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.
Here is a unit from Reverb- Serviced and yet he can put these head pictures on not clean and 90% worn out heads- $750 for a A3300SXhttps://reverb.com/item/35616317-teac-a-3300sx-serviced-4-track-ns-1-4-stereo-reel-to-reel-tape-recorder deck. Crooks are everywhere.
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.
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.
I have to say that a few clients that had decks here requested that I include this mod in their unit and yes it is more work but when I adjust the speeds in each direction and you can get the speed ever so close to the exact speed it should be- those 10 turn trimmers are a pleasure to work with.
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 email@example.com 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
Those looking for service have to be real careful- why? There are those out there to rip you off good. A client sent me a deck in from a TAP repair place. They told him the unit needed $800 of repair. So what was wrong with the unit? Well the client was trying to use a 240V 50Hz unit in the USA with 120Vac and 60Hz power. Other than that if you applied 240 Vac to the unit everything worked in it. This is the kind of incompetent service you can find out there and they never even mentioned to him it is a 240Vac unit because they probably did not even know this. Can you believe some of this crap?
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.
There are sites that are now offering MRL and Teac tapes that use their name but in reality they are duplicating their own signals on tape from who knows what kind of machines. This is one example-https://www.ebay.com/itm/BRAND-NEW-1-4-7-5-in-s-MRL-Four-Frequency-Calibration-Tape/392363532341?hash=item5b5ab06035:g:XaEAAOSwUPxdQc2f
These are fake and also not accurate and basically they are rip off artist that use reputable names to sell their garbage. Since when does Teac operate an alignment tape facility in Germany? It is all junk waiting to steal your money. Get MRL tape from good dealers like JRF Magnetics or MRL themselves and don’t buy the 4 tone cheaped out tape as this will not be as good as the real thing. I have been using MRL tapes from the late 80’s.
I know I can be negative at times but when I find a supplier that goes beyond the call of duty I mention that too.
That is Stereomanuals.com
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.
For those who own this machine there is a weak part in it called S301 which is the solenoid ALPs direction switch. Once this starts to go bad you can try and spray it with Deoxit but that might not even work given the tiny and poorly made switch design. The correct answer is to put a properly designed switch in by Kurt Jacobs which is sold on E bay. This fellow has done some homework and has made a correctly made part that should have been put in the deck of this price in the first place. Ebay Item# 153025190388
I, as a past Teac Lead Technician recommend this part!
I have been told that if you need this part contact Kurt directly and ask him about it- he is the only source for it. firstname.lastname@example.org
Recently I have been working on some decks here that have been badly butchered by local shops or so called Tecnicians that should really be called idiots because of what they do to these machines-
What has been observed are things like-
Broken off screws due to a drill being used to screw them in, stripped screws, Push on Pinch Roller rubber when they should be going to Terry for new rubber put on correctly. Cut wires all over the place, wrong belt sizes put on, power supply work that looked like a grade school person did it and I can go on and on. These people do more damage than good and then charge you for it. One service guy said to the client that he could not repair the deck- what was wrong with the deck? A shorted Zener Diode. How hard can that be to detect? A first year Electronic college student would be able to find this.
If you have a nice deck like this be careful where you have it serviced as a typical $300 repair can easily get into the $800 range when we have to take off motor plate stand offs and install new ones and repair all kinds of other destruction caused by the service person.
To add to this- I have just spent some time on the phone with a client who has had his unit repaired and recapped by this guy on E bay for $750. Now as he sends the unit back for the 4th time it still is not working. The client tells me he has a 3 year warranty. Talking about sticking your neck out far, I though I was doing that with 6 month warranty. Regardless of stated warranties and this is the second 3 year warranty I have heard of, these shops need to be able to fix the unit right the first time not the 4th or 5th time. In both cases of these places having 3 year warranties, I have had their clients tell me they had to send it back 4 to 5 times and in the previous case after 5 times the client gave up. I don’t blame him. Do you? If you ask me if they can not fix a unit after two attempts that tells me they can not fix it in the first place. Just be warned.
Anyone advertising on E bay for work can not be very good and this is the second proof I have found besides that guy in NM.