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Reviving a norelco philips cassette recorder from the 1960's

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this instructable assumes that you have basic electronics skills and above average mechanical aptitude. disassembly and reassembly of a mechanism will be required and maybe simple soldering. instructions given here are tailored to early philips / norelco machines only.

a little history..

2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the compact cassette, known as "cassette" by most folks. few consumer products have a 50 year run. in it's 50 year lifespan, the cassette dethroned the reel to reel as a portable consumer audio recording media, made taking your music with you a convenient reality, spawned the birth of the walkman, and thus the creation of the portable entertainment industry as we know it. all this caused by a lowly cassette recorder brought to market in 1963 by the philips company.

in europe, these early cassette recorders were sold under the philips name. in the USA they were sold under the norelco name. philips was sued by philco and couldn't use the philips name in the american market. philips / norelco = same thing, different market.

initially, philips / norelco machines where the only ones on the market but eventually other brands started showing up. its not uncommon to find early recorders of this type that had a philips mechanism inside and a different brand name on the outside. 
 
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knife1411 year ago
Excellent instructable! Thanks for posting this.
I will back you up on the goo that used to be a belt. I have run into that goo many times and it is amazing how it gets on everything no matter how carefull you are.
Rubbing alcohol is denatured alcohol.
ke4mcl (author)  AJMansfield1 year ago
nope, they are not.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denatured_alcohol
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isopropyl_alcohol

rubbing alcohol is isopropyl.
lorenb1 year ago
Please do not use WD-40. The film it leaves will attract moisture, causing even more corrosion. We have a product similar to WD-40 that will not attract moisture. It's called PB B'laster, manufactured by The B'laster Corp. in Cleveland, Ohio. It is supposed to displace moisture. www.BlasterCorp.com is their website. I have been very satisfied with this stuff on everything on which it's been tried.
ke4mcl (author)  lorenb1 year ago
wd40 was invented as a water displacer.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WD-40

i have used it for years for cleaning up electrical contacts amongst other things. dust attractor and smelly, yes. attracting moisture? never had it happen and i live in humid south Fl.
wb8nbs1 year ago
If battery contacts were corroded, the protective plating is surely gone. Cleaning will leave bare steel which will deteriorate again quickly. Best to remove the contact piece if possible, and apply a layer of lead free silver containing solder where it will touch the battery.
alzie wb8nbs1 year ago
I like the lead free silver solder idea.
It should tarnish more slowly.

If you cant do that,
shine em up gently and
give em a light coating of axle grease,
especially the hi temp disk brake compatible variety.
It has corrosion inhibitors and
helps keep the air from getting to the metal.
The grease is soft enough to not prevent contact.
Learned this re. car batt maintenance.
I do this for any all contacts.
Ditto for scratchy pots and the like

Re. the authors style, i dig.
Its a harmless form of rebellion / individualism.
I acquired mine after corporate burn out.
Mine is to use a new line for sentence fragments.
Great for limited horizontal space and
helps keep the eye from getting lost when things are wide.

Hope it catches on, but i doubt it.
ke4mcl (author)  wb8nbs1 year ago
metal brushes will remove the tin coating on the battery tabs like you said. if i have to scrub off lots of corrosion i follow up with a swap soaked in wd40 to leave a little protective film on their. the battery contacts on these machines are riveted in place. there are two that have fiber insulators. be real careful with using too much heat here in an attempt to re-tin those contacts.
Treknology1 year ago
Sticky gooey rubber really is the pits! PC feet, turntable belts etc. always leave a ridiculous mess to clean up. Has anyone noticed that they all seem to goo-ify simultaneously?
agis681 year ago
my father as MD had 2 of them same models. The one is fine and with short period of playing so it works like new only rubbers replaed
the other one has some problems with the reording head (used some thousand hours of about 40 years every day and thousand tapes stored. i have also the mik of this seriees....really lovely tape pleyers
ke4mcl (author)  agis681 year ago
fortunately, parts machines are easy to find on ebay. by now they are all suffering from the same melted belt disease unless somebody serviced it already. the head may be very worn. changing heads requires careful measurements. if you are attached to the machine you could use chassis from donor machine for parts. heads are on a removable plate. the entire plate can be swapped with new heads. a little soldering is required.
agis68 ke4mcl1 year ago
as i said i have on functional maxhine. i will try to fix it (i bought the head) and i will try to place it and i will use as a guide the working machine.any idea about the pricing of the whole plate?

