Fairchild 440 Turntable Part 3

Cont from Fairchild 440 Turntable Part 1 & 2 / 3

So I was left with a few problems that need fixing.

  • Tonearm rewire
  • Get new bearing ( 3/8 inch … NOT 1/4 )
  • Adjust height of TT Platter
  • Motor not spinning up quickly

I wish I had video’d this, but it was just too complicated to get it set up. I took it apart, threatened in new wire ( which was easier than expected ).

Major challenge here was getting the bottom brown disk off. At first I tried bending back the pins, but they crshed or snapped. So I used a spanner and rotated the disk… it then slipped off easily.

Stopping here for a few days while I sort out next steps.

Fairchild 440 Turntable Part 1 & 2 / 3

I picked this up at an auction to flip, but when I got it home, it was just so luscious… I really don’t want to get rid of it. Regardless of what I decide though – it needs some fixing up and basic care. There are two major problems to start with – It needs a belt, and the tonearm needs to be rewired. These are both very minor issues, but as I dig in I realize there are additional problems. Part 1 and 2 focus on

  • Replace motor mounts
  • Treat wood
  • Replace belt
  • Don’t fucking lose the bearing, because when you do your life will suck



Unresolved problems:

  • Record speed – unsure if belt is correct size
  • Platter is tipping, I need to tighten up screws on one side
  • Tone arm: solder wires together, possibly replace tonearm wiring
  • Ensure headshell is mounted properly


Time spent: -10
Times shocked: -1
Critical Piece lost: -50
Critical Piece found: +20
Core Fixes Applied: +100
New Fixes Required: -50

Score: <blink>Frenziful</blink>

PART 3: Continued here http://heavymod.com/fairchild-440-turntable-part-3/




Battle: Keyboard. [Roland 77 Keyboard Repair/restore]

Battle: Keyboard

Setup: 8 Roland 77 Digital Pianos. Purchased at auction. Were previously teaching pianos. Were left in sun and many melted. I was an idiot and did not inspect these before bidding. I thought they were high end Roland’s which could fetch $500 each. Off by a factor of 10.

Pass: Earn more than $100.
Win: Earn more than $200

I should be able to sell these for $50-$100 each, so I only need a few working ones to make this happen. Should be “easy”.

Skirmish 1: Success.

The first keyboard is cake. Mostly it is just dirty. I have to swap out a speaker, which is relatively easy. relatively because I had all sorts of issues trying to crimp the fucking speaker wires together. After like 30 minutes of messing up strips/crimps I just twisted the damn things together, electrical taped it, and called it a day.

I have 1 piano with stand that could sell for $125.

Skirmish 2: Strip and clean

Encouraged by the easy win, I decide to go deeper. I could just walk away right now, donate the extras and move on with my life. Determined to avoid failure, and a firm believer in the sunk costs fallacy – I move forward.

After an hour of trying to pry off stickers and clean in little grooves, I remember to “work smarter not harder” – words of capitalist exploitation I learned at the knee of my rich uncle.
I rip off two of the keysets ( what I’m calling the keyboard unit inside the piano ) and two of the frames and throw them in the shower. Yep – the shower. As long as I let them dry properly, the electrical circuits wont’ get damaged, and it will get them looking nice and clean, which will help them sell. And I’m really tired of trying to clean these things the hard way.

3 days later I’m convinced they are nice and dry, and am back to work

Skirmish 3: Failure and more sunk costs fallacy

With the lowest of hanging fruit plucked, it’s time for the next rung. Easy Fixes. I’m going to start with one that has a warped frame, but otherwise is working. This warp has made some lower keys stick.

pull out the 40 goddamn screws in the bottom, pull out the keyboard ( only 4 screws… it comes out super fast ) and start moving it to a less melted frame.

Here I am halfway through. The new frame is the one above, the older frame is below. I’ve moved the left speaker and jacks into position. The rest follows pretty easily. I did try and jam some “long” screws into short screw slots, but let’s not dwell on this.

