RetroTech: Sony Flamingo PS-F9 Repair & Demo

by: Techmoan

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if you pay a visit to the Sony global website and have a look around you'll find their design history section and this is something that I find particularly fascinating for each year they've pulled out a number of their products that exemplify the design or technology of that era the item I'm going to show you today comes from 1983 and it's the PS f9 portable turntable now in the years since our original launch this once relatively inexpensive battery-powered plastic record player has become a highly desirable and expensive collector's piece now over in Japan it was also known as the Sony Flamingo apparently in reference to its resemblance to a flamingo when it was playing records in its upright state I'll just take their word on that you could also play records horizontally though if you prefer now that we're in fact two different models of this turntable EPS f5 and the more expensive PSF die there's 10,000 yen difference between them and the PSF 939 thousand 800 yen is just a little bit more expensive than the PS q7 turntable I demonstrated in a previous video now if you're interested as to how much one of these really cost in real terms back in the day it's not a good idea to put one of these yen amounts into an inflation calculator because you get an artificially high result because of the way inflation worked in Japan it's better to look at other items you could have bought at the same time that gives you more of a real feel for it so for the same price as the PSF nine you could have got a Sony watchman an FD 20 or if you'd spent the same amount as the PSF 5 or just a little bit below you could have got a sony W MDD Walkman so not pocket money prices then but also nowhere near the current going rate of these turntables on eBay they've really hits the collectors market there aren't many of them around and the ones that are that are in good condition of fetching top dollar or euro but with a bit of patience from time to time you may be able to find yourself a better deal perhaps on one that's in a bit of a static Edition may be missing a battery cover or possibly it's got a technical fault like the one that I bought but before I get in to mine let me talk about the differences between the various models okay the first thing is when you slide a record into the machine on the cheaper f5 model you have to manually turn a lever to clamp it in place whereas on the f9 that's activated by pressing a button because the functions motorized also the f9 has a line output as well as two headphone sockets whereas the f5 just has the headphone socket also the f5 is prone to going yellow like a lot of old white plastics the f9 doesn't do that it's got a different coating on it and also the f9 has quartz lock which helps regulate the speed of the turntable and then finally the Japanese f9 adds an FM transmitter into the equation so if you want you can send the sound output from the turntable to an appropriately tuned radio okay so here's mine it's a European spec PSF died and despite the fact it's got a fault it did still cost me a few hundred euros it wasn't cheap and it's probably a little bit overpriced to be honest that is the dust cover there sometimes those are missing because he it covers up the slot where the record goes in and you can either play these in a vertical orientation like that or cost lay them down flat in fat on the back of this they've even got a hook to hang it on the wall and you can see we've got the feet on there as well if we do decide to play it in the horizontal position now on the bottom here these feet are quite nifty the way they spin out and expand like that that's to give it more stability when it's in the right position well just like the mechanism on that the way you twist it and they retract at the same time very neat I think that whole thing could be removed as well if you want to wall mount it now on the bottom here we've got power and liner which is the thing of course on the F die which isn't on the f5 DC in six volt with sensor negative with it being a sony product for double-a batteries and on this side we've got the switch to select the smaller size records and also the speed volume is for the headphone output there are a twin headphone outputs so two people can listen at once all the rest of the controls are grouped together on the front here so we've got disc hold which activates the motorized disc clamp which you can see at the top there there's a large starts stop button in the middle of the right hand side we've got the controls for moving the tone arm across the record as well as the button for raising and lowering the stylus you can see the tone arm through the window here it would move up and down through there as it advances across the record now I mentioned that mine has a fault and it's all to do with that motorized disc clamp mechanism so if I had a PS f5 this wouldn't be an issue because on that one it's manually operated but with mine I'm supposed to press the disc hold button and the record is clamped in position and allowed to freely spin that red dot is supposed to line up with disc hold at the bottom but you can see as I press the button it gets to a certain point and stop short which means the record isn't clamped 'add and therefore I'm unable to play it now the chap who sold with this machine said this problem only really happened with heavier vinyl but I found it happened with all vinyl he suggested you could raise the disc up a little bit with your hands and that would help it to lock into position but I wasn't happy with that I wanted to fix the problem I'll show you what the issue is it's these two wheels here you see how they spin around when the motor is activated it turns the sensor part now that sensor part is supposed to pierce through the hole in the center of the record this arm on the top once it moves into position it clicks this micro switch on the left here that enables you to then play the record now if I put a record in I'll show you what happens it works fine without the record in place but costs not much use if I press the button now you can see it stops short and you can force it down but of course you can't get into this section once the machine is closed up so I need