Loricraft FAQ - The Garrard Motor Centre Bearing

Some thoughts from Nigel Pearson

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Much ill informed criticism is focused on the Garrard centre bearing. It is thought by some that a ball bearing design would be better. The typical ball bearing design of other turntables allows the use of a "on centres" grinding machine. This allows economical grinding. A pit is formed at each end after grinding , so why not put a ball in the pit. The other end is at the record end, this is rounded to form the familiar dome we see. Garrard had a " centre-less grinder" made by Churchill , this can make spindles with optically flat bottoms. This flatness is the key to success.

All the discussion of the various Garrard's seem to focus on the bearing be it grease or oil, 301/401/501 etc. None of this is relevant as all Garrard bearing are precision devices. Loricraft can easily update even a 301 grease bearing to 501 standard (about 500), there is no real need as in a standard service we do ensure the bearing is polished and examined to get the best possible rumble figures (note that is in the price). The factors which determine rumble are mostly motor improvements with time. 501 has an "Aeroflux" air bearing to ensure the highest performance. The 501 motor takes also the evolved 401 motor as a guide using better materials. Fundamentally the design is generically identical albeit much larger in the 501.

In the unlikely event that a bearing has been irreversibly damaged we can fit 501 parts as a repair and upgrade. This is why we warn people to be careful when buying turntables. Even seemingly irreparable bearings can be saved at sensible costs. For example the bearing shells can be replaced, these shells can even be repositioned if rust has caused a ridge line. As long as a good bearing surface can be found all is not lost. Typical cause is storage in a loft where the damp got in, lack of servicing or modification. Beware the brand new in the box Garrard, it usually isn't true and may still be invaded by moisture.

Copyright - Nigel Pearson - 2006

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