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Bender Comments Page

These are Reel to Reel Questions, Answers, and comments, things I've posted on several discussion groups, some when people write and ask me questions.


Comment #55

Subject: Tandberg 6x Speed Issue

Date: Sat, 24 Apr 2004 22:35:26 -0700 (PDT)

From: Wayne Nowland

Hi all...

Just got a very nice Tandberg 64. Speed seems fine on the two higher speeds but is very slow on the 1 7/8. Any ideas??


********** And Bender Sez: **********

The Tandberg model 62x and 64x are the 2 track and 4 track versions, sometimes just called 6x which incorporate mostly tube electronics, and the X versions also have a few transistors. It is a single motor machine which uses a belt in a long, inverted configuration, and a rubber puck that contacts striated areas of a motor shaft to change speeds.

The basic mechanical design dates from around 1954, and was unchanged more or less, except later sets included the "free" position for tape loading and an End of Tape sensor and solonoid. After 40+ years, most likely, the old lubrication is likely causing excess friction, and thus impairing the motion of the puck to change speeds, as it is only lightly spring loaded.

Similar problems happen in the 3000x, 3500x, 6000x, and even the 9000x, 9100x, and 9200x which are three motor decks, but still use the same rubber puck topology to change speeds. Note - also the Crossfield Bias Head in the 64x, 3000x, 3500x, 6000x, 9000x, etc. for recording can become motion limited to a position which inhibits recording, this is also often due to excess friction and old gummed up lubrication.

Such sets that have been subject to air pollutants, tobacco smoke, etc. for 30 to 50 years... need to be stripped down, taken apart, cleaned thoroughly, re-lubed, and put back together.


Steven L. Bender, Designer of Vintage Audio Equipment

Comment #56

Subject: GX 265 Steven Bender

Date: Sat, 1 May 2004 14:34:31 -0700 (PDT)

janice mclain wrote:

Steven, I left a message, but guess you didn't see it. Repairman told me it was the heads that were causing the distortion problem. What do you want for the heads if I do fix this deck? Janice

********** And Bender Sez: **********

Janice -

Most people have no idea that just about all of the 20 to 30 years old sets such as Reel to Reel tape decks, are likely to break down at this point, due to plain statistics. Simply stated, hundreds of parts and connections and other parts that are subject to air pollution effects - switches, and relay contacts are in the long term going to fail. Also, repair people these days have no idea what they are talking about...

Since service data is not generally available, and parts are long out of production, and the only source is parts pulled from same or similar sets. So repair people who are genuinely not familiar with the Akai Reel machines have no idea about the actual "point of failure" failure modes present, and previous which have already been documented in these sets back in the 1970's and 1980's and are surely more likely to happen some 25 to 30 years later.

I believe I had previously stated to you that a playback failure is more likely to be ANYTHING but the heads... I've only seen two cases of Akai GX failed heads, one case I believe was actually the soldering of the wires at the head, and lastly a case where a friend had bought an Akai 4 Channel Quad set where the playback head had channel as an open circuit. Besides, the added symptoms you describe can't be the heads.

Exactly what, has failed in the audio circuitry cannot be determined from the stated symptoms, because intermittants ( happens, goes away, happens again ) are real tough dogs to track down. So its not the heads, but it could even be a solder-joint problem, which means several hundred points of failure are possible.

I'd strongly suggest that maybe getting a different GX-265D, or GX-266D that works properly, might cost you LESS to do, than getting a set with an intermittant problem repaired, as such repairs can be very labor intensive, and might not be properly and fully repaired, and would have to go back and forth several times, which can easily become cost prohibitive. Or you could send it out to Kevin Kaas in FL. or Rolf in TX. if you want, as I'm really not taking in any more sets for repairs anymore.


Steven L. Bender, Designer of Vintage Audio Equipment

Comment #57

Subject: Re: Akai Tape Deck

Date: Sat, 1 May 2004 15:00:32 -0700 (PDT)

Henry J. Blanch wrote: What's the price of Model X-360?

********** And Bender Sez: **********

I'm sure when it was new it was around $400. Being an X series set prior to the long life GX heads, such sets are very heavy, and old, dating from the mid to late 1960's, and likely have worn heads or mechanical problems. As such, they command little in the way of pricing. Often the value depends on the functional and cosmetic condition, unless someone else needs an otherwise "unobtainuim" part to repair another identical set.

