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

With this mod, it is possible to get all speeds to within 2 Hz of the desired 3000Hz setting making the deck a truely correct speed running machine- No Question!

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.

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 skywavebe@sbcglobal.net 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.

I can now say without worry that Gerhard in Florida joins me in the fight against broken decks. He has customers calling me and thanking me for referring the work to him as he does a remarkable job. In my many conversations with him I know he is no dummy. I suggest to many people who need work done in Florida and surrounding states to contact him. I can not do it all here in Chicago area especially now that Lightfoot has the city in turmoil with her (of is it it’s ) lack of proper management.

Vintage Stereo Repair and Restoration
Repairing and restoring analog audio components
Teac, NAD, dbx, Revox, B&O, Pioneer

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!


Technical Notes

These detailed items are for those who are technically capable of understanding them and implementing them. The reason is that it is a way to share what is determined, designed or found to need correction on the various models noted. It will allow a technician who works on tape decks to benefit from my observations and design mods to make their repairs better or more accurate.

Do not hesitate to contribute if you have a proven and tested design mod.

Pioneer RT909 push on rubber Pinch Rollers

For those that are not informed and have no way to measure wow and flutter as well as phase shift with a scope, I am posting this so that you DO NOT waste your money on this garbage.

I finally tested a set here and had to wonder what was the problem with the freshly oiled and belted deck and it was the Pinch Rollers. These Pinch roller push ons are a bad attempt to make a product but if they did any testing they would find that they exhibit cyclic wow and flutter rising to .14% and that they are not very precise in that the azimuth sine wave shifts consistently at least 90 degrees each way. This is ridiculous that these are still being sold. I looked on Amazon and there are two 5 star rating reviews.

In putting on another pair of old rollers I had here the wow and flutter went down to .040% wrms and stayed there.

This is another rip off product to be sold to those that do not know better- my results have been confirmed by two other Technicians.

Also be aware that this same idea is being sold for Tascam cassette decks and the more expensive Open reels. No matter what the product is, the push on rubber is crap and you will NOT get good service from it. The only way to fix a Pinch Roller is to send it to Terry Witt in Sparta Michigan. This is what the professionals do. Don’t let these numbskull’s take advantage of you!

Teac X7R and other X7 models Fast Wind Speed Fix Modification

One of the most aggravating things is to fast wind a X7R and have to wait the 2.5 to 3 minutes to have it finish a 1800 foot roll of tape.  Ha! Teac knew there was a problem and  released technical bulletins to make some corrections. Well I use a different approach in application of the 30Vdc supply to the motors only in fast wind mode. Does this work you might say? Well both fast winds with my modification finished the same roll of tape at 58 seconds. I have taken a signal out of the logic that signals the reel motor drive that it is doing fast wind mode. This then goes through some resistors and transistors to invert the signal to drive a TIP107 transistor that then sends the higher voltage to the motors. There is a diode that maintains the 14Vdc supply at play mode on those motors and that prevents the feed of the 30 Vdc supply back to the 14Vdc supply. I have tested this deck and it is going through more tests but if you want to get your deck corrected for this problem, contact me.

Well the first of my mods is out there and only time will tell if the client likes it. I have a feeling that anyone who has sat through the slow wind speeds will fine this less than a minute speed much better. I have obtained some further parts to build these kits. I just have to do the  schematic and instructions. I think the idea will be well received once people find out how well these decks can work.

Damping Silicone in 8ml bottles

This product is used to dampen the movement of left tension arms in Teac and other tape decks. Its Viscosity is 300,000 cSt.  The 8mL sized bottle should be enough to do 3-5 tension arms per bottle. As you probably already know this product is not easy to find. The product name is Dimethyl Polysiloxane. I offer this as a service to my fellow Service Technicians who can not afford to buy a Gallon of it for over $400.

I have used it successfully on a number of decks already. It does work.

Cost is $8.00 plus $8.30 shipping.

Contact me at skywavebe@sbcglobal.net to order one or a couple bottles.

They are in limited numbers.Silicone 8ml-2

They are clear after the bubbles rise. Probably can service 10-20 machines from one bottle.