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Thread: Tascam 388 won't erase on channel 1?

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    Unhappy Tascam 388 won't erase on channel 1?

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    Hey everyone! I recently was able to pick up a Tascam 388 for a fairly good price in reasonable good condition. I went through and installed a new belt, cleaned the heads really well, got some new tape, and tested out every channel. Everything is great except for one issue.

    Channel 1 won't erase correctly - or at all. I can record a test track, return to zero and try to record over it, and I basically end up with an overdub. I tested this out on every other channel and they all seem to be working fine. The heads seem to be in good condition.

    I've done a good bit of digging around online and this is one issue that I can't really find much info on. Could reseating the cards be a potential fix? Any help or suggestions at all would be much appreciated!

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    I would start by reseating the bias cards. Bias signal is what prepares tape to record signal, but also the same signal goes to the erase head at high levels to erase the track. So reseat those and see if that helps. If that doesn’t help it may be time to pull out your test equipment. What do you have on-hand?

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    Thank you, sweetbeats! Sorry for the late reply, I was out of town on a work trip.

    I've taken all of the cards out and put them back in again, and I still seem to be getting the same issue. Unfortunately since I'm so new to analog recording, I don't have any test equipment. I've cleaned the tape path really well with 99% alcohol, but that's all I really know to do at the moment.

    Thank you again, any help is appreciated!

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    Well you’re nearly to the point you’re going to need a decent multimeter.

    Did you swap the track 1 & 3 amp card with one of the other amp cards to see if the problem follows the card?

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    Sweetbeats, thank you so much for your continued help! I've actually been able to solve a few issues thanks to some archived posts that you were involved in. Your help is very much appreciated!

    I'll pick up a multimeter ASAP. Will one from Home Depot do the job or should I order one from an electronics specialty shop?

    I've only pulled out the cards and put them back in again, but I'm definitely willing to swap some of the cards around to see if it helps at all. Are the 8 cards behind the mixer the ones I need to swap around? Sorry, this machine is brand new to me! Thank you again!

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    Do you have the full service manual? It tells you what cards are what in the cardbay. I suggest you do nothing else until you have the service manual if you intend on keeping and feeding and caring for this machine long term. It is essential.

    A general purpose multimeter like from Home Depot will work for checking resistance and DC voltages, and verifying presence of AC signal, but they don’t work for any calibration across the audio spectrum. For that you need a true RMS measuring multimeter rated for audio use. More expensive.

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    I would check the erase head wires and then the connector and the solder joints to the connector. As people play around in these unit they pull and move wires around sometimes not being too gentle and the end result can be broken solder pins on a connector for that function.

    In my case since I am in the business I would just put a scope at the track one connector and then do a comparative resistance reading to another channel to make sure the head is not open coil wise.
    Isolpropyl alcohol is NOT the right solvent to clean heads- Denatured Ethanol is. It can be had at the hardware store.
    Best regards,
    Skywave Tape Deck Repair, Chicago area

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    I've downloaded the service manual and switch around the appropriate cards, still nothing.

    Thank both of you for your advice! After digging around, I found this (Sorry for the terrible photo). I would like to think that this is the culprit

    tascamerasehead-copy-jpg

    I really really hope this is the cause of all this! Hopefully there is a way to repair this pin without replacing the whole IC socket
    Last edited by BrandonB; 04-14-2019 at 18:27.

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    Oh wow. Good job.

    I might have one of those PCB assemblies from a 388.

    It would have all the cabling attached if I have it...a complete head connector assembly.

    [EDIT]

    Oh, oh, oh...I see...the pin is broken off the head connector itself...not a problem with the socket...hmmm...so what you may end up doing is cutting the wire off the connector, cutting the corner off the connector so you can access that one socket when the connector is plugged in, and then strip and tin the end of the wire so you can plug the one wire into the exposed socket by itself. A bit of a kludge but it would work.

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    IT'S FIXED! I tinned the wire and stuck it in the socket and BAM! It's fixed! Thank both of you for your help!

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