that it was either to loose or too tight,there was no in between sweet spot.
    After a call to a fellow Zeta owner,Roger at TPA it seemed the best course of action was to strip the arm completely and check all the bearings.

    As there was no manual it was in at the deep end time!
    Each bearing has its own cover disc,to access the bearings each one has to be removed,i made a tool up at work to do this.



    Top lateral bearing cup cover disc.




    With the bearing cover discs removed we can see 1 of the 4 bearing cups which hold the bearings in place.

    Here's a photo of the top lateral bearing cup,the cover disc has been removed.



    To remove the arm tube the 2 vertical bearings have to be removed first,they are held in place with grubs screws so i first removed them.
    Once the bearing cups are unscrewed using my special tool you can withdraw the arm tube out from the back,whoops the finger lift wont go through the square arm tube block???
    Apply some heat,i used hot air pant stripper and let physics to the rest,once there's enough heat the finger lift just pulls out,bingo! you can now remove the arm tube!

    Now that the arm tubes out of the way you have to remove the bearing cones before the arm tube block can be removed.These are a push fit and again held in place with grub screws,some heat here gets them out .

    Here's the underside of the arm tube block showing the bottom lateral bearing cone.



    With both top and bottom cones removed the arm tube block comes away leaving the main c shaped block/arm pillar.

    So here's all the parts.



    Someones been here before!
    The tonearm uses 3, 2.5mm ball bearings to each bearing cup,except my bottom lateral bearing has 4 much smaller bearings which dont even fully cover the diameter of the cup they run in??
    Thats not right,i think ive found my problem!!

    In this pic you can just see the smaller bearings to the right of the top bearing cup.



    Feeling rather happy that id found the problem i ordered some new Silicon Nitride bearings,my thanks to angus for the advice

    After work yesterday i started the rebuild.
    All parts well cleaned with alcohol,basically its the strip down in reverse.
    The bearing cones are put back in the arm tube block,then the bottom lateral bearings go in,then the top ones,a good tip here is to use Vaseline to hold the bearings in their cups,the cups have a small hole so once the arm is fully assembled the Vaseline can be cleaned away using wd40 squirted through the hole.



    Lateral bearings ready for action!


    Now comes the tricky bit,getting everything centered correctly,i used feeler gauges here,and got the arm tube in the right ball park,the final truing up i did when the arm was completely back together.



    Here the arm tube is back in place and new tonearm wire inserted,



    Anyone still following??

    Right next i had to put the arm tube assembly back into the c shaped arm pillar,again final alignment is done when complete.

    With everything back in place i set about getting everything totally true,careful loosening of one arm tube bearing and tightening of the other moves the arm tube left or right depending on where you need to be.Be very careful here as if you loosen 1 too much the cone slips out and you have to take the whole thing apart and re sit the bearings again,ask me how i know!!!

    With everything all nicely squared up i had a lovely view from behind,ooh matron!





    Nows the time to give all the bearings a good soaking in wd40 to remove the vaseline,i did this periodically about 5 times,wiping with kitchen roll.
    With that done i called it a day.

    First job today was to check how everything was,movement of the arm in all directions was good so i went on to re solder the tonearm wires.




    And that's it folks,job done!
    What effect has it had? well to start with the movement with the arm at balance is way better than before in all directions,the arm glides smoothly with no hint of sticking.
    The head stock lines up with the alignment protractor grid lines at 90 degrees,before it didn't, and lastly here's a vid showing the greatly improved vertical free play.

    Last edited by jamie123; 14-04-2018 at 19:56.
    My System/ Yamaha NS1000M speakers ,Pioneer PLC-590 turntable,Alphason HR-100S-MCS,Zeta tonearms,Denon 103M, 103SA Cartridge's,Denon HA-500 Head Amp, John Wood KT88 Valve Amp,Sony 700ES Amp,Sony X555ES CD Player, Nakamichi ca5 pre amp ,

  2. #2
    Join Date: Apr 2012

    Location: Southall, West London

    Posts: 33,704
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    Well done Jamie!

  3. #3
    Join Date: Jun 2010

    Location: Liverpool

    Posts: 659
    I'm Geoff.

    Default

    A great thread
    Main system: Sony TTS8000; SME IV; Audio Technica Art1; The Lentek integrated amplifier; SBT; Technics sh-x1000 DAC; Yamaha NS1000M.
    System 2 - SBT; Denon PMA850 integrated; JBL 4312B control monitors.
    System 3 - Taken over by my son! Chromecast; Beresford Caiman II; Klark Teknik Jade 1 active studio monitors.

  4. #4
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 4,923
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Mate, that's a top job and a really good thread. Congratulations.

    Has the arm improved significantly?
    Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Wizard Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken Valves) > Slagle AVC Passive Preamp > Firebottle Monoblocks (Telefunken Valves) > Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers > SPOTFIRE Cables Throughout

  5. #5
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

    Posts: 3,166
    I'm jamie.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Bigman80 View Post
    Mate, that's a top job and a really good thread. Congratulations.