Now – I have 2 nice and clean keyboards from the shower the other day, so I’m going to drop those in. I’m pretty surprised when I find that the keyboard STILL has key sticking. How is this even possible!?! Easily answered, the keyboard really has to be forced into position – doing so stretches out the frame to allow for keys to work. NICE. All that’s left to do is test it out.. and…

some of the keys don’t play. shit. maybe the whole washing thing wasn’t so smart after all. So I pull out clean keyboard 1, drop in 2. Same issue, different keys. NOTE: This is another great place to walk away from this project. NOTE: I do not.

Skirmish 3b: fucking fuck

I’m really tired, so I’m gonna just skip through a bunch of crap. Basically I wasted 2 hours cleaning out the contacts to the boards. I did the best I could and while all keys are playing, they are not playing uniformly. For example, some of the keys will play at full force no matter how lightly they are struck. I know in general what the problem is, but I’m just too tired to work on it more, and I’ve already put in too many damn hours on a keyboard I’m maybe going to sell for $40.

Interesting part : here are the contacts, and you can see how they are a bit .. clogged.. for lack of a better word. I found some of the kid stickers covering part of one, but mostly the bad keys looked like this, and were “fixed” by just licking my finger and wiping off the contact. I thought they were fixed, but some are still playing at full velocity, and unsure how to address that. I have ideas, but.. yeah. it’s 4 am.

Roland 77 Keyboard PCB. Looks just like a regular computer keyboard, except there are two connectors. This allows the keyboard to time the difference between when the two connectors are depressed. by playing them at slightly different heights, it can interpret the speed at which you hit the key and convert this to a guesstimated velocity / loudness.

You can see some residue on the … not sure what to call this. “connector” maybe.

So, I just jammed the original dusty nasty keyboard unit in from the old frame. I’m too tired to even listen to it.

Skirmish Score:

  • Time wasted: 2 hours
  • Stuff learned: +3
  • Keyboards working: 1/8
  • Real work avoided: Lots. -20
  • Money made: $-100

SCORE: Scrotum Slammed



Straighten bass guitar neck

Nope, I don’t play the bass, but I picked one up as part of a deal. Opportunity: l2Fix bowed neck.

I started with this video, showing how to straighten the truss rod on a vintage guitar. This one has a slight up-bow ( towards the strings ). This appears to be a common problem as the strings pull on the guitar neck over time. The truss rod is designed to counter this. The more you tighten the truss rod, the more the neck will bow backwards ( down-bow ). This way you can keep the neck straight. in theory.

I followed his instructions:

  1. loosen strings and loosen truss rod nut
  2. put wood blocks on neck

    1. cut blocks to fit between frets. Tried to cut a fret line into a block and almost chopped into my finger. can’t wait to get video camera set up, so you can see all these near mangles on future projects
    2. mark blocks before cutting. this makes sure the same side is used as “up” and keeps width consistent.
  3. clamp.
  4. gently tighten truss rod nut. I’m not sure how tight it should be. so I just did it to where it felt snug without too much torque.
  5. let sit for a few hours




I’ve been looking for a set of 105.4 Grills for a while, but haven’t been able to find any. Due to recent family changes, having grills have gone from “nice to have” to “yeah let’s get that done”. I already have metal grills for the top two drivers, but do not have the grills for the bass drivers.
As you know the KEF 105.4 have an angled face which makes it a bit more of a challenge. Here is an example of how they should look:
Not only are they angled, but they are thicker at the top than at the bottom – which gives it a cool look IMO.

Here is my final!

img_4668 img_4672They aren’t perfect – The angles are a bit off on top, but overall they look pretty solid. note that I changed the design slightly to make them longer than the originals. I don’t like how many of these KEFs end up with discoloration from the grills. If that occured, I wanted it to be as uniform as possible.