Such older sets in "Immaculate" or "as new" "very low hours of use" condition, with accessories such as original manuals and options such as the: optional capstan sleeve sets, 10" reel adapters, or remote control box, and reels and tapes might command up to $100. While average, or banged and scratched sets; sets reeking of tobacco smoke; sets with all the goodies gone, sets missing the front door, etc. probably couldn't be given away if someone had to pay the postage to get it somewhere.


Steven L. Bender, Designer of Vintage Audio Equipment

Comment #58

Subject: Sony TC-730

Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 13:05:18 -0700 (PDT)

From: Ramses Ramos wrote:

Hello there....

I have a SONY TC-730 tape recorder and it seems that is not in good condition,the play buttons do not work, the rew and the ff buttons work, the stop button works too.does anybody know how to fix this? I can't hear my tapes because of this.



********** And Bender Sez: **********

Well Ramses,

I suggest you rely on the following information to decide what to do with your Sony. The TC-730 is basically the TC-580 deck with some amplifiers thrown in, and speakers. While great conceptually, and very impressive looking, cosmetically, the TC-730/580 was one of the worst, most botched designs to ever make it into production by a major company. Hardly worth my time in bad-mouthing this product, I've done it several times before, as have several other persons.

Just a few functional examples... When working, the TC-580/730 has no pause control... or remote. Each time one wants to record a song, you must go and press the 3 buttons from Stop, and once recording, it starts up each time with an audible "doink" put into the beginning of the recording... it has unusually soft heads that on my own set, were worn out within 6 months and that was a set fresh out of the box (so I'd hate to see the heads on a now 35 year old set... ).

It also has a faulty, badly designed mechanical system that shifts the capstan's pinch roller either to the left or right, depending on which direction you are using which sometimes doesn't work correctly; causing tape handling problems!

Also the ESP Auto-Reversing system, will cause the set to auto-reverse at unanticipated times, and at unintentional times, making it virtually unusable as an auto-reversing deck unless both sides of the tape are fully recorded, with no blanks or pauses except at the end of side one.

Also, the Breaking System uses faulty logic, which can and does break tapes if you use "Stop" from Fast Wind or Fast Rewind in either direction. So a set that doesn't work mechanically, it isn't just an anomaly, its actually saving your tapes from destruction!!!

My own experiences with this TC-580 set described above represent a new set, just out of a factory sealed box, back in the mid-1970's when this was a near top-of-the-line Sony. After about the 6 months I used it, it then remained in a Sony Authorized Repair shop for the remainder of the 2 year warrantee period. When they finally fixed it they wanted hundreds of dollars for the repairs, and I had to fight them to get the set back, after proving it was still under warrantee! After I got mine back, I sold it.

Heaven help someone who has one of these today!

Do Not Bother to get it repaired, toss it immediately! Save Yourself From a Total Disaster. Run from it! Buy a nice Akai. Even an older GX-365 with the built-in amps and speakers, is likely to be fully functional and way kinder to tapes than a TC-730... and I also fault that old Akai for being one of the few having only a momentary pause control.


Steven L. Bender, Designer of Vintage Audio Equipment

Comment #59

Subject: Dokorder gets hot!

Date: Mon, 10 May 2004 13:58:42 -0700 (PDT)

CAROL wrote:

I have a model 7500 the pinch roller solenoid works but gets really hot ..... any suggestions ? Thanks.

Sam Palermo Answered:

Hi Carol,

While I am not an expert in Dokoder units, most of the tape decks I have seen have been designed in a very similar manner. First check to see if you have an international model meaning if it can be set for different voltages and make sure that it is set correctly. If that is not it, then the next will require technical measuring and a meter.

The common way that decks get solenoids to fire is by placing a short higher voltage flash voltage to them to get them to pull in and then apply a lower 12 volts or so to get them to stay engaged. If your flash voltage is being kept on by a stuck relay or switch then the solenoid is getting a constant 24 to 30 volts and it will eventually fail from overheating as well as the supply that is supplying the power as it is not designed for constant duty.

If the solenoid gets too hot to touch I would not use the machine until a technician could confirm the right voltages are getting to the solenoid. I am in Chicago and I can help but I do not have any schematics for those beasts.


********** And Bender Sez: **********

I tend to agree with Sam, such a symptom, eg: a smoldering smell of a hot solonoid is more likely due to a leaky, or shorted transistor in one of the voltage lines powering that solonoid, usually the high power, initial surge voltage that pulls the solonoid in. It could be a relay, but I tend to doubt that. Go get the set repaired, it can only lead to more cascaded failures in the power supply if you continue to use it this condition.


Steven L. Bender, Designer of Vintage Audio Equipment

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Last Update - May 15th, 2004 5:30 PM.

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