Tuesday, July 27, 2021

TEAC A-4010SU Wrap-Up

 All clean and shiny again!

I cleaned the wood case today, and applied/rubbed in a generous amount of "Old English Dark Wood Scratch Cover", and let it soak in while I replaced the tape counter drive belt, cleaned the level controls on the record electronics, and did a few other things..

After it had soaked in for a couple of hours, I buffed it with a microfiber towel. It had  looked pretty shabby after cleaning 60 years of "stuff" off, but the wood oil really brought it back.

I pulled the top cover from the receiver as I had to replace the dial lights, and was going to give it the same treatment, BUT.....it's a particle board cabinet with a vinyl "wood grain" applique. Pretty much what Mom called "Contact Paper", and used on her shelves. I did mange to repair some areas where the wood grain applique had lifted, and gave it a good cleaning, so it looks much better than before. Since the Pioneer SX-780 was their "Loss Leader", I guess the cabinet was where they saved a few bucks.

So now I have to move the TEAC downstairs, and connect it all together. Then I can find out what's on that "Bob Hope USO Show" tape that I found in the box they gave me.

Interesting Flight Path

 Looks like they may be doing mapping or photo flights.

Most people don't realize the the "Satellite" imagery used in Google Maps is actually from USGS photo flights.

This is the first time I've seen one using my little ADS-B receiver and display program.

Monday, July 26, 2021

Teac A-4010SU Cleaning and Repair

 WELL......things aren't quite as good as I first thought....

I took the front cover off the deck (after removing it from the wood case) so I could clean/check/lubricate the parts.

In the center of the picture is an aluminum pulley, between the two tape spindles. Look closely, and you'll see a black strap-shaped thing laying there. It's the main drive belt, and was in three pieces.

OOOPS! Well, at least the seller gave me two sets of spare belts, one for the main drive, and a smaller one for the tape counter. So, that means the rear panel has to come off, and the deck pulled from the wood case.

Looks clean inside.

And after some fits and starts determining which screws to remove per the manual, I had the transport mechanism out of the case.

The entire capstan assembly has to be removed from the chassis to replace the belt; no way around it, as per several forums and YouTube videos. You have to remove four large screws (here we go again, which four screws?) the get the capstan assembly loose enough to snake the belt in there, and get it around the large driven pulley.

About this time I printed out the entire service manual and put it in a binder, as running back and forth between the garage and PC isn't conducive to efficient use of time.

While the manual was printing, I dropped the rear chassis plate so I could get at the four screws.

Two things grabbed my attention. Since I'm going to have to flip the chassis over numerous times to get the screws out and swap the belt, I began wondering about some way to strap the rear plate to the main chassis so I wouldn't have to put undue flexing and strain on a 50~60 year old wiring harness, generally NOT a good idea.

Lo and behold, TEAC thought about that, and made provisions to use two of the rear panel screws to secure the rear panel to the main chassis!

See the screw with the Tinnerman nut and the U-Slots in the panel?

Yep, they put them there to hold the panel while you work on the chassis.

Now the rear panel is held tight allowing you to flip the chassis over. Thank you, TEAC!

One other item I addressed "While I was In There" (yep, sounds like "Mission Creep") was to replace the ancient two-wire AC socket with a modern three-wire socket that takes a standard power cord.





And there was even a perfectly placed terminal strip, with an unused ground lug, bolted solidly to the chassis I was able to use for the ground wire.

I also visually checked all of the electrolytic capacitors for leakages, bulging, and failing seals, and they all look "Good to Go". Since this was made when Japanese capacitors were very high quality, I don't have any issues with leaving them in place. So tonight's work consisted of getting the new capstan and tape counter belts installed, lubing a couple of points that needed it,  making sure all the solenoid-driven linkages were smooth, free to move, and not binding, and doing a few mechanical adjustments that just didn't "feel right" to me. Sure enough, the service manual confirmed they were out-of-spec, and gave the measurement numbers and procedure. Tomorrow will be an inspect my own work day, and putting the deck back in the case after I clean the gorgeous wood case it's in, and do a once-over on all the visible parts again.

I would have had this finished by now, but Sunday is the day TLG comes by, so that takes precedence here! He's excited about the new stereo in the workshop, but doesn't know what a tape recorder is.....yet. He starts dancing around in the garage and yelling "ROCK AND ROLL!!" whenever a good rock song comes on, so I think he might be impressed to hear a good stereo setup, especially if I play Blue Oyster Cult "Godzilla". When I do that, he starts doing his Dinosaur Dance, and he knows all the lyrics to the song.

