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Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers

Jim Carroll 07 Jul 12 - 06:57 AM
GUEST,Charles Macfarlane 07 Jul 12 - 07:14 AM
Jim Carroll 07 Jul 12 - 07:34 AM
GUEST,punkfolkrocker 07 Jul 12 - 07:41 AM
Bernard 07 Jul 12 - 07:42 AM
Bert 07 Jul 12 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Charles Macfarlane 07 Jul 12 - 10:56 AM
Ross Campbell 07 Jul 12 - 11:23 AM
GUEST,Charles Macfarlane 08 Jul 12 - 01:54 AM
Jim Carroll 08 Jul 12 - 04:29 AM
Jim Martin 08 Jul 12 - 06:54 AM
Bonzo3legs 08 Jul 12 - 07:01 AM
Arkie 08 Jul 12 - 08:10 AM
Jim Carroll 18 Jul 12 - 05:47 AM
GUEST,Charles Macfarlane 18 Jul 12 - 08:38 AM
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Subject: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 06:57 AM

I have a Sony TC458 reel-to-reel tape recorder in need of some TLC Can anyone recommend a repairer in the UK - within reach of the Somerset or Liverpool areas would be good, but failing that, anywhere would do (Ireland would be magnificent, but I'm afraid, like the Dodo....!!) We're planning a family visit next month, so we could either send it by courier and pick it up while we're there, or bring it with us, and have it sent back when repaired. Advice would be very much appreciated. Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: GUEST,Charles Macfarlane
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 07:14 AM

Used to have a Sony R2R. Can't recommend a repairer, but what's wrong with it?


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 07:34 AM

RH drive doesn't take up - doesn't appear to be the belt, but am a bit of an amature when it comes to mechanics.
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: GUEST,punkfolkrocker
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 07:41 AM

I found this link a while ago last time I considered getting my dad's 50 year old Ferrograph 5 sorted out.
[I'd at least like to have the valve preamp fixed and rehoused one day...probably far too expensive ???]


But I have no personal experience or knowledge of quality of repairs ?

http://www.servicesound.com/tape.htm


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 07:42 AM

You could try Roland Lumby (The Amplifier Clinic) in Salford - 0161 787 8082. He's on Wilton Road, which is opposite Hope Hospital.

He is currently maintaining a high profile on Facebook... you can contact him that way, too.

Replacement record/playback heads are often so expensive that the repair isn't economically viable, but replacement drive belts, mechanical switches and electronics problems are all solveable.

If Roland can't fix it, it's scrap - and that doesn't happen very often.

Suffice it to say, if you send something for repair in the Manchester area, it usually ends up in Roland's workshop - so cut out the middle man!


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: Bert
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 10:50 AM

Years ago I used to repair tape recorders. Most of the time they just needed playing for a couple of hours. They get really grumpy if they are left to sit for a long time. It is worth a try.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: GUEST,Charles Macfarlane
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 10:56 AM

> From: Jim Carroll
>
> RH drive doesn't take up - doesn't appear to be the belt

Can't comment on the suggestion of repairers by others, as I digitised my own R2R recordings over a decade ago, and anyway have always done my own repairs. Many of the simplest repairs can be done with little more than common sense.

To begin with, note the sources of movement in such systems. In cheap machines like the Sonys we are discussing here, there are only two: a motor and the muscle energy of the user in twisting the control knob to its various positions, which with my Sony consisted of a big twistable knob with four positions: << (rewind), a square symbol (stop), > (play/record), and >> (fast forward).

For our purposes here, the motor can be considered to be spinning all the time (though on my model there was a switch which depended on the tape being taught through the heads - when the tape run out at the end, this switch would cut the electricity supply to the motor). All rotational movement must be somewhow derive mechanically from the motor itself.