to find a way to get that arm to move all the way across to that micro switch now realize it's down to this section here spinning freely you see there's two cogs together and the idea is that once it reaches a point of resistance it spins around a little bit there that shuts the motor off I think it's like a safety feature in case you put a record in and you didn't line the hole up properly or something now the thing is it's always going to meet some resistance off a record because the idea is it pushes through the center spindle hole and also raises it up at the same time which is why the chat was saying it was happening with heavier discs because a heavier disc will require a little bit more force so this center part goes through the spindle hole but in doing so it also pulls a record off the bottom of the machine raises it up just a fraction of a millimeter enough so that it spins freely and then once you finish playing a record you release the clamp the disc will drop down ever so slightly onto the base of the machine which is where you lift it out from so as far as I could see the issue is something to do with these two plastic wheels I surmise that perhaps wasn't enough grip between them and I could rough that up with a very thin file which is what I set about doing now admittedly this was a very risky proposition this was not an inexpensive machine and if I'd brokered one of these plastic wheels it would have been the end of it but I'd really reach their end of the things I could try I'd greased on the other parts of the mechanism and this was pretty much my last resort so after I thought I'd scoured the insides of these plastic reels a bit rough them up a little bit I then tried the mechanism again and I was pleasantly surprised it did get a little bit nearer and it just required a little bit of a wobble of the record for it to get all the way across so I was encouraged by that and went back to Father get a little bit more trying to make it a little bit rougher but unfortunately that was as close as I got I never got the arm to move all the way across on its own so then I thought well I'll try it from a different angle I noticed there's a spring pushing against those two wheels and perhaps it's not as springy as it should be maybe I could improve upon that move it across a little bit tighten things up so I thought I'll take care of the whole mechanism but the screws that I thought were holding the arm into the machine turned out to actually be holding the motor onto the ARB the arm seems to be an integral part of the entire structure and doesn't seem to be able to be removed so I put the screws back into the motor so I didn't lose it off the bottom of it and went about doing this adjustment with the whole mechanism in place so I've got a bent wire put it around the spring pushed it in such a way to give the spring a little bit more force against those wheels tightened it up and then snipped off any excess and then tried it again just to make sure that my badge job wasn't catching on anything and it wasn't so let's have a go let's stick a record in and see if that has helped anything and the answer is no it didn't make any difference at all it was a complete waste of time but then I noticed this bit of fluff that was starting to appear between the plastic wheels and I realized of course they wouldn't just have pieces of plastic rubbing against each other as I originally thought they're going to have a felt washer between them to give that bit of friction that they need but not so much that they grip together so it's going to be more like this inside and by sticking that file in there I've dislodged that felt wash which for whatever reason must have been too smooth to grip that it's starting to appear outside the edge of the wheel and that then gave me the idea of using some of this self-adhesive cloth surgical tape I just put a few small sections between the two wheels so it's stuck to one side it rubs against the other side it looks a little bit messy but let's see whether it works and the answer is yes it does and perfectly - but I perhaps should have realized earlier on they wouldn't have two pieces of plastic just rubbing together with nothing between them but of course hindsight is 20/20 and at least it's working now so let's have a look at it in a little bit more detail now the internal skeleton of the machine that part you see in black is made out of metal the purple section is the cartridge of course with the stylus in there you've got the toad arm which goes down onto this metal bar at this end which is drawn along by that piece of string for want of a better term on the other side once you've plugged it in position you can press the start/stop butter that drops this stylus down onto the beginning of the record and if you want you can manually position it by lifting it off and moving it along using the up and down arrows the little red LED on there will shine through the window on the front of the machine so you can see whereabouts your stylus is in relation to the disk and then just press the down button to put it back into position again it's got a fully automatic mechanism so once the tonearm reaches the run-out groove it will lift off the record return back to the beginning and the disc will stop spinning and of course it's a linear tone arm which is relatively sophisticated and the machine itself of course could be played either in a horizontal or vertical orientation now whenever the Saudi flamingo Ranger brought up someone will always mention the audio technica sound burger as being a similar device that was a lot she and whilst it's similar in the fact it's a small portable plastic turntable it's much more conventional in its approach it's just like a record player with a size cutoff it's got a standard toad arm it can only have Cosby played in a horizontal orientation it opens up like a clamshell you put the record on the inside and then close it on the top of them as you can see there's a couple of different manufacturers made similar devices in fact you can still get hold of something like this nowadays the Crosley Revolution and indeed you may see one of those in a future video but for the moment let's go back to the subject in hand which is a Sony PS f9 i'll reassemble it and we'll have a go at playing some records in it


