Rockola "Starlet" Jukebox Repair Journal
by Chad Hauris, Retro Electronics and Audio Lab, Midland, TX. 4/26/06, updated 5/26/07

The Rockola Starlet is a compact jukebox holding 50 records. This one was in bad shape and is getting a complete restoration. We removed all the components from the cabinet.

Rockola Starlet before repairs.
Cabinet open, before repairs. Someone broke the glass on the lid and upper display.

Rockola Starlet mechanism before repairs.
Mechanism before repairs.

Empty Rockola cabinet.
Cabinet with most components removed,

Rockola Starlet power supply and turntable before repairs.
Power supply and turntable mechanism before repairs.

Rockola Starlet Amp before repairs.
Amp before repairs.

Rockola Starlet mechanism chassis before repairs.
Chassis with turntable and gripper removed. It was filthy!

Cleaning the Rockola mechanism.
Cleaning the mechanism chassis.

Cleaning the gripper parts in Varsol.
Cleaning the gripper parts in Varsol. The parts were left to soak overnight. When the machine was first tested by hand, the gripper would not move at all.

Cleaning the Rockola gripper mechanism.
Cleaning the gripper mechanism. After soaking in Varsol, the mechanism was completely disassembled, cleaned with Gumout, and re-assembled and lubricated. It is now working smoothly.

Chad working on Rockola Starlet component.
Chad working on the Starlet amp. All electrolytic and paper capacitors were replaced.

Rockola Starlet amp before repairs.
Starlet amp before repairs.

New capacitors in Rockola Starlet amp.
New capacitors in amp. 2 additional 0.1 mfd capacitors were added between the first amplifier tube and the input to block any DC coming from the phono pre-amp. The Starlet originally used a ceramic Astatic cartridge but we converted it to a Stanton magnetic.

Testing the Rockola Starlet amp.
Bench testing the Starlet amp. The 6 Volt AC filament voltage is supplied by the control transformer in the Starlet power supply and not by the amp transformer so the Heathkit power supply is providing the filament voltage.

Rockola Starlet power supply before repairs.
Power supply before repairs.

Rockola Starlet power supply after repairs.
Power supply after repairs. A new power cord and 25-amp silicon bridge rectifier were installed.

Rockola Starlet turntable mechanism.
Starlet turntable mechanism and gripper motor before repairs. The turntable motor was removed, cleaned and lubricated, and new motor grommets were installed. We washed the mechanism (with motor removed) in the sink with a water-based degreaser and dried it thoroughly. The gripper motor gearbox was opened up, old grease was removed and it was re-lubricated.

Working on the Starlet mechanism.
Working on the mechanism. After the initial cleaning, more degreasing was done and all parts were re-lubricated. Gumout works well as a solvent but is flammable, has strong fumes and should only be used carefully in a well-ventilated area. We applied small amounts of Gumout to remove stubborn grease and then followed up with some more mild solvents such as Arrow-Magnolia Safety-Solve and Con-Tak.

Rockola Starlet credit/control unit.
Rockola Starlet credit and control unit. Later models had the credit unit as a separate module and combined the power supply and control functions. We just cleaned off this unit and did not find any problems with it.
Also the power switch can be seen. We installed a new cord and plug on it.

Rockola Starlet tone arm.
Tone arm before repairs. We replaced it with a heavy-duty Stanton "DJ" magnetic cartridge. We added new phono leads which connected to RCA plugs and added RCA plugs to the Rockola connector so the phono pre-amp could be installed in the circuit.

Testing the Rockola Starlet.
Testing the re-assembled Rockola Starlet.

Testing some new speakers in the Starlet.
Testing additional midrange/tweeter speakers in the Starlet. Originally the Starlet only had two woofers which could not reproduce the additional high-frequency content available from the magnetic cartridge and delivered a muddy sound.
Since the glass had been shattered on this top part, we removed it and installed two speakers here for better sound quality. A speaker grille panel will then enclose this area.

Rockola Starlet keyboard
Rockola Starlet keyboard. One of the buttons on the keyboard had been re-installed backwards! so I wanted to replace it correctly, plus clean the contacts. The keyboard is not all that easy to remove from the machine because the cabinet is so compact. The entire metal panel must be removed from the cabinet in order to get access to the is held in with wood screws to the sides. The coin chute, coin reject button, and fluorescent lamp brackets all must be removed first before the keyboard panel will come out. A long shank Phillips screwdriver is necessary to get to the screws.

Rockola Starlet woofer panel.
Rockola Starlet woofer panel and new fluorescent ballast. The new phono preamp for the magnetic cartridge can be seen at the rear of the cabinet.

John painting the Rockola Starlet
John painting the Starlet. We gave it a new coat of black paint to cover the old damaged finish, and painted the trim gold for a more elegant look.

Testing green lamp color in Rockola Starlet.
Re-assembled Rockola Starlet. The old broken glass panel was replaced, plus a new perforted masonite panel replaced the damaged glass at the top. We have since cleaned and re-painted the title strip holder brackets.
We put a green gel around the fluorescent lamps to give an interesting color effect.

More photos to come!

Return to the Rockola Page

Retro Electronics Home Page