And I really need some better speakers in the garage. The $30/pair Pyle speakers just don't make enough volume out in the garage. Need some better air pumps! I'll have to see what they have at the Bizarre Bazaar that's suitable for "Garage Speakers".

Saturday, July 24, 2021

TEAC A-4010SU Tape Recorder

 This one's a big SCOOOOORE!

Not only is it cleaner than expected, I met the original owner, who's the grandfather of the young guy who listed it. He bought it new, at the BX, while he was stationed in "Viet Nam" with the Army.

The heads show some wear, but it's what I consider "acceptable", and the tape path, pinch roller, and capstan are really clean. He said he took good care of it, and it shows. It's got some smudges on the front panels, but they're easy to clean with some of the stuff I used. The wood case is in amazing condition considering he had it so long, and it was shipped around while he was in the Army.

They gave me a head demagnetizer, and a bag of spare replacement parts, including a new pinch roller, capstan, and TWO complete sets of belts for it.

And the original manual, warranty card, and bag of accessories.

Even before the young guy brought the deck out, he said his Grandpa also had these two boxes of "Tapes and Stuff" that I could have if I wanted. Not having any tapes, or empty reels for that matter, I said sure, and we loaded those in the car.


I was given Fifty-Six Ampex tapes with program material on them, Eight brand-new sealed-in-plastic tapes, Ampex 341 and Maxell Low Noise tapes, and Six brand-new empty take-up reels.

This is over $800 worth of free goodies, and I'm indebted to them.

 And one of the tapes is a live recording of a Bob Hope USO tour, two reels worth.

So I'm stoked about this, and will do a "Cleaning/Lubrication" check per the manual, and then see what's on some of these tapes. I don't need several reels of "Beer Barrel Polka" and several reels with "Sound of Music", "Sounds of Lerner and Lowe", and "The Music Man" on them. I'll check the tapes to see if the media matches what the box says, and run them through a bulk eraser.

Looks like I won't need to buy any recording tape for quite a while.....

Monday, July 19, 2021

Update On The Pioneer SX-780 and Speakers

 Sooooo....I dragged the two speakers I made some time ago out of the basement, and set them up with the SX-780. When I used these speakers before, I used them with my turntable, preamp, and a small, PylePRO PCA2 "40 Watt" amplifier. Hah....in your dreams, maybe. For one-half cycle at some given frequency. While cooled by LN2.....

The first no-no I did was to have the speakers about 18" from the turntable. Yes, I know better, but in my haste I used the model car workbench to set things up quickly, there wasn't much room, and I wasn't planning on listening at high volume.

Nope, doesn't work. Even at moderate volume, having the speakers that close to the turntable causes a form of audio feedback, where the sound pressure waves from the speakers vibrate the turntable at variable frequencies, which get picked up by the stylus,  fed to the amp, and then the speakers, and then the turntable again, and presto! TERRIBLE sound.

So I set the SX-780 on the den coffee table, set the speakers up a few feet away and 6' apart to see what kind of separation they have, connected things up, and brought the receiver up.


YOWIE-ZOWIE! This thing sounds GOOOOOD! I had a clip lead about 29" long (1/4-wavelength!) that I used for an antenna, and I could get just about every station on the dial. The stronger stations ("Full Quieting" in FM-Speak) sounded spectacular, WAY better than they do on our home theater system when I use the FM tuner. I knew this was a premium grade receiver when it was new, but I was surprised how good my home-built speakers sounded now that they have a clean signal "with enough amp" to drive them to good levels. You can compare speakers to air pumps, and I was running 45 Horsepower air pumps with 15 Horsepower motor s when I was using the little amp.

Now I've got like 60 Horsepower, which gives me plenty of reserve capacity, or "Headroom". Makes a huge difference.

All the rotary switches and controls turn smoothly, and quietly, with no scritchy-scratchy sound, and all the lever controls do the same. The FM dial calibration is a bit off to my eye, but it's off a consistent amount from the bottom to the top of the band, so that's usually caused by the dial cord having slipped a bit. Easy-Peasy fix, and I'll do that when I take the cover off to replace a burned out dial lamp, and blow any dirt and dust out of the chassis.

