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Success Stories If you have successfully repaired or restored a piece of equipment, why not write up what you did and post details here. Particularly if it was interesting, unusual or challenging. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 25th Apr 2019, 11:55 pm   #1
unitelex
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Default Mrs Spittal's jumping records

This is a true story from 1979.
As a lad of 16 I was working Saturdays at a high street chemist which also sold budget audio equipment, LPs Singles etc.
One Saturday the store manager, knowing I had some knack for diagnosing problems, came to me with a request. He had an elderly customer who had bought a new stereo record player to replace her previous player because it was skipping. She had been returning to the store regularly to complain that the new machine was also "jumping" as she put it. She had also returned on several occasions to return and complain about LP's she had bought that - you guessed it - were jumping. She had been offered a 2nd new machine but refused and wanted a service call. The store manager seemed at his wits end, and asked me to visit her house to find out what the problem was. The manager seemed fearful of her and sent me alone. They would not pay for a taxi, it would have cost more than my wage for the day. So I walked the mile or two to her house where I met Mrs Spittal for the first time. I dont recall her being hard of hearing but she did remind me of Mrs Richards (Joan Sanderson) the deaf lady from the Faulty Towers episode.

Mrs Spittal recounted at length about all the jumping problems she was having with the old record player, now the new one. I asked her to show me the problem. She handed me a record from her collection and asked me to put it on. I checked the stylus which looked OK, it was a new machine so wear was not likely. The tracking seemed OK but I lacked equipment to check it precisely. It played OK for a short while, then the jumping started. It was jumping randomly, not once per revolution or at any particular point.
The player was on a sturdy table with no obvious signs of vibration etc.

So I took a very close look at the stylus while this jumping was happening. To my surprise I saw some curls of white debris trailing behind the stylus. I told Mrs Spittal that her record might be dirty and need cleaning. She was most indignant and said that the store manager had already advised her to clean her records which she had apparently done. She took another record from its sleeve to show me and admittedly it did look very shiny indeed.

I asked her how she was cleaning the records. It was when she showed me the wax furniture polish and duster that I realized what was going on.
I asked her if I could try something, I took the record to her kitchen and carefully cleaned the record with detergent, warm water a velvet cloth and dried it with a tissue. After that the record played without the white debris behind the stylus and no jumping at all.

I left her house with several LPs cleaned and drying on her dish rack and imparted some record cleaning tips. She did not have a dishwasher otherwise I would have advised her not to wash her records in it.

I wonder if she survived to the CD era and bought a CD player. Maybe my successor got called to her house one day to solve problems with skipping CD's and advised her to wax polish them...
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Old 27th Apr 2019, 5:52 pm   #2
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

I had many hilarious incidents with my customers that only a house call would solve.
I once had an elderly lady book a service call on her record player and when I collected it she insisted that I promised not to play any 'Rolling Stones' records on it as they would damage her 'Stylo.'

The older generation had a hatred of groups such as The Who and the Rolling Stones that even in this case extended to them 'damaging' their record playing equipment!
John
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Old 27th Apr 2019, 5:56 pm   #3
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

Could that be why we get so many posts in these forums concerning knackered Dansettes?

Only kidding!
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Old 27th Apr 2019, 6:00 pm   #4
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

Quote:
Originally Posted by Heatercathodeshort View Post
I had many hilarious incidents with my customers that only a house call would solve.
I once had an elderly lady book a service call on her record player and when I collected it she insisted that I promised not to play any 'Rolling Stones' records on it as they would damage her 'Stylo.'

The older generation had a hatred of groups such as The Who and the Rolling Stones that even in this case extended to them 'damaging' their record playing equipment!
John
I am now thinking of 'Music to break phonographs by' from Godel, Escher and Bach...
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Old 27th Apr 2019, 7:32 pm   #5
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

I thought it was a very funny story. Mrs Spitt[all] and Polish clearly

Dave
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Old 28th Apr 2019, 9:37 am   #6
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

Oh dear! J.
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Old 28th Apr 2019, 11:08 am   #7
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

I can remember back in the 1980s an engineer came back from a call to a piano key VHS machine.
The user had put a new tape in without unwrapping it bending the cassette carrier and guides.
We spent half a day joking about the little robot inside the VCR unwrapping the cassette before the tape loaded.
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Old 28th Apr 2019, 4:00 pm   #8
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

Lego-bricks and the occasional part-eaten biscuit or sandwich were things commonly found inside VHS machines brought in for 'service' by parents-with-toddlers.