I’m going to include a walk through of my steps as I build the prototype…
First I traced the outline of the speaker, then sketched in how I thought the grill should look. I measured the angles using a protractor, and used these angles for my first test cuts.


I struggled to get the angles correct, but ended up going with 81.5 for the face that touches the speaker. For simplicity I decided to not try and force the front angle… however that turned out would be fine for the prototype.


 81.5 degrees is a pretty close match. I used a mitre saw for these test cuts. The mitre saw however can’t cut longer pieces… so for this first piece I cut just the top / bottom, and used my other saw to connect the lines as best I could.
The crossbar ( top and bottom of grill ) had to also be cut at an angle. I couldn’t be as precise with this, and used the bevel feature on my handsaw.
You can see here how one face is cut at about 10 degrees and the other 5 degrees. Better to have it a bit too steep than not steep enough. If it is too steep the top of the crossbar will remain flush, and the rest of it won’t have good contact… but all that will be visible is the top edge, so that is ok. You can see this comes together ok:
I should point out before going further: I made one modification to the usual design – I want my grills to go the full length. I often see older KEF’s with discoloration from the part of the speaker face that was not covered. I want to avoid that.
My next step is to glue the pieces together. This was a bit of a challenge since I need right angles like a picture frame… but the grill frame is right angles only in one dimension. I’m probably not explaining this well…
Here is the whole unit “clamped”…
I’ll explain the weights in a moment. So while the grill has 90 degree angles on the x/y axis, it is not 90 degrees on the z axis like a picture frame or shelving might be. when I would fully clamp down, this would happen:
img_4197img_4201You can see how at the bottom the two pieces don’t meet up
And what I needed was this:
So in the clamped photo above, I have loosened clamps on the top/bottom pieces so they can angle correctly against the concrete. This means the clamps no longer pull the left/right pieces together, so I use the weights to apply that pressure.
I then add on the extensions that will house the clips/pins and again glue.
My next step is to drill the holes for the grill pegs. I ordered some pegs from ebay with these dimensions. They are not an exact fit, but the best I could find. They are maybe .5 MM too small in diameter. I contacted KEF a few times, but was not able to get any info about the original speaker pegs. By wrapping a bit of electrical tape around the peg, It becomes a snug fit. Since I don’t intend to remove these often ( for a few years at least ) this is an ok solution for now.

img_4254I used these screws to test my placement before drilling larger holes.

img_4261 img_4263 img_4264

 Accurate drilling was an issue – being off even by a MM means the frame will be angled slightly. The fact that the pegs had some looseness in the holes helped a bit and gave me some leeway, but I will need to address this for the finals.
img_4265 img_4267

I’m embarrassed to show the grill cloth wrapping – I did a really poor job, but just wanted to get something on to see how it looked :)

You can see a few problems I will need to address …
  • The grill isn’t sitting flush – two of the pegs snapped off – I drilled the pilot hole too small and really had to jam them in there. I think also my drilling being off by a MM or so in different directions put stress on them.
  • There is extra fabric mashed everywhere… This is the first time I’ve done this, so no worries – watched a tutorial on how to do it better. I had been hoping cream would look good.. I wanted to use a vintage grill texture … but I think I will go with black.
  • Better wood – the plywood veneer stripped heavily as I worked it. I will use solid pieces of wood for the finals.
  • Increased precision needed. For the wood pieces, I will re-measure each step… error on the side of too much wood, and sand down the extra MM or so needed for precise alignment. I am unsure how to handle the drill holes. A drill press would be ideal, but I do not have access to one. There are a number of hacks I will try on some scrap wood to see if I can get a good fit. Once I do, I will use that as a jig for the finals.
  • Glue + screws for final assembly.
  • Paint wood to hide it better behind the grill cloth
  • I would like to have curved edges to the peg mounts, but as long as they are hidden well, I won’t worry about it.

