The Califone 1400 series record players were built like tanks: able to be thrown across a classroom, climbed upon by kindergartners, and still keep playing! Let’s take a peak inside and see just how it was built!
The big takeaway from this expedition is that the internals are extremely simple. Despite the relatively large size of the unit, most of the internal space is empty. A 12″ speaker driver sits behind the steel grille on the front of the unit and a small 3×5-inch PCB contains all of the electronics. The grounded 120VAC input directly powers the turntable motor then connects to a 4:1 transformer providing 30VAC to the tonearm light, and a small rectification circuit on the PCB that powers the amplifier circuitry.
I’ll have to make a better copy of this schematic for posterity. Fortunately, Califone was good enough to glue one inside the case. I’ll just have to copy it into Fritzing to make it a little more legible and update this article once it’s available.
Some 1400 series phonographs had their AC motors replaced with DC models as they were cheaper to produce and didn’t require 60Hz mains for timing. Califone issued a service bulletin in 1990 to illustrate the process for their field technicians. At least mine is still original.
Speaking of service bulletins: You can download them from here.
Now that I’ve got a pretty solid idea how this thing goes together, it’s time to start redesigning the electronics.