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Don’t Give Me No Static

Galibier Design - Bearing Ground Wire
(click to enlarge)

We’re approaching that time of the year in the the upper latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere where static electricity is beginning to show itself.

There are two approaches to eliminating (or at least minimizing) static electricity in your vinyl  playback system.

One approach involves removal after the fact, and the other involves draining it before it builds up.

In our design, we opt for the latter, and we’ve done so by attaching a ground wire to the bottom of our bearing.  If you have a turntable from another manufacturer, you might be able to try this strategy if you’re handy.

The challenge lies in attaching a ground wire to your bearing without damaging it.  We took a hint from our guitar building hobby – copper shielding tape. 

This adhesive backed copper foil is advertised has having a conductive adhesive.  Before putting too much effort into this, I recommend verifying the conductivity of the adhesive.

(click to enlarge)

One product we’ve had success with comes from the luthier’s supply house – Stewart MacDonald (click this link – opens in new window).

The main challenge lies in finding a spot on your bearing to affix it to.  Assuming you can do this, the “build” procedure is simple:

  1. Cut a strip to a size you’ve determined to work and solder a ground wire to it as shown in the photo.
  2. Strip the other end of the wire and solder a spade lug or ring terminal to it (optional).
  3. Peel back the protective layer to expose the adhesive and affix the strip to your bearing.
  4. Attach the wire to the ground post on your phono stage and voila! 

Obviously, the devil is in the details, and you’ll need to develop a strain relief system so the wire isn’t pulled free from the bearing.  We’ll leave that to your imagination.

A question came up in a forum about whether the ground wire in a tonearm interconnect will work, and the answer is no.

The main reason is that we need to establish path to ground from the record.  If you were to measure for continuity between the tonearm cable ground wire and your record spindle, the odds are that it will be “open” (infinite resistance).

Will this work on your turntable?  Let us know, and … enjoy the Winter!