Take-up spools, like everything else in such a system, are usually belt or pulley driven. At their simplest, there is a metal or plastic drive pulley (a 'source' of rotation, which may well be mounted directly on the motor) and a metal or plastic driven pulley (a 'destination'), a rubber belt or 'idler' pulley to link the rotation of source to destination, and a mechanism to engage and disengage the link as required by the current position of the control knob.

In actual practice, there may be a drive chain between the motor and the take-up spool. If this is the case, most probably all but the last will be permanently engaged, and only the last will be controlled by the user via the control knob.

All drive mechanisms work by friction, so it is essential that the pulleys and belts involved are clean and free from oil, grease, or dirt. If dirty, they can be cleaned, but I can't remember for certain what I used to use - white spirit I think, but at any rate it would have to be something that would leave the rubber of the belt or intermediate pulley and the plastic or metal of the drive(n) pulleys clean without adversely affecting the composition of any part involved.

It is also essential that belts have sufficient tension to grip the pulleys, and rubber 'idler' pulleys are truly round and do not have 'flats' from being left engaged for long periods without the motor running.

However, the mechanism to (dis)engage the link is just the opposite, and usually needs lubrication to work properly. Over time the oil or grease can get clogged by dirt and dust, and the mechanism begin to fail. Old lubrication can be removed with white spirit on an old toothbrush or similar, dried off with kitchen roll (don't leave any bits behind) and then replaced by new lubrication of the correct type. If the correct type is not available, probably light machine oil such as Singer Sewing Machine oil will do for oil, Vaseline or other light grease for grease. An intermediate composition can be obtained by mixing the two.

Note that the (dis)engagement mechanisms also often rely on spring catches, and in time the springs begin to fail. Sometimes stretching a spring further can effect a temporary repair, but really failing springs need to be replaced. I keep a container of old ones from junked machinery against such eventualities.

Note that the (dis)engagement mechanism must be connected in some way to the control knob that that sets the tape moving and stops it. The entire chain of mechanical linkage back to this knob needs to be checked to ensure that the drive to the take-up spool is engaging as required.

Note also that the take-up spool is trying to turn anti-clockwise to spool the tape coming out of the heads WHENEVER THE CONTROL KNOB IS IN ANY POSITION OTHER THAN 'STOP', REGARDLESS OF WHICH OTHER POSITION. Think about the implications of that for a moment. Even when the LH feed spool is pulling the tape backwards to rewind it, the take-up spool is still trying to pull it in the 'wrong' direction, forwards, because this keeps the tape taught and under control.

Also, in normal recording and playback, as the take-up spool fills, the radius of the filled spool is constantly increasing, yet tape is being fed to it at a constant rate, so the take-up spool has to spin slower as it fills.

Therefore there must be a deliberate slippage mechanism, between the drive source and the take-up spool, and indeed there is. It's part of the spool pulley, which consists of two halves. The lower part of the spool pulley is driven as described above, while the top is 'free', but between the two there is a ring of felt that is trying to impart drive from the lower to the upper part, but will do so only as far as the upper part will allow itself to be driven. This way the tape is kept taught without the take-up spool damaging it by stretching it. You need to ensure that there is sufficient friction between the two halves of the pulley to impart movement from the bottom half to the top, but not so much as to stretch the tape. In time the felt may get covered with oil, grease, or dirt or just wear away, and need to be replaced.

HTHs


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: Ross Campbell
Date: 07 Jul 12 - 11:23 AM

Jim
I think I may have given this contact in reply to an earlier request from you:-

Tape Recorder Centre (Colin Braddock)

266 Waterloo Rd
Blackpool, Lancashire
FY4 3AF

Phone: 01253 345049

I haven't used his services for many years, but the shop was still there when I passed a few months back. Competent servicing, fairly expensive, but then most of what he is working on was top-of-the range twenty or thirty years ago (and can be brought back to full effectiveness in the right hands).

Ross


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: GUEST,Charles Macfarlane
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 01:54 AM

Firstly, if you search for ...

sony tc458 reel to reel tape recorder

... a number of relevants eBay items come up - belt kits, etc.

