Old Tape Machine - Cleaning, Supplies, Etc

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Old Tape Machine - Cleaning, Supplies, Etc

Post by dooj88 » Sat Mar 14, 2020 11:45 am

this weekend i found a 1959 philco tube amp and reel to reel tape machine on craigslist (apparently it has 10 tubes in it, one being a magic eye for a level monitor, but i haven't opened it further than to inspect the tape heads yet). the seller had a video running a guitar through it and it sounded great, so i picked it up. it functions, but before i put it to use in a recording environment i want to clean it up first. there was one reel and no tape included.

first, what am i looking at here in terms of cleaning? it looks pretty messy. any specialists or hobbyists here that could take a peek and recommend a course of action - cleaning or replacing any of these parts? i was going to vacuum out the dust and maybe run a damp cloth over outside cover, but beyond that i'm at a loss.

second, where is a good place to find another reel and tape for this? and what size tape does it take? sorry for the nooby questions, but i figured if i'm stuck at home all week working, i needed a project.

this site had about the only information i could find on the net, and there weren't any deeper details. radiomuseum.org details
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Re: Old Tape Machine - Cleaning, Supplies, Etc

Post by Power Mic 3K » Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:13 pm

Strange, I posted a reply earlier and now it’s gone.

Anyway, the most important thing to clean is the tape path. https://reeltoreeltech.com/reel-to-reel ... h-cleaning has some good info on that. The other gunk will obviously need to go too. Get in there with some wooden handled q-tip type swabs and 99% isopropyl alcohol for whatever dusting and vacuuming does not pick up. Science wipes work well for general cleanup too.

You may want to replace the felt pieces above the read and write heads. The heads will certainly need a good cleaning as well. Do not disturb their positions or remove them to do so.

The pinch roller has stress marks on it and looks generally poor. It may not survive a cleaning. Check out http://www.terrysrubberrollers.com/ for more on that subject.

Another good source of info and links is http://www.tapeheads.net/

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Re: Old Tape Machine - Cleaning, Supplies, Etc

Post by äggmedskägg » Wed Mar 25, 2020 12:32 pm

What he said ^

Also, pure alcohol (ethanol or isopropyl, typically) will clean tape heads and the metal parts. It'll destroy the rubber though. And it uses standard 1/4" tape.

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