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Author Topic: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?  (Read 15216 times)

Offline Fabio

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Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« on: March 07, 2010, 03:06:40 PM »
Dear forum members,

I have another case for your kind attention.

As said in another thread in this board, I have just bought one Teac X-2000R that, the seller says, has spent all its life in a box, in a storage facility.

In fact this looks possible seeing the original box, wrapping and documentation, the case which is more than mint, just perfect and inside the machine there is no trace of dust and I believe not because somebody has cleaned it.

Unfortunately, there is the other side of the coin, represented by the heads that I have just analyzed; in fact after all the above, heads conditions have disappointed me.

I am trying to attach two (not perfect) pictures I did take few minutes ago after cleaning them using alcohol ethylic 95% (some sources stated that it can be used and does not damage heads). After cleaning, it looks like they can not be further cleaned and oxide or deposits are still there. Picture is showing the two heads on the left, the ones looking in worse status.


I would like to know from you if I have to worry for the conditions of heads or if there is a different treatment that can bring them to their initial perfect shape.

Thank you.

Best Regards,

Fabio

Picture 1:

Picture 2:

Offline ironbut

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2010, 04:27:46 PM »
Hey Fabio,

It's difficult to tell for sure from just pictures but it looks like there's some corrosion on the head surface. The record head may be worse since I think I can see the gap opening up. It looks like a straight line from the top to a point between the two tracks.
Without being able to feel the head surface, I can't really tell how bad it really is.
The problem with corrosion is, once you remove all the "scaling" which is the oxidized metal that sticks up from the surface, you end up with pitting. Pitting not only reduces the intimate contact between the head and tape, but it becomes a collecting point for oxide which will fill up and form a new "bump" that scrapes off more oxide.
All the above will ruin a tape.

The best way to fix this is to send the heads to be resurfaced. Someone like JFR Magnetics will be able to tell you for sure if the record head is toast or if it can be resurfaced too.
BTW The playback head is the one with the shield around it.

One thing that you can try is to use something stronger than alcohol for cleaning. Your local hardware store should have some naptha. That's pretty nasty stuff and it's about the strongest solvent you want to use on a head (many have epoxy in them so you don't want to use anything that will soften it).
If you can get the head fairly smooth (it should be like glass) you can run an expendable tape over and over and hope it will polish the surface. It will eventually but if the pitting is too deep, it could take thousands of plays.

You should also check your tape guides with equal magnification. They're usually made of something like stainless steel, but if not, they could be corroded too.
steve koto
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Offline Fabio

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2010, 07:19:44 AM »
Hello!

Thank you for caring; you can not understand the level of disappointment when you buy such a machine all in perfect conditions EXCEPT the most important part, like the heads!!!

I have taken 2 more pictures with the daylight, hoping they are clearer. In fact it is hard to take some picture without the metallic part is not creating some light reflection.

The heads that look more in trouble are the 2 on the left and I will buy naphta to try the cleaning you have suggested.

You are mentioning a special tape "expendable tape"; I think it is like the special tapes once were used to clean deck cassette heads? Do you have any idea on where to find this special tape, if it can be found under different names and if there is anything I can manually use to make the same work of this expendable tape?

Thank you!

Regards,

Fabio

PICTURES:




Offline ironbut

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2010, 12:38:15 PM »
Don't get too worried yet. Like I said, without actually touching the heads, it's hard to tell if that is indeed corrosion. Try cleaning them with naptha first.
Feel the head surface. If you can still feel any bumps on it, try cleaning again and see if it feels any different. If not, you might as well try to polish it with a tape.

The "special" tape I was referring to is actually the opposite of being "special". It just needs to be a decent quality tape (don't buy any old Ampex/Quantegy tape for this). I'd get a 7" reel of something like RMGI 468. All tape is somewhat abrasive and will polish the heads. You should have a tape in your stash for testing anyway so it won't be wasted once you resolve this issue.
After your first playing, rewind the tape a bit and examine the oxide side for scratching of the surface. If it's easily perceivable, you might as well give up since the corrosion on the heads will just grind off the oxide on the tape before the tape can do any polishing. If the corrosion is very light, this "could" help. And since it would be using a tape you should have for abusing anyway (making tension, adjustments etc) it doesn't really cost you anything.

