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Thread: Tascam 388 Total Beater, looking for initial advice

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    Tascam 388 Total Beater, looking for initial advice

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    Hello,

    In the past I've always posted at group DIY or tapeop for recording related questions, however it seems like this is the place to be for the Tascam 388. A total beater 388 has landed in my lap, I won't bore you with the entire back story but it was free and it is not in good shape. For starters the bias cards and power supply card have been pulled out. I'm having a heck of a time getting the power supply card to seat properly, is there a trick to it?

    I'm thinking the first thing to do is just get it to a state where I can turn it on and check basic signal flow and transport functions in order to asses the scope of the project.

    I have a nice copy of the manual.

    As a side note, I won't actually have the 388 in my hands for another two weeks. It's being given to me by a friend, the unit is at his house and he'll be away (for two weeks). We checked it out together last night and tried to get the PSU card back in, but kept bending some of the pins. I know it might be a bit early to start asking questions since theres nothing I can do at the moment, but I'm excited to get the ball rolling.

    Thanks friends.

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    I shouldn't be hard to get the power card seated properly, you kind of just move them around until you feel them slot in and then you gently press down. Not hard to do and you don't need to force anything that's for sure. Maybe if the pins are bent you might have to check them out. Failing that you can take the bottom cover off and remove the mother PCM relatively easily, then you can work out why the power cards aren't connecting to the mother pcb so easily.

    I'm sure others more experienced will have better advise than mine however.

    I wouldn't worry about it being a beater. These machines can take a beating in my experience If there is no logic problems then you can probably get it running nicely yourself. I hear logic problems are a nightmare best left for the technicians would know what they're doing (and have the extender cards).

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    That's very helpful, thanks. I wasn't sure if sliding in the cards was just normally difficult or if there is possibly something wrong.


    Quote Originally Posted by mr.blisset View Post
    I wouldn't worry about it being a beater. These machines can take a beating in my experience If there is no logic problems then you can probably get it running nicely yourself. I hear logic problems are a nightmare best left for the technicians would know what they're doing (and have the extender cards).
    That's encouraging, I have a lot of experience repairing and building tube amps and pedals however not much with servicing reel to reels. Again, I can't wait to dig in.

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    I always use a flashlight when re-seating cards. You gotta make sure everything is lined up correctly.
    We've got bush,We've got bush!!!

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    Good points above on the card re-seating, and I would add if you are having trouble and you keep bending pins, then check the card itself and make sure the connectors are properly anchored. The plastic housings for the connector sockets have a tab on each end of the housing that are sometimes broken off, so when you try to plug the card in one or more of those housings just flexes and the pins and sockets can never line up. I'd check that first. If everything is in order, as was said above, once you feel things lined up it should be a pretty gentle push to get that power supply card plugged in.

    If you find one or more connector housings loose on the card what I've done is run a bead of super-glue between the housing and the card and hold it until its set.

    Let us know how you are getting along once it's in your hands.

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    The female molex connectors on the card were definitely wiggling around. Thanks for the super glue tip, I wouldn't have know that was a problem.

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    Hey everyone, just a quick update...

    The 388 is now in my hands. Today I, glued down the molex connectors on the power supply pcb and resoldered all of their connections. I also noticed that one of the mating connectors on motherboard 2 was loose so I removed the bottom cover and resoldered those connections. After that it was pretty easy to slot in the power supply card. The unit powered up, to start with I just wanted to check out the mixer section, I just used a mic so I haven't tested the line inputs yet. There's a few issues already...

    Ch4: The signal only appears on the odd tracks and the left side of the master regardless of pan pot position.

    Ch5: To get signal to pass I have to flip the input selector switch back and forth, it never stays ON but flicking the switch gets me a second of signal. This channel also only appears on the odd tracks and the left side of the master regardless of pan pot position.

    Ch6: No signal, no activity on the overload LED

    Ch7: Also odds only

    Ch8: works but TRIM pot is touchy, only passes signal when all the way up, cuts out if I tap it

    Thats as far as I got tonight, I checked the EQs on the good channels but didn't check the AUXs yet. Also I haven't gotten into the transport yet since those cards aren't installed and have some loose pins on the molex connectors as well.

    Also, there's a few bulbs out and a few missing knobs and switch caps but those are low priority.

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    I should have the replacement knob and switch cap parts. PM me if interested.

    Your other itemized issues we'd need to tackle one at a time, but it will likely involve removing the bottom cover. Suspecting connections that are oxidized and need re-seating or cold solder joints.

    Does this 388 look like it was in a humid environment at all? Look at the screw heads on the jack panel...are they rusty at all?

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    Ok, now I'm up against some real issues. Tonight I installed the Bias and Servo boards, I'm getting some strange behavior from the tape transport. When I press play, the capstan engages for a second and the reels spinout in opposite directions, then the tape goes slack and the capstan drops back down. I also tried pulling the tape out of it's normal path and just manually holding the tension roller up in place. When doing this the play indicator light will stay on but neither the reel motor or capstan spin. Fast Forward and Rewind behave the same way. Here are two quick videos I shot to better show what I'm describing...

    388 1 - YouTube

    388 2 - YouTube

    So... Where should I start trouble shooting this? Right now I haven't got a clue.

    Thanks!

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    Hi Sweetbeats,
    I just saw your post after I posted about transport functions. Thank you very much for the parts offer, I will definitely hit you up once I've resolved bigger issues.

    I do believe this has seen some humidity, it's generally pretty clean but banged up, but there is some oxidation on some of PCBs. At the moment I'm not too worried about the malfunctions in the mixer section. Those sorts of repairs are things I have some experience with and at least know how to begin trouble shooting. It's the tape transport stuff that is uncharted territory for me.

    Seeing as how I have 3 mixer channels that at least pass audio and can be routed to all the various tape tracks my plan is to focus on the tape transport problems first. If I can't get my head around that then the mixer is sort of meaningless. I'll start studying the manual and eagerly await any insights you might have.

    Thanks!

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