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.
Cabinet open, before repairs. Someone broke the glass on the lid and
Mechanism before repairs.
Cabinet with most components removed,
Power supply and turntable mechanism before repairs.
Amp before repairs.
Chassis with turntable and gripper removed. It was filthy!
Cleaning the mechanism chassis.
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 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 the Starlet amp. All electrolytic and paper capacitors
Starlet amp before repairs.
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.
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
Power supply before repairs.
Power supply after repairs. A new power cord and 25-amp silicon bridge
rectifier were installed.
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
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 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
Also the power switch can be seen. We installed a new cord and plug on
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 re-assembled Rockola 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. 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 keyboard...it
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 and new fluorescent ballast. The new phono
preamp for the magnetic cartridge can be seen at the rear of the
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
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
We put a green gel around the fluorescent lamps to give an interesting color effect.
More photos to come!
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