The manual way to do this sort of polishing is relapping. If it is corrosion, you'll more than likely have to have this done for you.
steve koto
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Offline Fabio

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2010, 03:32:42 PM »
Hi,

Thank you for your suggestions and kind words,

I had further tried to clean the heads that now look much-much better than before, but I am afraid some corrosion signs are remaining on the metallic part of a couple of heads. Passing a finger I can not really or barely feel these "damaged" parts; if I gently pass a nail I can feel them.

I am taking in consideration to look for JRF  Magnetics assistance if I can not fix the problem by myself. I have contacted them and asked if it is possible to send them the entire head assembly hosting the 6 heads, as one of the problems that I will face removing the heads one by one is to find locally a good professional for a proper reinstallation & alignment (not really available here!) once the heads are back.

John (from JRF) kindly made himself available, saying that I can send the complete head assembly, and they will remove the heads, re-install them and optically align the complete head assembly. After this he would send the entire "block" ready for reinstallation.

Should this happen, this is I think the only solution for works to be done on the heads, because as said in my city I can not find a professional able to make such works properly or without making experiments on my Teac X-2000R

BEFORE going for the above solution, I will for sure try the solution you have just proposed (the tape cleaning solution).
If results won't be satisfactory, what do you think about sending the entire heads assembly to JRF?
Also, and very important, do you think that demounting the entire Heads Assembly is something that can be actually be done on a Teac X-2000R?  Could you kindly provide some guidance on this operation so that I can do it? I have 16 years background on mobile units? assistance, so I am not really a beginner and used precision tools in the past.
 

Thank you for assisting me; I really appreciate it.

Regards,

Fabio

Offline ironbut

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2010, 03:58:36 PM »
Fabio,
You should be able to remove the headblock yourself. I haven't done that on an X series Teac but it's usually just a matter of a few screws and disconnecting a mutipin connector (maybe one the main circuit board). That is definitely the way to go and John French is the guy to send it to.

You should get yourself a service manual. You should be able to download one here;

http://www.hifiengine.com/manuals.shtml
steve koto
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Offline Tim

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2010, 04:23:38 PM »
I've seen this many, many times. It's definitely corrosion damage.   A customer will play a defective tape (one with sticky shed syndrome) and conclude that the deck is broken (either due to the very poor sound quality or the sticky-tape speed problems or both).  Of course, the heads are simply covered with oxide from the defect tapes.  They throw the deck into a box and there it sits for years.  Meanwhile, the oxide deposits on the heads , with the help from a humid environment, starts a corrosion process which eats into the head surface. Often, the gap is destroyed and the measured performance is very, very, poor, even after trying to remove the surface corrosion.  You can have a RTR service tech install new heads (Teac stocks new heads that should work in this deck) or you can have them relapped and realigned by JRF as was previously suggested by Steve.  Both options are somewhat expensive.  Another option would be to buy another similar deck off Ebay either for parts or for refurbishing. In this  case, it would need to have heads that are in excellent-condition (not an easy thing to find). Kind of a shame....the heads and guides show very little actual tape-wear.  The heads were destroyed due to neglect (leaving them caked with oxide). Also, there is pitting on the head-shields which indicates the deck was stored in a high-humidity environment which of course accelerated the head-corrosion process.

As for a home-repair, you could try polishing the heads with some metal polish and a cloth and then (like Steve suggested), fine- polish them by playing a tape in auto-reverse mode for many hours. This would just be a partial-repair.  Those heads will never operate/sound like new.  BTW, don't ever remove the heads from the headblock and don't attempt aligning them (other than fine-azimuth adjustments).  Alignment is the least of your problems with this deck.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2010, 05:14:36 PM by Tim »
Tim Leinbaugh
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Offline Fabio

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #7 on: March 09, 2010, 02:26:29 PM »
Thank you gentlemen,

I think the only option left is to send the heads assembly to JRF, which I think will make, after the work is completed, a perfect heads alignment (it should be the whole azimuth, tangency, azimuth etc.).

- - Could you please confirm the above can in fact be done by JRF while having with them the heads assembly only?

Last doubt is... relapping or change heads? In fact I see that the price proposed by JRF for new heads is the lower I have found out there: around 75 USD each one they stated (relapping is 50 USD each one). I hope there is no mistake.

So, if they can keep this convenient price for the new heads, is it still worth to recondition them (if condition of my heads allows it), or change heads is the best solution? 

