Dating Technics SL1200's
This is mostly lifted from
wikipedia's SL1200 page with some additions by KAB.
The serial number is generally found on a gray label located either on the back of the deck, or on the bottom.
Old-format serial number: NH9KF15521 (SL-1200 manufactured 1989) The first digit shows the year when the turntable was manufactured. These serial numbers contain no indication of the month of manufacture.
This format was found in a CD service manual from 1982 and seems to work
on 1200's made throughout the 1980's
Example on DA2217D142
"DA" : Production Line
"2" : Year > 1982
"2" : Month > February If letters (A for January, J for October, etc..)
"17" : Day > 17
"D" : Suffix > ?
"142" : Number > 142nd unit made that day
These are examples of serial numbers seen on early production units up to 1989. Other observations of older 2 piece base designs can be easily identified as having full access to the bottom tonearm cover and possessing a different style of dust cover hinges. The old hinge had a receptacle on the back which received the hinge with a thin wide slot. The later and current models feature a hinge receptacle that accepts the hinge with a square opening approx 3/8" square.
New-format serial number first used in 1990:
Example on GE4FB001154
"GE" : Production Line
"4" : Year > 1994, 2004
"F" : Month > June (A for January, J for October, etc..)
"B" : ?
"001154" : Unique Serial Number
GE4FB001154 (SL-1200MK2 manufactured June 2004 or 1994) The first digit
shows the last digit of the year when the turntable was manufactured, while the
month of manufacture is indicated by the letter following it. Months are coded
as letters between A and L inclusive; A indicates January, B indicates
February, and so on, so F indicates June. This was deviated in the last year of
production where September production used the letter S for some reason instead
of I. The last six digits are the unique serial number for each model. The way
to tell if it was made in the 90's or the 2000's is to make 2 additional
1. Check the 3 screws that hold the motor stator, in the 90's these were fine pitch threads, later they were changed to hi speed self tapping threads.
2. Remove the platter and check for a cutout in the chassis in the 9:00 to 11:00 o'clock positions. This cutout also appeared around 2000.
In 2009 the interconnect cable was changed to a high capacitance cable which can be identified by the end connector.
In addition to the above, all the SL-1200MK2s from the 1970s and early 1980s have a 4-inch-diameter (100 mm) plate where the RCA and ground wires enter the chassis in the rubber base of the unit. The later models have a smaller hole through which the wires enter the unit. A somewhat larger hole size returned in 1997 in the MK4 and 2003 in the M5G models but these still require removal of the rubber base to remove the tonearm bottom cover.
Beginning in 2008, a complete date of manufacture is stamped on the tonearm base cover.
KAB Electro Acoustics
Plainfield, NJ 07062