Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

for bbc micro/electron hardware, peripherals & programming issues (NOT emulators!)
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Pablos544
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Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Pablos544 » Thu Apr 20, 2017 11:15 pm

Hi All,

Been trying to get into some BBC Micro programming recently. :idea:

To get as much usable RAM I decided to go the Tape Recorder route, so I bought one on ebay. =D>

This is the item:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/282427004248? ... EBIDX%3AIT

Being a bit naive I thought this looked quite good so I bought it. :roll:

Anyway I got the item yesterday because I to wait until today to pick up the C15 computer cassettes.

Ok so the long awaited moment finally arrives. 8)

I am in front of my Micro with the tape recorder all plugged in, with Data Cable in both ends BBC Micro-Cassette Player.

First it's me being naive #-o I couldn't work out why the tape doesn't move, Forward / Rewind, Play doesn't make the wheels turn.

Then I remember the BBC Micro has a Control ON/OFF line to the Cassette Player. :oops:

Ok a bit humiliated I persevere because it looks like it might work. :?

I write a simple 10 PRINT "HELLO" program, and type SAVE "HELLO"
The BBC says press RECORD on the Cassette Player, and at the same time the Cassette Motor LED light lights up.

Ok so this is my problem when the GO signal seems to be going ahead I can only get the Tape to turn by holding down Play. Worst still I can't even get the tape recorder to turn by holding down Record and Play even while holding it down indefinitely.

I discover the same is true for Forward Wind / Rewind. It only works if I hold it down. This is the same if I remove the Data Lead.

Another thing that's funny there is a burnt smell coming out of the Tape Player and it sounds like something is loose inside.

I've asked the seller to help and he says he can't remember all these subtleties and has advice me to post here on stardot.org.uk/forums to see if there is something more bright than either of us who could be so gentle as to help. [-o<

Thanks, guys!! :D
Pablo.

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richardtoohey
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby richardtoohey » Fri Apr 21, 2017 4:07 am

I'm no hardware expert but burning smells and rattling parts don't sound good!

Forget the computer side for a bit - does the tape recorder work in itself?

Go back a few steps.

Can you record & playback yourself speaking?

If no, then that's the first problem to solve, before you connect to the BBC ...

Good luck.

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daveejhitchins
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby daveejhitchins » Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:08 am

Sounds to me like a "return to sender" - Hmmm! There's a song in there, somewhere!

Dave H :D

p.s. If you end up sending it back <recommended> then give me a shout!
Parts: UM6502CE, GAL22V10D, GAL16V8D, AS6C62256A, TC514400AZ, WD1772, R6522, TMS27C512, AT28C256
Products: ARA II, ABR, ATI, AP6, MGC
For a price list, contact me at: Retro Hardware AT dave ej hitchins DOT plus DOT com

Coeus
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Coeus » Fri Apr 21, 2017 10:11 am

When you say the tape doesn't move unless you hold the play button down, is that because the button does not stay down on it's own or are you putting extra pressure on the button, i.e. pushing it down further beyond the point it latches? if the former, then obviously the latching mechanism is broken (maybe that's what's rattling), if the latter then probably the rubber on the pinch roller has gone hard and pressing the play button increases the pressure between that and the capstan to compensate.

If no work has been done on this since it was new, 30 years ago, it would not be surprising if the rubber things had deteriorated. That would probably include some drive belts, the pinch roller and maybe some other wheels with rubber tyres on inside the mechanism. The burning smell maybe due to slipping rubber or something else.

So, where to go from here? The eBay listing category suggests a fully-working item so I think you have every right to return it and, if you don't fancy fiddling with the mechanism yourself that's probably the best thing to do. Just because this may be normal, age-related deteriation doesn't entitle the seller to describe something as working when it is not. Even if you do decide you want to have a go at fixing it, it leaves the question of whether, by being misdescribed as working, you have paid over the odds for it.

If you do fancy refurbishing it yourself then you might have luck with a forum of vintage audio enthusiasts. Sure, this isn't HiFi but you should find people who are used to dealing with the kind of issues tape mechanisms produce. One example would be http://www.tapeheads.net/forums.php

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Pablos544
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Pablos544 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:05 am

The problem I'm facing is the seller claims "he doesn't remember these subtleties" :cry:

You know like "is it broken or not" :lol:

But to be fair he seems very communicative. He was having a baby at the time as well and yet still managed to reply within half an hour (his missus I think :lol: )

The Tape Recorder does not play, or rewind or forward wind unless I am keeping pressure on the button indefinitely regardless of whether it's connected to the BBC Micro.

