Tascam 38

Abominable ID

New member
Hey all,

Just bought a deck that has seen better days, but seems to function completely. I would like to restore it to the best of my ability. After scanning ebay for hours, it seemed to me that many of the deck parts and housing pieces for the models (32, 34, 38) might be identical. Is this true? What about the reel motors? Obviously not the tape heads and channel oriented systems. My machine is missing a fair amount of the housing screws and also the tape head and counter faceplate. For example; would the feet of a 32 fit on a 38? Thanks in advance.

-Ash
 

RFR

Well-known member
Ash,
Welcome to the zoo!

Don't know the answers to your questions. But the people in the analog forum do.
:D

You should post there. You'll get a lot more traction.
The tascam forum is waay too broad considering the amount of recording related products they have made.

Again, welcome.
:D
 
The feet are common but they are plastic and they get old and brittle and can break. I find that the wood feet make by Ken in TX are much more robust and better looking.
Depending on size he may need measurements but this is the guy I use to have made feet for any deck even Otari machines.
kenstroup@tx.rr.com

Motors for the 38 are 1/2 tape reel motors. They are found in 40, 50 series decks but not 34 or 32 as they are 1/4" machines. They usually only need cleaning of the motor commutator otherwise they do not fail.

The capstan motor may be the same as the 34 or 32 but I would suggest the use of the BR20 motor that could be attached to the servo board that the capstan motor is part of now. The BR20 motor is a 12 watt motor more meant for 1/2" type machines.

Hardware on the outside is easy to find as I stock a lot of different screws that I obtain from either E bay from China or I order them from McMaster Carr. Case screw should be 4mm/ washer bought separately and the rear plastic case screws are 3mm X6mm length.

If any other questions arise on these machines you can contact me and I will relate to you what I know. I fix these on a regular basis so I deal with all of what you see there.

The head cover can be maybe found at Audio Pro in MA or Reelprosoundguys.com in Utah as they part out machines regularly plus there are some on E bay now and then. You have to establish a search and have it E mail you when comes up- they are not made anymore and have been out of stock for a great many years. The reel motors have ball bearings in them and they do not need oil. If the bearing become noisy in fast wind then the motor is taken apart and new bearing slide on the shaft then put the motor back. I have only had to replace one bearing in my 45 years if working on these and it was because coke was spilled into the machine and motor. That was a Tascam 52.
 

Cabeco

New member
The feet are common but they are plastic and they get old and brittle and can break. I find that the wood feet make by Ken in TX are much more robust and better looking.
Depending on size he may need measurements but this is the guy I use to have made feet for any deck even Otari machines.
kenstroup@tx.rr.com

Motors for the 38 are 1/2 tape reel motors. They are found in 40, 50 series decks but not 34 or 32 as they are 1/4" machines. They usually only need cleaning of the motor commutator otherwise they do not fail.

The capstan motor may be the same as the 34 or 32 but I would suggest the use of the BR20 motor that could be attached to the servo board that the capstan motor is part of now. The BR20 motor is a 12 watt motor more meant for 1/2" type machines.

Hardware on the outside is easy to find as I stock a lot of different screws that I obtain from either E bay from China or I order them from McMaster Carr. Case screw should be 4mm/ washer bought separately and the rear plastic case screws are 3mm X6mm length.

If any other questions arise on these machines you can contact me and I will relate to you what I know. I fix these on a regular basis so I deal with all of what you see there.

The head cover can be maybe found at Audio Pro in MA or Reelprosoundguys.com in Utah as they part out machines regularly plus there are some on E bay now and then. You have to establish a search and have it E mail you when comes up- they are not made anymore and have been out of stock for a great many years. The reel motors have ball bearings in them and they do not need oil. If the bearing become noisy in fast wind then the motor is taken apart and new bearing slide on the shaft then put the motor back. I have only had to replace one bearing in my 45 years if working on these and it was because coke was spilled into the machine and motor. That was a Tascam 52.
Would a Capstan motor cause PSU fuses 405 and 406 to burn also a capacitor 25v 100uf
 
Fuses do not burn out for small reason but very big trouble reasons. In all my years I do not remember the fuses burning out due to a motor problem. They usually go out when amateurs do things in the deck and make sparks. I was just called the other night and there are no DC capstan motors left to buy. NOW things are going to get real interesting and I bet more costly.
In the Tascam 48 I have caught Marcon caps shorting and I think they were 220uFd at 25V. I pull them all out as I no longer trust Marcon caps. You get a more reliable machine by changing them with fresh caps of a better brand. I use Nichicon, Panasonic FC or FM, Wurth and TDK-Epcos is also now in the caps manufacturing.
 

