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Vintage AMPEX 440 4 Track Recorder Problem

I just got a 1967 Ampex 440 4 Track Recorder and it has one problem that I can't figure out. When I press the play button or any other button on the control panel it the does the same thing. The rewind motor goes into rewind mode and the take up reel goes into fast forward mode. So, it is running in rewind and fast forward at the same time. Again, it doesn't matter which button you push it always does this. Anyone have any suggestions on how to fix this?

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DonnyThompson Wed, 10/04/2017 - 03:34
Chuck, post: 453207, member: 50861 wrote: When I press the play button or any other button on the control panel it the does the same thing. The rewind motor goes into rewind mode and the take up reel goes into fast forward mode. So, it is running in rewind and fast forward at the same time. Again, it doesn't matter which button you push it always does this. Anyone have any suggestions on how to fix this?
Is this happening when you have a reel of tape loaded?
Or when there isn't any tape on the machine?
It may not need "fixed" at all... when there's no tension, or the lifters aren't engaged, it could be doing this because it's not sensing any Tape tension. Some older machines were like that, although I have no experience with that particular Ampex deck.

Kurt Foster Wed, 10/04/2017 - 09:31
bouldersound, post: 453210, member: 38959 wrote: Most of the smaller rtrs I've used don't do that. But I can see how that could be useful.
it keeps tension on the tape assuring good tape to head contact. a lot of the older cheap RTRs used pressure pads that flip up when play is engaged to press the tape against the heads. the way the AMPEX does it is much better for fidelity (modulation noise) and head / tape wear.

that old girl needs some tlc. i hope the o/p will nurse her back to health but it looks like theres a lot to do.

bouldersound Wed, 10/04/2017 - 13:01
Kurt Foster, post: 453218, member: 7836 wrote: it keeps tension on the tape assuring good tape to head contact. a lot of the older cheap RTRs used pressure pads that flip up when play is engaged to press the tape against the heads. the way the AMPEX does it is much better for fidelity (modulation noise) and head / tape wear.

The Sony I have here doesn't do either. The supply reel is clutched to provide the tension against the capstan/pinch roller. I've had cassette decks with dual capstans that do it by the slightly different size capstans. But running reverse torque on the supply reel seems like it would be effective.

Kurt Foster Wed, 10/04/2017 - 13:14
bouldersound, post: 453221, member: 38959 wrote: The Sony I have here doesn't do either. The supply reel is clutched to provide the tension against the capstan/pinch roller. I've had cassette decks with dual capstans that do it by the slightly different size capstans. But running reverse torque on the supply reel seems like it would be effective.

a lot of the older budget / home 1/4 track stereo Sony's used pressure pads. look at the heads and see if theres a little spring loaded flap with a felt pad glued to it that pops up to hold the tape aginst the head when play is engaged. i'll bet your Sony has one. most of them did.


bouldersound Wed, 10/04/2017 - 17:57
Kurt Foster, post: 453222, member: 7836 wrote: a lot of the older budget / home 1/4 track stereo Sony's used pressure pads. look at the heads and see if theres a little spring loaded flap with a felt pad glued to it that pops up to hold the tape aginst the head when play is engaged. i'll bet your Sony has one. most of them did.



It's a TC-388-4 quad deck. As far as I can tell it doesn't have the pad, it uses a clutch in the supply hub to apply tension to the tape.
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