Also it doesn't matter 'how hard' I press the button, it just doesn't latch as you guys describe it. :x

Then of course there's this burning smell. It's not a rubber smell either, it smells like a motor burning smell. Then there's the loose part rattling inside. :x

Coeus you are right. Just Because you are listing something old doesn't entitle the ebay seller to sell an item that may have some normal wear and tear for this kind of item because the listing suggests that it's in full working order. [-X

It's possible it's fixable but it sounds to my naive ears like it's quite a major thing that's wrong with it, this Latching Mechanism.

I tend to not mind attempting something that seems like it's been loved over it's life but I think this Tape Player has been neglected quite badly. The lead is filthy, and so are the female connectors in the tape player.

Thanks, guys!! I don't know where I'd be without you. Pab 8)

[EDIT] Ok I sent a message to the seller. I explain judging by what you guys have told me the Latching Mechanism built in with the motor unit seems to be broken, as confirmed by parts rattling inside, the motor burning smell etc.. I've explained to him I would like a refund for this item. I've explained to him about repair that might be possible; he replied he would like the item back then pending a refund to myself. He seems pretty sure everything was in working order when he sent it. He is suggesting the Royal Mail may have broken it :roll:

[EDIT] The seller agrees the item is not worth the hassle! =D> He's very kindly done me a deal agreeing to do a refund less what I would have to pay for Royal Mail Delivery Fees without me having to post the item. What a good guy 8)

Coeus
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Coeus » Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:53 am

That sounds like a good outcome. I am never sure what to make of eBay seller's claims. If you read some of the messages elsewhere on here you'll find plenty of the form "I bough XXX from eBay, listed as 'untested' and sure enough, when I power it on it didn't work" suggesting, in some case at least, that the seller know perfectly well that it doesn't work but hopes to get a better price by at leasting giving you hope it might.

But, in some case, it could be genuine. Let's say I found my old BBC complete with disk drives in the loft and let's say instead of setting it up to remind me of old times I had decided to sell it on eBay and let's assume I also didn't find any floppy disks to test the disc drives with. I'd have to list them as untested and it may well be that when someone received them, they didn't work, or maybe they would.

Back to you tape recorder, my suspicion on the non-latching keys is that a bar in the latching mechanism has move from where it should be to rattling around in the case. It may just be a case of putting it back or maybe something that is supposed to fix it in position has broken. if the motor is stuggling because things are stiff that can cause it to get hot. It sound from your description that this would be repairable by someone with experience of doing such things. Not that I am volunteering, but, as I say, there are forums of enthusiasts for old tape hardware just as there are for old computers.

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Pablos544
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Pablos544 » Fri Apr 21, 2017 1:00 pm

I think this seller sounds like a genuine guy. He seems very upset by the whole thing which doesn't really sound like the kind if person who knows about problems but then tries to hold back claiming "it's not possible to test it bla bla".

:evil:

Later on they always claim something along the lines if "oh yea, I had a slight suspicion about something might be going on :evil: but it seems like it's in good working order you know the Second Hand business you take your chances and all that bla bla"

Then exactly right you get the other kind who finds a old school BBC Micro stored somewhere in his attic and goes all watery eyed and decided sobebody on e-Bay is likely to have use for this kind of thing and going with the watery emotion decides to do a nice spread with photos etc. and it looks really nice. :D Only thing is he's got a bit nostalgic about the whole thing his childhood etc. and forgot in all that time stored up in that dry / moist place some of the delicate electronics might have got a bit affected so quite genuinely without knowing puts it online as working. 8)

Then of course people like me come along and hit the problems that have been caused to that item for long time storage full on. :oops:

This case is a bit particular in that I live in a house in London full of Housing Tenants who without going heavily into details have nothing better to do with themselves and as a result quite often items go missing that should have made their way to their rightful buyers.

The situation is thus made worse by me insisting to the seller that he pay for as expensive delivery as he could afford and thus preventing him from doing a good job packing. The seller didn't anticipate this kind of problem and had to repackage at the last minute.

So thanks guys. Gonna ask on the tape forum people if somebody would know howto fix it. Maybe I could sell the item myself later or even gift it back to him fixed as a sort of present for his New Born Child.

Regards, Pablo.

