How to Repair Turner Crystal Microphones

Written by larry rivers
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How to Repair Turner Crystal Microphones
A few simple techniques can repair Turner crystal microphones. (soldering image by Bube from Fotolia.com)

Turner crystal microphones can offer vintage sounds for the recording enthusiast, harmonica player and CB radio user. These microphones are typically housed in decorated metal casings and feature crystal microphone elements which translate acoustic sound into electrical signals. As these microphones age, their delicate elements, switches and vintage style wire require maintenance and possible replacement to refurbish them to factory condition. Though in some cases vintage microphones can require special tools and expertise, a few techniques can repair Turner crystal microphones.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Things you need

  • Jeweller's screwdrivers
  • Low wattage soldering iron
  • Electronics solder
  • Hookup wire
  • Wire clippers
  • Wire strippers
  • Multimeter
  • Solder wick

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Remove the microphone's front grill set screws using the jeweller's screwdrivers. Pull the grill away from the microphone body, revealing the crystal element.

  2. 2

    Slip a jeweller's screwdriver in between the element's rubber gasket and the microphone body, breaking the seal. Pull the element and gasket away from the microphone body carefully.

  3. 3

    Remove the gasket from the element by rolling it away from the element's edge.

  4. 4

    Shake the crystal element carefully next to your ear. If a rattling sound is heard, the element must be replaced.

  5. 5

    Check the solder connections on the rear of the element. A good solder joint should look uniform and silvery grey, with no cracks or looseness. Re-connect these wires if required with the low wattage soldering iron and electrical solder.

  6. 6

    Check the internal wires on the microphone. Many vintage types of wire can become brittle and break over time due to their construction. If any corrosion or physical breaks are detected, replace the wires with the soldering iron, solder, wire strippers, wire clippers and hookup wire.

  7. 7

    Reassemble the element, gasket and front grill using the jeweller's screwdrivers.

  1. 1

    Remove the audio connector from the microphone with the jeweller's screwdrivers, revealing the internal element wiring. Place the multimeter's leads on the audio connector's pins to test for shorts. If a short is detected, inspect the connector for physical breaks or excess solder build-up. Unsolder any build-up with the soldering iron and solder wick. Replace the microphone's audio connector if physically damaged.

  2. 2

    Remove the push to talk switch (if equipped) from the microphone housing and inspect the solder joints for cracks or breaks. Solder any bad connections.

  3. 3

    Place the multimeter's leads on the switch's solder connection to test. The meter should read a significant change in electrical resistance when the switch is engaged and disengaged. If the meter reads no change, replace the switch by unsoldering the switch's wires using the soldering iron and solder wick, freeing the switch from the microphone. Solder these wires to the same terminals on a replacement switch. Install the new switch assembly into the microphone housing.

Tips and warnings

  • When replacing components, each crystal element, audio connector or push to talk switch must be matched to your specific Turner crystal microphone's model number.
  • Use a low temperature setting when soldering or unsoldering vintage electronics to avoid damage to the components or fragile vintage wires. Always use caution around hot soldering irons to avoid damage to your project or yourself.

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