• Hello and Welcome to HiFiVision.com - an online community for the home entertainment and tech enthusiasts!

    If you would like to ask a question, participate in a discussion and view attachments please Register yourself.

A leap of faith with an old tape deck

Subscibe to HiFiMART Newsletter

Jayant_S

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
280
Points
63
Location
Bangalore India
In my personal opinion once your tape suffers a fungus attack or starts dropping oxide, it’s time to just discard it. If the recording matters, try a cleaning exercise and record out the content. Playing these will lessen the life of the pinch rollers and heads (constant cleaning). The only way to avoid this is to follow the cliche - prevention is better than cure
As @greenhorn suggested, the only thing I'm willing to try is run it on a cheap player till it drops the powder. Since I can't find my old walkman, that's ruled out.
I have 10 thumbs and any tape subjected to the ignominy of being opened up by me for cleaning has its fate sealed!
Looks like I will have to discard them.
It's a relief though to know this is not fungus but chemical degradation. Can't spread to the other tapes like fungus, can it?
 

anirban420

Active Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
172
Points
43
Location
India
Greetings @Jayant_S for your purchase of the deck. Being a cassette lover, it gives me pleasure when I see someone is buying a good cassette deck in this era primarily of streaming music. Take good care of your nice player. I suggest you acquire a Head Demagnetiser, either in cassette or wand format. It will help to reduce the magnetism build up in the tape path after long playing. Magnetism severely affects the recording of the tape by reducing the high-frequency response, and the damage is permanent. And also, keep good quality Iso-Propyl Alcohol and absorbing cotton handy for frequent cleaning of head, capstan, pinch roller and associated tape path. These are heavily needed after a long gap of cassette listening. Once you get the habit of playing your cassettes regularly, frequent cleaning might not be needed. However, thorough service in regular interval is recommended. Storage of cassettes in a dry environment is equally important to somewhat prevent the fungus buildup.

I am using cassettes to date from my childhood alongside the digital format of music. I have a small collection of cassettes, decks and Walkmans. Well-preserved cassette sounds good when it is played back in a good system. The SQ is somewhat different and incomparable with a digital source, but both are enjoyable in their own way.

I strongly recommend listening cassette for those specific albums which are troublesome to get in other formats. There are many albums whose CD or record are rare, hence pricey. Also, there are albums that are only available in cassette format and not available in any other format, not even on streaming. Since used cassette is somewhat cheap than other physical mediums, also it is easily available, at least in my hometown Kolkata, it can be utilised for the purpose of cassette-specific album listening.
 

Jayant_S

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
280
Points
63
Location
Bangalore India
Take good care of your nice player. I suggest you acquire a Head Demagnetiser, either in cassette or wand format. It will help to reduce the magnetism build up in the tape path after long playing. Magnetism severely affects the recording of the tape by reducing the high-frequency response, and the damage is permanent. And also, keep good quality Iso-Propyl Alcohol and absorbing cotton handy for frequent cleaning of head, capstan, pinch roller and associated tape path.
Thanks for the advice Anirban! I've got isopropyl alcohol handy and have used it a couple of times to clean the deck. Used to have a demagnetizer tape but lost it though - on the lookout for one.

I have a small collection of cassettes, decks and Walkmans
Do post your gear. Would love to see them

The warm analog sound of tape is definitely different and not to everyone's taste. I love the sense of nostalgia, probably more than anything else!
There are many albums whose CD or record are rare, hence pricey. Also, there are albums that are only available in cassette format and not available in any other format,
agreed - I have a whole bunch of tapes that are next to impossible or unaffordable to get on vinyl or CD
 

anirban420

Active Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
172
Points
43
Location
India
Used to have a demagnetizer tape but lost it though - on the lookout for one.
A demagnetising cassette is a tool that looks like cassette and doesn't have any tape in it. Are you confusing it with Head Cleaning Cassette that actually has a cleaning tape in it? I am showing you my demagnetising cassette here.

