JVC JL-F45 Direct-Drive Turntable Service & Repair

I’ve just finished servicing yet another interesting and unusual direct drive deck – a JVC JL-F45 – what a cool machine!

I was surprised by the weight and overall build quality of this lovely direct-drive turntable. The JVC JL-F45 is a fully automatic direct-drive deck. For those who don’t know, fully automatic means that the tonearm is controlled by the turntable, not by you. You should not, as long as the deck is functioning correctly, ever have to touch the tonearm to play a record. You hit play and the deck then lifts, cues and lowers the tonearm automatically for you – nice!

The JL-F45 is very solidly built, weighing in at 11kg. The specifications are courtesy of the Vinyl Engine, and you can visit here to find an owner’s manual too!

JVC JL-F45 Specifications

Type: fully automatic
Drive method: direct drive
Motor: DC servo motor
Wow and flutter: less than 0.03% WRMS
Signal-to-noise ratio: more than 70dB
Pitch control range: more than 2.5%
Platter: 311mm die-cast aluminium alloy
Tonearm: statically balanced, s-shaped, tubular pipe arm with TH balancing system and tracking force dial
Effective length: 220mm
Overhang: 15mm
Tracking force range: 0 to 3g
Cartridge weight: 14 to 25g (inc headshell)
Dimensions: 460 x 368 x 130mm
Weight: 11kg

Repair & Service

This particular JL-F45 needed some work to repair the auto-return mechanism and the owner wanted a much better cartridge fitted. The spindle-mounted drive gear had cracked and was essentially spinning on the spindle. I repaired the gear and mounted it on the spindle using adhesives that won’t allow it to budge.

The owner had also fitted a very cheap and awful-sounding cartridge to the deck and I explained to him that this really needed to be binned, in favour of something much more befitting of a deck of this quality. We settled on an Ortofon 2M Blue, a very nice moving magnet cartridge and one which works perfectly on this tonearm.

See below for some images of the work and further explanations.

Right, so here she is, fully clothed, looking slim and very space-aged. Nice job JVC…
Nice s-shaped tonearm with anti-skate, always nice to see and usually found on proper decks.
Close-up of the headshell and deck controls. Here you can see the start/stop lever, arm raise/lower lever, records size and repeat knobs.
One the other side of the deck you get speed selection and fine adjustment, with a strobe indicator thrown in for good measure. My goodness, the Japanese really knew how to make a proper turntable.
Just in case the strobe dies, you can fall back on an incandescent light driven by mains frequency AC, shining onto this strobe pattern in the centre of the platter.
Remove the platter and we can see why the owner reported the deck to be not working properly…
Do you see that crack in this drive gear? That was why this deck was broken. It needs to be glued back together and re-installed on the spindle.
Here she is ready for testing after a clean, lube and fixing the drive gear…
Cleaned, lubed, fixed and ready for the owner, except that he decided he wanted me to fit an Ortofon 2M Blue. I installed that after this image was taken!

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18 thoughts on “JVC JL-F45 Direct-Drive Turntable Service & Repair”

  1. Charles Honess

    I have the JVC JL-F45, bought in 1977 s/n 17102297 !! I run it thru a NAN pre-amp, and power it with a Mac MC2125, even if I do say so myself –sweet !!!! So TT started making a click on every revolution, following your pictures I discovered that my drive gear was busted into two pieces. If I wasn’t in Atlanta, GA, the JVC would be sitting on your work bench. Instead of a airplane ticket I trusted it to a local highly respected repair shop. He is going to try to glue the gear together directly on the spindle…. Fingers crossed. Here is the question, do you have access to a new drive gear for the JVC that I could acquire?

    1. Hi Charles, glad you found my post on this turntable. Unfortunately these gears and other parts are long since obsolete and no longer available. The good news is that with the correct adhesives and some care, the drive gear can easily be repaired.

  2. Michael Fishberg

    G’day! I found your details on a search about my JVC JL-F45 turntable which I have owned from new. I’m not much of a tech-head, so please forgive this naive question. I THOUGHT that the amplifier was the problem – one channel stopped working. But I tried another amplifier and it too does not play in one channel which lead me to think that maybe it’s something inside the turntable itself -a pre-amplification issue maybe. Can you advise. I live in the UK, by the way. Thanks, Michael.

    1. Hi Michael, thanks very much for your comment. Unfortunately, any advice I could offer here would be guesswork until I was able to inspect and test the equipment, starting with the deck. There are a great many variables in this question, so you need to isolate each component from the others and test one at a time, starting with the JL-F45. It could be something as simple as a broken stylus or headshell wire. Cheers, Mike.

  3. Hello good day, I recently bought the tray and I am very happy with the operation but a problem arose although it is not permanent is annoying.
    I think it would be useful to have as much information as I can before getting into it.
    Maybe they can guide me, the problem is that suddenly without touching anything after listening to some vinyl low speed passes a short time and increases again, if I try to compensate the variations with the pitch compensates but then it goes to the other side . Conclusion the rpm are unstable.
    For now I only cleaned the potentiometer of the pitch without result.
    From already thank you very much !!

    1. Hi Marcelo, thanks for getting in touch. It sounds like your deck needs proper service and likely a repair too. I’m guessing you are not local, but I don’t suggest messing with your deck if not familiar with electronics repairs. Is there a good local repairer you can use?

  4. If you can provide me the service manuel or electric circuit would be great
    From already thank you very much !!

  5. Hi good day!!!
    Luckily I could solve the problem, it was the microswitch of the speed change knob from 33 to 45 rpm that did not make good contact.
    Since he was taking advantage of changing the electrolytic capacitors of the power supply and the motor control bale, he was working impeccably.
    Either way, if you know where I can get the service manual and the schematic diagram, you will be welcome.
    Thank you so much Mike!

    1. Excellent news Marcelo, well done and a great result! I checked and I don’t have a service manual for this deck. This means it’s hard to find, keep looking though, you may track one down.

  6. Hi , I have an issue with the arm returning back . It was working fine and suddenly it’s not returning back . The switch for returning start feels very loose as if something came of under .

    1. Hi Mark, sorry to hear that. To repair it for you I’ll need to get it on the bench so if you live near Perth, hop over to the contact form and send me a booking request.

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