Course & Tape

Hey man, how was the course? Did you learn anything life changing? How was your friends gig? So my Dad dropped over an old reel to reel(Elizabethan), the read/rec head(i guess) seems quite worn(has a groove in it. This thing is full of valves, 5 I think. On the side there is a button to switch between 1-3 & 2-4. So is it a 4 track recorder? I know there is only 2 heads, so I guess the record and write head are one in the same. Is it worth renovating, just to get started with electronics and tape machines? Look forward to you feedback Paul


  1. <p>Cool, thanks for that. Ill give it a go. The tape/spool diameter is the 5 3/4″ version not 7″. Does that matter? Now does the 1-3, 2-4 mean it a 4 track and I can do tape delay or does it have to have a seperate rec play heads? Me</p>

  2. Paul
    If it’s broken, you have to have a lot of dedication to get it going,
    if you’ve only got a bit of experience, especially. If it’s working,
    the sound should influence your decision, after you’ve cleaned the
    heads and pinch rollers and aligned everything etc. If you want to
    replace the valve circuitry with transistor ones then you may as well
    get a different machine. However, I thought it was the “valve sound”
    you were after! Just be careful. The meter will tell you the voltage
    between whichever two points you choose. That’s all. You, the human
    have to decide what the reading means.

    Make sure you have the meter set to “voltage” or “volts” or “PD” or
    words to that effect. If you’ve got it on the “amps” or “current”
    setting then the meter acts as a very good short and will fuck
    everthing up including itself. If you’ve got it on the “Ohms” or
    resistance setting, then putting a high voltage across the meter can
    fuck the meter up as well; it depends on the make of meter and how
    much it cost! REMEMBER: most of the time you’ll be testing the VOLTAGE
    between two points. It’s quite rare to test anything else; they’re
    basically one-offs if you have to test current or resistance. When
    circuit or safety testing, it’s nearly always the VOLTAGE that you
    want to know. Goddit? E.g. Stick the prods across your car battery –
    about 13V DC. If the battery is flat it’ll be about 11V DC. That’s how
    you test a car battery, initially. Stick the prods across the mains
    and you’ll get 230V AC showing it’s working or 0V AC showing the fuse
    is blown! Stick the prods across the base and emitter of a transistor
    and you’ll get 0.6V DC if the transistor is good or either nearly the
    power rail voltage (say 15V DC) or 0V DC if it’s fucked in the open or
    short circuit condition respectively.

    Be careful when testing that you only touch one point with each
    contact so that you don’t make a short accidentally. Most amplifiers,
    and HT systems as well, have one or more big fat capacitors to store
    charge and smooth the power supplies. If you short one of these you’ll
    know about it! (guess how I know…). Kindova change of underpants
    time having your own personal lightning bolt…

    Have fun and keep well!

  3. <p>Ok. I have a multimeter, so what do I do just touch the positive and<br />
    negative probe on whatever piece of metal I want to touch? I think<br />
    that the reel re 5 1/4? Can I salvage some of the parts, get rid of<br />
    the valves and build it around that or is it better just to buy<br />
    another one? Thanks for all of your help and knowledge Paul</p>

  4. I think it was me. Just a bit too much hanging around the lower
    states! Mainly anger! C’est la vie. All good.

    It’s the anode voltage on the valves that’s the killer. It can be
    several hundred DC volts and unless you test every single point and/or
    have a plan, you don’t know where it is! Also, sometimes the metal
    chassis is set to anode potential for better performance on
    interference/noise etc which means the HT is everywhere! You just
    can’t tell. Get a multimeter with a few different types of probe or
    clamp and then you can test anything that gets chucked at you before
    you touch it! Mind you, this is the same for all equipment, even
    tranny – it’s just that the physical effects on the human body aren’t
    so life changing if you do something wrong!


  5. <p>That sucks about the meeting. Do you think it was to do with you or<br />
    was it the meeting. I myself am not too sure about some of the<br />
    meetings here in England. Very different to the States. Wow, I didnt<br />
    know valves were that dangerous. I even opened up that reel to reel.<br />
    Was that a bad idea?.What do Ineed to be aware of when Im opening up<br />
    electronic equipment? Paul</p>

  6. Course was okay although I spent most of the time feeling pissed-off. I’ll have to work that one out. The tape recorder is up to you. It’s a stereo recorder, the gaps are to minimize crosstalk. It’s like a kind of early cassette recorder I think, so you switch to get the other two tracks instaed of turning the tape over as with a cassette (probably).

    It should be easy to work on. The hard bit will probably be the head. Most valves can be replaced pretty easily even if tyhey haven’t been made for 40 years. There’s usually someone with a box of just what you need. On the other hand, I hate valves for twiddling as in a lot of the circuit you won’t get a second chance – life wise that is! The worst that can happen with most of a tranny circuit (apart from the mains bit, that is), is spending more money to fix your mistake. With valves, the worst is death. Just weigh it up!


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