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Revived An Antique AKAI Stereo Cassette Recorder AJ-500FS

By on March 28, 2022
how to fix akai stereo cassette

how to fix akai stereo cassette

This Akai set was brought by my regular customer from a faraway place, much before he brought another six sets. The set was picked up by him from a house, where it was lying abandoned. He requested me to try my best to revive it. As usual, I opened the set and cleaned inside. There were no screws for the back cabinet and it was joined with tapes. Look at what fell off:

how to repair a broken akai stereo cassette

I dismantled the set completely. Then replaced every electrolytic capacitor found on the boards. I could also fetch the service manual of this set from the web. Akai AJ-500 Stereo Radio Cassette Recorder Manual | HiFi Engine (You may have to register with them to download the service manual) Then did a thorough dry solder patch up on all the boards.

This work alone took three rolls of solder wire!

akai stereo cassette fix

how to repair akai stereo cassette

repairing akai stereo cassette

On a trial by interconnecting the boards and power supply, I noticed that the LED graphic display was not proper. I replaced all the transistors on that board as these were found weak on checking. Then also it was not working. So fetched new ICs and replaced these, upon which the display worked properly. The belts of the tape section were changed as these had hardened and developed stiff shapes. I lubricated the mechanism very well and also all the connectors and controls.

The dual volume control was found replaced by the previous technician and fixed with an excellent modification done. As the knobs were stuck with Araldite to fit in the new VC, I could not restore its original, which had metal knurled shaft.

servicing akai stereo cassette

Then fixed the boards and mechanism back. Applied power and found it to be working just superfine. I also replaced the Tape Recorder head with ALPS Super Sendust Head as requested by the customer. The performance of Tape and Radio (inFM and AM bands) were superb. Unfortunately, the set was tampered very badly and modifications done on the board, which prevented me from bringing it back to its original conditions. Some coils were also found missing. Line in was altered. Some special features of mechanism, like searching and playing from start of any song in between etc. could not be restored due to this. The mechanism itself was not in a healthy condition due to wear and tear. But worked well on play, FF and REW. No recording was possible as it had been disabled previously.

how  to fix and repair a broken Akai stereo cassette

This entire work took several hours, which extended to several days. I also provided long screws for fixing the back with front cover, which were also missing. But it was finished to the maximum satisfaction one could bring under the given conditions of the set. So, I can confidently say mission accomplished and it got added to my collection. Following is the picture of the defective components, which look like an all-time record!

akai stereo cassette repair and maintenance

Special notes: (1) Whenever you get such antique sets, try your best to do a thorough job and bring it back to life. (2) Persuade the customer to permit you to carry out a total restoration and its benefits. In this case, the customer knows my ways and allowed me full freedom to do what I feel was good. (3) Elec. Capacitors might look ok from the top. But might have leaked at the bottom. So it is always better to replace all of them. (4) Always keep our mind open to appreciate and absorb others work (In this case the fixing of a replacement volume control by an unknown technician) and most importantly communicate this to the customer.



(5) Take photos and videos of each stage and steps. Pick and share some of these with the customers so that he knows what we are doing. When we take the customer along with our efforts to set right his device, there won’t be a twisting of the eye brow at the time of payment. In all probability, he would be ready to pay more! (6) Never compromise quality of work and never try to earn through short-cut methods. Remember our success and acceptance of customer, depends on our quality of work and not on quantity of work.

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 article on Dropped Value And Burst Capacitors Found In Impex DVD Player Prime HD

Likes(64)Dislikes(0)

26 Comments

  1. Yogesh Panchal

    March 28, 2022 at 5:57 pm

    Prominent as usual.
    Good job! sir.

    Likes(7)Dislikes(0)
    • Parasuraman S

      March 28, 2022 at 9:06 pm

      Many thanks!

      Likes(1)Dislikes(0)
      • Luis Santos

        March 29, 2022 at 4:06 pm

        Wonderful job! Congrats to you for bringing back to life wonderful audio hardware that would rest on trash without your work. You're a true super hero!

        Likes(1)Dislikes(0)
        • Parasuraman Subramanian

          March 29, 2022 at 8:42 pm

          Many thanks, dear!

          Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
      • Стоян Цонев

        May 22, 2022 at 5:57 am

        please help me to get a schematic of the device! I can't find it freely. they want a lot of money to sell me the scheme.⁷

        Likes(1)Dislikes(0)
  2. Albert van Bemmelen

    March 28, 2022 at 7:15 pm

    It indeed must be an all-time record Parasuraman!
    This revived set was close to be scrapped for spare parts if it wouldn't have had your delicate touch.

    Likes(4)Dislikes(0)
    • Parasuraman S

      March 28, 2022 at 9:06 pm

      Many thanks! Like a doctor, whose aim is only to save a life, we, technicians, also follow suit!

      Likes(1)Dislikes(0)
  3. Imoudu Onwumah

    March 28, 2022 at 8:51 pm

    Wow!! With about 102 e-caps replaced, this is highest I've counted.I think the magnitude of ur passion excede the size of an ocean.You changed the transistors because of "weakness",how do I know a transistor is weak? Thanks for sharing.

    Likes(5)Dislikes(0)
    • Parasuraman S

      March 28, 2022 at 11:22 pm

      Many thanks! I usually test transistors using my Peak Atlas. And also analogue multimeter. Low HFE, leaks or shorts are the reasons for replacement.

      Likes(2)Dislikes(0)
  4. ANIL KUMAR V K

    March 28, 2022 at 9:38 pm

    Good job sir

    Likes(4)Dislikes(0)
    • Parasuraman S

      March 28, 2022 at 11:22 pm

      Many thanks!

      Likes(2)Dislikes(0)
  5. gary cale

    March 28, 2022 at 11:17 pm

    Impressive work from beginning to end and reveals impressive personal character on your part.

    Likes(5)Dislikes(0)
    • Parasuraman S

      March 28, 2022 at 11:22 pm

      Many thanks!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  6. George M. Suggs

    March 29, 2022 at 12:44 am

    Excellent work and very fine descriptions. I wish I could still do as well, but my eyesight is failing me and glasses no longer correct the problems. I really enjoy reading about success made through hard work and knowledge. Thank you!

    Likes(3)Dislikes(0)
    • Parasuraman Subramanian

      March 29, 2022 at 8:43 pm

      Many thanks! Your words of wisdom will ever be remembered!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  7. Alejandro Quispe

    March 29, 2022 at 5:57 am

    Hola soy de ARGENTINA vivo en la provincia de jujuy, es usted un verdadero maestro restaurando Radio grabadores antiguos,lo felicito por su trabajo
    ==========================
    Hello, I am from ARGENTINA, I live in the province of Jujuy, you are a true master restoring old radio recorders, I congratulate you for your work

    Likes(3)Dislikes(1)
    • Parasuraman Subramanian

      March 29, 2022 at 8:45 pm

      Many thanks! Greetings too to this long-lost-now-found brother from a very far away distance!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  8. V.V

    March 29, 2022 at 7:08 am

    It's incredible the way you work.
    Thanks you for sharing your expertise. Hope you can teach others to become like you.

    Best regards from Portugal.

    Likes(2)Dislikes(0)
    • Parasuraman Subramanian

      March 29, 2022 at 8:46 pm

      Vow! Very encouraging comments! Many thanks!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  9. Mathew Charles Karonga

    March 29, 2022 at 6:31 pm

    Excellent job!

    Descsription superb and easy to understand.

    Thanks for the outlined tips worthy jotting down.

    Time spent doeent seem propotinal to the value of the antique cassette recorder and I hpoe you got rewarded for your hard work.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Likes(1)Dislikes(0)
    • Parasuraman Subramanian

      March 29, 2022 at 8:47 pm

      Yes dear, I was adequately compensated by the customer! Many thanks for your words of encouragement!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  10. Waleed Rishmawi

    March 29, 2022 at 11:12 pm

    Man , that is a lot of replaced capacitors. Thanks for sharing and have a blessed day

    Likes(2)Dislikes(0)
    • Parasuraman S

      March 30, 2022 at 1:33 pm

      Many thanks!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  11. Tayo

    March 30, 2022 at 1:47 am

    Amazing work Sir. If you cant bring it back to its original state then no one can!

    Likes(2)Dislikes(0)
    • Parasuraman S

      March 30, 2022 at 1:34 pm

      Many thanks!

      Likes(0)Dislikes(0)
  12. jai Etwaroo

    April 21, 2022 at 11:55 am

    Excellent repair on this Akai Parasuraman.

    Likes(0)Dislikes(0)

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