It could be worse: a friend in Texas had trouble with the washer/drier (which lived in a sort-of carport behind the house). Normal service was resumed after the service-technician removed the now-dead-and-well-mangled Rattlesnake(!) from amongst the motors etc. and replaced a belt.
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Old 28th Apr 2019, 7:15 pm   #9
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

Did he lubricate it with snake oil? J.
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Old 28th Apr 2019, 11:12 pm   #10
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

I remember my neighbours when I was young had a Sharp VCR where the remote control slotted into the front panel when not in use.

One of their sons tried using the tape slot for the remote & got it stuck, fortunately his Dad managed to remove it without needed professional help.

I remember seeing a device that could be placed in the slot of a front loading VCR to stop anything else being stuck in.
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Old 28th Apr 2019, 11:13 pm   #11
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

Did the rattlesnake bight the belt off before getting mangled in the drier motor?
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 6:49 am   #12
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

Texan ingenuity might have used the rattlesnake as a replacement belt.

David
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 10:13 am   #13
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

Or cobbled up a pair of shoes with it. J.
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Old 29th Apr 2019, 4:13 pm   #14
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

I once removed a toy pink elephant from a front loading VHS machine. I can truthfully promise I had not been drinking.

Alan
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Old 30th Apr 2019, 6:43 pm   #15
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

When I was a child in the early 1960s, I remember our family record player, fitted with a BSR GU4 deck, had difficulty playing one particular 45rpm single. It was "Tell Him" by Billie Davis. Dad fixed the jumping by sticking a twelve sided 3d coin on top of the arm. I still have that record and it plays reasonably well using a modern Shure magnetic cartridge.
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Old 30th Apr 2019, 10:33 pm   #16
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

I've heard of people taping coins to the tonearms of Dansettes to stop them from jumping, old pennies being common.
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Old 1st May 2019, 1:32 am   #17
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

I remember that the Collaro autochanger of dad's mid- 1950's radiogram wouldn't play to the end of some of the pre-war 9" 78's with a small centre label. The work-round was to manually move the head to the spindle before it dropped when loading a record and then manually move it back to the start of the record.
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Old 1st May 2019, 7:15 am   #18
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

There was a latter day version of the jumping record.

One Phil Collins CD had an error in its encoding. Pressed faithfully into all copies.
The chipset of the Philips CD150 player had a bug in its design, which happened to mean that these machines and various others which used that chipset would go loopy when they hit the error in that disc.

What goes around, comes around.

David
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Old 1st May 2019, 11:36 am   #19
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

Quote:
Originally Posted by Richard_FM View Post
I've heard of people taping coins to the tonearms of Dansettes to stop them from jumping, old pennies being common.
Oh yes I did that many a time !! although I think it was a Fidelity I used to do it on.
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Old 1st May 2019, 11:54 pm   #20
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Default Re: Mrs Spittal's jumping records

Some years ago, I wrote an article for TV magazine called 'There's nowt as queer as folk'

Here are a couple of extracts from the article:

When I was working for a large service company, one of the job cards told me to attend to a Hitachi 25” TV with the complaint “Wont switch on”. On my arrival I asked the customer what was wrong with it, She took the remote control, pointed it at the set and said “look it won’t work.” I went over to the set, pushed in the on/off switch and the set came on! I didn’t feel guilty about charging the 15 Customer Education Fee. After all I did educate her, I showed her how to use the on/off switch!

* * * * *


Another customer complained that her Amstrad DD8900 Video recorder went faulty but only on Tuesdays and Thursdays! It transpired that she used it mainly for recording Eastenders (When Eastenders was on twice a week!) There was nothing actually wrong with the machine, the customer didn’t understand how to set the timer!



* * * * *
This is from around 1997

Another call from a customer who couldn’t sleep, When Tanya phoned at a quarter to one in the morning (yes at 00.45hrs) my wife couldn’t believe here ears. Tanya had booked the boxing with Sky box office and found that she couldn’t receive it. She had a Pace PRD800 receiver, but in order to receive these channels they needed the expander. She pleaded with me to come out and I quoted her the exhorbitant amount of 100 to supply and fit this expander and tune it in.

“Yes come quickly!” she said excitedly.

It took me 15 minutes to reach her house, 5 minutes to fit the expander and tune it in and ten minutes to drink the glass of champagne she had provided. She had a couple of make guests also watching the boxing, one of whom was a solicitor.

“Don’t you think 100 is a lot of money for what you’ve done?”

“What for coming out at one o’clock in the morning, anyway you’re a solicitor, what do you charge an hour?”

“One hundred and eighty pounds an hour” (presumably ex VAT)

“Well then, don’t begrudge me my 100.”

Tanya was pleased she could now watch the boxing she had paid for, she told me that she would have phoned every TV engineer in the yellow pages to find someone to come out.
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