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VPI Prime Motor Questions - Noise & Multiple Belts
#1
VPI Prime Motor Noise - Just did my motor/spindle lube.  Seems I'm hearing more noise than I have in the past from the motor.  The noise is there even when the pulley and "under pulley disc" are completely removed from the spindle shaft and of course the motor is completely disconnected from the belt & turntable.  I can clearly hear the noise from my listening position ~10' away.  I cannot hear it when music is playing.  I suppose the noise was there before but I just didn't notice it.  Any ideas?

VPI Prime One-Speed Pulley w/ Multiple Belts - I read somewhere about someone using a Prime with a SDS/ADA, swapping-out the 33/45 pulley for a one-speed pulley and using three belts.  I'm using an SDS, so I figured I'd give it a try.  Mounting the pulley/belts was a piece of cake.  But the added belt tension between the motor and turntable causes the motor to be pulled toward the table until the pulley contacts the platter.  No bueno.  Has anyone else tried this?  Same issue?  Found a fix?  What did you think of the results sonically (if at all)?

Thanks in advance for any/all feedback.  Great to have a forum up & running again!

Well, I can reply to my own post with a "solution" re: the moving motor with multiple belts. I just took advantage of the HW-40 foot upgrade for my Prime. Installed them today just before my motor/spindle lube. The HW-40 foot upgrade came with a set of four odd-looking grommets and screws. Had NO IDEA what they were for. Just watched Mat's video on installing the feet. Well, those odd looking grommets are for the motor to lower it so you can still fit the motor body under the platter. When you do THAT you lower the belt tension and - voila - you can mount three belts and the motor stays put. Would've LOVED it if VPI had included even the most rudimentary instructions in the box with the HW-40 feet!

Still looking for a solution to my motor noise question.
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#2
Hey brimster,

Depending on the age of your Prime, the motor bearings may just be going out.  The stock motor you likely have is the Hurst 3201-001, which is a 300rpm motor.  This motor has a single set of bearings, and with regular use they can sometimes wear out and make noise. 

I'd think the first order of business is to check in with VPI and see where your Prime is as far as warranty service.  Have your serial number handy when you call.

If you are out of warranty you still have options. 

Option 1 (if you are remotely handy) would be to replace the motor yourself.  The cost of the part is around $99 and would not take much time to swap in.  I don't know if the motor comes set up as far as alignment.  If it is not it's not quick or easy, but certainly doable in an afternoon.

Option 2: If you want something totally different, Sota (the turntable company) makes a few BLDC motor packages that work with various 'tables, including the Prime.  Minimum cost starts at around $875 (eclipse package) to the Total Eclipse package ($1300).  There are pros and cons of either motor design, so best to read up first.  The Sota folks, from what I hear, are great to work with.   (To note: the Sota motor is a dual bearing design so it may have a higher chance of a longer life.  YMMV)

Links:
Hurst Motors
Sota Eclipse Packages
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#3
(03-01-2022, 05:30 AM)bhjazz Wrote: Hey brimster,

Depending on the age of your Prime, the motor bearings may just be going out.  The stock motor you likely have is the Hurst 3201-001, which is a 300rpm motor.  This motor has a single set of bearings, and with regular use they can sometimes wear out and make noise. 

I'd think the first order of business is to check in with VPI and see where your Prime is as far as warranty service.  Have your serial number handy when you call.

If you are out of warranty you still have options. 

Option 1 (if you are remotely handy) would be to replace the motor yourself.  The cost of the part is around $99 and would not take much time to swap in.  I don't know if the motor comes set up as far as alignment.  If it is not it's not quick or easy, but certainly doable in an afternoon.

Option 2: If you want something totally different, Sota (the turntable company) makes a few BLDC motor packages that work with various 'tables, including the Prime.  Minimum cost starts at around $875 (eclipse package) to the Total Eclipse package ($1300).  There are pros and cons of either motor design, so best to read up first.  The Sota folks, from what I hear, are great to work with.   (To note: the Sota motor is a dual bearing design so it may have a higher chance of a longer life.  YMMV)

Links:
Hurst Motors
Sota Eclipse Packages

Thanks bhjazz.  I am out of warranty.  If I turn the pulley/spindle by hand (with the motor off, obvs) I would say that it feels a little..I don't want to say gritty...I would say "ball-bearing-y"...  I can "feel" the ball bearings in the system (if that makes any sense).  I would describe myself as remotely handy so I'm happy to take on the motor replacement.  Are you aware of any guide for the process?  I did a cursory check and didn't see anything on the interwebs.  I suppose I'm more concerned with the process for aligning the motor than for swapping it.  Any/all feedback would be most appreciated.  Just ordered the motor from Hurst!
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#4
You are a man of decision - Bravo! I think any photos for doing the swap would be in the archive of this very website, so we may have to wait for that guided tour. But If you carefully work your way into the motor pod you'll see the wiring connections. I have not been inside mine in a while but I think they are screw terminals. Start at the underside of the pod. Once you get the wires disconnected, flip the pod and remove the screws holding the motor to the top plate. That'll drop out the old motor.