This is the first "High End" FM Stereo Receiver I've ever owned although I've heard plenty. When some of my friends were buying things like this, I was buying things like Carillo connecting rods. Different priorities for different folks.

Sunday, July 18, 2021

Ray Manzarek Explains "Riders On The Storm"

 The Doors were one of the bands I "Came of Age" with, along with Chicago, BS&T, Iron Butterfly, Cream, Traffic, Pink Floyd, Led Zepplin, and many others.

"Riders On The Storm" came out in 1971 as a track on the "L.A. Woman" album, and was a sleeper hit. It's in my top 3 Doors songs, and I've always enjoyed hearing it. Has a very haunting sound to it, along with Morrisons' dark lyrics.

Ray Manzarek explains where it came from, and how it was put together, and I think you'll find this an enjoyable ten minutes. Sorry I can't do anything about the aspect ratio of the video. Looks like it was shot in 16:9, but is playing back at 4:3. Oh, well....

And I can't wait to hear some classic rock on this new acquisition.....

 It's a "Silver Pioneer", Model SX-780, the baby of the line. If the speakers I built a while back aren't suitable, there's a local books/records.vintage audio gear store here called "The Bizarre Bazaar" that has some good looking classic speakers for some very reasonable prices.

Friday, July 16, 2021

It's Friday, the Start of a "Grounding and Bonding" Weekend!

 Sorry, but not FFF like Irish hands out.

Going to try and plant the first of my three ground rods tomorrow, and I'll be using my "Deep Root Watering" yard tool so I can at least get the first 30" of rod slid in before I use my ground rod driving attachment in a demolition hammer to drive it in the rest of the way.

Watering device:

This isn't the exact one I have, but it's very similar. It's a steel tube with a hard point on the end, and three holes to let the water out. You turn the water on a bit, and then push it down into the dirt, which usually dissolves and moves out the way, allowing you to insert the rod down to about 30". Unless you hit a rock, in which case you lift it up, move it a few inches, and start over. I'll leave the water on a trickle for a few hours like when I water the trees, and hopefully enough will collect in the soil so the remaining 6' of ground rod can be driven in.

And this yard has LOTS of rocks in places! It usually takes me three or four tries over by the ash tree before I can get the rod inserted beyond 6".

Once you have the hole made, you insert the ground rod, tap it down until it hits the bottom of your new hole, and drive it in the rest of the way using an adaptor:

In a demolition hammer:

I've done this before, and using the power tools is far better than battering the end of the ground rod with a sledge! It's also reeeal hard to smack a ground rod that's still 6' out of the ground and waving around in the breeze while you're trying to stand on a ladder. With another set of (gloved) hands to help keep the rod vertical, you just hold and guide the demo hammer, and let it do the work.

At the top of the ground rod will be a set of solid copper plates that clamp the rod, and allow me to mount the surge suppressors, as seen below, fully assembled.

This will be mounted at the house, just below my "Coaxial Entrance Box", where the cables enter the house.

At the base of each of the two 4x4's I'm planting as antenna supports will be another ground rod/surge suppressor, and those two rods will be bonded together with some #2 solid-copper wire. I'd go the full "Perimeter Ground" route, but the cost of the copper would be excessive, and there might be a code issue with bonding it to the main house ground, aka "Utility ground", which is usually how it's done.

More pix to come as work progresses.

Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Great Post From Stilton!

 If you haven't seen it, I recommend you go read it.

It's over at Stilton's Place.

OK, Back To Basics

 I kinda liked the SciFi theme, but nobody else did.

So to keep my half-dozen readers happy, I went back to a simple theme....

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Not Sure If I Like This New Background...

 Yeah, it looks more SciFi than the equations on the blackboard one, but I don't like the interface to post new entries. AND, I lost my "Blogs I follow" list, and my "Link-O-Rama".

If I can get those back, I *might* keep this. Otherwise, I'll just go back to the "Classic" interface.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

New Revolution in Cuba?

 Just heard on my ham radio chat group[s that the Internet is down in all of Cuba, and people are in the streets by the thousands.

Not sure where or when this was taken, but it was posted in the Ham radio group on FB.

From Twitter comes video of the "Black Berets" getting involved.

I'm tuning around the shortwave bands trying to get some info...

TEAC A-4010SU Wrap-Up

 All clean and shiny again! I cleaned the wood case today, and applied/rubbed in a generous amount of " Old English Dark Wood Scratch C...