The Work

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The Work
Cool Old Tech
Tom's Afternoon


So...What are we starting with?  #390 was a Sound Sales bodge.  We're used to those now.  They got the SMS-3 motor controller right, but everything else...not so good.

As is typical of these Sound Sales modifications, an "improvement" to the take-up box brackets weakened the frame overall, resulting in frame sag, as seen on the right.

So the frame comes out, gets un-sagged, and the brackets are restored.

Where the "18" is on the ruler should be flush with the frame.

The keyboard is un-bodged as well, and it gets a good cleaning.

The two rods against which the pressure pads sit are tied directly to the keyboard frame using a bracket similar to the brackets used in the Mark V.

It almost looks like something took a tumble down the stairs!

Fortunately that's not the case.  The bottom of the M400 where the feets sit is made of wood that's a bit too thin.  The refurb includes the addition of additional strengthening.  For that the M400 case gets disassembled partially.

The machine gets an electronic checkout as well, of course.

22V on the test points, please.

And don't forget...

bulletAnti-flameout mod
bulletIsolating the track selection mechanism
bulletRewiring the headblock cable

...and a general all 'round cleanup.  #390 did not get a cabinet restoration, just a refurb of the insides.

  <-- Reassembly begins

Pieces coming together

New tapes go in --> 


As part of their "dubious restoration" years ago, Sound Sales updated the Volume and Tone controls on this particular machine.  Nice--maybe they were scratchy.

But someone ordered the wrong pots, and they were too short.

So...What do you to rectify this? 

Click here to listen to Jerry's explanation
Recorded LIVE at the Mellotron Ranch!

1) Install potentiometers that are too short.  Ponder what to do...

2) Start shaving down the block where the preamp box sits.

3) Ooops, gouging the customer *and* gouging the slot for the preamp box weren't enough.  So...

...why not just grind down the knobs?

Three wrongs, all right now.


OK, let's check out the Vermont scene -->