Battle: Guitar Speaker Mod

Speaker Cab from Organ

Nothing too special – I have a vintage speaker cabinet from an organ. I plugged a guitar amp into it, and like how it looks. However my new amp pushes the speaker a bit too hard, and I get some weird distortion noises.. sounds like paper flapping when you are blowing a speaker.

So I am going to:

  • Remove speaker
  • Fix wiring
  • Add new speaker
  • hope shit works

Step 1: Remove the volume control.

Currently there is a cool looking, but useless ( and possibly dangerous ) volume control on the back. It has a series of resistors, and lets you dial down volume. I might be over reacting here, but I don’t want to push my volume from an amp into a resistor.

Does look cool as hell though.


I unscrew it, cut the wires, and label them.

Step 2: Pull Speaker


I soldered on this wire previously. Cut it. Unscrew 4 speaker screws and pull out speaker.IMG_9812-1000

It has a weird secondary cone which I assume is to help with treble? I suspect this is what was making the “blown out” paper noise when distortion was ripping through it.


Here we have our speaker markings. A little internet sleuthery and I’m seeing:

“old extension cabinet for the reverb unit from a hammond organ.”

“additional numbers on the rim are AO-22760-0 and 15586, on cone is has 42H3002.I came out of a Hammond Reverb speaker unit.”

“carefuly it might only be 10-12 watt speaker” ( which would explain me the “blowing out” noises.. I might have been doing exactly that.)

 Step 3: Rewire

I won’t have the new speaker until tomorrow, so in the meantime I’m going to prep one side of my speaker wires to plug into my amp. Luckily I have some sample speaker connectors I got like a year ago as part of an auction lot. Knew those fuckers would come in handy…

tin wires

Tin my wires. solder em in place. pop the plug back together.

assemble cable solder

Step 4: Insert new speaker

I tried to be clever and use spade connectors on the new speaker, but the .250 ones are fractionally too large. So I just soldered all that shit together.

Dropped speaker in box. 4 screws. ready to rocknrollerball.

vintage modern IMG_9836-1000



I _might_ adjust the back of this cab by adding in 1/4 inch speaker jack plug. However, the only one I’ve found so far is 2 inch outer diameter, and not sure what inner dimensions are. Not sure I want to damage the original speaker cabinet.

Black-Metal-Jack-Ferrule-Single-1-4-imageSo that will probably be my next mod.


Cost: good. reused old shit. paid $30 for the new speaker. +5
Time Spent: Fast. got the whole thing done in an hour or so, counting driving time to buy speaker on Craigs List +5
Quality: its ok. works. not amazing looking yet, and my soldering still sort of sucks.

Overall: Victory. Clean and simple.

Admittedly this was pretty easy, and just involved sticking different stuff together. I got lucky in a few areas, including the speaker screw holes being the same.

Aftermarket Stereo Install for my 2006 Honda Element part 2

Continued from http://heavymod.com/aftermarket-ster…lement-part-1/

Ok – so the first thing I do as part of the installation is unplug my car battery. I don’t want to accidentally short/fry anything.

With the front trim panel off, I remove the 4 screws shown in the previous video, and the factory radio slides right out. I unplug the factory radio and set it aside. I then plug in my own harness.


When I pulled the radio out, it was screwed into a small frame, along with the under radio pocket. I was able to just unscrew the old radio, and screw my new one in. Very straightforward. I then plug the white harness into my stereo.


For the most part I can just push these cables back in place, and be ready to roll. However I need to figure out where I am going to put the USB cable. I have a few feet to work with, and I’m going to try sticking it in the glove compartment.

I take off the glove co, and use a nifty tool I got with a scoche wiring kit. It is designed to make wiring RCA cables earlier, but it will work for this as well. Starting in the glove, I push the long orange wire up into the dash opening.


Hook it around the USB wire…


And pull it through…


I then slide the radio unit into place, attach the battery cable for a quick test:


Looks good, so I screw the 4 screws back in, and pop on the panel.


The radio at the top is flush to the trim…  It rests a few MM more forward than I would like, but I think that it is designed to “bulge” outwards a bit.


