Need some help with Fostex D-15 not working


New member
Hi everyone,

I'm new to Home Recording. I've had a few different pieces of recording equipment over the years, a really nice Revox A77, an Akai reel to reel which is somewhere up in the loft but most of the time I use a Yamaha AW16G to build up music tracks, guitar, keyboards etc. A few weeks back I bid for a Fostex DAT unit, a D-15. It was part of a sale of band equipment and recording studio bits and pieces. There were a number of DAT recorders, Mini-Disk recorders and so on. I bid for the Fostex. Got it for £95. It `came in a flight case. The type where you can remove the top and the bottom and use the unit without taking it out of the case. As a result its visually in great condition. However what seemed like a bargain appears to be a bit of a pup.
I loaded a DAT tape and it made all the right sounds but did not respond to pressing the play button. I removed the top cover and when you load the tape the transport pulls the tape out and engages with the head. The head is spinning but only slight tape movement when you hit play. No response from F/F. I tried pressing record and play together but again nothing. The tape ejects fine. There are no error messages on the screen. I found a service manual on line which explains how to go into service mode for testing the display and running alignments and that all looks to be fine, but there was nothing in the manual about fault-finding.
I've contacted a few local audio repair shops but no takers so far.
Has anyone on the forum any information that can help me get this unit working?
I have an oscilloscope and some rusty electronics experience. I used to work for Digital Equipment Corp. many years back as a technician and field engineer, so I've worked on similar equipment, doing head alignments, setting up vacuum chamber tape transports, mag tapes etc. I'm not afraid of having a go at fixing it myself. Since I retired I've started fixing up old digital pianos and amps. I've been buying 'for parts only' equipment on eBay and getting it going. The idea was to sell on, but so far I haven't parted with anything. The house is full of pianos and synths. A nice Roland RD 150 and a Korg SP 250 that I fixed up to give to my son. An Alesis MMT-8 sequencer that had a faulty IC and needed a firmware upgrade and an Alesis HR-16 just needed a replacement battery for the memory.
Anyway any advice greatly appreciated.
Many thanks