IMG_20200508_201320.jpg


Do post your gear. Would love to see them
To name a few, I have some Aiwa and Sony made walkmans. Among which I like to mention Aiwa HS-TX427 and Sony WM-FX193. I have Technics and Panasonic decks, one from each brand, among them, I would like to mention Panasonic CT-F1250. Photos of these model are readily available over the internet. Presently I am a portable gadget user. I listen to cassette primarily on Sony WM-FX193, a basic entry-level model. Besides these, I have a NOKIA made walkman and a DIY Deck made by me. Photos are as follows.

IMG_20200503_221113.jpg

Aqua Power+_20170411_215117.jpg
This is my DIY Cassette Deck with Sonodyne SQ500 equaliser
[/QUOTE]


agreed - I have a whole bunch of tapes that are next to impossible or unaffordable to get on vinyl or CD
I listen to only Hindi and Bengali songs. Do you have any cassette-only or rare-in-other-format cassette in any of these languages? If you do, I will be curious to see them.
 

anirban420

Active Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
172
Points
43
Location
India
Please read "Pioneer Decks" instead of "Panasonic Decks". And the mentioned model of deck is Pioneer CT-F1250. Sorry for the unintentional mistakes in the above post.
 

Jayant_S

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 6, 2019
Messages
280
Points
63
Location
Bangalore India

anirban420

Active Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
172
Points
43
Location
India

reubensm

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
4,729
Points
113
Location
Trivandrum, India
A demagnetising cassette is a tool that looks like cassette and doesn't have any tape in it. Are you confusing it with Head Cleaning Cassette that actually has a cleaning tape in it? I am showing you my demagnetising cassette here.

View attachment 45682




To name a few, I have some Aiwa and Sony made walkmans. Among which I like to mention Aiwa HS-TX427 and Sony WM-FX193. I have Technics and Panasonic decks, one from each brand, among them, I would like to mention Panasonic CT-F1250. Photos of these model are readily available over the internet. Presently I am a portable gadget user. I listen to cassette primarily on Sony WM-FX193, a basic entry-level model. Besides these, I have a NOKIA made walkman and a DIY Deck made by me. Photos are as follows.

View attachment 45683

View attachment 45684
This is my DIY Cassette Deck with Sonodyne SQ500 equaliser



I listen to only Hindi and Bengali songs. Do you have any cassette-only or rare-in-other-format cassette in any of these languages? If you do, I will be curious to see them.
[/QUOTE]

Kindly share some more details on the DIY deck, what transport (mechanism) are you using? kindly share some pics of the inside as well, if possible.
 

Bhaskar Jyoti Talapatra

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2018
Messages
256
Points
63
Location
Kolkata
Hi
Anirban
I am curious to know more about your DIY deck. Please tell us how did you make it. If possible post some more pictures of that deck.
Regards
Bhaskar
 

anirban420

Active Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
172
Points
43
Location
India
Kindly share some more details on the DIY deck, what transport (mechanism) are you using? kindly share some pics of the inside as well, if possible.
Its a basic Chawla transport, widely used (and hated too) by PA systems. Circuitry is also basic. LA3161 based head pre amp, BC548 based tone control, 4440 IC based amp. Seperate 78xx voltage regulator based different load distribution in every neccessary areas. Nothing else. If it make any appeal to you then I will post the internals.

However, I have plan to make another DIY deck, based on op amp, having upto line level stage. Dont know when I can do that. I have not done any proper further planning
 

anirban420

Active Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
172
Points
43
Location
India
Hi
Anirban
I am curious to know more about your DIY deck. Please tell us how did you make it. If possible post some more pictures of that deck.
Regards
Bhaskar
Please see the above post. If the simplicity and basic design makes any point then I am happy to unravel the internals.
 

reubensm

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
4,729
Points
113
Location
Trivandrum, India
Oh I remember Chawla mechs, I think there also used to be another brand called Elin or something like that. Then there were rip off mechs which were of very poor quality. I started my journey on one of the rip off types (we could not afford the Chawla mech) which i recollect that my brother and I saved 60 or 70 bucks to buy and we built a tape head preamp around a NEC UPC1032H, feeding a buffer based on BC148B into a baxandall tone control based on BC149C, driving a 7 watt power amp built around TBA810s which offered full stereo listening. We were the only boys in middle school who had their own tape player :). Those fun times :)

