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A simple guide to servicing your Space Echo
MUFF WIGGLER Forum Index -> Music Tech DIY  
Author A simple guide to servicing your Space Echo
As requested here is a simple guide to maintaining your Space Echo, most of this information can be applied to other tape echo machines.


Step 1. Disassemble

- Remove the lid
- Remove tape loop cover and discard old tape loop
- Remove the metal tape head cover via the two small screws at the back of the cover to expose the playback and record heads
- Remove the black rubber disc cover from the to of the black pinch roller to expose the screw, this is often already missing if you don't have one.
- Remove the the lower bearing where the tape comes out of the housing, there are two types of bearings that could be here, one with a large plastic inner or one with a small one but we'll get into that a bit later. There are two very thin copper washers one at the top and one at the bottom, don't lose them!

Step 2. Clean It!

- Using isopropyl clean everything with a cotton bud, the tape heads, pinch roller and spindle, check the spindle for burrs that can cause the tape to stop. Rollers last for ages, if you have problems the tension is more likely the problem than the roller but more on that later, don't use any abrasive material on the roller, you want it to be smooth, it will look worn but it should still be fine.
- Use a demagnetizer to demag the heads, these can be bought cheap on ebay for about $20, plug the demag in away from the heads, slowly approach the heads and without touching them drift over all the heads with an even and slow speed, you will feel the magnetic force as you do, slowly pull away and unplug the demag.
- Remove the rubber pinch roller and clean the shaft and inside the roller, there will be black grease residue, clean all of it, it is important not to leave any as it can cause the roller to jam. Place a drop of Machine Oil on the spindle , found on ebay for sewing machines, and put back the roller, it should spin freely when flicked with your finger.
- Use a knife to cut away the old felts and replace them, you can make your own from 3mm thick felt from a craft shop or piano parts supplier and double sided tape.
- Replace the lower feed bearing, this is the main culprit for warbling and sticking tape, there are two types of bearings here both are common and can be found at any local bearing supplier or online, one type has the larger hole, if you have this the metal bearing cover will have a raised center to fill the hole and a large plastic inner, don't lose the plastic inner! Smaller bearings will have a flat metal cover and a small plastic inner, the inner is less crucial in the small bearing but don't lose it. These bearings are sealed so don't spray anything on them or you'll just ruin them.

Step 3. Set-Up

This is the crucial step, the key to a great sounding echo is tension. The tension between the guide felt leaf spring and the lower feed bearing is THE difference between solid sounding repeats and muffled weak repeats!
- If you have replaced your felts and have noticed the echo repeats are weak or dull try pressing slightly on the leaf spring and see if there is a difference, DON'T BEND THE COPPER LEAF SPRING!
- Use a heat gun or lighter to melt the glue on the two screws holding the leaf spring, you'll notice you can now move he spring up an down and you can set the desired tension, this may take a few attempts to get right.
- On very rare occasions you may need to realign the tape heads, only a couple screws one way or the other on the tape head springs will drastically altar the repeats so be careful.
- If your machine does not self oscillate or oscillates too easily you will need to adjust the internal trimmers, I like to have them oscillate at 4-5 o'clock position as this gives you the most echo repeat range, ideally the 4 o'clock position should give you a perfect infinite repeat with no oscillation with 5 o'clock tipping it into feedback oscillation.
- Remove the two screws on the side of the machine, remove the screws from the bottom.
- Pull the face slightly forward then straight up, be careful of the reverb tank is attached to the bottom, tilt the whole unit back into the tolex case and check the circuit board.
- some units have markings on the board to indicate the trimmers some do not, the only two timmers you want to adjust are the right side board the Echo Level, this can go to full, and Intensity (INT), this sets the feedback amount.
- On rare occasion you may need to adjust the inch roller force tension, this can be adjusted by accessing the screw nut on the back while the unit is opened and removed from the tolex case.
- Adjust the reverb amount to taste via the set screw inside the machine where the power lead is stored.
- Replace the tape and give it try, continue to adjust to taste.

