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New to Q8.. so far this is not going well

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winopener

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
3,693
Quadchuck,
get a cd changer robot and a good software as dbPoweramp, and you can rip quickly everything.Been there done that and saved a lot of headaches.
 

Quadrifoglio

Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
25
Location
Helsinki, Finland
Hi all,

Well, in the past two years of this hobby I think I have done everything one can do to some Q8's, including taking a tape out completely and rewinding it back. I did use a horizontal open reel-to-reel deck, empty reels, pencils and plastic tools and I do wear gloves whenever I need to touch a tape or re-splice it etc.

One thing I have not yet solved, is that a few Q8-tapes I have (The Sly & family Stone Greatest hits and Pink Floyd's WYWH for instance) have an annoying amount of flutter and wow. It occasionally gets a bit better and sometimes really good, if I slightly wiggle the cartridge, give it some push and wedge it more tightly against the deck (Akai CR-80D SS) , but then also the pressure may be too much and the tape speed slows down a bit, which is another nuisance. Although if I make a digital copy, changing the playback speed is of course a piece of cake. but getting rid of wow and flutter is not!

I am pretty sure it is because the pressure rollers are out of true, they are worn or damaged.

These two cases (pun intended) are EPIC Q8 EAQ 30325 from ca.1972 and Columbia Q8 tape cartridge CAQ 33453 from 1975.
Both look fine and have their cardboard covers and lables, the Sly tape was flipped and is bit tight, but the PF runs fine, except that it has this constant wow and flutter. :(

I know some of you folks in the US have a vast amount of stereo cartridges you can just use for spares etc. but over here, there are none. And if we find some, even though they would be useless and the contents would be available anywhere anyways (regular stereo mixes on CD and iTunes, Spotify, etc.) people would still consider them "exotic" and "vintage" or even "antique" which equals money.

So can anyone give advice on the pressure rollers?

Are there spare ones available somewhere?

Can they be restored?

I have noticed most are hard plastic, some had a chrome like coating (peeling off), most are uncoated plastic, a few are like conventional pressure rollers in tape decks, plastic covered with rubber. So I guess the rubber could be replaced if it's worn and hard, right?

I can get tape deck pressure rollers in various sizes and I think from nylon I could make plastic rollers with a lathe, but if spares could just be bought from somewhere that would of course be a whole lot easier.

Still any good advice regarding how the rollers could be restored or replaced would be appreciated.

Cheers!
 

winopener

2K Club - QQ Super Nova
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 2, 2002
Messages
3,693
Columbia USA carts with THREE tabs for opening have rollers are smaller than ALL the other patented variants, so while swapping rollers from a lear jet to a rca is ok, no other kind of roller can be placed in a Columbia cart of this kind.

Columbia USA carts with TWO tabs for opening have rollers that can be swapped with Liberty USA or Mastro* carts but not with Ampex or RCA.

The best bet you can do is to get a pair of still-sealed and musically crappy Columbia USA or Canada 8 track for few $ and swap the rollers.

* Beware that european cart that on the back says MASTRO TC8 looks similar to the Columbia Three tabs ones but the roller are regular size and can fit in a Columbia Two-tabs cart.
 

Quadrifoglio

Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2018
Messages
25
Location
Helsinki, Finland
Thanks guys for all that info. Being over here it's hard to find ANY 8-track cartridges, and much less sealed and unopened ones with crap contents. But I will keep that in mind should I travel in the US again. :)

Ohh, that could also explain some pressure (ok, pinch) rollers being out of true, or behaving oddly. I have of course cleaned them, but only with mild soap and hot water (not too hot). So they too will get the Isopropyl Alcohol treatment in the near future. So perhaps what I thought was a chrome like coating peeling off on some is actually tape oxide that's gotten stuck on the surface of the roller.

I will make them as clean as I can, lets see where we go from here. :)

Yesterday I made my first recordings with the Akai CR-80D SS. Onto blank sealed stero tapes that I had opened, replaced the pads and splices AND used a soldering iron to "convert" the cartridges from stereo to "quad" like I had seen someone else on this forum do. :)

Seems to work fine, except that the Rear-left remains silent in the recordings. :(
Maybe I need to send the whole (heavy!) unit back to service as they only had stereo cartridges for testing and adjusting the heads when it had a large service done last time. This time I would include a blank tape modified to quad and perhaps some not-so-valuable Q8 tape.

If I record in stereo only, the tapes sound good, but in quad they are a bit "muddy" that is, the levels are too low and the rear-left channel is missing (tape hiss only).

I don't think my DIY skills are on that level that I would start adjusting the heads myself. Anyone done that on this Akai unit?
(I do have a copy of the service manual)

Cheers!
 

RGilmore

Member
Joined
Oct 23, 2019
Messages
10
Location
Vancouver, Canada
Here's my general regimen for restoring the tapes prior to conversion:
  1. Open the tape
  2. Change the pad
  3. Check that the tape is properly feeding out the center and back around (hand turn it to check)
  4. Play to the point of the splice, then take the tape out just before the program switch
  5. Change the splice (I also add an extra layer reinforcing the splice on the underside of the tape)
  6. Hand turn it so it's wound correctly again, then record
Hi, sjcorne. Like SQL Guy, I too will be opening up some recently acquired Q8 cartridges to clean them up and replace the end of the roll splice.

Any suggestions on what online vendor sells: 1) splicing tape; 2) metal tape; and 3) the pads for Q8 cartridges?

Recommendations are welcome !
 

Circular Vibes

1K Club - QQ Shooting Star
Since 2002/2003
Joined
Mar 12, 2003
Messages
1,573
Location
Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
I have been using ATR Magnetics Sensing Foil and Splicing Tape for a few years now with good success. They can be found on that auction site or at this link. For pads, I use weather stripping. I have two sizes as some carts need thinner foam than others. One roll of sensing foil, one roll of splicing tape and two sizes of weather stripping have supplied me for 5+ years now. A good aluminum splicing block is a treat but not absolutely necessary. This can be found at ATR MAgnetics as well. Razor blades can be bought in a box of 100 at Home Despot, lowes or almost any big box gardware chain. I recommend rubbing on a magnet to demagnetise the blades or your repairs in places other than the end of tape will have clicks. I like buying big boxes of blades so I don't feel like economising when they get dull.
 

quadsearcher

800 Club - QQ All-Star
Joined
Nov 8, 2010
Messages
878
Unless I knew for sure that someone had changed the head alignment, I would not touch it. It is far more likely to be an electronic problem. If a head was so far out as to lose a channel I would only let someone who has already done such a repair to attempt it.

Jon: I was ordering new 8-track supplies and my old place is out of stock, thanks for the tip!
My old place was 8trackavenue.com but they are out of stock.
 
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