Sharp VZ-2500, Poss...
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Audio & Hi-Fi Sharp VZ-2500, Possibly a restoration too far?

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If you have read a lot of my ramblings over the years, you probably know I like a challenge, with some seriously ropey projects! So when this old Sharp Boombox showed up I thought ‘that’ll make a fun project’, and for some unknown reason I bought it… it’s not even as though I can blame it on booze, as I don’t drink! Maybe it’s something leftover from when I had corona, and not the drink!

So it arrived, very poorly packed, just a couple of layers of bubble wrap, then dropped into an ill fitting box, which had ripped open on the way here, I was expecting it to be smashed to bits, but the only casualty was one of the control sliders had come off and escaped the box!

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As can be seen, it’s suffered some heat damage, the seller said it had been left above a fireplace, looks more to me like it was stood on top of an electric heater, the bottom of the case has melted and sagged badly, and sadly it’s also affected the record player door too.

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My plan was to cut out the melted section, and rebuild it with some steel din rail I have, and use some car body filler to get the original shape back. Annoyingly I found more problems with the record deck, not just the deformed door, but some oik has ripped off the ends of the tone arms! So I’ll need to find replacements for those…

Despite all that, the electronics are all working absolutely fine, I had to clean the selector switches and the pots, but after that it just worked! And it actually sounds pretty good! I have only had the radio playing so far, the cassette deck needs a new belt and a pinch roller, but it does produce sound if you rotate the take up reel by hand. The record deck tries to work if you hold down the door closed switch, all the motors run, and it tries to lower the tone arm, but like the cassette deck, it also needs belts, the originals had turned to nasty black goo.

Now I just need to decide if I should bother with it, or just demolish it for parts and wait for a nicer one to come along, it’s a shame it got melted, as it was actually in nice condition under all the dirt! I have seen someone offering parts of one of these, but they are rather expensive (£25 for just the volume slider knob!!).



Posted : 14/01/2024 12:30 pm
ntscuser reacted
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@lloyd I have a VZ-3000, the one with detachable loudspeakers. Which of course are absent...

It's been sat in storage for years.

Posted : 14/01/2024 1:02 pm
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@lloyd  There was one of these in our local house clearance auction a week or so back . I can't say for certain if it was the exact same model but if not it was very similar. I thought about putting a bid on but I thought I bet it will be a right B4$tard to get it going, full of gooey belts and probably manky idlers and plastic cogs so I left it be. I don't think it went for much, certainly nowhere near what they make on ebay. Maybe if you can get lucky and find a spares one you can fix yours and sell the surplus parts to recoup ? I'll let you know if I see another! (Fat chance now I suppose!)


Posted : 14/01/2024 8:10 pm
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Nice! That’s the one with the light up tuning cursor! I think there are a pair of speakers that match it on eBay currently, probably way overpriced though. I actually already had a VZ-3500, I got it back in 2018, it’s much nicer condition wise than the burnt one, that also needs a pinch roller, and I managed to blow up the turntable motor with a slip of a meter probe! I did manage to repair it, there was a transistor inside it as part of the speed detection circuit, but it was unmarked, and also not identified on the circuit, so I just bunged in a random transistor that worked! 


Oh, if it was cheap you should have gone for it!! They aren’t that bad, lots of screws to get it apart, but the manual has some very good exploded views, and there are loads of pictures of them on the net to help! Strangely only some bits suffer, the turntable belt normally turns to slime, and the belt for moving the tone arms just goes crispy and slack, the cassette deck main flat belt somehow seems to not go gooey, but the square belts do, as does the pinch roller, I think there’s one idler which is ok on the 2 I have, and the plastic gears are ok too. If you do spot another please do let me know! There is a VZ-2000 which is a similar boombox style, looks a bit more flashy, and the cassette deck and radio dial is on top, and the top has a bit of a slope to it. The VZ-3000 and VZ-3500 are the non portable versions. 

Posted : 14/01/2024 11:07 pm
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It’s beginning to look a lot more like this thing may survive! I stripped it out and gave the front and rear cabinet a wash, as they were filthy, and it stunk… it’s come up quite nice!

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I also had the record deck apart to see just how bad it was, and it is pretty bad 😕, not only is the front part of the door melted at the bottom, the inside part of the door is, and that also has some of the opening mechanism moulded into it, and also the inner flappy bit the records rest on is bowed. I tried heating the melted parts and clamping them to something flat, but it didn’t work, although I can now get the door to latch shut, and open it with a bit of help!

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Ideally it needs a whole new front door, but if that’s not possible, I think I could cut out the melted parts and replace them, either with new plastic, or better still, aluminium. I started making some cardboard templates for the shaped bits either side, and that seems easy enough, but I think I’ll try asking around for parts before I start messing about making stuff.

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I decided to just put it all back together for now, and at the same time I found some belts to see if it works at all, amazingly it does!! I managed to get my strobe disc into it to see if the speed was anywhere near correct, and it is!! The flappy record rest thing needs to be held down, otherwise it drags on the record, but it keeps speed in both directions, and changes over as what’s left of the tone arms reaches the end of its travel. I have also bought some pinch rollers for the cassette deck, so at least that will work when they arrive.

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Posted : 21/01/2024 10:59 am
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The cassette player is now up and running! The new pinch rollers arrived earlier this week, along with one of those bags of various sized belts, so I took out the cassette deck so I could work on it in the shed. I was quite surprised to see the new pinch rollers were of decent quality, and actually look to be made in Japan! Not bad for a bag of 6 for £7.75, some sellers were asking over £10 for one! The roller is easy to change on this deck, you remove the ‘E’ clip, and the whole plastic carrier with the roller lifts out, then it’s just a case of pushing the pin out, removing the remains of the old roller, drop the new one in and shove the pin back through. The new roller is a bit loose on the pin, but it doesn’t seem to cause any problems.

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On this deck the take up reel was not turning, so I guessed that one or more of the belts had gone too, and sure enough I wasn’t to be disappointed!

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Spot the remains stuck to the PCB… and yes, it had turned into slime! I scraped it off with a very blunt scalpel, then cleaned the last bit off with cotton buds and IPA. It was rather difficult to get the goo off the wheels, but I got there in the end. It’s weird how just one belt decides to go like that, the flat belt was ok, and still stretchy, so I just cleaned it up, the other square belt was looking a little crispy, so I changed it.

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Reassembly was nice and easy, there were some pegs to hook the belts onto whilst you put the back plate with the motor on.

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A quick test on the bench power supply showed everything working as it should, so the deck was returned to the rest of the machine, after a quick blast with a degausser, and tested with an old tape, which played back ok, both channels sounded about right, nice and clear. Even the automatic search function works!

I might still need to adjust the speed, as although I thought it sounded ok at first, it does sound a little slow now. I do have a home made test tape, so I can use that, it was made on a Technics machine that had just been set up with a proper test tape that I borrowed. I just hope that there is a hole in the back cover that matches up with the one in the back of the motor, I don’t really want to have to take it apart again!

Posted : 28/01/2024 10:41 am