  • Device is Functional: +15
  • Parts Damaged: Trim: -5
  • Parts Damaged: Plastic snaps: -1
  • Time Spent 300% estimate: -1
  • Additional Parts: Under $50: +1


  • Took way longer than expected ( 3+ hours counting re-reading tutorials )
  • Trim tools + RCA wiring device were very helpful
  • Last minute harness purchase cost twice as much since I bought it at Best Buy
  • Buying better trim tools from ebay, or Harbor Freight. They are cheap, and seem like good things to have around. Especially a metal puller of some sort. I’m going to mess around with the audio more in the future ( install amp / speakers )
  • I really need to get better at removing trim, I don’t want to scratch the hell out of my interior working on the amplifier/speakers.

Much thanks to www.elementownersclub.com . Amazing resource, and very friendly people.


Aftermarket Stereo Install for my 2006 Honda Element part 1

So I’m installing a new Clarion head unit / Aftermarket Stereo in my 2006 Honda Element.


Something that wasn’t immediately obvious was how the aftermarket harnesses work. It is taken for granted that noobs like myself will understand that you have TWO harnesses you need, not just the one that comes with your new Stereo.

When you remove your factory radio, there is a harness that plugs into the back. Unfortunately that harness will not fit into your new stereo. You will need a series of adapters to connect the factory wiring to your new stereo. In theory you could cut off the old harness, and splice in the new one that came with your stereo, but for $12.00 extra you can do it in a non-destructive manner. This is good in case you sell your car, and want to reattach the stock radio.

To do this you will buy a female harness that plugs into the factory harness. It ends with a bunch of wires. You will then splice these wires into the second harness, which plugs into your new stereo.

When we are done it will look like this:


So we have our new stereo, the male harness that plugs into it ( white ).. some wires, which we will splice to a female harness ( blue ) that will match the male plug in our car.


For the most part the wire colors are standardized, and you will splice red to red, black to black, etc. HOWEVER you want to check and confirm a diagram that details which colors do what. You might find that some of the wires will match up differently. Matching up the wrong wires can do “bad things” such as frying your dash lights.

For example, on my Metra brand harness ( the blue one that connects to the factory wiring ) There is both an orange (illumination) and an orange/white (dimmer) line. On my aftermarket harness there is an Orange/White line marked Illumination. Seems like a no brainer… until I read this:

Now, if you hook up the orange/white (aftermarket) to the dimmer wire or negative illumination wire on the factory harness there will be bad things that occur. If you just hook up everything that is orange together (a very common rookie mistake) bad things will happen.

So for the time being, I am NOT hooking up the orange illumination line, since I don’t know exactly which wire to hook it to. I can live without illumination tweaks for now.

With my two harnesses wired together, I’m ready to install.


First step is to remove the trim that surrounds the radio.This looks pretty damn easy. Watch the first minute of this video:

Of course this takes me about 2 hours to get off. Basically I could not get the front to “pop” off – especially without tearing up the trim.

I broke the tips of two trim tools trying to pry this off, and even the soft edges of the trim tools were fucking up the dash. Here is the broken tip.

IMG_4932-600You can see the hard plastic tool bending completely without popping that panel off.

IMG_4935-600And the sad results


I got distracted with tutorials – there are a number of different ways to solve this problem.  One tutorial suggested taking off the entire center panel, and removing the radio bevel afterwards. So I spent a while learning how to do that. Although the bottom of the center popped out easily, I couldn’t remove the main area.

By the time I found what I needed I had scratched the hell out of trim. This walk through clearly showed off the area I needed to get the hook into. I could see that little area, so I gave up and just used a flathead screwdriver with a cloth.

I inserted the screwdriver head into that area, and added pressure – It popped out easily enough, and the other pegs popped out easily after that. I’m not sure what the issue was – but it seems like a metal hooked shape puller would be the ideal tool for this.

Continued tomorrow with Part 2.