Thank you for your time; it is good to find kind and passionate people sharing your interests!

Best Regards,

Fabio

Offline ironbut

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #8 on: March 09, 2010, 03:06:36 PM »
Fabio,

Sending the assembly is the way to go in either case. Like I said, if the gaps are opening up, John will probably advise you to have new ones installed. In any case, he's the head expert so wait till he examines them before you try and make a decision.
steve koto
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Offline Tim

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2010, 03:22:22 PM »
It's possible the corrosion is so extensive that relapping would not be an option. New heads may be the only choice.

Yes, you can remove the entire head-block on this deck. 

Ideally, when the headblock comes back from JRF, you should do a touch-up azimuth adjustment of the play heads and the record heads.  You will need an azimuth tape and an oscilloscope to do this.  You can, in a pinch, get by with just an azimuth tape and then using your VU meters to adjust azimuth (adjust for peak output).  Get a service manual to know exactly which screws to turn.  Turning the wrong ones will ruin the headblock alignment. BTW, these are usually minor adjustments and you probably could get by without doing them at all.

Or get a repair shop to do the azimuth adjustments.  For that matter a repair shop could do all the work, including a complete electrical alignment (which it will definitely need), however, finding one that is RTR competent is difficult.
Tim Leinbaugh
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Offline Fabio

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2010, 03:43:22 PM »
Hello!

I am sure there are no professionals able to do works on my RTR in my city and this is my big concern and disappointment; as you said, it is really hard to find them!

So, with reference the heads' adjustment, I should accept the idea to keep the heads as they come from JRF or try to find an azimuth tape (could you tell me more about this azimuth tape brand/name so I can try to buy it online, please?) and try the minor adjustments by myself, hoping not to make the situation worse than better than when heads come from JRF.

I have released the heads assembly which is now just attached to the X-2000R by the heads cables.

Now I am wondering (and hoping) that it won't be difficult to reach the connector (I hope there is one) to unplug it and pull the heads assembly away from the deck.

I am not sure I have to reach this connector from the back or from the front, removing the front panel?

Thank you!

Regards.

Fabio

Offline Tim

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2010, 03:54:52 PM »
From the back.  If no plug-in connectors, then unsolder the wires at the heads.  Very carefully mark which wires go to which head terminals.
Tim Leinbaugh
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Offline High and Outside

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #12 on: March 11, 2010, 06:15:30 PM »
Fabio,

I agree that the best course is to send the whole head assembly to JRF. He can advise you whether the heads can be lapped, or should be replaced. And he has replacement heads at very fair prices. When you get it back it will be well aligned, but to get the best performance out of the deck it should have the alignment checked in place and all electrical adjustments done. If that is not feasible, just put it back together and use it.

But I hope you don't intend to use it for Tape Project tapes. You have a quarter track machine. Tape Project tapes only play back on two track decks.
Paul Stubblebine
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Offline Fabio

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #13 on: March 20, 2010, 06:58:21 AM »
Hello Gentlemen,

Quick Update:

- Heads Assembly has been removed; it is connected through connectors and needed only minor parts demounting.
- I have sent the heads assembly to JRF and will discuss with them the way to go, even if the cost difference between relap and new head is only 25 USD and I may decide to install new heads anyway.
- Unfortunately I have no tech resources in my city, so (sadly) I can just mount the assembly back, without having somebody doing a final fine tuning! I hope audio results won't be disappointing or tapes get damaged.

Regarding the use of this machine: I will use this X-2000R to listen old tapes recorded with another X-2000R I used to own in my private radio station in the late '80s.
I have one ReVoX B77 MKII being maintained right now in Germany. With this one I will listen the tapes recorded with another ReVoX B77 MKII while my first private radio station was open (late '70s). Still crossing fingers and waiting for it to be back.

I bought a fruit/vegetables dehydrator, and when back in Italy next time I will try to spend some time to recover my old (sticky?) tapes! I learnt how to recover old tapes thanks again to this Forum and his great members, which are assisting me brilliantly!

Thank you!

Regards,

Fabio
 

Offline HDVS

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Re: Teac X-2000R - Can these Heads be recovered?
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2010, 07:34:46 AM »
Fabio, where are you from?
I live in Italy and can help you aligning your unit once you get the heads back.

Regards,
Giorgio
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