Technics SL1200/1210MKII

Pitch fader fix

Note: this is a compliment to the original tutorial at Hyperreal. Read it. Don't attempt this unless you know soldering and good working habits. That said, reading this will probably give you more understanding and love for your decks.

Plan plenty of time. From several hours on one to less than one hour on a pair, depending on efficiency.

Note that these instructions are for carbon based faders! Plastic faders, like PCV and Penny&Giles, should not be treated with anything but water. Plastic fader cleaning instructions here.
(click thumbnails for larger pictures)

Start by removing all loose objects like the 45 adapter, slipmat and the 2 kilo platter. Protect or remove the needle, lock the tonearm and carefully lift off the silver tab on the pitch fader.

Beware of small piece of felt/cloth under the plastic knob, it's essential for the feeling of the fader. The firmness of the fade depends on the choice of material for the little cloth piece, experiment to find your perfect fader glide.

Remove the plastic cover under the platter.

Notice the cable from the pitch fader connecting to the right hand side of the printed circuit board(PCB).

Disconnect the cable by pushing in the small pins locking the plug to the connector. If it's a new turntable and the plug is white, carefully insert a tiny screwdrivers blade into the end of the connector and twist it open.

Have you lubed the spindle bearing lately? Not? Didn't you read the F.. manual? ;) Well, it says to lube with three drops of light oil every 2000'th working hour. Dig out that can of oil and very neatly drip a drop or two into the bearing under the spindle in the middle of the turntable. The spindle have a little bit of vertical freeplay, lift it to get better access if your oiling device have a large tip. The needle-tip oiling pen is perfect for the purpose.


Place turntable upside down in the dust cover, flight case or similar rig. Remove the feet and unscrew all the screws in the base plate The easiest way is to unscrew all the screws but not remove them from the platter. Lift it off with all the screws still in their holes and it'll be a lot quicker to put it back on.

After removing the base plate it'll look like this:

The pitchfader is, as you can see, on the left hand side. Before unscrewing anything, desolder the 8 solder pads holding the fader on the green PCB. Some odd decks have a slightly different layout on the PCB, if so, what to desolder is obvious.

We'll remove the actual fader from the PCB without desoldering the led. Unscrew the PCB. Notice that there is some sort of strap on the cable, remove it to have a loose fader unit to work on. Not actually necessary if you feel good about working with less space.

Desolder the two lowermost wires on the cable, if you watch the traces on the circuit board you can see the two traces going through the green led. They're usually orange and yellow. Wrap electrical tape around the ends of the wires and make sure they never ever touch each other. That removed the zero-effect, but the physical click is still there.
Remove the screw above the green led and the two screws holding the metal top plate on the fader. Watch those tiny spacers under the the top plate screws, some are loose, some are not.
Carefully break the glue sealing holding the small brown PCB piece to the metal tab. The legs of the LED are very tiny and don't stand too much abuse, beware while handling it.

With the solder blobs removed the fader is probably still a bit stuck. Work around the contacts of the fader with a flat screwdriver to ease off the residual connections. Too much force and the PCB breaks. Can't reuse the word careful too much for this sort of work.

Wiggle around a little to take the fader out of the PCB and metal top plate. Notice the tiny spacers, one is stuck to the metal plate, the other was loose, seen to the right of the screw.



All this action to bring forth the fader it self. If you buy a replacement fader, not the whole unit with the PCB, this is how far you have desolder to replace it.

Yet you're not fully there, one last little step remains. Use a small flat screwdriver to bend up all the metal legs holding the brown board.

The center click mechanism is a small springloaded ball sliding into a hole in the side of the fader enclosure. If you want to keep the little ball, hold onto the fader stem on the other side while removing the brown underside. Then hold your hand around while pushing the white plastic bit out to reveal the spring and ball. It leaps out! The spring may be retracted, use a sharp object to work it out.

Use proper cleaning solutions, make the fader as good as new. A soft toothbrush is good for the small brushes that do the sliding action. Lube the top of the metal enclosure by greasing the green(sometimes larger white) piece of plastic that slides along the top of the metal enclosure. Assemble the fader unit in reverse order. Line the hole in the white plastic piece with the hole in the metal enclosure. The brown underside on the fader have one larger hole and similarly the fader doesn't fit in the PCB if inserted the wrong way.



Time to make it smooth. Flip the table over, connect the pitch cable again and replace the platter before turning on power. Never turn on a turntable without the platter! Magnetics don't like it. Notice the location of the pitch adjustment knob, it sets the zero position and probably needs to be tweaked to make true zero on the now clickless fader.

With the platter on, the zero point can be adjusted through the small hole with the power on, simplifying the adjustment tremendously. Tweak it in small amounts with the fader set to zero, watch the strobe pattern to make visual confirmation of zero. It's close enough. If you want the precise 33 1/3 quartz lock speed you shouldn't have removed the center click in the first place! A future project is to drill a hole in the casing and install a zero on/off button like the M3D's and newer models.

If your pitch gain is far off the mark, the gain adjustment potentiometer on the fader unit let you dial in the desired range of the pitchfader. Can sometimes be set to more than +-8%. Wrap it all up again. Take care with the green LED, the legs can be bent from the handling and may need some more bending to fit the slot in the top panel.

Slide the fader up and down a few times and forget about it. Until you find yourself doing a tight beatmix exactly on the center spot that have always been a nightmare until now. Enjoy!

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Andreas Nordenstam December 2003 - updated september 2004 BTM-info

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