Basic Layout and Operation
The photograph below shows a top view of a typical Victrola, with the major components (and functions) listed. Different models will have slightly different configurations, but the overall function is the same.
Winding: A spring and motor in good condition should wind easily and will hit a mechanical stop before you can overwind it. Wind gently and slowly, and be prepared to stop if you experience significant resistance in the crank. Most spring damage is done when forcing the crank. Twenty or so winds should be sufficient to play a 10 inch record.
Needles: Replace a steel needle with a new one EVERY time a record is played. See the NEEDLES section for more info.
Removing the Motorboard: To remove the motorboard to gain access to the spring motor (for repairs or lubrication), remove the crank by winding it BACKWARDS a few turns, and it will pull straight out. Remove the turntable by lifting straight up. If it is stuck, you can use a small piece of wood held across the top of the turntable to put downward pressure on the center spindle while lifting upwards on the bottom edges. If necessary, have someone gently rap on the wood with a mallet while you are pulling upwards. Remove the soundbox by turning it clockwise 1/4 turn (while facing the front) and it can then be pulled straight off the tonearm. Push the tonearm to the far right to clear the motorboard. Then loosen any holding screws around the motorboard. If the phonograph has a semi-automatic brake, slide the y-shaped brake mechanism (visible with the turntable removed) toward the center such that all components are over the motorboard (and nothing is hanging out beyond the edge of the motorboard). Lift the turntable out using the small lifting knob (in most cases) located toward the front of the motorboard. It will usually pivot upwards or lift straight out, depending on vintage and model.
Maintenance: A few drops of good machine oil on the governor parts and bearings, along with some light grease on the gears will keep your Victor Phonograph working smoothly. It is essential that all old hardened grease be cleaned off, as it may damage the components. Lubrication of the mainsprings is covered under the RESOURCES section of this website.
Click on the OWNER'S MANUAL link to access a complete Victrola owners instruction booklet, including basic operation and maintenance.