Cabeco

New member
Fuses do not burn out for small reason but very big trouble reasons. In all my years I do not remember the fuses burning out due to a motor problem. They usually go out when amateurs do things in the deck and make sparks. I was just called the other night and there are no DC capstan motors left to buy. NOW things are going to get real interesting and I bet more costly.
In the Tascam 48 I have caught Marcon caps shorting and I think they were 220uFd at 25V. I pull them all out as I no longer trust Marcon caps. You get a more reliable machine by changing them with fresh caps of a better brand. I use Nichicon, Panasonic FC or FM, Wurth and TDK-Epcos is also now in the caps manufacturing.
Thank you for getting back to me. I changed all the Capacitors on power supply I started to re solder all the boards and found c550 on the mainboard was loose and making contact with wire on plug right next to it. that took care of the problem with the fuses. So next I opened the motor to try and rebuild or something but everything inside was gone brushes, the commutator was burnt. I started searching for Motor and got lucky I found one for $225 I opened it up to check it once it arrived and got lucky everything inside looked brand new. Now I am having problem with the brake solenoid everything works great without the tape, soon as I put a reel on it it turns for a couple of seconds then it seems like something is dragging it and slowing it down I tried adjusting the brake bands but no luck. I think it's the solenoid, How can I test the solenoid and when is it suppose to activate when I stop or reverse? I had a Pioneer 909 in the early 80s but never worked on one so I am a newbie when it comes to these machines I retired a while back and decided to take up repairing tvs stereos just to keep from turning into a couch potato. I managed to inherit this one from my uncle that had it stored for last 30 yrs. I've took it apart cleaned it and it's almost new, it's crazy how time can really damage these things I would appreciate your help thanks
 
The brake problem is most likely power supply or transistor driver. We had a drawer of solenoids at Teac when they closed down the same draw of solenoids was there and I don't think even one was used for all the model that there are. I imagine they threw them in the garbage. I would have taken them but I was not there all the time they did the clean out. How the fuse problem was there was it a manufacture mistake- they supposedly checked all machines in LA before selling the decks that came from Japan. Apparently the dealers must have found some defective ones. The assembly line they had was not 100% I found transistor in where a jumper as suppose to be in a X2000R. The soldering in the newer stuff is all ready to break. This is why I have to do a lot of resoldering.
If the capstan motor was burned up then the reel motors could have similar wear or the commutators are full of carbon which creates a shunt across the field. I take them apart and use a thin razor blade that is about 12/1000" thick from a trac II razor cartridge and glean out the gaps. They are suppose to have air in them that is all. You could also check the common point that the reel motor gets voltage from. It should get like 33-35Vdc there and the other side grounding by a transistor will be a low voltage number 3-7Volts.
DC motors are very powerful when given the right voltage and when they are in good condition. The 38 usually need the arm cylinders taken off and cleaned and then new silicon damping fluid put into them.
 

Cabeco

New member
The brake problem is most likely power supply or transistor driver. We had a drawer of solenoids at Teac when they closed down the same draw of solenoids was there and I don't think even one was used for all the model that there are. I imagine they threw them in the garbage. I would have taken them but I was not there all the time they did the clean out. How the fuse problem was there was it a manufacture mistake- they supposedly checked all machines in LA before selling the decks that came from Japan. Apparently the dealers must have found some defective ones. The assembly line they had was not 100% I found transistor in where a jumper as suppose to be in a X2000R. The soldering in the newer stuff is all ready to break. This is why I have to do a lot of resoldering.
If the capstan motor was burned up then the reel motors could have similar wear or the commutators are full of carbon which creates a shunt across the field. I take them apart and use a thin razor blade that is about 12/1000" thick from a trac II razor cartridge and glean out the gaps. They are suppose to have air in them that is all. You could also check the common point that the reel motor gets voltage from. It should get like 33-35Vdc there and the other side grounding by a transistor will be a low voltage number 3-7Volts.
DC motors are very powerful when given the right voltage and when they are in good condition. The 38 usually need the arm cylinders taken off and cleaned and then new silicon damping fluid put into them.
I had already cleaned the motors before, used alcohol on the commutators got all the carbon out but never used the razor blade. I opened it up again and cleaned between commutator real good but when taking motor out I noticed the Black ground wire wasn't soldered at all. Yeah I'm a genius must of been in to much of a hurry the first time. The motors are spinning fast now. As for the brake I get the correct volts 33vdc and 4vdc but the solenoid never activates I'll buy another I guess, there are a few on Ebay but the shipping price is always more than the part. The fuses I changed all Capacitors resoldered everything and no more burnt Fuses. Now after I run tape for about 20 or 30 seconds I start getting a grinding or squeaking sound and only on reverse mode, I cant tell where it's coming from, runs good and fast the whole time but after 20, 30 sec. that sound is loud I'm thinking it's one of the Motors? appreciate your help thank you
 
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Probably a tension roller is touching the cap due to missing washer. If the motors make noise then they should make the noise in fast wind. I usually find the problem pretty fast and the motors do not fail all that often.
 

