Restored Units from E bay- Warning

I have had a few units come in to me for evaluation when they did not work right according to the sale description that they were restored. HA!

Not only did the unit I looked at was clearly untouched service wise but the reel table was pushed in- not by shipping, and all kinds of other signs were clear that this was a total fraud case- it came from NY. I name names but I did not gain this information.

If a unit is described as Restored keep in mind that Restored is a level ABOVE repaired. It means all new belts and rubber, new neoprene bumpers, new Electrolytic caps throughout and then aligned and calibrated with some level of heads that are not at their end of life. This was the complete opposite of the deck I inspected and this was clearly a fraud case so I told the client to send it back.

Restored units should have a warranty, it should say who the Technician was that did the work in order to validate the claim and it should relate what was done to it. It should list what tape was used to calibrate the deck and a length or warranty of the work done. My 6 month warranties are transferable. The guy who got ripped off ended up buying a deck from me and the one I sold him was restored with a warranty and calibrated to MDS36 tape. The speed was correct as well as I change the motor pulleys with a modified one when the specs demand it. This one did. It had a complete Electrolytic recap. Heads had about 300 hours on them so they were just past broken in. It had real wood panels on the sides and feet.

The deck the guy bought as restored had red screws in the bottom and NO feet! Beware there are a lot of crooks out there and E bay is full of them.

Don’t Use Refurbished Speed switches on X1000R!

Why would anyone use a 40 year old capacitor in a Sony deck when the one they are replacing failed already? I have seen this done and indicates the person working on the deck does not have experience with these caps.

Put a film cap in that is new. Same goes for the X1000R speed and reel size switches. Don’t put in the same switch some guy pulled out of an old deck to sell you only to have the break like they usually do. These are known weak parts and the latching ramps break off. Put a new switch in that is known to work and is newly made in this year.

I have them for $12 per pair with $8.30 postage in the USA. Higher to other places. If you buy in quantity, I will drop the price further to service people. There is no reason to pay $20 or more per switch from the guy on E bay as he is ripping you off. He pays no where near $20 each probably less than $1.00. I have them ready to ship and I have actually put these switches in a unit and they work fine.

Tape Deck Repair Questions I Get

I am often asked what book do I read to tell me how to take this mechanism apart in order to fix it like a Technician?

The answer is there is no such book. Decks of different models are built in different ways and if you are an expert in Teac decks this does not make you an expert in Pioneer decks or Otari. They are all designed with a like need and function but using different parts and structures.

So a person asked me how to take a X1000R pinch roller linkage apart. I basically told him the basic steps. It does not mean that every detail is included in that small list of instructions. Where does all the detail come from then? It is a thing called experience. Experience and know-how is developed over time on a bench when you work on 20-50 decks of different types. Once you work on 100 to 200 you will have a higher confidence level than a beginner as you know something about the subject but not all. Then there is reliance on other Technicians. If I after 45 years come across a deck I have never worked on like a Revox or Technics, I contact one of the guys that work on them all the time. Leon or Marc will then tell me what they know and maybe some things they have come across that I might encounter. People contact me all the time about Teac and Tascam decks and I help them. To become proficient in tape deck repair as I tell people I am training or helping to start out, is that you take in everything you can and use those to sharpen your mind as to what you will need to repair decks. The issue is that if you take in some real junk then you will work through all the problems which could take a long time but when done you will have gone through the first course of deck repair and will have accomplished something. Even if the deck has Idlers and goofy design if you are able to make it work at least somewhat well you will have overcome many obstacles in that mechanism and then when you work on a better and more properly designed product then you will appreciate how well some things are made. At a later time you can define what you want to work on and then get away from junk like Akai decks that have no heads possible for replacements. This is why I don’t take them in anymore.

There is no magic wand to fix these- or what the magic wand actually is- is hard work and applying yourself to the task at hand and learn what you need to know as you make your journey from startup to seasoned Technician. No one starts out at the Admiral level you need to start out at seaman level first and make your way up the ladder to higher levels- ask questions and use logic in your decision as well as some common sense. Do NOT think that changing boards is the magic answer as most the time it results in further problems to solve rather than an easy fix. If you have questions I can answer some here.

Teac X1000R Speed Mods

For a time now I have been fighting with some units speed wise where the forward direction is set a 3004Hz and then the reverse direction come in at 3035Hz. Well there is only one adjustment and it is wrong to place the forward speed at less than 3000Hz due to the human ear hears slower better than a faster speed. So I said one day a guy will figure out a mod to fix this- why does it always end up being me?

Well now a mod is designed that takes a signal off the reversing solenoid ground path to switch a relay so that when reverse mode is had the speed is adjustable to exact values by a 10 turn trimmers. In doing this you also need to provide the forward trimmers which are also improved from the single turn pots they used on the servo card. Now for both directions and speeds we have exact speed setting so that Musicians with perfect pitch do not have to suffer due to this design error.