Secondly, I am now beginning to remember that my machine had exactly the same problem. I can't remember the model number of mine, but it was a dual R2R and AC machine - two decks on one chassis with the stereo speakers clipping together to form the lid for transportation. I bought it in 1973, and this failure occurred within a couple of years, so nearly 40 years ago, and as I fixed it successfully and only disposed of the machine around 2000, and myself am in my 60s with all that implies for memory, I believe I can be forgiven for not remembering all this sooner.

Of course, your model may be different, but this is how I remember the details of mine ...

The take-up spool was driven not by a belt but by a rubber 'idler' pulley (I suspect the belt that you've noticed merely drives the tape counter). When the tape was at rest, the idler was pushed clear of the drive and driven pulleys by a rod connecting with a cam on the control knob spindle. When the control knob was turned to 'Play' the cam, and therefore the rod, receded, allowing the idler to engage with the pulleys under the action of a spring. As I recall, the idler pulley was mounted on a sliding plate between which and the chassis was some grease that became too stiff for the manliness of the spring, leading to the exact problem you describe. I have a vague recollection that I took out the pulley, plate and all (by removing some nuts, circlips, etc), cleaned the grease off its underside and off the chassis, and replaced it with vaseline mixed with a drop or two of Singer oil. I may also have replaced the spring with something beefier.

AFAICR, I never had the problem again.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 04:29 AM

Charles, I'm really grateful that you are taking the time and trouble to help.
Your description fits my machine perfectly (a broad flat belt drives something - other than that, rubber idler wheels seem to be the main drivers.
Will take a closer look later; we are into the Willie Clancy Summer School here at present - up to our uxters in splendid music, and will be for a week.
I'm flushed with success at having just managed to repair another Sony and resume my digitising. Our top room is full of dead tape recorders which have fallen foul of 3 years of digitisation - Revox, Akai, Uher, Ferrograph - you name it, we've got it!
Ross, many thanks.
Yes you did give me the Blackpool contact; unfortunately, at the time I flinched from asing my little sisters to haul a Ferrograph from Liverpool to Blackpool so I didn't follow it up - will do on our forthcoming trip - many thanks to all who've come up with help.
Have come to expect no less from this forum
Best,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: Jim Martin
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 06:54 AM

Jim. Don't know if this guy could be of any help but he's very knowledgeable:

http://bvwm.org.uk/portrait/


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: Bonzo3legs
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 07:01 AM

Audio Centre Croydon

This is probably your answer, I called in there earlier this year to ask about my Teac 3340. The guy specialises in Sony reel to reel - unbelievable these days, it's in the restaurant quarter (!) of Croydon and there is parking nearby.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: Arkie
Date: 08 Jul 12 - 08:10 AM

If you are still having problems you might try the link below. It is a recorded sound discussion list with folk responding from all over the world and I once used it a lot and found it helpful on almost all issues regarding sound recording.

ARSCLIST


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 18 Jul 12 - 05:47 AM

Sorry - meant to do this last week - damned music got in the way!!
Thanks to everybody who helped with my problem (including those I have been less than polite to in the past, and no doubt will be in the future!)
Following Charles Mac's suggestions, I managed to repair my current Sony, and will have a go at the other two later.
I'll follow up the addresses and see about getting some of the others repaired when we visit the UK - still a thousand + tapes left to digitise.
Even though I have come to expect this level of response from this forum, it still comes as a surprise when it actually happens.
Thanks again,
Jim Carroll


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Subject: RE: Tech: Reel-toReel recorder reparers
From: GUEST,Charles Macfarlane
Date: 18 Jul 12 - 08:38 AM

> From: Jim Carroll
>
> Following Charles Mac's suggestions, I managed to repair my current Sony, and will have a go at the other two later.

Glad to have helped, let us know how things stand with the other two in due course.


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