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CMcDougall
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby CMcDougall » Sat Apr 22, 2017 5:56 pm

Here is my elk tape player, also same
my silver pencils point to 'thing rattling about' & where it should go, that
also stops the buttons staying down.
So should be same with yours with, so pop back in.... :?
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Pablos544
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Pablos544 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 10:13 am

Cheers will give that a go :D

[EDIT] but does that explain the motor burning smell??

[EDIT2] ok had a go https://youtu.be/y0Owr52sdUo

[EDIT3] I discover that the rattling noise was one of the screw holding wells had literally broken!

[EDIT4] :roll: ok it's holding down now but still when I plug the Data Cable in for some reason it could be some fault in the circuit board the tape reels don't turn. That could explain the motor burning smell

[EDIT5] :cry: just tried it with my disc based other BBC micro and it's done the same. With the Data Cable the motors just get stuck, no matter what button I press
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vanekp
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby vanekp » Sun Apr 23, 2017 11:53 am

Sounds very much like the motor is faulty, can you turn it by hand or is it jammed, may have been dropped and something has shifted inside the motor preventing it from turning, which would also explain the broken screw mounting.

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Pablos544
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Pablos544 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:33 pm

Ok, here's an update

https://youtu.be/gzn3yICdJT0

You can see from the vid the tape works spick and spam when no data cable is plugged in :?:

my expertise caps off there guys :shock:

I think so far I've managed to prove that everything seems healthy until the Data Cable is plugged in after things go downhill :(

Thanks for any help guys!! =D>

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hoglet
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby hoglet » Sun Apr 23, 2017 1:43 pm

Your video was very useful. I think the problem is your lead is only using 5-pin DINs. The Beeb cassette interface uses pins 6 and 7 for motor control. This is why as soon as you plug your lead in, the cassette recorder stops appears to stop working.

See this thread for a similar story:
http://www.amibay.com/showthread.php?89 ... IN-pinouts

You need to try to get hold of a 7-pin DIN to 7-pin DIN cable, like this one:
http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Acorn-BBC-mic ... 2232137012

Or build yourself a SD Card interface for the user port!

Dave

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Pablos544
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Pablos544 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 3:39 pm

Thanks Dave 8) I think your insight into the 7-5 pin difference has proving key =D>

Actually I have MMC and even Disc but got tired of it. :lol:

I want to go through the BBC User Guide and learn programming :D

Cheers Dave I think I'll get on the e-Bay for a New Lead now. :lol:

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CMcDougall
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby CMcDougall » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:31 pm

yes, per my elk lead on mine: 7din to 7din :)
Image
& if you have another tape deck with remote, would be this :
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ImageImageImage

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Pablos544
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Pablos544 » Sun Apr 23, 2017 5:33 pm

Fantastic thanks :wink:

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Pablos544
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Pablos544 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 11:30 am

https://youtu.be/NSzzt7mQc1E

my acorn tape cassette woes still pesist :roll:

so today I received a proper 7-pin lead :wink:

tried it and guess what. Now the actual cassette tape deck appears faulty :cry:


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CMcDougall
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby CMcDougall » Tue Apr 25, 2017 6:42 pm

must be the motor then / or the belt worn /perished :(

use only C10-20 (5 to 10mins a side good known tapes), as C90s maybe too much for it.....

try using 4x1.5v batterys instead of the 6v PSU?

fixed my elk player \:D/ after you reminded me about it,
seems my matchstick trick from 20+yrs ago is now not compatible 8-[

PS just use a Walkman like I do, no 33+year worn out mono tape head :evil:
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vanekp
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby vanekp » Tue Apr 25, 2017 7:18 pm

Surly you tested the tape deck by itself before going to all the trouble of connection to the BBC to see if its functioning.

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Pablos544
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Pablos544 » Tue Apr 25, 2017 8:35 pm

How do you test it by itself? No microphone surely
The tone control no didn't touch it. Haven't done no

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vanekp
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby vanekp » Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:11 am

Put a tape in in and press play to see if it plays the tape and if you hear sound like the tones from a BBC tape (if you have one, or a music tape) to see if it sounds ok and that the tape turns. If all that seems ok then you can go ahead and try it on the BBC.

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Pablos544
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Re: Cassette Player appears to be broken am unsure please help!

Postby Pablos544 » Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:11 am

https://youtu.be/Je-yhy7oCqc

^ here's the update

got a replacement one from jrt246. Thank you jrt246, item works flawlessly good communication etc.. very pro =D>

titchtara1 was the man who sent me the original. He's very honest, and agreed to do a refund with me. Problem started when I request RM Special Deliver he was worried about the cost being high and in order to lower it he packed the item as lightly as he could #-o


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