Replacing white LED stylus target light on Audio-Technica AT-LP120X

I recently bought a new turntable, the Audio-Technica AT-LP120XUSB. I wanted direct drive, decent mid-range quality (didn’t need the absolute highest spec due to my ageing & damaged hearing – I blame the school discos of the 1980s, and Roni Size gigs 😦 ) and USB built-in so I could hook up recording/streaming devices. I found an eBay seller offering new, boxed product for less than RRP and had a random “20% off eBay” voucher too so it was a no-brainer…

I really like the turntable, but the white LED “stylus target light” is absolutely dreadful – it’s cheap and plasticy and gives out a bright, cold white light when all the other LEDs on the turntable are red. The idea is that if it’s dark then this light helps you see the gaps between tracks so you can select the right one. They’ve obviously cost-reduced this part compared to previous versions of this model and it’s a really nasty, removable thing that plugs into a phono (RCA) socket on the turntable’s plinth. I immediately began to plot to replace it…

Original white LED stylus target light

Shopping list: cheap phono lead (RCA) cables with metal bodies that I could hack apart (thanks again to eBay) and some superbright red LEDs (thanks Amazon)

Measuring the voltage coming out of the phono socket shows 8V when no LED is connected but it collapses to ~2.4V when the white LED is plugged in – leading me to think that there’s already a current limiting resistor in the circuit internally. A quick calc on the Electrodoc app for the superbright red LED says I need another 27R to make everything happy.

I hacked the connectors off the el-cheapo leads and drilled a hole in the side of the connector barrel. I soldered the resistor & LED onto the base of an old metal phono plug and tested it for brightness and correct height to actually light up the platter. When I was happy with the height I put the LED & plug into the barrel and filled it from the top with sugru, smoothing off the top to make a nice(-ish) finish 🙂

Testing for correct height

Really pleased with how it looks now with everything red.

Red, red and more red.
Playing a “Record Store Day 2021” purchase 🙂

The turntable sits with other pieces of analogue audio kit I’ve recently recovered from storage: my Sony MDS-JB930 minidisc deck and Technics RS-B665 tape deck. The latter now hacked so it can be remote-controlled via a Raspberry Pi or Psion Series 3a 😀 I also hooked up the Raspberry Pi to the turntable’s USB output so I can stream the audio wherever I want

Published by zedstarr

Chilled out human being, doing techy stuff.

One thought on “Replacing white LED stylus target light on Audio-Technica AT-LP120X

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