Author Topic: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel  (Read 3809 times)

Offline Ju_dy@RT

HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« on: April 10, 2012, 08:20:05 AM »
I'm trying to salvage some old family recordings with the help of my mom's old reel-to-reel, but it seems that the 'head' (for the lack of a better audiophile term) has packed up.  The sound is very soft, and fluctuates.  It's not the tape, cause its intermittent, nor the internal speaker, as I bypassed this also.  Besides being really dirty, a missing mic and some cosmetic damage, the mechanism and tube seems to work well.

Its a Pilot company 7206 (Great Britain )... Which apparently was really a "thorn fdt4", presumably entry level stuff at the time (can somebody confirm?!) ... Will load photo later today.

If anybody can advise where I could order a new part, or advise on anything else that may be causing the lack of sound,  it would be greatly appreciated ;)

Offline ghostinthemachine

Re: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2012, 08:39:43 AM »
Hi there

The heads on such an old machine are most probably oxidised and/or corroded. You can try and buff them to a shine with an ultra fine buffing pad (such as those used by the women to buff their nails). Also check the switches, connectors and other electronic joints on the unit.

And lastly - avoid playing precious tape on those heads before they are checked out... An oxidised head only grinds the tape beyond repair.
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 08:41:45 AM by ghostinthemachine »
Hi-Fi is what YOU make of it. See my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dewaudioza & my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1YZJWgrGwdCYSyGP8JEd7Q

Offline mahleu

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Re: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2012, 10:34:32 AM »
Hi Judy, I've got an Akai reel to reel which you can have cheap. Let me just test it this evening.
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Offline Ju_dy@RT

Re: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2012, 02:58:03 PM »
Hi there

The heads on such an old machine are most probably oxidised and/or corroded. You can try and buff them to a shine with an ultra fine buffing pad (such as those used by the women to buff their nails). Also check the switches, connectors and other electronic joints on the unit.

And lastly - avoid playing precious tape on those heads before they are checked out... An oxidised head only grinds the tape beyond repair.

Thanks for the info, but I fear it may be beyond repair, judging from the pic below, or am I wrong?






Offline Ju_dy@RT

Re: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« Reply #4 on: April 10, 2012, 03:00:53 PM »
Hi Judy, I've got an Akai reel to reel which you can have cheap. Let me just test it this evening.

Mmmmm, might be a cheaper option... let me know.

Offline Steerpike

Re: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« Reply #5 on: April 10, 2012, 04:02:21 PM »
The head may be in perfect condition, you cannot tell from that view. The part to look at is the face that comes in contact with the tape - it is obscured by that movable felt pad.

You should look to see if it has a marked worn area, worn flat by the tape running over it.
Usually if it is worn, you see  (or feel with a finger nail) the two elevated areas on either side of the tape-wear area as standing proud.

Offline Ju_dy@RT

Re: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« Reply #6 on: April 10, 2012, 04:34:49 PM »
The head may be in perfect condition, you cannot tell from that view. The part to look at is the face that comes in contact with the tape - it is obscured by that movable felt pad.

You should look to see if it has a marked worn area, worn flat by the tape running over it.
Usually if it is worn, you see  (or feel with a finger nail) the two elevated areas on either side of the tape-wear area as standing proud.

thanks, will check tonight....

Offline mahleu

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Re: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« Reply #7 on: April 10, 2012, 06:36:03 PM »
Mmmmm, might be a cheaper option... let me know.

Humpf, just hooked it up and I only have right channel working. Will fiddle about and let you know.
Commercial Property Broker- Upper Highway KZN

Offline Ju_dy@RT

Re: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« Reply #8 on: April 10, 2012, 06:42:27 PM »
Thanks, but don't hassle tooooo much... I'm also ganna "buff" the head as per steerpike, maybe it works.

Offline Steerpike

Re: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« Reply #9 on: April 10, 2012, 08:27:37 PM »
Ghostinthemachine said "such as those used by the women to buff their nails". Don't anyone take that to mean an emery board! No! No!
A cotton/felt pad, OK.

A LITTLE Brasso if there are some spots of bad corrosion. But be sure to remove all traces of Brasso before use.

Being of 'a certain age' this Pilot probably has some decaying capacitors in it, which will affect its performance. Pilot did like those wax impregnated paper ones that don't last too well. (Oh wait, you said it was actually a Thorn; still all capacitors age no matter who built it)
« Last Edit: April 10, 2012, 08:30:48 PM by Steerpike »

Offline ghostinthemachine

Re: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« Reply #10 on: April 10, 2012, 10:46:12 PM »
Ghostinthemachine said "such as those used by the women to buff their nails". Don't anyone take that to mean an emery board! No! No!
A cotton/felt pad, OK.


Yup - those soft grey buff pads... It can be used to buff the head surface to a shimmering shine!
Hi-Fi is what YOU make of it. See my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/dewaudioza & my YouTube Channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC1YZJWgrGwdCYSyGP8JEd7Q

Offline Ju_dy@RT

Re: HELP- vintage "pilot" tube reel-to-reel
« Reply #11 on: April 11, 2012, 07:12:08 AM »
Sorry steerpike, I didn't read past my nose;) but don't worry I didn't think emery board either;) I instantly thought number 3 or 4 on the 4 step buffing stick in my makeup drawer.... Lucky for ghostinthemachine  I'm a girl and knew EXACTLY what he was talking about. :thumbs:  haven't had time to try it yet, but will keep you posted.  Thanks for all the valuable input.