thks for quick response
ke4mcl (author)  agis681 year ago
i paid no more than $15 for any one of my machines plus shipping. they are out there cheap. many early machines where rebranded philips machines.
Waaaa I so remember the aluminium / zink flywheels from so many of these things...

There was also a type of car that had the same or similar flywheel, that was spun up using a toothed belt, and then it was let loose.....

And the very first VCR's were HUGE, and had compressed air drives......
jacobsteel1 year ago
Wow! Very nice! Thorough and wonderful pictures!

A brief note from having done this: Speed regulating pots oxidize, but can occasionally be "saved" with anti-oxidant spray before adjusting. The same goes for that big switch in the middle of the main board, oxide here can cause the machine not switching properly between record/play. Careful with oil in the anti-oxidant spray, it gets everywhere and you might have to clean mechanics again, as _very_ well said above.

Thanks for posting this very nice instructable, de-luxe with photos of several vintage machines! :D
ke4mcl (author)  jacobsteel1 year ago
good call on that regulator pot. yes, erratic speed may be caused by a corroded pot. best way i have found to get contact cleaner on that part is soak a cotton swab in contact cleaner till you have a drop just barely holding on about to drip off. get the q-tip onto the top edge of the pot without loosing your drop of contact cleaner. let it soak in. gravity is your friend here. work the pot back and forth a few times. the paint on it will likely flake off. no worries about that. use a pre-recorded tape of a song you know well to readjust that speed control pot and get it sounding about right.

there are speed adjustment tapes made for this purpose but we're not dealing with hifi here so doing it by ear is good enough. if you want to go a step up from doing by ear, record a 3khz tone on a known good cassette deck and then play that tape back on the deck you are servicing while using a frequency counter on its output. adjust the pot to get 3khz on the freq counter. this will get the speed of your norelco to match your known good deck.
Very good advice on the contact cleaner, manual appliance rather than spray-on is _much_ safer.

And on the speed regulation, I guess you could go completely crazy and record a perfect "A" on a reliable deck, and then use a guitar tuner (or app) for pitch adjustment.

And you're totally spot on with the dripping of contact cleaner, spraying can really get it everywhere.
f5mando1 year ago
Brilliant - and perfectly explained. Thanks!
ke4mcl (author)  f5mando1 year ago
thanks! glad you found this useful.
wb8nbs1 year ago
I put a little brake fluid on the drive wheels. It softens and preserves them.
ke4mcl (author)  wb8nbs1 year ago
i have heard of using brake fluid to soften rubber parts but haven't tried it myself. brake fluid will eat paint and discolor plastic so be very careful what you get it on.

i have about 6-7 of these norelco machines and the rubber rollers have all cleaned up nice without being dried out.
Nice! In 1975 i made my first 8 mm film vith the the audio recorded from the first Philips cassette recorder. Philips made some models later but with a few IC´s. No question about it, the first recorder sounded better. Now I record on my iPod touch
My gran gave me one of these back in the 60's when I was a small child. It squeaked annoyingly when playing, so I oiled it with 3-in-1. The squeaking stopped and the next tape played perfectly right through (a C90). When I tried to remove the cassette it would not come out. I removed the rear of the machine and there was an explosion of the entire tape length into the room. I had oiled the clutch and the take-up spindle had not moved for 90 minutes.
Perfect guideline. old machine configurations were easy and longevity.