28 april 2022
When you think of the 80s and compact portable players, you actually think of Sony. But Philips is not averse to it either. This recorder is packed with features! AM/FM radio, clock, alarm clock, stereo speakers, microcassette deck with recording functions, built-in microphone, external connectivity options and of course portable!
On King's Day (April 27, 2022) it is teeming with flea markets throughout the country. Also in my area there is one organized that I decide to visit. The last time I visited a flea market was in 2020 before the corona pandemic really broke out, so it was nice to be among the crowd again, looking for things that are nothing to one person but are worth gold to another.
Halfway through the flea market I see a record player on a chair with a small radio on top. But not just any radio, it has a micro cassette deck built in! I ask the seller what he wants for the device, €15. I bid against with a tenner but I agree if the man makes a counter offer of €12.50.
He tells me that he has used the radio as an alarm clock for years. He eventually put it away in his attic but decided to sell it at the flea market. So the device ends up in my hands and is now on my desk awaiting a necessary repair.
Let's walk through the device, because it has a lot of functions that come with a large collection of buttons, switches and other interesting antics.
And of course the entire back of the device.
Then of course you can't miss a video of the operation. There is little else to test outside of the radio. The cassette deck hardly works except for a reel function, even the buttons for recording and playback do not remain operated but shoot back up when you release them. In short, you will have to look at the inside. The display does work by the way, but did not want to work with this video. The battery had probably given its last bit of energy just before this.
Before we start, a nice picture with the antenna fully extended. Apart from some dust and dirt, the device still looks very nice, only a small dent in the left speaker is now noticeable.
First let's take a look at the status of the battery that powers the display. The cover comes off with some effort. The battery no longer looks fresh and sticks to the foam of the cover. It seems to have leaked but that is difficult to see in the photos. With the small vice I have to clamp it to free the cover. I must consider the foam lost because it has become one with the battery. No problem. I'll have a replacement for this soon.
I've looked on the internet, but can't find a manual anywhere. So I will have to blindly open the device. Starting with the many different screws and bolts on the back. The device will not come apart with this, so gradually remove the screws that are still in it.
There is a small screw on the bottom, this is now the turn. But the device still won't open...
There are also two hidden under the general battery compartment.
I can now lift the back a little bit from the whole but not further than in the photo. Still need to remove more screws...
The buttons on top also have two screws, remove them!
Now the side comes loose a bit further, but I still can't get in...
There is another screw hidden in the antenna holder. Time to get these out.
Most screws are different from each other by the way. This doesn't make the job any easier. Luckily I have a tray with compartments to keep them separate. With these pictures I will soon be able to see which screw belongs in which.
After a lot of screws, the rear finally comes loose. But now comes the next problem. I only see the circuit board here and the much too short and small wires do not make it any easier. However, I will have to continue working from here.
I now also remove the screw with which the antenna should be attached to the housing, when I lift the cover again I see that the wire has already come loose from the printed circuit board. Luckily I took a picture beforehand otherwise I would never have known where it was stuck. With the screw out I might as well take the whole wire off. I'll probably replace it with a longer piece of wire when I reassemble the unit.
I can now lay the back next to the device and have a clear view of the circuit board. It depends on how you want to word 'clearly', because it is a complex whole. I had secretly expected it given the many functions that the device has. The photo comes in handy if more wires come loose.
For now, I'll undo the screws I'm pointing at with red arrows. I'll leave the other screws in place for a while.
If I want to lift the circuit board I will have to make some steps. I remove the bracket at the buttons, it is now loose and is in the way when I want to lift the print out later. I also take some extra pictures of the wires and untie a bow together with some adhesive tape to free the circuit board.
I can now lift the circuit board a little and get a better view of the mechanism of the cassette deck. You can also see the string now. Fortunately it is still in fair condition. If this had already melted I would have had a lot more work on it. Still I'm not there yet because I can't get to it that way and I don't know what kind of replacement string to put on it.
To continue I decide to remove the last three screws from the PCB. This releases the main PCB from a small underlying PCB on which the tone controls are attached. This way I can carefully loosen both but the main PCB does not come loose yet...
It's the other side that gets stuck.
I carefully peer under the PCB, hoping to see where it's sticking, but it's built so compactly that I can't see the whole thing because of the wires and electrical components. There must be something holding this print somewhere.
After some searching I finally find the reason why the print is stuck. The switches on top are the culprit! When I pry it loose with a flat screwdriver, the main PCB finally comes loose.
When I lift the PCB I am welcomed by a masterpiece of electronics. You almost have to be an artist to be able to design this, let alone with the techniques of the 80s. Almost pure analog technology with only a few chips. I'll have to take some extra pictures of this.
If you framed this photo and put it in a museum, it could still pass for art. Well, tastes differ of course...
Before I can start replacing the belt, one more element has to be detached from the device. The metal plate that covers the flywheel is secured with three very small screws.
At first glance it seems to be one long string. But looks are deceiving...
I loosen the belt that transmits the rotation of the motor to the flywheel. But only then see that the other part has a separate string. So I will have to replace two strings, but I don't immediately have two suitable replacements at home. So I will have to look at the collection of strings I do have.
Under the desk I have a warehouse of stuff for the repair of audio equipment. Hidden somewhere there is a box with straps/strings (it just depends on what you want to call them). In the box I have an assortment of old and new strings, all actually intended for other devices or those that have been removed but are still worth keeping.
The box itself contains bags with strings, here the bag with old and used strings. I'm looking for a nice copy but can't find anything suitable. So you have to look between the unused strings in the other bags.
The new strings actually have other uses, but in some cases the strings have become redundant, in this case the strings of this Sony TCS-310 Cassette-corder which I no longer intend to repair. Today, the 'walkman' serves as a donor for other wearable devices. In this case there is a string with almost the same size as the one from the Philips microcassette recorder.
When I hold them next to each other, the two seem almost identical, nevertheless the string of the Sony is a bit thicker, so we have to see if it all fits and wants to work. You can now also see that the old string from the Philips D8000 is somewhat distorted. Let's see if the Sony string is a good replacement.
But first I take this moment to clean the parts with alcohol. The old string has left little bits of residue behind, which can cause the parts to slip with the new string.
The new belt is clearly larger than the predecessor, but it all seems to fit well, I manually turn the motor shaft and see that the flywheel turns without slipping which is a good sign. Now I just need to replace the other string if I have something that fits...
The only two strings that come close are too big to replace the old ones, a few of them don't look very fresh anymore. In short, there is no worthy replacement... I'm going to see if the old string can still be saved.
By carefully maneuvering with tweezers I manage to get the small string loose from under the bracket.
There really is no such thing as a 'repair' string, but there seem to be temporary solutions. I once heard that a string can shrink a bit if you put it in warm water, let me try that. I put the string in a pool of hot water and let it bathe in it for about fifteen minutes.
'Well what an overwhelming difference' I growl as I remove the string from his now cold bath. Nothing seems to have changed... Nevertheless, I give it a try and put the strap back in place.
After that, everything can be put back together again. In between I clean the outside of the device with alcohol, I screw everything back and fix the wiring again.
I replace the wire to the antenna with a new, much longer wire, if I still have to be in the device in the future, this should not cause any problems.
Finally, I reassemble the back and put all the screws back where they belong. Now the time has come and I can go and see how the device now functions.
to be continued...