    Has the arm improved significantly?
    cheers oli,yes it has,in every aspect,im not sure what difference the ceramic bearings have made if any over chrome steel ones? the focus has improved a lot id say and it seems to be quite in the back ground too.
    the music flows a long nicely now.
    oh and i forgot to mention earlier the azimuth is spot on now,before it always looked off to the right.
    ive learnt a lot in doing this, above all else ive learnt there is no black art to tonearms,if your good with your hands its fairly straight forward as its just a mechanical object at the end of the day.
    i was a little shocked to see just 3 ball bearings to be honest,i thought they'd be lots of microscopic tiny ones. lol
    My System/ Yamaha NS1000M speakers ,Pioneer PLC-590 turntable,Alphason HR-100S-MCS,Zeta tonearms,Denon 103M, 103SA Cartridge's,Denon HA-500 Head Amp, John Wood KT88 Valve Amp,Sony 700ES Amp,Sony X555ES CD Player, Nakamichi ca5 pre amp ,

  6. #6
    Join Date: Nov 2015

    Location: Wolverhampton

    Posts: 4,923
    I'm Oliver.

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jamie123 View Post
    cheers oli,yes it has,in every aspect,im not sure what difference the ceramic bearings have made if any over chrome steel ones? the focus has improved a lot id say and it seems to be quite in the back ground too.
    the music flows a long nicely now.
    ive learnt a lot in doing this, above all else ive learnt there is no black art to tonearms,if your good with your hands its fairly straight forward as its just a mechanical object at the end of the day.
    i was a little shocked to see just 3 ball bearings to be honest,i thought they'd be lots of microscopic tiny ones. lol
    Lol, yes I agree mate. I think it more a fear of not being able to put it back together that puts people off. The Ceramic bearings are a lot smoother Than the steel ones. Less resistance so better all round. Angus knows his stuff.

    Well done mate.
    Technics SP10 MK2 > Phonomac AT-1010 tonearm > Ortofon Kontrapunkt b > Wizard Jfet MC Valve Phonostage (Telefunken Valves) > Slagle AVC Passive Preamp > Firebottle Monoblocks (Telefunken Valves) > Fisual S-Flex Speaker Cable > Pioneer CS-77A Speakers > SPOTFIRE Cables Throughout

  7. #7
    Join Date: Oct 2015

    Location: Pulborough, West Sussex, UK

    Posts: 745
    I'm Ian.

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    Excellent job mate in all departments, it's as good as a magazine article. Now you know the Zeta is just so, no ambiguity when setting up a cartridge. You've done well matey, have a kebab.
    My stuff; Toshiba SR-370/Mission 774 /Ortofon Quintet Black, Cambridge CXC CD transport/Musical Fidelity X DAC/Musical Fidelity X10v3 tube buffer, Musical Fidelity A3, Nakamichi CA-5E pre amp, Acoustic Solutions FM/DAB tuner, Mordaunt Short Signifer, Klotz MC5000/MS audio, NVA LS5

  8. #8
    Join Date: Apr 2011

    Location: London

    Posts: 2,936
    I'm Robert.

    Default

    Well done Jamie, Never knew you tackled jobs like this, good on ya.

    I left mine to top man Angus and the tonearm glides as smooth as silk with the ceramics bearings he fitted which has to be a very good thing in terms of friction
    My System:
    Amplification - Sansui AU-919 Complete overhaul, upgraded, re-capped. Caps upgraded from 4 x 15,000 uf to 4 x 20,000 uf-inside original oval caps. All glue and 'black flags' removed
    Turntable - Modified Technics SL1210 MK5G
    Mike New precision bearing, bearing base plate, ETP Platter
    Micro Seiki MA-202 tonearm, rewired, hybrid ceramic bearings
    Ortofon Cadenza Black moving coil cartridge
    Yannis Tome 423.5 Silver-Litz tonearm cable with KLEI Pure Silver Harmony plugs
    Ebony armboard
    Audio Technica MS-8 Magnesium headshell, Ortofon pure silver headshell leads
    Isonoe Isolation Feet
    Paul Hynes SR7EHD PSU (plus regulator modules), DCSXL pure-silver DC lead with Jaegar low impedance connector
    CDP - Pioneer PD-91
    Speakers - Mission 752 Freedom
    QED Silver Spiral speaker cable, Airlock plugs - bare wire amp end.
    Mains - Ultra Pure silver plated un-switched socket, Missing link EPS 500 silver plated plugs with Hi-Fi Tuning gold plated silver ceramic 13 amp fuses

  9. #9
    Join Date: Jul 2016

    Location: Ferndown, Dorset, UK

    Posts: 162
    I'm Brook.

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    Nice job Jamie well done. If you lose your new tool & need it again, or for others thinking about doing something similar, you can get a watch back remover from ebay for just a couple of quid that does the same thing but has the advantage of being size adjustable.

  10. #10
    Join Date: Sep 2014

    Location: brighton uk.

    Posts: 3,166
    I'm jamie.

    Default

    A small update,
    i have read on the web somewhere that early zetas used 3 bearings per cup and that later ones changed to 5 bearings.
    Now it is very possible that whoever worked on the tonearm before me for what ever reason used the later 5 smaller bearings,even though he/she would have seen the fact that it uses 3.
    Also the bearing cone angle would be different and the bearing cups ID made bigger to suit.It explains why my arm tube mounting block sat lower in the c shaped arm pillar,it now sits higher.

    Here's a picture from the web of a later zeta using 5 to illustrate what i mean,i adjusted the photo to make seeing the bearings in their cup clearer.



    and mine.

    My System/ Yamaha NS1000M speakers ,Pioneer PLC-590 turntable,Alphason HR-100S-MCS,Zeta tonearms,Denon 103M, 103SA Cartridge's,Denon HA-500 Head Amp, John Wood KT88 Valve Amp,Sony 700ES Amp,Sony X555ES CD Player, Nakamichi ca5 pre amp ,

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