Sooo, a couple of days ago I heard a small snipped of a song on TV which I remembered that I liked a lot … then I remembered that I actually had a copy of it on tape … yes, TAPE.
Back in the olden days we used to record music on magnetic tape, but I ain’t taking about yrrr typical compact cassette, I’m talking about Digital Audio Tape. Sony introduced DAT in 1987 … it recorded 16-bit digital on magnetic tape and supported recording program numbers and ID’s, which is why it was most common in recording studios. Back in my yuut I had much money, and being a tech geek, I thought paying $600 (I was able to get it at cost price, and it was the lowest consumer model) was great for a digital recorder.
Sooo, back to the story … I rummaged around my tapes and found it … Panic in Detroit, by David Bowie. Great !!! I popped it into my Sony DTC-750 DAT deck and created an MP3 on my MacBook. Hmm, since I am here, lets look for some other songs … and that’s when the problems appeared. It started with not pulling the tape back into the cassette (a DAT loading is like a VHS tape … hmm, not sure how many of you remember those either … the tape gets pulled out and wrapped to a helical scan drum), so when it was ejected it left the tape exposed and crinkled. I realized that there was a problem with the pickup spools not being engaged by the motor properly … or the motor is dying, as FF and RW are very sluggish !!
Well, since I don’t have any cameras that I need to work on (actually, that is a big lie as there are two cameras that need the seals replaced, but I am stalling on that job) I am going try to get this thing working.
I did some presearch on the web to see if this was common or if anyone else had documented taking this thing apart … and I was in luck.
It was not too difficult to get the main part out.
Looking over the gears, I did not see anything obviously broken.
Stuff turned, moved …
Hmmm, so I put it back together and seated it back in … powered it up, and started watching the mechanisms as it loaded, played, reverse play … ah, there seems to be a problem here.
When the reverse play is engaged, the drive motor does not move … so this causes the pickup spool not to turn … which in turn causes the tape to turn into a pile of spagetti.
Well, the motor does turn and the belt looks ok … so I am guesing the motor is dying (the thing is 30 years old).
I figured that it probably was not worth it to get a replacement part … so I just sprayed some Lighter Fluid into the openeings, and hope for the best. I thought it would clean out any gunge (even though it would flush any lubricant on any bearings).
Letting it dry, I put it back together and exersized it by FF and RW a tape over and over … well, it appears my bet paid off … now I can sit back, listen, and relive the 80’s.