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Old Rega Planar 3

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by healter skealter, May 2, 2021.

  1. healter skealter

    healter skealter Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Penny Lane
    I think I got lucky at the car boot yesterday, when I picked up an old Rega Planar 3, manufactured in 1979, for £80. Although I have no intention at this stage of disappearing down the rabbit hole, at that price I can justify throwing some money at it, so I'd be grateful for a few tips:

    • It works, but runs very slow, so top of the list is a new belt. Research suggests their 'white belt' is no longer available, but alternatives abound...any recommendations?
    • There's considerable 'elasticated' left-to-right movement on the drive spindle, top-to-bottom not so much. Removing the inspection hatch, I see there's a rubber band securing it to the motor plate. Should I replace this band, or is some left-to-right spindle movement normal/acceptable?
    • It has a non-standard headshell (DSC Jelco) on the original R200 arm. Unfortunately, I destroyed the cartridge (JVC Z-2E) trying to remove & check the stylus, which for some reason was glued to it...so now I'm looking for a suitable replacement (happy to replace the headshell too if necessary). I've seen two strongly recommended: Ortofon 520 mk II, aka Vinyl Master Red, aka Music Hall Magic 3; and Denon DL-103. Both of these cost more than I'm prepared to spend before I know whether the deck has other problems, so I'm wondering whether there's a cheaper but reasonably good alternative, which I could keep as an acceptable spare if the deck turns out to be otherwise ok, & I then end up buying one of the more expensive recommendations for it.
    Many thanks in advance.
     
  2. Bob_in_OKC

    Bob_in_OKC Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dallas
    The latest belts are available online - Analogue Seduction. Running very slow sounds like maybe the pulley is slipping on the motor spindle. If so, a little glue should hold it.
     
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  3. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    You could get the upgrade drive motor which is hard mounted. The old rubber band 'cradle' for the motor results in audible wow.
     
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  4. Stone Turntable

    Stone Turntable Dedicated Listener

    Location:
    New Mexico USA
    +1 on getting the motor upgrade kit.
     
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  5. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    Congratulations! My first proper turntable was a 1980 Rega Planar 3 which sold for £148 in those days.

    I doubt if the slow running is solely down to the belt. As @Bob_in_OKC mentioned, it is possible for the pulley to come unstuck, ensure it is pushed down fully if you need to re-glue.

    Yes, the white belt has been discontinued as literally last month Rega introduced two new much improved and longer lasting belts. The Advanced EBLT is £15 in the UK, the Reference EBLT Drive Belt £25.

    The motor mount does move, that was part of the original design, but new bands are available for a few quid.

    Had a quick look on eBay and someone in France is selling some ADC headshells for under £18.

    Another alternative is to buy one of the excellent Audio Technica VM cartridges pre-mounted. AT-VM95E/H - VM95 series Elliptical stereo cartridge on AT-HS6 Headshell | Audio-Technica You could upgrade the stylus later to the VM95ML.

    If you want an upgrade then the 24 V Motor Upgrade Kit (£135) together with the new belt will give a noticeable improvement over how it was new from 1979!

    Good luck.
     
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  6. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington NC
    Actually I would not go down this particular rabbit hole with a 40 year old P3. Get the new P3 which can be had with something like a AT95ML cart for under 1k. Or get the P2 with similar cartridge for a couple of hundred less.

    This way you get the upgraded motor and a MUCH better tonearm and platter. Not to mention better bearings new belts.
     
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  7. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    Does the R200 arm have VTA adjustment ?
     
  8. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I guess it all depends on what the OP wants to spend. Getting the upgrade motor, any genuine Rega belt, and something like a Groovetracer Reference subplatter should elevate the performance greatly. Any Rega with a plastic molded subplatter could benefit from a better subplatter. I have the Groovetracer Reference subplatter and it made a huge difference in lowering the noise floor and reducing wow and flutter to being undetectable. The motor upgrade includes an aluminum pulley and you can use the new motor with the NEO PSU or older TT-PSU.

    Subplatter:
    Subplatter_groovetracer
     
  9. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    Yes, by spacers same as RB300.
     
  10. PhxJohn

    PhxJohn Forum Resident

    Location:
    Phoenix, AZ
    I meant built in adjustment but thank you. I'm checking this one out in case I upgrade from my Quintet to a Cadenza.
    VTAF for 3 Point Mount Rega Arms
     
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  11. starbuck

    starbuck Forum Resident

    Location:
    Cloudy, UK
    Before spending too much money on it, keep in mind that it is possible that the belt that is part of the bias assembly within the original R200 tonearm fitted will likely be perished and cracked, and whatever the last setting used on the bias dial is what it is presently set (and stuck) at. The bias belts can be replaced but it is complicated though you may be lucky and it either still works fine or that the last setting used is what is needed for whatever cartridge you end up fitting/using going forward. Assuming the tonearm can be used as is, I would just replace the drive belt and motor suspension belt (Edwards Audio Little Belter is a good alternative to the Rega belts), and ensure that the plastic motor pulley is securely attached (if you can gently pull it off, a 3mm drill bit can be used by hand to remove dried out glue from inside the spindle hole before carefully reattaching to the motor spindle with a spot of glue - avoiding getting it in the motor itself, of course). £20ish would be all that's needed to do this, less if you want to use one of those Rega belt kits available on the bay for about £10.00, plus the cost of a new cartridge.
     