Once the new motor is in, give it a try/listen first. It may already have the stators aligned and it may be totally silent. If so, go enjoy. If not. you'll need an accurate ruler, a hex key and some time if you feel the need to adjust.

Remove the pulley and measure the distance that the spindle clears the brass collar out the top. Write it down. This will be where the alignment was when you received the motor so you may just want to go back to it.

If you loosen the hex nut on the side of the collar enough the spindle and stators will eventually drop to the bottom. You'll hear it. You may as well measure this as well for reference. Pull the spindle to the top and measure again. In my case I started with the spindle all the way up and tightened the brass collar. With each iteration, I loosened the collar, dropped the spindle 1mm, tightened, and measured (listened) again. At some point during this process the stators get perfectly (sic) aligned and you can snug down the brass collar for good and get back to your music.

You may need to get through 8 or 10 different measurements to "hear" the quietest one.

Good luck. It's quite an adventure. Hopefully the motor ships in perfect alignment and you have to do nothing. I know VPI had a process for going through these motors when they bought large batches of them. Possibly someone at VPI can chime in if this is the process they used to determine a good motor from a bad one.
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#5
bhjazz, you are a tremendous resource. Just have to confess that I had to Google stator but I think I'm following along now. BTW, I had to laugh when I stumbled over your comments on another forum when you were trying to figure-out these issues for yourself. Who travels to from Seattle to San Diego to buy a turntable! ;-) Thanks again!
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#6
LOL Happy to help! Yeah, I figure I had to learn all of this stuff myself so I need to share it as much as I can. The San Diego thing: we use to love going to San Diego (pre-pandemic) so it was fortuitous that a VPI dealer was down there. That was a mixed vacation, though. On the same weekend I bought my Prime my wife was hit in the head by a foul ball at the Padres game. I blame Charley Blackmon (of the Rockies) for his crappy swing.
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#7
The cogging you feel is normal.  I felt it on my Prime motor as well.

Have you tried - (1) tighten the pulley on the top of the shaft; (2) lift the pulley/shaft up to reduce up/down freeplay on the shaft; (3) while the pulley/shaft is lifted up, push the brass nut all the way down the shaft towards the motor housing and tighten the brass nut; (4) run to see if the motor quiets down from before; (5) if quieted down, see if the pulley is properly leveled, if not readjust the pulley (just don't loosen the brass nut down below).

FWIW, I eventually went to the SOTA total eclipse package on my Prime.
[Image: full]
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#8
Super-helpful Edwyun. Thanks! Also, in case anyone is curious, I just heard from Hurst about my 3201-001. Won't ship until April 1st. Apparently there's some sort of global shortage of...welll...everything, it seems!
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#9
April 1st? Ouch. Well certainly time to try edwyun's tests. If that does the trick then still plenty of time to cancel with Hurst. Win/win!
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#10
So I'm prepping my motor pod to send to Sota.  Just talked to Donna over there and will do some of the disassembly work myself.  Why not, right?  In taking the pod apart to remove the motor, I have some notes for you, brimster. 

1. Keep your cell phone handy so you can take some shots as you disassemble. 

2. Remove the pulley first!  This will make the rest much easier.  The pulley has 3 hex nuts.

3. Remove the bottom plate next.  You'll see the power connections, etc., here.  You'll need to disconnect only the smaller black/red/blue wires on the far left.  These go directly to the motor.  It looks like this:
Prime pod wiring - bottom

4. Next, here's the motor and wiring.  I definitely like the pin ends for the wires - much longer lasting.  If you can't find them on Amazon and have a solder iron handy, tinning the wires would beef up their strength.  
Motor and wiring

The rest of the disassembly should go fine.  In all honestly I live for projects like this.   Tongue

Also in my pic you'll see alot of oil.  Brent used to suggest a drop of grease at the brass collar to keep the oil from splattering like this, I believe.  Apparently I oiled it too much.  No matter, that motor is on it's way out. 

And by the way, My motor has gotten worse over the last year.  It was noisy before so I had it sitting on some stiff foam pads to use as a vibrational noise block.  I removed the pads and made a recording of the lead in groove - the noise is ridiculous.  I'll post it after I get the Sota motor up and running.  

Any repair that works will go a long way towards better (quieter) vinyl playback.

Good luck!
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