Cabeco

New member
Your right it was the left motor and only in fast wind, I just didn't frase it correctly, it was fine in play mode, I opened up motor and checked the bearings first, the one above the commutator was bad so I replaced bearings on both motors, sounds good and runs fast now I cleaned the gaps on commutator like you said and that really helped. Tomorrow I will pull power supply and go over everything before buying a new brake. Working on these Machines is more complicated than working on TV's Stereos, to many moving parts, but its fun, good exercise for the brain after your retired, keeps you busy. Again thank you for your help will let you know what I find
 
Yes, These can be a lot more than some people think they are. Did I tell you to put a sharpie line down the length of the motor so as to keep the magnets in line? When you do this on one side the motor when put together will turn the right way. When by chance you reverse the magnets the motor will turn the wrong way and then you have to take it out again. I guess bearing are starting to fail and so maybe I should start to stock some. I only had to change one so far and it was a Tascam 52 that was used at a college and they spilled coke into it. Coke is not a good additive for a ball bearing- I wonder what it does to the Human insides? I drink it too when Pepsi is not available. Give me Mountain Dew.

The black ground wire does not affect the motor drive but it is there for noise mitigation- it is the shielding of the motor.
 

Cabeco

New member
Every time family gathers around my place they always leave soda cans, once they leave I poor the leftovers on driveway it's good for removing stains that's the only use I have for coke. My wife past away this Christmas from the Covid but before that she was on dialysis, she had end stage Kidney disease. The Dr. said it was most likely caused by her drinking to much Diet Coke. According to the Dr. Coke is very bad also linked to type 2 Diabetes especially for teenagers like me going on 70. Most people like my wife drink soda all day. Mt. dew contains even more sugar than Coke, Keep it moderate if you have to drink n stay healthy. Getting back to my toy Just the one bearing was bad so I just replaced them all, as for the sharpie they already had a line across them both I'm guessing someone had already worked on them I haven't yet removed the power supply to check for that brake problem I noticed that it's getting the correct 33vdc but it comes and goes, one second it's there than it's gone thinking maybe some component not soldered correct or wire I'll get to it next week, what I really need now is someone in my area that can Calibrate the sound cards for me, I don't have the equipment for the job do you happen to know anyone in my area who can? I'm in Riverside County Ca. about 60 miles east of L.A. Thank you very much for your advice good to have someone that knows what they're doing
 
The power supply can be suffering from old caps or maybe the glue they used. I had a counter go out and it was missing the 24Vdc that went to it. Upon tracing it I found that the voltage was also missing from out of the power supply. This then was traced to a Transistor and Zener diode that had been exposed to the yellow glue the large caps had on them and there is no reason at all to have that glue on there. Anyway the glue ate through the leads of the diode and transistor and there was only one lead left on the Zener and one lead left on the transistor. I cleaned the glue off of that board and replaced those parts and the counter worked again. The Counter has it's own regulated 24Vdc power supply.
There were guys who used to do them in LA area but I am not sure they are doing it anymore. There was Marc and Adrian. The amount of people to work on these is getting fewer as people retire from it and of the 5 or 6 there were there are even less now.
You can see if Mikey wants to take it on. I have been training him.
Mikey Gee | Founder/ Managing Director | One to One Hi-Fi/ Pro Audio Sales and Repair
Costa mesa, CA cell:949.667.0725 | email: mikey1to1@gmail.com
 

Cabeco

New member
I finally got to working on brake solenoid problem and figured it out I’m sending a pic. There 3 pins ones a white wire coming from solenoid, the other is a cap. ground side and a brown wire all three are suppose to be soldered together but there was a break between the brown wire and the cap so small I had to use microscope to see it. and all the solder in that area looks bad so I will resolder. Your Right again it wasn’t the solenoid as you said and thank you for your help, and for mikes contact info, I will call mike see if he can help me calibrate the sound cards so I can try and sell it , I was hoping maybe trade it or buy something more simple just to enjoy listening to some old reels I have
 

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A lot of solder joints in decks are substandard and with some aggravation can break which is why I use sometimes 40-50 feet of .031 Kester 44 to correct a lot of this. A broken foil on the board is not a usual thing and often caused by mechanical stress given to the board by someone twisting and pulling on wires. This kind of work is called a bull being in a china shop. An DVM or Ohm meter would find this quickly. I hate to hear of people working on brakes and adjusting them as most the deck I get in are wrongly adjusted. There is a fine line to getting proper break tension and then having rubbing sounds or slow wind due to a dragging brake. The brake bands should be completly away from that pads when breaks are off and then when the solenoid pulls in the things need to be checked. The 33 Vdc that you saw may have been the flash voltage that is given to a solenoid and motor both are there to cause the start of the part and then to reduce to a lesser amount to have hold or regular drive voltage to motor.
 
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