Pic of the mech type which we had, except that i recollect it having a canon motor:
front.jpg
 

anirban420

Active Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
172
Points
43
Location
India
Oh I remember Chawla mechs, I think there also used to be another brand called Elin or something like that. Then there were rip off mechs which were of very poor quality. I started my journey on one of the rip off types (we could not afford the Chawla mech) which i recollect that my brother and I saved 60 or 70 bucks to buy and we built a tape head preamp around a NEC UPC1032H, feeding a buffer based on BC148B into a baxandall tone control based on BC149C, driving a 7 watt power amp built around TBA810s which offered full stereo listening. We were the only boys in middle school who had their own tape player :). Those fun times :)

Pic of the mech type which we had, except that i recollect it having a canon motor:
View attachment 45714
Is this Chawla Mechanism? Then I was wrong. Transport of my DIY Deck is different and is ELIN (or EPIN, whatever may be) made. In the local market, it is simply called "Front Loading Mechanism". I made the original design of my DIY Deck when I was in Class 10. Later it was renovated during the year 2013.
 

anirban420

Active Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
172
Points
43
Location
India
IMG_20200520_121753.jpg
IMG_20200520_121803_1.jpg

@reubensm This is the Transport that I have used in my Deck. I have spare copy of the same mechanism, however its a rip-off. The EPIN Branded motor was fitted later.
 

reubensm

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
4,729
Points
113
Location
Trivandrum, India
great, oh those fun times. My brother was in standard-6 and I was in standard-8 when we built our cassette player, that was a really big project for 2 school kids on a Rs.5 per day allowance :)

I recollect Chawla having 3 types of mechs, one which was called the bed-type which you'd see in the pic which i shared above, one which was for radio cassette recorders (with push buttons above, featured in an EFY project of those times) and of course, the type which you have.

pics from the old magazine:

1.jpg
2.jpg
3.jpg
4.jpg
 
Last edited:

greenhorn

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jun 9, 2009
Messages
1,840
Points
113
Location
06851
I got into this stuff pretty late compared to you guys - this is my first DIY setup i assembled - I found this scrap mechanism lying in a box of junk in our college electronics lab (and since i was on pretty good terms with our lab attender he let me have it)
Turned out to be a sony auto reverse with a nice head - it turned out nice after some new belts and lube. I added a preamp and had it hooked up to my PC!
174520003_eef7a7936a_o.jpg
 

Hiten

Well-Known Member
Joined
Oct 17, 2008
Messages
2,856
Points
113
Location
Kalyan
oh ! this brings back memories. Elin indeed came in separate mechanism.Very Nice mechanism. used to come in plastic bag in brown corrugated box. Imported loose motors used to come with Mabuchi Brand. CCW and CW.All good fun and memory. My friend who had his uncle in UK had mechanical cassette head cleaner which had gears. You just insert the cassette and cassette play it and it cleaned the head.
Some people used to have TAKARA car tape mechanism.
Addition : See below video
 
Last edited:

anirban420

Active Member
Joined
Aug 19, 2014
Messages
172
Points
43
Location
India
I got into this stuff pretty late compared to you guys - this is my first DIY setup i assembled - I found this scrap mechanism lying in a box of junk in our college electronics lab (and since i was on pretty good terms with our lab attender he let me have it)
Turned out to be a sony auto reverse with a nice head - it turned out nice after some new belts and lube. I added a preamp and had it hooked up to my PC!
View attachment 45730
I have seen this photo of you in some othe thread in hfv before. Anyway, seems to be a LA3161 based head preamp coupled with BC548 gain stage. What was the next components in the chain?
 

reubensm

Well-Known Member
Joined
May 26, 2010
Messages
4,729
Points
113
Location
Trivandrum, India
I got into this stuff pretty late compared to you guys - this is my first DIY setup i assembled - I found this scrap mechanism lying in a box of junk in our college electronics lab (and since i was on pretty good terms with our lab attender he let me have it)
Turned out to be a sony auto reverse with a nice head - it turned out nice after some new belts and lube. I added a preamp and had it hooked up to my PC!
View attachment 45730
what tape head preamp board is that? i see a UPC1032h on the front end?
 
Top