In order to ensure that cartridges are functional, a skilled technician is often required. If you follow a few simple steps, a multimeter can easily be used to test turntable cartridges if your cartridge is still not working after cleaning all parts of the turntable and still facing no sound. Using a multimeter properly to test a turntable cartridge ensures its longevity and resolves sound issue problems.

Testing a turntable cartridge correctly with a multimeter

A multimeter is the best tool for testing the output of your phono cartridge when using a turntable cartridge. It shows the voltage, current, and resistance of the cartridge on its screen. 

  1.  Remove the wires of the cartridge and cover also.
  2. From Phono cartridge pins, our test starts by measuring the resistance between the pins on either side.
  3. No, you have to set your multimeter to 10,000 ohms.
  4. So let’s start the continuity of the phono cartridge.
  5. Step 5: Now you have to connect your multimeter to a white (L) pin and blue (LG) pin (measure above 100 ohms and 10,000 ohms)
  6. Step 6: Connecting your multimeter leads to the green pin (RG) and red pin (R) (again measuring above 100 ohms and 10,000 ohms).
  7. Note: Match step 5 and step 6 reading and check if matching with each other; then it’s good. 
  8. Step 7: Connect the multimeter’s leads on the cartridge green and blue pins (If the reading is matching with steps 5 and 6, then your cartridge is in perfect condition)
  9. A higher-resistance cartridge is more likely to be worn out.
  10. If the pins on the cartridge are dirty or corroded, this method may not give accurate readings, so remove these specks of dirt.

Note: On a multimeter, if you are getting different results, then it means that your phono cartridge is defective, so repair or replace this cartridge.

Learn Easily about How To Test Phono Cartridge With a Multimeter

  • Ensure the multimeter is connected to the power supply and the ground terminal of the cartridge.
  • Set your multimeter to measure DC voltage.
  • Touch one of the leads of the cartridge to one of the multimeter’s leads.
  • The other lead should be connected to the ground.
  • Read the voltage measurement on the multimeter display. If it’s within specs, congratulations!
  • Your cartridge is in good working condition and should produce accurate sound.

Electromagnetic sensor

You can also test a turntable cartridge with an electromagnetic sensor. This type of sensor detects metal in contact with metal using an electrical signal. The time it takes for the signal to decay can be used to determine how worn out a cartridge is. In cases where metal pieces other than cartridges are found in the tested area or if the contacts are clogged with dirt or moisture, this method can be inaccurate.

How to test cartridges with an oscilloscope

An oscilloscope can be used to analyze and view waveforms generated by electronics. You can ensure that your cartridges have the best possible sound quality by testing them. By using an oscilloscope, you can identify the circuitry in your device (turntable cartridge) and repair or modify it as necessary. You can also use an oscilloscope to test your turntable cartridge.

How to use an oscilloscope

Oscilloscopes can be very useful tools for testing turntable cartridges and other components. This article aims to teach you how to use an oscilloscope to test turntable cartridges.

Understanding how an oscilloscope works are the first step to effectively using one. Oscilloscopes have traces on various circuit boards covered with probes that move back and forth. On the screen, a signal is displayed when the probe moves over a particular trace.

The digital oscilloscope is the most commonly used type of oscilloscope. Waveforms (or graphs), time stamps, and starting points are some features available in this type of scope. A voltage or current level can be seen using waveforms at specific points in time. You can track down where a problem occurs by using time stamps. Identifying the starting point of a problem can help you solve it faster.

Identify the type of oscilloscope you need before testing phonograph cartridges with it. As well as being useful for testing cartridges, a digital scope may also be useful for other purposes. Consider purchasing a cartridge tester if you need to test only a few cartridges.

  • To test phono cartridges, an oscilloscope is needed to determine if they are working properly. 
  • There are several different methods when testing a phono cartridge with an oscilloscope. 
  • Testing a cartridge can be done with a continuity meter by measuring the resistance between the cartridge’s lead and the probe. 
  • Higher resistance indicates more wear and tear on the phono cartridge. Another way to test a cartridge is to measure the resistance between the phono cartridge’s leads and ground using an ohmmeter.

How to Test if a Phono Cartridge is Good or Bad?

 A record player relies on phono cartridges, which are essential to its operation. How do you know whether your cartridge is working? Audio equipment testing is usually reserved for professional studios and audiophiles. However, you can still perform simple tests to determine if your cartridge is in good shape.

It’s vital that you know what to look for when testing a phono cartridge. What is your goal when testing a phono cartridge? When you only have time for one test, you should always perform the function test first. The function test determines whether the cartridge is loading correctly and producing sound. If the function test fails, you can perform the cartridge alignment tests.

Alignment Tests

If the cartridge function test still fails, it may be time to look at cartridge alignment tests. The stylus will be measured and aligned in the cartridge in these tests. If alignment issues arise, playback quality may be affected. A flat surface is needed for conducting these tests.

Phono Cartridge Types

The two most common types of phono cartridges are: 

Before you begin playing your turntable cartridge, you should know its type:

Moving Magnet Phono Cartridges

Audio signals are moved around the platter by magnets in these cartridges. Their sound is clear and distortion-free. Turntables with high output levels and those looking for pure audio quality should use these cartridges.

Moving Coil Phono Cartridges

An audio signal is moved along a platter using coils in these cartridges. They produce a warmer, more distortion-filled sound. Unfortunately, they are only compatible with Moving Coil Turntables. Capacitor phono players and moving magnet turntables do not work with them.

What to Do If Phono Cartridge is Bad

You can check if a bad phono cartridge is causing your audio problems by doing a few things. Turntables can be tested by playing a record you know is in good condition. A new cartridge may be the source of your problem if sound quality improves when you change it. Your phono cartridge is likely defective if the sound quality remains poor even with a high-quality record player.

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Talha Anjum
Home is where the Record Player Is!