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Restoring Two Antique SONY Tape Recorders

By on May 7, 2021
tape recorder repair








These two antique tape recorders belonged to my close friend and an erstwhile film music director. He was responsible for taking me to this level of servicing and clientele. He chanced to meet me through another common friend more than a decade ago. From then on, he turned me into a professional service technician from just a hobbyist. More than 50% of my customers are his references!

tape recorder repair

He himself is a regular feeder, having plenty of antique collections in his home! Thus I picked up these two from his home on my way back from hospital visit. Both had belt problems only. But TC-158SD had take-up problems too. I took TC-520S up first and opened the back cover, and the top cover, upon which, the inside was visible. This is the second time it is visiting. Kindly see my earlier article SMART WASP In Antique SONY Tape Recorder TC-520CS | Electronics Repair And Technology News ( for more details of inside.

I changed the belts which were loose/cut. Tried and it was working perfectly well. The melodious output was so good that I felt like not giving it back to my friend! Anyhow, while delivering it back, I had put an application and let us wait and see.

lose belt in tape recorder

Then opened the TC-158SD.

how to fix tape recorder

After replacing the belts, when I played a cassette, the take up wheel was not rotating properly. So I removed the wheel and changed its rubber. Even then it was not making proper contact with the gear, so I used a heat shrink sleeve and inserted it on the gear wheel, upon which it worked very well.

So, missions accomplished very well and double satisfaction got added to its collection bag!

how to repair tape recorder

how to repair and fix tape recorder

This article was prepared for you by Parasuraman Subramanian from India. He is 72 years old and has more than 30 years’ experience in handling antique equipment like Valve Radio, Amps, Reel Tape Recorders and currently studying latest tech-classes conducted by Kerala State Electronics Technicians’ Association. He has done graduation in BBA degree, private diploma in Radio Engineering and retired as MD of a USA company. Presently working as Consultant to Hospital and other institutions.

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You may check on his previous repair article below:




  1. Yogesh Panchal

    May 7, 2021 at 3:38 pm

    write up it self express the excitement you have on this repair.

    • Parasuraman S

      May 9, 2021 at 8:44 pm

      Many thanks for your comments!

      • Sandeep

        February 2, 2022 at 2:41 am

        Hi sir,
        I am from Thrissur Kerala.
        I have an old Sony Walkman casette player with me. I would like to get it repaired as it is of great emotional value. Whom should I contact to get it done? Please reply if you see the message.

  2. Albert van Bemmelen

    May 7, 2021 at 4:38 pm

    Good and straight to the point repair as always! Replacing the worn out or broken rubber belts is often the only way to fix these cassette recorders. Rubber is also the best material to prevent anything from sliding of tables or from other flat surfaces. But is always known for deteriating in time turning into sticky or oily substances. Like happened in my old Wangtek tapestreamer that now just turned into scrap parts also because the ISA PC controller slotcard no longer worked. Probably because of several deteriorated PAL chips that contained the copy protected Wangtek firmware.

    • MikeRetz

      May 8, 2021 at 5:06 pm

      Hi. I have to agree that replacing rubber parts is only way to fly. Creams and oils are a temporary fix . I use old bicycle inner tubes for almost anything. Fixing leaking water pipes ,wrap on handlebars, prevents sliding or loosing any objects while riding or walking. Fasten ladders to truck rack ranes idle wheels make belts for tape players o even yourself. I never throw them away. I play with the old walkmans. Belts available ebay in big packages of all sizes for Penny's on the dollar. Rubber bands work to fortemp. repairing just to see if new belt will work. Wrap idler wheel with inner tube and trim with razor blade very carefully. Try many bike size tubes and stretch over old wheel. Then use magnifying glasses and sharp razor blade and hot solder iron carefully to smooth out . I've fixed old rca 45rpm changers that way. Works pretty good.thanks for your great articles.have a great day..

      • Parasuraman S

        May 9, 2021 at 8:47 pm

        Well, well! That's a lot of possibilities listed out so easily, out of regular practice! Many thanks for your comments!

    • Parasuraman S

      May 9, 2021 at 8:45 pm

      Yes, when we no longer get parts, we may have to scrap, very painfully! Many thanks for your comments!

  3. Waleed Rishmawi

    May 7, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    a job well done my friend. this kind of equipment died long time ago in my country and no one is will to service them any more. I do service them only if they have belt issues but beyond that point it is not worth it and the customer is not willing to pay for the service or on time spent on it. have a blessed day

    • Parasuraman S

      May 9, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      Many thanks for your comments!

  4. Lawrence Pina

    May 7, 2021 at 6:59 pm

    Great tip about the heat shrink sleeve. I have two JVC miniDV camcorders with similar take up wheel problems so I'm going to try it. Thank you for sharing!

    • Parasuraman S

      May 9, 2021 at 8:48 pm

      Many thanks for your comments!

  5. Anwar Y Shiekh

    May 8, 2021 at 2:49 am

    I try to use belts made from EPDM rubber as they seem to last

    • Parasuraman S

      May 9, 2021 at 8:49 pm

      Thanks for your tips! Many thanks for your comments!


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