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MetalAddict9
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:54 pm
Posts: 51
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:04 am 
 

Okay so I have a Panasonic 5CD changer CD player. I've had it for 11 years. It also can play cassettes, it has two decks. Here's the thing...I've never played a cassette in it. For the entire 11 years never once have I inserted a cassette into either deck (if I remember correctly, I'm pretty sure I haven't though). So of course, they are both very dusty on the inside. I cleaned them out as best I could but there is still a lot of dust. There's places I just can't reach and clean. So I was wondering if anyone on this forum has any input for my situation. Do you think it's safe to play cassettes in a dusty player like that, I mean could the dust potentially ruin the tape?
You see I want to start collecting cassettes, I've found a pretty cheap black metal cassette I want to buy, but I want to know if I should use the player I have or get a new deck. I would like to just use the one that I already have, a new deck will take up room, plus I'll have to BUY it. Any help on this would be much appreciated. Thanks ahead of time.

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John_Sunlight
President Satan

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 4748
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:05 am 
 

Try canned air.
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MetalAddict9
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:54 pm
Posts: 51
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:08 am 
 

John_Sunlight wrote:
Try canned air.


?

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MetalAddict9
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:54 pm
Posts: 51
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 1:12 am 
 

Oh okay, just looked it up. Gotcha :D

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chaossphere
Metal Lunatic

Joined: Sun Nov 10, 2002 11:49 pm
Posts: 2679
Location: New Zealand
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 4:36 am 
 

Yeah, blow all the dust out and then get some isopropyl alcohol and Q-tips and give the heads a damn good clean. Especially make sure you clean the rollers reeeeeeally well because when those get dirty they'll chew your tapes up.
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RepulsiveVenom
Metal newbie

Joined: Fri Jul 18, 2014 3:56 am
Posts: 107
Location: Australia
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 4:54 am 
 

Blow the dust out and maybe use an old toothbrush. I've got a Panasonic 5CD Changer stereo too! Mine's fifteen years old and still blasting away! I use both tape decks pretty often though.
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PhilosophicalFrog
The Hypercube

Joined: Thu May 04, 2006 7:08 pm
Posts: 6072
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Nov 20, 2014 11:07 am 
 

Bought an old 4 track and had to clean it. Compressed air is awesome and definitely needed. Take the thing outside, spray it with the air can (DON'T TURN THE CAN UPSIDE DOWN - it will spray coolant which could burn the more sensitive parts of the deck), and it will remove all of the set in dust. Afterwards, soak a cotton swab (Q-tip, whatever) in isopropyl and gently wipe the rotating and still heads in the deck. Wipe away from the base to the head of it - parallel to the head, not perpendicular if that makes sense. If you just wipe willy nilly the rotating head has a chance to "eat" the cotton and it can get stuck in there, which in turn could get stuck in your tapes, which in turn could create little scratches. It's also why you just let it air dry as opposed to wiping it down with a dry Q-tip. This sounds like a lot, but it really isn't - the whole process takes five minutes. This is just the easiest way to insure that you get all the goop out.
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the_raytownian
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 1:09 am
Posts: 2316
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:12 am 
 

Canned air, yes. Dust is not really a major issue for tapes/tape players, but clean electronics are happy electronics, so it never hurts to blow the dust out.

If the dust is seriously bad (like, visibly coating the playback head and roller after blowing it with duster), then yes, use alcohol to gently clean them. Just don't dig into the head too roughly, because you can scratch the little track reading portion. Beyond dust, if it's never been used, it should be like new, so there's not going to be any oxide build up on the tape contact areas to worry about.

Considering its age/lack of use, I'd be concerned that the belts could be slightly warped from being in one stationary position for so many years, likely through numerous temperature and humidity fluctuations, but it should work okay otherwise. It's worth finding a tape of some music you know very well and trying to see if the pitch sounds right. If not, it's probably the belts since the motor shouldn't be worn out from use.

I doubt it's very easy to get inside one of those all-in-one units to replace belts or adjust motor speed if they are messed up, though.
PhilosophicalFrog wrote:
If you just wipe willy nilly the rotating head has a chance to "eat" the cotton and it can get stuck in there

I actually like to get a q-tip pinched between the pinch roller and moving capstan, because it cleans the capstan while providing good pressure for cleaning the pinch roller. It's not bad unless you go too far down the base and it starts pulling the cotton down into the moving parts under the roller.

A lot of times, a q-tip will get swirled around the capstan this way, but it pulls up easily as long as you don't go down too far on it.
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MetalAddict9
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:54 pm
Posts: 51
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 11:08 am 
 

So much for canned air. The shit I bought didn't do shit. The lever on the first can broke almost right after I started using it. There was hardly any air pressure at all. Both cans went straight into the garbage. So I ended up just taking cotton swabs with alcohol and cleaning the whole inside out as best I could. Looks decent to me. I'll see how it plays later. The cassette I bought was cheap so if it gets messed up it won't be a big deal. That canned air on the other hand, a complete waste of $14.

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John_Sunlight
President Satan

Joined: Tue Apr 20, 2010 4:41 am
Posts: 4748
PostPosted: Sun Nov 30, 2014 12:03 pm 
 

Never seen one with a lever before. Most have a button on top and a little tube you attach to the nozzle.
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dreadmeat
emere vendere cambire

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:50 am
Posts: 6012
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2014 2:12 pm 
 

The bands inside may be perished too...
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MetalAddict9
Metal newbie

Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2014 11:54 pm
Posts: 51
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 1:20 pm 
 

I played my new cassette in the player and it played perfectly. The tape was clean and undamaged after inspection. Awesome. Just ordered another cassette from the same band, can't wait!

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soul_schizm
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Jun 01, 2011 8:55 am
Posts: 659
Location: United States
PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2014 5:53 pm 
 

Cool.

I used to be fanatical about cassette player frequency response. Hearing about isopropyl alcohol and Q-tips gave me a tear of nostalgia :)

If you can still find one, there are frequency response cassettes that you can use to perfectly align the heads. I found many tape players come from the factory horribly adjusted. If your tape player is one with a little quality, there will be mini-screws that allow you to adjust head alignment.

If you are just obsessive enough, this will consume an evening or two of your time.

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the_raytownian
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Jun 13, 2006 1:09 am
Posts: 2316
Location: United States of America
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 3:47 am 
 

I've never used one of those alignment tapes, but I'd really like to get one. I was under the impression they cost a lot, but I haven't actually looked into it... They also make testers for measuring accuracy of speed, which is something worth looking into.

I think you can adjust the azimuth (head alignment) on any player that you you can take the door off of. The really nerve wracking thing about it is that you pretty much have no way of knowing if the azimuth was off for a tape dubbed outside of the (I hope) rigid QC standards of a professional duplication service. Even if you can get it perfectly aligned, you would potentially have to realign it for multiple tapes to get the best possible tracking for each... I guess that's only a really big deal if you're trying to get really good archival rips, but it's still troubling to think about...

Actually, I can't figure out how the hell to get the doors off my current deck, but I'm sure there's got to be a way... Still, I can't do anything to adjust the tracking as it is. Just another annoying obstacle keeping me from doing any serious archival rips. I'm almost tempted to yank it off, because it's also really hard to clean with the doors on.
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dreadmeat
emere vendere cambire

Joined: Sat Oct 04, 2008 4:50 am
Posts: 6012
Location: Auckland, New Zealand
PostPosted: Thu Dec 04, 2014 2:11 pm 
 

You get retro points for adjusting your tapedeck heads
:np:
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