RE-201 with Tape Jam issues and no control over motor speed
I have had many requests to service Space Echo’s in the past and have repaired a few. I had decided not to do any more as I needed to purchase a number of service items to service them properly, and I was finding a dire lack of parts such as heads, bearings, and motors. One of my regulars managed to squeeze one in, and then I got a request to service one that was in dire straights after it had been to another repairer that specializes in them.
My next move was to scout and purchase a head de-magnetizer, splicer, splicing tape, and the correct type of 1/4″ tape for these units (must be lubricated tape). The first unit was simple enough, just needing a full service. The one that had been to another repairer was a different story.
The capstan was barely moving, and the motor shaft had a significant amount of play in it such that you had to push down on the shaft with your finger to get things moving. I removed the motor, and did a lot of research on line re replacing motor bearings. After a struggle I got the motor shaft out and measured the upper bearing race, eventually finding a replacement type. The lower bearing could also have done with being replaced, but this is a press-fit sleeve bearing and I could only find one on Ebay, shipped from Australia.
Cleaning the old grease from the motor and capstan shafts/bearings, and replacing the upper motor bearing restored operation and the speed control now worked. The tape loop was crumpled, so I made a new one and fitted it. I then found that the tape was not flowing smoothly in the cassette area. I cleaned a lot of old oxide and sticky stuff from the cassette chamber, and found that a big piece of felt had been glued in the chamber exit path (checked with the customer and the previous repairer had done this, perhaps trying to address the motor issues (the unit was sent to him due to the motor barely turning)). The felt was removed, along with the glue residue. The tape then rang for 6 hours without jamming at various settings of the speed control.
The final work was to glue the front panel back on where it was lifting, clean the tape path, tighten jack nuts, and clean the controls after which it was working nicely. Another 6 hours of test and I will return it to the customer!