Replacing the 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…

Roni Size, loud.

I really like the turntable, it general gets good-ish reviews for the price point but the white LED “stylus target light” is absolutely dreadful – it’s cheap and nasty plastic 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 horrible, 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 bodied plugs that I could hack apart (thanks again to eBay) and some super-bright red LEDs (thanks Amazon).

Measuring the voltage coming out of the phono socket shows 8V when no LED is connected but it reduces 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 resistor to make everything happy.

I hacked the connectors off the el-cheapo phono leads and drilled a hole in the side of the connector barrel to accommodate the red LED. 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 record when on the platter. When I was happy with the height I put the LED & plug into the connector barrel and filled it from the top with sugru, smoothing off the top to make a nice finish. After 24hrs the Sugru had completely set and I had a new red LED stylus target light πŸ˜‰

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 πŸ™‚

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 from any web browser or from a (local) Psion Series 3a πŸ˜€ 
I also hooked up the Raspberry Pi to the turntable’s USB output so I can stream the audio wherever I want

Yellow and Green LEDs get in on the act… more colours coming soon πŸ˜‰
Standard LED target light replaced with super-bright red LED version

Published by zedstarr

Chilled out human being, doing techy stuff.

4 thoughts on “Replacing the white LED stylus target light on Audio-Technica AT-LP120X

  1. This was exactly what I was looking for, I agree that the white led needs to be changed out. I’ve compiled a list of supplies to buy from Jaycar and will be doing the same modification to my AT-LP120X as well.. Aesthetically much more pleasing in my mind. Thanks for the effort

  2. I keep periodically looking for someone that makes them and sells them. Maybe someday. If I had the tech know-how, I’d to it myself.

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