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Repair Blowout: THREE Reel to Reel Decks Restored!

Summer 2016

Amongst our many other specializations, we’re the go-to shop in Texas for reel to reel tape deck repair.

Included in the movie clip below are two Fostex decks and one Teac reel-to-reel tape deck repairs recently performed. In the background sits another reel to reel tape deck unit, awaiting its turn in line for service and repair.

So far in 2016 we’ve repaired and restored 5 reel to reel decks, with just one unit besides determined as BER/beyond economical repair—it had heavy damage to eight internal circuit cards and, while theoretically repairable, would have incurred too much repair time and thus a high bill.

Highlights of this year’s reel to reel repairs, by model and brand:

Customer brought a Teac X-2000R with a complaint of “Check All Functions,” probably for a basic cleaning and service. Drive belt replacement and cleaning/service brought the unit back to life.

On a Teac A-4010S with complaint of “Motor Overheats,” we repaired by replacing shorted capacitors in the power supply. Unit went home safe and sound and purring nicely.

On a Teac X-10R, customer asked us to replace the drive belts/clean and service, however we found additionally that the unit would also require a new capstan motor for full functioning. Fortunately, after various efforts and vendor misdirections, we found a source, procured the motor, and repaired the customer’s unit.

Finally some words on perhaps the most challenging reel-to-reel repair we’ve done, a restoration of a very attractive Fostex G16 machine. (This is the product on the right in the movie clip below.) This unit had the special misfortune of having been in another repair shop—a circumstance we heartily disrelish, as this almost inevitably means the product will have undergone butchery and/or mutilation. In this case, the repair proved especially difficult as the prior tech—let’s be generous here and call him a tech—had re-assembled the product improperly, leaving many of the internal wiring connexions barbarously mis-connected.

Once the mal-connectivity was corrected, we found some relatively straightforward issues in the audio record circuit and these were repaired and the unit bundled up for homecoming.

Need reel to reel tape deck repair? No problem—call the professionals—that’s us.

Just another save-the-day at Bammel TV Tech Services.

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How We Fixed a 24 Track MCI JH-24 Recording Deck

How We Fixed a 24-Track Studio Recording Deck

Customer brought to us an early-1980’s vintage studio recording deck: a 2″ tape, 24-track recorder—the MCI JH-24.

The MCI JH-24 is a rather legendary studio multi-track recorder—a very impressive piece of equipment, the first commercialized 24-track recorder. Many rock classics were recorded on MCI machines: Eric Clapton, the Eagles, Led Zeppelin, and the Bee Gees recorded many of their 1970’s era hits on MCI 16-track machines. The JH-24 carried an original purchase price in the $30,000 range. Even today working units are being sold online for over $8000, not including freight.

By the early 1980’s digital recording was emerging on the horizon, but many artists then, and still today, prefer the perceived “warmth” of analog recording equipment. And so we found ourselves facing a non-functioning JH-24 deck—the first one we have seen.

Assessing the Repair Prospects on the MCI JH-24, and Phase 1

Customer’s complaint was that “Tape transport won’t function.”  Our diagnostic assessment found the following:

“MAJOR RECONSTRUCTION REQUIRED in POWER SUPPLY, STANDBY CIRCUIT WORK, and SYSTEM CONTROL CIRCUIT. ADVANCED TROUBLESHOOTING PLUS REPLACE OF MISC COMPONENTS INCLUDING DISPLAY LAMPS—HOWEVER IT IS OTHERWISE IN GOOD SHAPE AND REPAIR IS FEASIBLE & RECOMMENDED FOR REPAIR.”

After considerable efforts by one of our master technicians, our repair essentially stalled out—“I can’t fix it.” Despair set in. Eventually I transferred the ticket to our other master tech and assigned him a full time assistant for this challenge. The risk was considerable: should he and his team flame out, and the unit prove unrepairable, this would represent a large loss of valuable repair production time.

Phase 2: Breakthrough

The second tech team completed the remaining work, but having done so, we ran into additional complications with this very complex product. Customer had requested that at least 16 of the original 24 tracks be restored. As it turned out, each individual recording track presented individual electronic circuit issues. Both our master techs worked on the unit, and were finally successful in restoring 23 of the 24 tracks, each of which required individual troubleshooting and circuit repair, for a total repair cost below $4000—thus saving the customer over $4000 off the cost of purchasing a replacement.

Summary: We Fixed It

Finally, we presented the triumph to the customer: a restored, functioning MCI JH-24, at just half the cost of a working replacement. Just another save-the-day at Bammel TV Tech Services. Click on the video player below for a brief video review of the final, functioning unit.

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High End Amp Repair at Bammel TV Tech Services 

February 12, 2016

We were successful this week in—finally—restoring a customer’s high-end Madrigal Proceed 5 channel, THX-certified power amp. This one was a challenge! The unit had been in another shop—a “chop shop,” as we call them sometimes—and numerous components were swapped into incorrect positions or else were outright removed (or perhaps pilfered, for other, less difficult repairs?) Additionally, getting service literature from this manufacturer is like pulling teeth, so final restoration (which included 9 different, discrete integrated circuits) involved great difficulty. However our team won out over the gremlins, as we usually do.

If we can’t fix it, we’re betting almost no one can. Proceed amp repair at Bammel TV Proceed amp 2

 

 

 

 

Summary: Amp Repair Time at Bammel TV

Another one bites the dust at Bammel TV Tech Services. For our Stereo & Electronic Repair page, click here.