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firtree 9th Sep 2018 4:33 pm

A crapophone fix?
I have received from my very dear friends a wedding gift of one gramophone, but unfortunately, it is a fake - complete with the bad sticker and everything. Bless them, the girls meant well and I really, REALLY don't want to get rid of it, as their gesture was from the heart and very sweet.

I have searched the internet for a fix-up, but unfortunately, it seems that it would be quite impossible to make it work properly, so I turn to yous guys as Knowledgable People (TM) and ask for help. Is there any way I can make this work, perhaps by converting it into a standard LP record player, maybe hiding the motor in the body, speaker into the horn? No idea what to do with the soundbox or the hand...

I am not very experienced in these matters but did have (at one point in the far away past) some electrical engineering training, so I'm willing to give it the ol' college try. I mean, I can't break it any more than it already is!

I'd be grateful for any and all tips.

paulsherwin 9th Sep 2018 4:47 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
It's very sad when this happens. I bet it wasn't cheap either.

I think your best options are to keep it as a non functional display item, or to convert it into an FM/Bluetooth/MP3 player. Suitable modules are available from Chinese eBay sellers for very little money.

firtree 9th Sep 2018 4:57 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Thanks so much for replying! I dread to think how much they spent on it... I said, as a throwaway comment, a couple of months ago that I would like to have a windup gramophone at one point in my life, so this is the result.

I don't have much space in the flat, so a purely ornamental item is something I'd like to avoid. I could keep snacks in the box itself, but it's a bit large for a peanut container...

The MP3 player idea has crossed my mind, but am somehow hoping against hope that I can "frankenstein" it into a real live record player (albeit not the same type that it started its life as...). I just have no idea where to start.

Radio Wrangler 9th Sep 2018 6:47 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
One rather expensive way out would to do the reverse of the "The goldfish I was looking after for someone died" trick and swap it for a real one!

The motors in the things are real and came from wood box portables. The horns are indian coppersmithery and look unlike anything genuine so I suppose you'd need to find a good pivot and a good soundbox and do a bit of appropriate counterbalancing.


GrimJosef 9th Sep 2018 6:50 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Can you remove most of the existing mechanism and replace it with an electric motor-driven turntable with a reasonably modern arm ? If you can then conversion might be possible. If not then converting what you have into a standard LP record player would be a very great deal of work. Imagine you have a horse-drawn carriage which you want to convert into a car. It can be done (the first car makers more-or-less did it) but it wasn't easy. And I'm fairly sure no-one will have done it before you.



ben 9th Sep 2018 6:54 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
I'd look for a real but battered gramophone and try to make a working one (using, say, the arm/sound box and maybe the motor). Forget converting it to an electrical vinyl record player, the sheer amount of work would not justify the inevitably poor sounding result.

firtree 9th Sep 2018 7:07 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Thanks so much for replying!
David, the thought had crossed my mind, but the catch is I was intending to save up for a real one over several years (mortgage payments being what they are...), so swapping it right out is a distant dream in the future. I tried to find some genuine spare parts, but am at a loss as far as how much of it I'd have to replace.... The soundbox for sure, as it is a cheap fake, and the tone arm looks like someone sawed it off at one end to make it fit? Is that even possible? But unfortunately I haven't the slightest idea what model I should be looking for.

GJ, I think I could remove most of the mechanism, it looks like it's attached with a couple of screws, nothing looks welded to anything else. The tone arm is so fidgety I could probably sneeze on it and it'd fall off. Do you perhaps know of any resources that might help me not fudge this up immensely, maybe a forum or any sort of record of anyone doing something similar? I tried searching for it myself, but no luck.
I like the horse-drawn carriage analogy, it makes me realise just how much trouble I'm in...

The husband is rooting for selling it, but I object on moral grounds.

firtree 9th Sep 2018 7:14 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Ben, thank you for replying and for your suggestion. The motor looks fairly okay, it's mainly the tone arm and soundbox that's giving me a ton of grief. It looks like someone mistook the gramophone for an arts and crafts project. All that's missing is macaroni and glitter.
Perhaps any suggestions on where I can find resources that would guide me through switching the arm and knowing what model to use? I searched the internet, but being a total newbie, I wasn't able to find anything.
Gotcha on the vinyl conversion, perhaps I was overly optimistic.