  12. healter skealter

    healter skealter Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Penny Lane
    Yes, I'd read that this is a common problem, and found a supplier of repair kits. But fingers crossed it'll be ok as is!


    Many thanks for all the advice so far. This is all uncharted territory for me - all I've done prior to this is replace belts/styli/cartridges, and I had to google VTA! But the new belt is on its way, and I'll probably end up ordering the AT-VM95 E/H recommended above. But first, I'm going to try to attach another cartridge, & check general functionality - something I should've done properly before trashing the old cartridge! :wtf:
     
    Randoms likes this.
  13. McLover

    McLover Senior Member

    Location:
    Athens, Tennessee
    +10 on the motor upgrade.
     
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  14. KT88

    KT88 Forum Resident

    You can clean out the main bearing well and ball bearing (remove this with a magnet perhaps and be careful not to lose it) with some naphtha, etc, and relube it with a few drops of 90wt gear oil. I would replace the tonearm with a known good RB300 or RB250.

    Better yet, trade the whole thing in to a dealer for a new Planar 2 or Planar 3 and let them fool with the old one.
    -Bill
     
  15. moomaloo

    moomaloo All-round good egg

    £80 for planar 3 of any vintage is a steal my friend. You did well, and hopefully you'll get it up and running for not a whole lot more.
     
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  16. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    You might want to take it into a Rega dealer if you have a good one nearby. My local one charges around £45/50 for a service, and could tell you what needs doing and what doesn’t. (I have a 1982 RP3, with the R200 arm that I use occasionally, which I’ve owned from new, and now has an Elys2 cartridge fitted to it, with a newish belt too).
     
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  17. healter skealter

    healter skealter Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Penny Lane
    Initially, they wanted £150. So I discovered a non-fault, they then said 'serious offers at least £100', told them I was going home to google the 'repair' cost, but instead googled ebay prices - all £300+. Went back just as they were packing up, '£80 final offer', they accepted. A good morning's work, I felt :righton:
     
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  18. healter skealter

    healter skealter Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Penny Lane
    That's a good idea - there's one about 20 miles away.

    As well as fault diagnosis, what could I expect from a service? eg would they re-lube everything, check/replace bearing etc?
     
  19. rich100

    rich100 Forum Resident

    Location:
    Middle of England
    Motor is most likely shot, same problem my old one had (it started and quickly lost speed and ground to a halt). A new motor kit sorted that, TTPSU/NEO optional. Subplatter and bearing kits are available from a UK manufacturer cheaper than the US imports if you wish to upgrade further.
     
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  20. healter skealter

    healter skealter Forum Resident Thread Starter

    Location:
    Penny Lane
    I'm hoping it's just the belt, because it starts slowly and runs at maybe 75% speed, at a guess. Also, the belt is very loose, barely gripping the subplatter, also has a visible distortion at one point, suggesting it's been left unused for a long time...anyway, fingers crossed! Also, the pulley seems firmly attached to the spindle.
     
  21. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    @healter skealter, if there is problem with the motor / board, a Rega dealer may have a working one they they could do cheap from where a customer has upgraded to the 24v kit.
     
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  22. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington NC
    Once you do all that, you've spent at least $400 maybe $500. Seriously fill out a trade form with hifi heaven asking for a new P3 or P2. You may end up spending $200 more than all the upgrades, but you will have a new table. The ARM on the P3 is well worth the jump up.

    I am a king of Rega upgrades having done most of the above to a 15 year old P5. But that table is worlds better than a 40 year old P3, even with upgrades because of the RB700 arm. The RB330 arm found on the current P3 is as good as the RB700 IME (i've compared but on 2 tables).

    The stock P3 sound very good without the subplatter and with its stock power supply. Speed is very stable, just a small tick fast.

    When I used the NEO, Groovertracer subplatter and better counterweight on the new P3-the performance went up with darker background, steady speed with the NEO and a quiter background. I was using the Soundsmith VPI Zephyr MKI ($1200), which most will not use with this table but it easily-in this configuration will shock you how good it can be.
     
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  23. AKA-Chuck G

    AKA-Chuck G Forum Resident

    Location:
    Washington NC
    I'm currently having my P5 "serviced" for $60. It runs slow without NEO. They should check it all out. Clean old lube, relube-check bearings in arm and spindle- clean and relube. It will be well worth having it serviced-get it up and running before even thinking spending anymore. BTW, a motor replacement is over $200. Get it running, sell it for 300 and get a new one. :laugh:
     
  24. Randoms

    Randoms Aerie Faerie Nonsense

    Location:
    UK
    I'm trying to get my memory back to 40 years ago, there may have been very slight variations, but I believe most I saw where like like this:-

    [​IMG]

    Thinking about it I cannot recall ever attempting to alter the VTA.

    The Acos Lustre derived R200 was a good arm and available separately for £46, but once the £90 RB300 became standard fit and the Linn Basik models came on the market, you only tended to see them on legacy Planar 2s and Planar 3s.

    Rega "dropped" the price of the Planar 3 when the RB (Rega Britain) 300 replaced the R200, as price went from £148 to £188!

    The picture shows a good angle of the bias belt housing.
     
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  25. Dhreview16

    Dhreview16 Forum Resident

    Location:
    London UK
    You could call to confirm, but yes so far as I recall. They will almost certainly fit a new belt (and add this to the Bill) and fit you free a new cart if you need or want one. See what they stock. If you want to keep the cost low you can get a decent AT for c. £30/40. I forget the model number....95 ? Good luck.
     
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