[Music] for a 30 odd year old consumer grade plastic vertical turntable it's running on four double A batteries I'd really can't fault the sound quality from this the only things that are slightly concerning to me are that when you put a record it all take one out you have to be very careful not to scrape it down the sides of that very narrow aperture and of course I can't measure the tracking force it's being put on the record from that tone arm now if you want to play a 45 rpm single you have to move both of these switches to the upward position the top part of those is a mechanical switch which moves across this plastic shelf that's inside the record slots the reason for that is it holds the record in such a position that the spindle hole is in line with the club mechanism now you can't easily play any irregular shaped records or unusual sizes like this 10-inch wrong because there isn't a setting for it you could at a pinch hold it in position so that the clamp went through the spindle hole but I wouldn't really recommend it while the machine will of course play plain old black vinyl fine it really does look its best when it's playing a picture disc a quick flick through the manual reveals that for double a alkaline batteries will give you seven hours of continuous playback which I know thinks bad at Sawle it also mentions various accessories that you could have got at the time one of them that's missing off that list though is the optional carrying case which I think would be a nice thing to have it also mentions in the manual that if you've got slightly warped records it's better to play those in the horizontal orientation and of course you can replace the stylus as instructions inside the cover and that's why the cover comes off of course so there you go that was the Sony PS f9 now in the past I've been accused of creating a tecmo effect that's when the price of an item on eBay increases after being featured in one of my videos now I don't know how true that really is but in this case it wouldn't matter because these turntables are already too expensive what I would like to happen though is for Sony to do a Nintendo and reissue some of their classic products from the past with the recent vinyl revival I think it's the perfect time from all-new flamingo but anyway that's it for the moment as always thanks for watching [Music]




More from this creator:
Sony's portable battery-powered turntable from 1983 has become a highly desired and expensive collectors piece. However before I can demonstrate this one, I'll need to get it working. Sony Global Design History Pages

Ebay (well it doesn't cost anything to look) PS-F5


UPDATE: After uploading the video, it occurred to to that Sony have in fact revisited their back catalogue recently with the re-launch of the Aibo robotic dog. Hopefully this will continue and we'll get to see some more modern reinterpretations of classic Sony products. OMISSION: I forgot to mention that I pulled out any remnants of the old felt washer that was protruding from between the cogs before installing my replacement cloth tape. Also perhaps I should have clarified that the gears unit was welded on at both ends, there were no retaining washers or e-clips that could be removed to disassemble it. Lots of people want me to say the word *Clutch* to describe the gears mechanism as if somehow this will fill a here we go CLUTCH I suspect nothing has changed. There's also a fan website dedicated to the Sony PS-F5 that has some additional information -

A few people think the Sound Crocodile drawing shown on the advert for the Sound Burger is a real thing (?!????!!!?) - It’s not, here’s a picture of the full advert

RECORDS USED The bicolour records used for the demonstrations were: 1) Stax Number Ones (Yellow & Red) 2) Lou Reed - Transformer (Black & Yellow) These were limited editions from

Both are now discontinued - however they have plenty of other exclusive coloured discs to choose from. Standard black vinyl editions of both are readily available Stax - Number Ones Amazon US

Amazon UK

(very over priced) Lou Reed - Transformer Amazon US:

Amazon UK:

Back to the Future Picture disc was also from Amazon US:


Q) Where did the 45 with the puppet picture come from. A) See this video for more.

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