Solar Installs in Illinois

Well I think I have had 5 or 6 people present me a plan to put a solar panel system on my roof and all of then failed to say they can provide power when the supplier- Com Ed goes out. Picture a sunny day when the utility takes the power down and you have paid $25,000 to $40,000 to have solar panels put on the roof. Do you think you will have some power in your house? All but one installer say NO. The one that did say yes later called and said they can not provide the Tesla battery that is needed. Makes me want to ask them all why are you even trying to sell this system? I am a BSEE so in electronics they will not be able to trick me. So these grid tie systems are suppose to shut down when the Com Ed power goes out- did they never hear of disconnects? I get the impression that until Elon Musk sets up a Solar system to sell nationally that none of these system will be done right.

There is no reason that these systems that they sell you should not be able to generate power when power goes out in the day. Those that do not are simply not technically qualified to be selling these system. Yes, I talked to their engineers too. At night that all depends on your system and storage method. The Tesla Power wall should be able to provide minimum power during this time that was stored from the solar collection that was done during the day.

As an experiment I hooked up some cracked 6″ cells to make a 3 volt system. I think it went a little higher in full sun and it was lighting a lamp called a PR2 that is typically found in a pen light flashlight. The lamp stayed on even when cloud cover happened cutting off all the sun. You would have to cover the panels to total darkness for them to put out zero output. Now these cells I bought were chipped and missing corners but were the 8 Amp types. I think Solar is a possibility in Illinois if it is done right but Modernize does not have the contractors that really know what they are doing or at least they have not sent them to me as of yet. I guess I will have to wait for the real people to come around to put a Tesla roof on and in about 4 years that might just about be right. I should have a Telsa car by then.

Well another numbskull called me up and made an appointment to meet me and all day not a peep from him. Why are these people trying to sell me Solar so bad in doing business? They seem to recruit from the bottom of the barrel. Maybe he is a Mc Donalds worker drop out- I know lets sell solar where it does not make sense to put it in. If you get a call from 8153931996 don’t think that he will show up as he certainly did not for me.

GOOD Part Suppliers

Every once in a while there is a gifted person out there that takes it upon himself to help us Technicians and DIY hobbyist to fix their decks by making available parts that are very hard to find. This Fellow I talk about here is Marian. He has a web site that has many great products and if you are working on a tape deck, you are best advised to at least look around his site to see if he has a part you are looking for. I have purchased from him for the Sony WM-D6C and it is great to get parts that are just what we need.

I highly recommend you go check out this resource of parts-

Looking For Tape Deck Technician !

I have to say that after all these years you would think I could catch up but since 2010 when getting into this repair business full time or more, I have only gotten a larger and larger back log. It is time to add to staff even if I have to train you. Having some Electronics training in the past is a plus but is not absolutely necessary. Some Mechanical skill is also a plus and the ability to lift 80 pound units- not all are that size but some are.

I am not hiring employees but as I have done with other trainees, the training is done which then allows you to work on your own if you don’t want to work with me. I can tell you as I have with others how to make your own business out of this venture. A space to set up a bench at your location will be needed and then the investment in some equipment and test tapes if you do not have them. We work mostly on Open Reel and Cassette decks here. Occasionally other stuff. The investment can be $1200-$1500. That is not money paid to me but in buying alignment tapes and test equipment like a scope, AC Millivolt meter and a Wow and Flutter meter. Some investment in a parts cabinets and capacitor stock. There is terrific demand for this now and it is growing- I need driven and consistent people to help me in this massive back log I have here. The pay can be from $80 to $100/Hr for those who are at the ready level- the training and learning does not stop but goes on as we see new things. I am still learning after 45 years in this business. Contact me at or call me at 708-334-2260 if you want to get started. The best way to train is in person one on one. I am in the Chicago area SW or O’Hare Airport.

Fuse Replacement

I get phone calls from people that tell me they changed a fuse, it burned out again and then as they burn out the third one the deck goes further and further into disrepair. First fuses are not a method of repair- they are a safety device to keep from overloaded circuit to catch fire or to lessen damage.

The guy who blows out three fuses or more is just sending his equipment further and further into higher cost as he is then doing more damage as each fuse burns out. Don’t you see the futility in all this fuse replacing? If a fuse blows out that is an indication that there is a fault and a meter needs to come out and troubleshooting done to correct the problem. Additional fuses is just the sign of a person not knowing what they are doing and I could say more but would offend some people.

What Oil Should I Use On My Machine?

A question I get from many DIY repair people. I don’t hide my findings and advise people to the best products I have found. One of them is this AMS oil product that is outstanding. If you use WD40 or a low grade oil then don’t blame me for bad performance as I have told you what is best. It gives specs better than the new deck specs. .02%wrms JIS was measured on a A2000R the first time I used it and that is a model previous to the A2300S. I now use AMS oil exclusively on my shop benches as it is the best!