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Thread: Help! Tascam 424 Can't Play Cassettes

  1. #1
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    Help! Tascam 424 Can't Play Cassettes

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    Hello, friends. I picked up a Tascam 424 from someone recently and I am unable to play tape. I opened it up and it seems I've run into many issues.

    Check out my video: youtube. com/watch?v=CIIKR3I4KM4

    The positive:
    -Capstan belt and Take-up reel belt seem okay
    -Mixer operates fine
    -Solenoid seems okay. The metal core was actually loose in the machine when I got it... I popped it back inside the Solenoid.

    The negative:
    -When I press PLAY, FF, or RW, it only spins for a few seconds. Sometimes it takes multiple presses to even roll.
    -The capstan motor isn't spinning (wrong name? the black wheel on the inside)
    -The tape heads do not engage
    -When I manually lift the heads and press PLAY, it plays extremely fast.

    So what is wrong with this thing? Does it come down to replacing one part or many?

    Thanks for reading

  2. #2
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    Oct 2000
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    Exclamation Gonna be flying blind, here...

    My opinion is,... [edited]

    If the capstan belt seems fine, I'd double check that, because the capstan should spin. Some Portastudios have the capstan running all the time, and others will only run when you insert a tape. Either way, you should see it spin. If it's the type that only spins when a tape is inserted, you can cheat it by pressing a microswitch in the top of the compartment,... the "cartridge-in-place" switch. It should then spin in plain view.

    The black wheel in the bottom of the tape compartment is the pinch roller, and will not spin on it's own, but will spin when it's pushed up to contact the capstan.

    If the heads won't activate up/down, then either there is a belt that drives that motion, or a gear (can't say sight unseen which it is), but either this belt or gear would be suspect.

    When you press play and manually push the heads up to contact the tape, "and it plays really fast", to me that could indicate that the capstan is not spinning and all tape motion you see is coming from the right takeup hub, which runs and a higher unregulated speed. Also could be the caveat that a 424 Portastudio in "best quality" mode runs at 2x normal tape speed. A commercial audio tape or tape that's been recorded on your home stereo will play "really fast" (2xnormal).

    Lastly, all rubber belts in a unit of this age would be suspect. Even if a belt looks fine, it could be loose to the point where it will not do a proper job turning the capstan or pulley it's associated with.

    You have to know a little bit about what's going on in there to determine what's not working. Everyone goes thru a bit of a learning curve with these amazing little machines.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lt. Bob
    ... subtleties of sound make a difference to those who really listen.

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