Ground Hums

Ground hums are a common issue, the main culprit is the connectors for the reverb tank in and out, pull them off clean them and try again if this doesn't help running another ground wire off a pot or other ground point and attaching it to the chassis usually helps.
Also check the connector from the heads to the main board.

Part two on replacing motor bearings later...
Excellent quick guide Rekem thumbs up thumbs up

I'd caution folks about buying replacement tension leaf springs, as one I bought from an Ebay supplier in the southern hemisphere (ahem) just hasn't got the same tensile properties as the original - at the moment I've got insulating tape clamping it against the guide - I'll have to re-pad the original and put it back on.
Thanks rekem1000! applause
Don't clean the rubber parts with alcohol of any type. It is better to use a window cleaner like Windex or even your own saliva. Alcohol will dry out the rubber and it will crack.
Windex just wont get the brown oxide off as well. Perhaps if you soaked it in alcohol it could dry out and crack but however you do it is up to you.

I should also mention to check the heads as well as the motor shaft for burrs, run your finger gently across the heads and if you feel a little dot flick it off with your nail.
Thanks for this, rekem1000.

I must admit I am two minds about my 201. It is in obvious need of servicing, but it just sounds so damn good in its decrepit state (pitch fluctuations, dropouts, yum!)
latigid on
Any tips for the roller not starting on power up? I always have to give mine a little push to get it turning. Is it gunk in the motor/roller or more a PSU problem (sagging caps etc.)?
I'm with Kent on not using alchohol on the rubber parts, I have seen rollers be turned into a gooey mess or gone hard and brittle from using alcohol, you can get proper rubber revitalizer which works pretty well.

If you have a damaged roller that has gone brittle or soft, and you can't find a replacement you can sometimes fix them by fitting heatshrink tubing of the closest possible size, 3 out of 5 that I fixed like this went on to work well after, the other 2 were too distorted out of shape.
Old thread but only just found it. wow, this is great, thank you rekem1000
Thanks for rediscovering it! My RE-201 has been on the to-do list for a while.
I've changed the tape on my RE-201 and want to calibrate, or at least check, the bias settings.

The service manual calls for a -50dBm input signal which should give an ideal output of -12dBm - what is that in p-p volts?

I know the Space Echo is easily overloaded but I'm wondering whether a mis-set bias can also lead to distortion. I'm feeding the RE-201 via 'from PA'/ a mixer aux and have cleaned the heads etc.
My RE-201 needs some love. Any tips on replacing motor bearings?
meatbeatz wrote:
My RE-201 needs some love. Any tips on replacing motor bearings?

Echofix has an instructional PDF on how to replace it: s.pdf

They have the parts for it as well.

Hope this helps.
z3r01 wrote:
meatbeatz wrote:
My RE-201 needs some love. Any tips on replacing motor bearings?

Echofix has an instructional PDF on how to replace it: s.pdf

They have the parts for it as well.

Hope this helps.

turns out all it needed was new felts and a good clean. I'll have to get around to changing the bearings eventually but for the meantime I'm back in business. smile cheers!
Nice guide. What parts supplier do you use? Looking at Echofix - but it seems bit pricey?
Thats a great guide.
I had been struggling with my space echo for years.
I even gave it to a couple of veteran techs and they both failed to sort it.
Theres a lot of snake oil out there - especially when it comes to tapes. What is the lowdown on what tape should be used. I have bought tape from different vendors who claim to be the knowledge and some of them are unusable.

I dug it out followed a few tips on this guide and it made dramatic improvements. I am ordering a new tape feed bearing and will try to find my demag gun next

If your tape echo uses 19mm tape feed bearing the one you want is 19mm 626-2Z. About £2 normally.
Hi! Anyone have some tips on how to change the tape feed bearings?
Thank you!
Thanks for the info rekem1000. Have a RE-101 that could use some cleaning.
Multi Grooves
Any tips on the hack for adding a switch for turning off the motor in the event you were using just the spring?
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