Any Cassette tape player experts on the forum

Discussion in 'Tech/Mech General' started by Wildman, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. Wildman


    May 30, 2008
    Ilfracombe, Devon
    Hi all I have decided it is time to digitise all of my media and clear some space. the CD's went without a hitch and videos are progressing. It is the cassette player I need help with. It has been stood for several years unused. it is a Sharp stereo cassette deck RT-20 and it has decided to start devouring tapes. fF and Rew works fine but on play after a few mins the takeup spool stops winding resulting in the drive spool getting excess tape wrapped around it. Can someone suggest the cause and a cure please. I have retensioned the tape by rewinding and fast forward a few times but it still happens, even on a new tape.
    secondly are all headphone outputs at line level? I need to find a way to get the sound off of my record player as wellI know that I'm supposed to understand audio as a radio ham but my brain is not playing ball at the moment.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
  2. magicsurfbus

    magicsurfbus Funster

    Oct 11, 2010
    NW England
    I've started dabbling in media transfer recently and have a growing stock of obsolete recording and playback equipment in my attic, which one day I'll get around to connecting up and using.

    A common problem with tape recorders, mainly reel-to-reel, but to a certain extent cassettes, is deterioration in the rubber components like drive belts and drive wheels. It's not unusual to find mechanically sound tape recorders from the 1960s that are full of black sticky goo which was once the drive belts. A typical symptom is you'll find some of the Play - Rew - Fwd controls will work but others don't - it all depends on the mechanics. The motors and related gearing can also get a bit slow from non-use.

    If the cassette deck you describe was mine, I'd whip the back off and try to clean any rubber drive wheels with Isopropanol, which is basically alcohol, to get any residue off them and improve traction. You can also use Isopropanol to clean the playback head and tape capstans with a cotton bud. I'd consider carefully dropping a little bit of WD40 into any visible motor bearings. If any drive belts looked too slack I'd have to go online and see if spares are available, by diameter if not by model number. Any easier alternative would be to buy an old Sony Walkman cassette player off eBay and run a 3.5 jack plug cable from the headphone socket to your computers' microphone socket then record the cassettes using the freeware audio editor called Audacity, and export the results as MP3 files.

    With regard to the records - for about £40-50 you can get a brand new USB record player and they usually come with software that allows you to transfer from vinyl to digital, but again I prefer to use Audacity, although it means recording track by track. Once you've done with it you can always sell it on to recover some of the outlay. If you wish to use an older record player just make sure you get the right leads to connect it to your computer - pretty much every combination is available online.
    Last edited: Feb 11, 2014
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  3. TheTwoOfUs

    TheTwoOfUs Funster

    Jul 24, 2009
    South Yorkshire
    Aldi and Lidl sell cassette to PC machines via a USB lead. If memory serves me well they are less than £20. I am slowly converting my cassette and vinyl collection through a CD recorder.
  4. Linda and Steph

    Linda and Steph Funster

    Jun 18, 2008
  5. pappajohn

    pappajohn Funster Life Member

    Aug 26, 2007
    YO11 2BD

    After that amount of time the drive belt will have developed a 'set' similar to tyres developing a flat spot when stood for a long time

    At high speed (ff &rew) the set will be very quickly passed over but at normal speed the set will stop at the drive spindle and the spindle will slip inside the belt.

    Only way to fix that is a new belt.....not a chance today.
  6. Gromett

    Gromett Funster

    Feb 27, 2011
    If memory serves there is a pinch roller in cassettes as well.

    Basically look for any rubber wheel and service it.

    To service it you will need a fine emery board and some isppropyl alcohol a lolly pop stick and some fine shammy leather.

    glue a strip of the leather around the end of the lolly pop stick and use it to apply alcohol to the rubber wheel. Then gently rub the wheel all the way round with the emery board. Then clean the wheel again with the alcohol.

    We used to do this with VHS video machines when I had a TV and VCR servicing round. It sorted out the vast majority of tape chewing problems.

    Also check the tension on any belts. If they are too loose you need to replace them.

    There is a different mechanism for fast forward and rewind and quite often these are direct drive from motors whereas when play is used the tape goes through a pinch roller/post setup to ensure that the play back speed is accurate. This is why fast forward doesn't chew but play does.

    I am going back many many years now (perhaps 20+) so my memory for the details of audio cassette players is not that good any more.

    Hope the above helps.

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