Ed_Dinning 9th Sep 2018 7:34 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Hi, I believe I have a battered old arm, soundbox, horn and spring type motor board, not sure about the turntable.
Yours if you can get to the UK, or wait until next summer when I will be passing through Europort

Cheers, Ed

firtree 9th Sep 2018 7:45 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Ed, thanks for replying and more so for your offer. I'm not sure about getting to the UK soon but have friends there who might do me a favour of picking up spare parts in exchange for jam and homemade liquor.

paulsherwin 9th Sep 2018 7:46 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Just to be clear, you wouldn't be able to play microgroove 33/45 rpm records on one of these even if it wasn't a crap-o-phone. They aren't a great way to play the shellac 78s for which they were intended.

firtree 9th Sep 2018 7:55 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Paul, thanks for the warning. I have a couple of shellac 78s (old German foxtrot and similar weirdness, nothing valuable) and of course with the gramophone being what it is currently, no way of playing them :) I am aware of the bad sound quality, but I have to admit, to my shame, that I kind of enjoy the scratchy crackly quality. I had a listen to a 78 once upon a time, my da's mate had a gramophone player and I swore that when I grow up I'm going to get myself one of those.

1100 man 9th Sep 2018 9:23 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Hi Firtree,
It would be interesting to see some pictures of exactly what you have got. It's very unfortunate when well meaning friends spend too much money on something inappropriate. I do hope you can find some way round the problem although I've no idea how!
Good luck though,
All the best

bluepilot 10th Sep 2018 8:20 am

Re: A crapophone fix?
These things are produced for decoration. They weren't intended to be used as real gramophones. The problem is when unscrupulous or possibly just ignorant people pass them off as genuine ones. Trying to make a good gramophone out of it would probably involve throwing all the insides away and replacing them with something else. Maybe you can get a decent sound box for it. At least there would be a chance that you could play records without wrecking them even if they sounded horrible. Or you could just hide it in the cellar and only get it out when your friends come to visit.

firtree 11th Sep 2018 3:40 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
3 Attachment(s)
Stuart, thanks for replying. I'll go with the soundbox as I am currently low on cellars :D

Nick, here it is, in all its glory! (I hope I'm working the attachments right...)

HamishBoxer 11th Sep 2018 3:42 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Made in India I am afraid.

firtree 11th Sep 2018 3:49 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Hamish, yep, figured as much :) Waiting for Sunday's flea market to see if I can scavenge any spare parts, otherwise it's off to eBayland for me and hoping that I can somehow find a tonearm and a soundbox all in one go.

Audio1950 11th Sep 2018 5:09 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
If you do find one, bear in mind that when you assemble it, the point of the needle should pass a maximum of half an inch in front of the centre spindle. More or less than this will result in mis-tracking, and will ruin your records.

firtree 11th Sep 2018 5:29 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
Audio1950, thank you for the advice! Do you perhaps know of any resources on how to assemble it correctly? A diagram or a manual, or perhaps an illustration or basically whatever that would help me not fudge this up completely? I tried finding some, but I'm at a loss. I have a woeful lack of experience with fixing anything gramophone-related and I'm thinking this might have been better left to professionals, but on the other hand I'd love to learn something new. So far the greatest success has been not having the soundbox hit my head when it flew off the tonearm (this afternoon's gramophone fidgeting left me with a couple of angry domestic animals and me picking myself off the floor). Still, I haven't broken anything. Yet.

Folks, I have to tell you this is shaping up to be a bigger project than I initially thought, none of the record players have treated me so badly yet. Still, I'm not giving up until the proverbial fat lady sings. But I am naming the next villain in my stories Gramophone.

rambo1152 11th Sep 2018 6:59 pm

Re: A crapophone fix?
1 Attachment(s)
I had a similar experience a few weeks ago when I heard my wife negotiating with the shop owner to buy this

Attachment 169128

I quietly told her that it was not quite what it purports to be.

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