How to Cure Car Cassette Adapter "auto-reverse Flip-flop"





Introduction: How to Cure Car Cassette Adapter "auto-reverse Flip-flop"

For the last few months, while listening to my ipod through the car stereo via cassette adapter, I have been driven to near insanity by what I call "auto-reverse flip-flop". This is where the car stereo thinks it's got to the end of the cassette and tries to auto-reverse your adapter and play the other side of it. The fact that a cassette adapter doesn't have an 'end' or even an other side seems to mean nothing to car stereos.

One of the worst things is that it has an element of randomness; there seems no logic to when it will happen. Some days it won't happen at all.. others (usually when there is a podcast I really want to listen to) it will kick in almost immediately. The constant 'kerchink-flip-kerchunk-flop" is unbelievably annoying. After ripping the thing out of the tape deck and smashing it against the dash several times didn't fix it, I tried to find a solution on the internet. I discovered that this was a VERY common occurrence. It even seemed like all adapters, no matter how expensive, would eventually end up doing the auto-reverse flip-flop.

Anyway I did learn of an easy way to solve it. I found this solution in more than one internet forum but there were never any pictures to show you how, so I thought it would be worth an Instructable. It's really easy to do.. all you need is a screwdriver.

EDIT: Firstly thanks for so many kind and amazing comments! - it makes me so happy to know that so many have been helped by the instructions (and saved from insanity). Secondly if you still experience problems after this fix, make sure to read through the comments as there are several suggestions/improvements put forward. It seems like you can actually get away with removing all of the gears! although I haven't tested this. Also If you have problems with low volume after the fix you may need to reverse the wire and insert the adaptor the other way around.

Step 1: Dismantle

Find out how your adapter is joined together and undo it. I'm pretty sure most of them are joined with small screws like mine is, but it could be some other way. You might need a small jeweler's screwdriver if the screws are really tiny but I managed with just my swiss-army.

WARNING: When you open it up all of the component will become "loose" inside because the top of the case is no longer holding them down. Try to identify which half of the case is the "lid" and which half has the spindles for the gears etc. Take the lid side off GENTLY otherwise the bits will fly everywhere and you'll be buggered. If that happens you could try and piece it back together from the photos, but there's no guarantee they'd be the same. Mine is a Digitor brand (on a par with Panaphonics and Sorny I think).

Step 2: Identify Trouble-maker

Ok now you can see the guts of the thing. You need to identify the bit which causes the tape-deck to try and auto-reverse. It should be a collection of a few gears which move independently on a plate. The plate swivels up and down as well. This is the trouble-maker! No one seems to know exactly why this is even in a cassette adapter which doesn't need to auto-reverse but anyway this is what's causing the problems.

Step 3: Remove Trouble-maker

Go ahead and whip it out! Hopefully it will look something like my photo.

Be careful not to disturb the other stuff in there, or if you do, put it back where you found it! All the other bits are necessary!

It might be worth memorizing where the bits go (or take a photo) before you start fiddling with it. But if you're like me you will realize this after you have dropped it and spread the gears all over the floor.

Step 4: Success!!

Screw the cover back together the way you found it. Make sure the gears are all lining up where they should do and none of the wires are getting pinched in the side.

Success!! Get ready for some trouble-free listening!

Plug it in and hopefully you should have no more problems with the auto-reverse flip-flop. I read that some people reported the noise from the gears got a bit louder after doing this but personally mine sounded exactly the same as before.


Step 5: Decide Its Fate...

While part of me wants to suggest you immediately crush this part under your foot, it's probably best you make sure your adapter still works first. After you've confirmed this, feel free to dispose of it how you see fit...



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125 Discussions

Thanks buddy you saved me a lot of time and money !! I though I had to change my radio on my Harley FLHTC 97 !

Thank you so much for this! I had thought my car’s cassette player was broken all of a sudden, but this fixed it! The only issue I have now is the gears make a very noticeable spinning sound. But that’s ok because I’m happy I can play my music again!

removing all gears dose not work it will not play any muisc

Thank you for posting this! Totally saved the day for me. My adapter wouldn't play in my car at all, and now it works well!!

My problem has more to do with the cassette player than with the adapter. It just won't wind/play any tape, good or bad. If I put a tape inside the player, would try to play, then it would immediately reverse the tape, then it would push out the tape. It's as though it can't move the tape toward either side.

I'm wondering whether there is any need for the winding to happen at all. If the my player meets no resistance while playing, then perhaps my cassette player adapter would work. I don't play actual cassette at all.

My adapter was slightly different, the gears at the bottom right were trying to pass themselves off as useful. Little did they know...

I found this tool useful in disposing of the unnecessary parts. Found at your local hardware store for $30.

Your pieces should look like this if you have done a proper job. Do note, they may try to escape.

Thanks for the writeup blackjimmy! It really was easy. :)


1 year ago

Thank you. I thought it was the car heater.

This worked perfectly saving me hundreds of dollars to replace the sound system in my Harley ultra classic. I am eternally greatfull.

You guys do know. That theres an easier way. Simply rearrange the aux cord to the other side and flip the tape. Lol.

2 replies

unfortunately that did not work on my harley ultra classic

Yessss dude thanks i was like wtf until i saw yur comment thanks alot i never knew that

And FWIW if anybody was unable to fix their tape deck... I get my "Scorshe Casette Adapter" at Target for $12.99 and it definitely works. And AFAIK all Targets have them. For mine it was 3 seperate gears, the one causing the prpblem had a piece of cushoning around it... And was on the top left of the player. Good luck!

Thank you so much for the tip! Ive been having incessant problems with my tape deck but this fixed it! Only took about 3minutes to fix as well. Youre a life savee!

I tried literally everything and it still did not work. I bought 4 different tapes and they all reject. I tried different variations of the mechanisms inside and nothing worked. I'm just accepting defeat that my cassette deck has died.

Logged in just to say that this works! I had a similar cassette made by Philips.

I did this but now all it does is try to rewind itself. I removed the thing that looks almost exactly like the one pictured here. Any fixes for this?

Mine was missing a few gears compared to yours, but I was able to get it to stop skipping by taking out the thingy-mah-jig! I had to take it apart again though because the side going in was wrong (I don't know why) so I pulled the wire through the opposite side and it's works just fine now. :)


2 years ago

Thank you so much! It worked and now I hear the music of my choice in my classic Cadillac!

Dude, why can't all problems be fixed by this guy?

thank you so much I wish I had found this a long time ago before I endured the imminent paint of constant switching and ejecting for 6 years.