Buyers Be Aware- Sellers Are Ripping You Off And You Don’t Know It

I am in communication with certain people who are often E bay sellers and sellers of Reel Decks on other sites. One guy told me that 99% of reel to reel users do not know the machine they are buying is bad and so that gives him the go ahead to not adjust them correctly. Another guy who I asked what do you check the speed with as in test tape and measuring device? He answered it sounds good to me!

People are buying decks at higher prices and getting equipment with the most minimum of service done to them as well as them being off speed and who knows what they calibrate them to. All these people would be classified as Hacks by the good Technicians that exist out there. These are the Knuckleheads that you are being ripped off by as the decks are not even close to correct. I am writing this to make you aware of this prevailing mindset in the used equipment sales of Reel to Reel and Cassette decks.  I never knew it was this bad and I do not intend to overlook the stuff I see. You can also tell how well the machine is worked on by asking what length warranty they have if any.

8 thoughts on “Buyers Be Aware- Sellers Are Ripping You Off And You Don’t Know It”

  1. Thanks for fighting the good fight and calling out the BS when you see it.
    It’s shameful that some folks selling open reel decks swap out a belt, clean the heads and possibly free up a stuck pinch roller arm are promoting them as serviced, and will likely only turn buyers off this amazing option for vintage hi-fi enthusiasts.

    1. Yes, in talking to sellers and even a Technician of a Chicago shop I get upset when more and more of them are turning out to put out junk work. We have enough bad repair people in Chicago without adding more. I hate to say it but it would mean even more work for me and I have a hard time getting people to train and work in this field- they always want to take the easy route and sell units that are in bad shape overall. The problem is I am overloaded now and there is no end in sight. It might be said now that I may be the only good Tech in Chicago besides my associate Dan who only works on Cassette decks but he is asking about open reels and I think he will be the next best Tech for these devices. He does wonderful work on cassette decks now.

      1. It gets even worse- A deck that was serviced and modified by a Technician that is well known with initials WN was found all messed up with bad tensions- this is a repair job not a sale. He added a heat sink to the transistor that gets hot and this to avoid setting the tension correctly where that transistor would only get warm. Well there are results from running a deck at 190g/cm torque on the reel motor. Now the right reel motor will slow badly in fast wind towards the end of the 1800 foot reel of tape due to it having a higher resistance in the winding. Yes, the commutator was cleaned and gaps cleared of carbon two times. Still this motor has less output torque wise than a different one. I attribute this to the over current condition it has been used with all these years before it got to me. These EM1448 motors are not that plentiful and so finding one could cost $80 from the parts E bay location. Who knows if that one is any good? A lot of machines I get come in with very dirty pinch rollers and that is a sign that the torque is turned way up to allow this to go on. Normally a dirty pinch roller will not allow the deck to operate correctly- Don’t take it to some idiot technician to turn up the torque, clean the pinch roller like you are suppose to!
        Well now the customer has the choice to add another $80 to the bill on his X2000 due to the bad people they have working on their machines who modify the deck rather than fix it correctly. This is what I have to put up with.
        So excessive torque use of a reel motor can degrade is performance as this one example shows.

    2. Yes it is too bad. The good news is there is a guy tooling up to do decks in Florida a wasteland other than for Crown decks down there. Now Gerhard has worked on some decks and is showing some promise. Check my additions to good service shops as I put people in there that I am sure they do good work.

    3. I can not get over the level of crooked and deceptive action some of these people on E bay and other places take. I was dealing with a guy today that sells things on E bay that buys and Sells units. He brought me a A3300S that was working he said. The Linkage was stuck, old belt on it, thrust clearance adjustment gone, speed off, brakes no good, Capacitors problem in the audio section and 40 years old caps in the power supply. Yet he tells me he will sell it for $1300 as a working deck and no warranty.
      In fact he does not even let people meet him where he lives and carries a gun. What does this tell you that he expects to be confronted some day? Crooks get found out sooner or later and just remember what happen to the Foreman Brothers in Chicago.

      People beware of deck sales on E bay and those with no warranty- at best they put a belt on the deck but not always. Then they tell you it is working but in reality it is no where near correct or near specs and they actually made them worse by them touching it. I have been seeing that purple colored grease in repairs that are incompetent and this was one of them.

  2. Hi Sam,
    Read your posts all the time on Tapeheads.
    I am refurbing a Sony TC-399 I recently picked up from a radio station clean out. I broke it down, replaced belts (, cleaned & lubed, used rubber renewing on idlers. Problem(s) is after re-assembling the deck it won’t engage any functions (play, rewind, FF). It will rewind if I hold the knob in that position.
    Also the take up hub spins freely from the inner hub as if it doesn’t have any grip to turn the belt. Service manual is difficult to read due to many generations of copying.
    I got the deck for free. invested about 60 bucks into it and wonder if there is any hope to get it working.

    Thanks for your input of any kind.


    1. Hi Doug,
      These can be a pain. First, if you take the reel table apart, you will
      see that the link between the top section and the drive section is a
      foam that decayed away.
      I think I replaced it after a good cleaning with Felt. Felt will dry out
      after many years but it does not decay away and in fact it grip more as
      it ages. I think I also had one that was still there but the glue gave
      lose after all these years- I reattached it with Latex glue- I use Best
      Test from a art supply company. I think it was called Blick art supply.
      3Oz is the small bottle.

      The second item you have to work on is correct assembly and under the
      head base there are some parts that move to lock the mechanism in place.
      If these are too slippery then they
      will not do the job. I have had some that did not lock and it was
      because I did not clean that parts and the parts did not move like they
      should with dried grease. Then I have had some
      that had a lot of movement but the mechanism was too lose so I had to
      make adjustments. The system works on slide levers and that but the way
      it stays in position is that cam system
      that is associated with the mechanism knob. It has those round notches
      that cause it to stay in a position. This is one reason I like to direct
      people to the Teac A2300S version of deck as there is no foolishness as
      in this thing designed in the 60’s.

      *Best regards,*

      *Sam Palermo,**
      Skywave Tape Deck Repair
      617 McLean Ave
      Bensenville IL 60106
      Now Accepting MC, Visa, Amex and Discover Cards

    2. The 399 may have two problems that you did not address. One is there is a pivot on some machines under the idler that makes contact to the flywheel. This is often seized up and needs to be freed and oiled. Then the play will work so the motor torque is transferred to the flywheel properly. Next in the reel table of some decks there is a foam clutch. The foam in the one I had was all worn away and the adhesive backing was away from the platter it was fixed to. So I took that out and used latex glue to place a felt ring to provide the toque needed to turn a reel. Keep in mind that these designs are pretty archaic and the selection of a deck like a Teac A2300S is a much better choice in performance and longevity. I just fixed a A2300S and a A2300SX this last week and they both worked well. To fix a old Sony deck often takes some real thinking of what they were trying to do and then how to come up with a solution to the problem with NO original parts available- Sony threw all the parts away when I was in Niles back in the late 90’s. They all went in the dumpster with no one allowed to touch anything.

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