Repair of a Fisher 225-XA turntable
My wife inherited her parents' record collection, but complained that our stereo system could not play records any more. When we tried to use it, we heard some signs of electromechanical struggle, but the table would turn only a few degrees, then stop. Since I had some free time on this New Year's Day, 2021, I took the turntable to the dining room table and started to look for trouble.
Four screws on the bottom secure a cardboard access panel. Nothing seemed obviously wrong, though the grease on some of the sliding parts was more like honey than butter: sticky, not slippery. The drive motor and some of the other mechanical parts were visible below the deck, but not the turntable drive mechanism. To access that, I had to go back to the top side and remove a large E-clip which held the table down on the spindle. (In prying the E-clip away from the spindle with a screwdriver, I let it fly across the room into the living room. Fortunately, I heard it hit the hardwood floor and easily found it.) Then I could lift the turntable away from the deck.
In this turntable, the motor drives a spindle which has three different diameters, for 33-1/3, 45, and 78 rpm. An idler wheel bears against one of these positions, and against a ring on the bottom of the turntable, to play the record. The spindle itself doesn't rotate, nor is the a drive-belt. The turntable has a gear around the sleeve that goes around the spindle, and this gear drives a much larger gear which controls the other mechanical functions of the turntable (e.g., automatically lifting the arm at the end of the record). I tried to rotate this Big Gear by hand, and found it to be excessively difficult.
I used a cotton swab with mineral spirits to soak the clotted grease on the shaft of the Big Gear, and it started to move a little, then a lot. I also wiped away whatever grease I could reach underneath the deck. After the Big Gear was moving better (though not as freely as I might prefer), I put a drop of sewing machine oil the shaft (and a couple of other plausible locations), and put it all back together. And then it worked.
(I have had no success repairing my cassette deck; something about the over-running clutch mechanism that prevents breaking tape at the end. It's gotten so weak that it won't even MOVE tape.)