IMG_2929-0

ERA Mk6 Belt-Drive Turntable Repair & Restoration

I was asked to restore this lovely old French ERA Mk6 belt-drive turntable, as a surprise birthday gift. I was happy to assist and it gave me an opportunity to work on a deck I’d not worked on before.

The ERA Mk6 is a belt-drive deck from the early seventies. It is slightly unusual in the actual mechanical layout of chassis, plinth, platter and motor and I had never seen anything quite like it.

Details

The Mk6 originally shipped without an arm, but the British importer at the time added a very nice SME 3009, all for the price of – can you believe it – 88 pounds! The deck is not heavy and neither is the platter, which is spun by a multi-pole AC motor.

The chassis of the ERA Mk6 is built up from thin sheet steel, painted black and there is a wooden arm mounting board, cut out for the SME of course. The motor is mounted on a sub-section that also houses the bearing, arm and platter, but the motor is a 48 pole unit and generates less vibration than many.

Another unusual feature is that the bearing itself sits roughly in the plane of the record, as opposed to deep within the bearing well. This is a design aspect the Pioneer later claimed as their ‘Stable Platter’ design, but clearly, this was thought about by ERA in the early ’70s!

Here’s a link to the ERA catalogue from the time.

Overhaul

This ERA deck came to me in quite a state. The smoked perspex dust cover was virtually destroyed, cartridge clips had been broken off the headshell wires, the belt had dissolved into dust, the cartridge was broken and needed a new stylus and the tonearm was exceptionally dirty and completely out of adjustment.

I had to clean and adjust and repair almost everything on this deck. I also fitted a nice new Japanese JICO stylus for the lovely Shure V15 cartridge installed on this old girl. The end result was a very nice sounding ERA Mk6 that should now give years of trouble-free service.

IMG 2861
Check out the dirt on this sub-chassis section! Note the bearing assembly in the middle, motor and speed changer to the bottom-left and mains inlet to the middle-left.
IMG 2862
This is the top part of the chassis, removed for cleaning and inspection…
IMG 2863
A few things are visible in this picture: the SME 3009, in all its broken and dirty glory, plus the sub-platter and platter, in the background and chassis bottom, plus a sprinkling of tools and cleaning implements!
IMG 2864
A good view of the dirty headshell and broken headshell wire
IMG 2865
Closer view of the very dirty SME 3009
ERA Mk6
Freshly cleaned sub-chassis, doesn’t this look so much better!
IMG 2868
Cleaned platter…
IMG 2931
… and cleaned sub-platter, now back on deck, with a new German drive belt.
IMG 2932
Close-up of all cleaned drive parts and speed changing mechanism. Some careful cleaning and lubrication was performed in this area.
IMG 2933
Precision drive belts really do make a difference, mainly in terms of speed accuracy. We keep stock of most belts that might be needed for the range of equipment we service.
IMG 2903
This was a fiddly job to repair but easily fixed with the right soldering equipment technique.
IMG 2902
Dirty SME 3009…
IMG 2914
… VS clean SME 3009! What a difference a little cleaning makes.
IMG 2915
Fixed headshell wiring, but note the back end of the V15 hanging out – I had to reinsert this back into the cart body.
IMG 2927
Lovely clean SME 3009, set up and installed back on the now clean ERA Mk 6!
IMG 2928
Close-up of the cleaned headshell of the SME
IMG 2930
Nice view of the finished deck. This doesn’t show the new JICO stylus I installed for the Shure V15 Mk3.
IMG 2926
Another view of the freshly restored and serviced ERA Mk6

6 thoughts on “ERA Mk6 Belt-Drive Turntable Repair & Restoration”

  1. Will the player play 45’s with the german belt? I have a similar where the belt needs replacement, but i read somewhere that the belts that you can buy today is too wide, in comparison to the original and that the speed changer does not work.

    1. Hi Povl, it’s true that the belt dimensions must be spot on, this is true for most belt drive machines, especially those utilising mechanical speed change mechanisms. Length, width and thickness are critically important. This deck worked perfectly on both speeds after I was done with it, but keep in mind that many just changing a belt won’t have the experience/knowledge to get the deck running properly anyway. I use reliable vendors who supply belts that meet the specifications in my database, or, where I don’t have those specs, that I trust will send me the right sized belt based on their database. These days I keep many pieces of the common belts I need in stock.

  2. Can you remember where you got the drive belt, I have a mk4 in need of a belt change, dimensions would be useful please

    1. Hi Mike, my name is Mike and I create all the content, like this article you’ve enjoyed. You are welcome to seek technical assistance via my contact page.

Hi! Feel free to share your thoughts and if you need advice, visit our contact page.

%d bloggers like this: