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Calling Reel-2-Reel Tape experts - TEAC A3440 15ips speed problems

Discussion in 'classic' started by ToTo Man, Nov 21, 2010.

  1. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I inherited this deck a couple of years ago and haven't really used it much. When I have used it, I've always stuck to the lower 7.5 ips tape speed for recording/playback, and the results are impressive. However I just tried to record/playback at 15 ips, and something strange happens.....

    When I select the 15ips speed, the capstan speeds up to what I assume is the correct 15ips, but as soon as I press PLAY or REC and the pinch roller engages, the capstan and spools gradually slow down, eventually grinding to a complete stop, although I can still hear what I assume to be the belt whizzing round inside the unit. When I change back to the slower 7.5 ips speed, the deck functions as normal.

    Does anyone know what the problem might be? I am a complete novice when it comes to tape, and I have not ventured inside this deck yet. I am aware that a common problem is that over time, the belt deteriorates/stretches, and eventually needs replaced. This would make sense if it wasn't for the fact that the deck still runs fine at 7.5 ips. It only grinds to a halt at the faster 15 ips speed. Does this deck use 2 different belts for the different speeds? :confused:
     
  2. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Another (unrelated) problem occurs when re-winding tapes, where the 're-wound' tape winds close to the edge of the metal spool and causes squeal when playing back. Oddly, this misaligned winding does not occur consistently around the whole spool, just on half of the spool (i.e. when you look at the three square holes in the spool, the re-wound tape is only mis-aligned in two of them). Is there any adjustment I can make to the metal flanges of the spool itself to correct this?
     
  3. 337alant

    337alant Negatively Biased

    It could be that the Belts need changing, but it could also be just the tape is knackered.
    Tape absorbs moisture over the years and becomes unusable as it causes excessive resistance when you try to wind it squealing and a slow RW or FF is a sure sign of it and tape oxide shredding is another. The uneven lay is probably that its to tight on the spool or a warped spool.
    I bought 6 sealed boxes of Ampex 456 and everything looks immaculate like new but the tape is knackered and will not even FF through the spool it gets so tight.
    I put a known good tape back in my R2R and its perfect
    Alan
     
  4. df_genius

    df_genius Solder slinger

    What tape are you using? Does this happen with all tapes? I've done a bit of a search and loose capstan belts are common with these. With it being a 10.5" deck I'd half expect it to have direct drive reel motors so homefully there is only one drive belt and maybe one or two counter belts.

    http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/TEAC-A-3340S-...pt=Vintage_Electronics_R2&hash=item53dba78a1f

    The 15ips speed will drive the capstan in a higher "gear" ratio which will put more energy into the belt and make it more liable to slip.
     
  5. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I'm using NOS Maxell UD 35-180 and UD 35-180B. From what I've read this is fairly reliable and has good longevity and isn't plagued by the 'sticky shed' syndrome of other tape of this era. I guess the next stage is for me to delve inside the machine and examine the belt/s. I've downloaded a copy of the service manual and it makes reference to lubricating the capstan and pinch roller shafts with light machine oil on an annual basis. I haven't done this for the three years I've had the deck and I'm not sure whether the previous owner would have done this regularly either.
     
  6. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Thank you for this explanation, - it makes sense with what I'm experiencing.
     
  7. 337alant

    337alant Negatively Biased

    When I bought my Teac 3440 I had exactly the same experience and I bought new belts from e-bay.
    When I came to change the belts I noted that the ones I had purchased were only half the width of the originals and they did not cure the problem, I ended up changing back to the originals so beware of the ebay sellers.
    But the one posted sounds quite convincing?
    I cant remember who the seller was I bought mine from? it was a couple of years ago.
    I still have the original belts and they are fine with the correct tape
    By the way the Teac is an excellent sounding machine and is brilliant for musicians as you can record on all 4 tracks independently
    Alan
     
  8. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Hi Alan, so how did you cure the problem, did you just change tape brand?
    As it happens I have a belt / pinch roller / bulb kit, which I purchased from an Italian eBay seller a couple of years ago but never got round to fitting.
    Looks like I'll need to compare old vs new before I change the belts over.
    I wonder if TEAC could supply the proper belts?
    Was any major disassembling needed to change the belts over?
     
  9. df_genius

    df_genius Solder slinger

    Maxell - good answer (that answers the sticky tape question - no Maxell I ever used was nothing less than very smooth)

    Mars communications can be trusted IMO, I have used them loads of times and people swear by them on AudioKarma as well. If you'd like someone to change the belts for you and you're not far from South Yorkshire let me know. I can also check the lead alignment and make sure the deck is set correctly for the tape you use. Right now I have 4 R2R's within a few feet of me, three of which I'm working on
     
  10. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    That's very kind of you...... if you were a bit closer to Glasgow I'd take you up on that offer in an instant. Unfortunately there's a distinct lack of reputable techs north of the border.....
     
  11. 337alant

    337alant Negatively Biased

    yes the fix for me was to just change the tape.
    The maxell tape you mentioned doesent normally suffer from the problems I had and it was a TDK audua that I bought that fixed the problem.
    Its the Ampex tape that had the problem but if you can get some good Ampex 456 its excellent tape and thats exactly what I am using now.

    Changing the belt on the 3440 is easy (sorry there is only one belt) just remove the upper back panel and you will see the belt attached to the motor and the capstan wheel just remove the screws from the bar attached to the the capstan wheel and you can change the belt
    You can get the manual here
    http://www.hifiengine.com/manuals/teac/a-3440.shtml
    You just have to register

    Here is my R2Rs
    http://i259.photobucket.com/albums/hh290/337alant/R2RLs.jpg

    Alan
     
  12. toprepairman

    toprepairman Trade: HiFi repairs and servicing.

    Hi. Interesting fault. I've just serviced/repaired one of these, except this one had the reverse fault. It appeared to be mostly Ok at slow speed, but the speed went wrong at 15ips, with lots of wow and flutter. In fact it was slightly bad at slow speed but the owner han't noticed. Did the obvious and changed the one belt but no difference.
    It turned out to be the capstan motor at fault. I was able to repair the motor and all was well.
    Incidentally these machines really do benefit from careful adjustment to the bias and can perform really fantastically on Maxell tape, even at 7.5ips., as good as a Revox.
    Regards
    Henry
     
  13. canonman

    canonman Mirror slapper

    Welcome to pink fish Henry. Your name has been mentioned in posts a few times (not just by me either! :D )
     
  14. Michael L

    Michael L Banned

    I know that the Madchen ( = Siouxsie ) actually baked some old master tapes so that early albums could be re-released...

    I Feel Like Baking A Tape....
     
  15. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    After reading some posts on other forums it looks like the motor/s could well be the culprit, but I hope not because that would be beyond my servicing abilities.... I'm changing the belt this weekend so then I'll know for sure.... Henry, I don't suppose you're based anywhere near Glasgow??? :)
     
  16. Michael L

    Michael L Banned

    My comment above was a bit oblique; older tapes can degrade over time and can actually benefit from being baked.

    Have a look at the link, ToTo.
     
  17. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    Hi Michael, interesting reading indeed, however I don't think it's the cause of my problem as I'm using post-1980 NOS Maxell tape that doesn't suffer from these issues.
     
  18. Michael L

    Michael L Banned

    Cool, good luck with finding a solution.

    I'd love a R2R at some stage. I gather that they can be THE best sound reproduction.
     
  19. toprepairman

    toprepairman Trade: HiFi repairs and servicing.

    Sorry Toto, I'm in Leatherhead, Surrey.
    If you think it's the motor you could always take it out and post it to me, then I could check it, service/ repair it as nessecary and post back. Please be aware that this is not a hobby for me but my work so a charge would be involved.
    Regards
    Henry
     
  20. ToTo Man

    ToTo Man the band not the dog

    I'm back in business ;) .

    A simple belt change appears to have cured the 15ips speed problem.

    The old belt was still 100% intact but had stretched approx 1-inch longer than the new belt that replaced it.

    I haven't made a test recording yet but it plays back a 7.5ips recording at double speed without losing any momentum, so thing are looking good!

    Thank you everyone for your help :) ....
     

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