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You can normally find good nearly new kit at about half retail price. The SL 1200 and the SL 1210 are particularly good second hand because they contains so few moving parts.

Here is a checklist of common things that can go wrong with the 1210, and some tests you can do before you buy:

  • First switch it on and off a few times. The power knob should turn almost silently but you will feel a comfortable solid click as the power switches. Under extreme circumstances, the spring-loaded switch can loosen up resulting in a turntable that switches itself off when you least expect it.
  • A bright red strobe light illuminates the side of the rotating section. On this there are a number of black and white marks. When the machine runs at normal speed (+0) at least one of the sets of marks should appear to be still. If that’s the case then the speed control is fine.
  • Before you do this test, switch the machine off from the power socket. Doing this with the power on can ruin the magnets in the induction motor. Remove the slip-mat and gently raise the platter section by grabbing it through one of the circular holes.
  • Beneath the platter is a space that contains half of the motor (the other half is stuck to the platter). The motor and its surrounding area should be free of dirt, obstructions, vomit, sticky beer-residue and burn marks. Make sure you restore the platter before switching the power back on!
  • A 1210 should be at playing speed in less than 1/4 of a turn of the platter. When motors become worn out it can take longer to start – try playing a record, make sure it’s a good one! If it sounds right, the chances are that the machine is okay.