Bringing my old 10" tapes out of long storage - a couple questions

Discussion in 'Tape' started by OldSubSailor, Jan 12, 2019.

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  1. OldSubSailor

    OldSubSailor New Member

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    After many years in storage (in good conditions) I'm resuscitating my TEAC 3300-10 which was last used, I think, in the '90's (currently waiting for some caps). And I'm getting out the 10" tapes I used back in the '70's & 80's which were NOT always stored in ideal conditions. Some of the tapes have a bit of mildew showing along the sides of the tape on the reels. All of the tape I used back then was decent stuff; mostly Scotch 207 or TDK with a couple rolls of Maxell thrown in the mix & all 1 mil polyester if that matters.

    So with that explained, I have a couple questions:

    1) Should I try to clean the tapes in any way & if so what should I use?

    2) Should I just try to play them or would it be better to exercise them first by running them through a fast forward & rewind cycle?

    Any other advice from your experiences would be appreciated .
     
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  2. KentTeffeteller

    KentTeffeteller Gimpus Stereophilus!

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    Fast forward through each, then rewind carefully. Clean heads and tape path if necessary.
     
  3. OldSubSailor

    OldSubSailor New Member

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    Thanks - I thought I'd read that somewhere years ago.

    Yeah, before any of that, the TEAC is getting a through once-over. New belts, moving parts cleaned and lubed, critical caps replaced, heads cleaned and demagnatized. and so on.
     
  4. stoutblock

    stoutblock If it sounds good, it is good... Subscriber

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    I have had very good luck with TDK and Maxell tape. Much less so with Scotch. FF and RW on the deck and you will know soon. If it sheds and/or squeaks keep the reels and just toss the tape IMHO. If it is a recording that cannot be replaced there are a few tricks to save it long enough to digitize it.

    Just pick up some new pancakes of tape for the empty reels and make new recordings. On that deck I would use 1mil tape like RMGI LPR35.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  5. dr*audio

    dr*audio Fish fingers and custard! Subscriber

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    Every single tape I got with mildew on it has had sticky shed syndrome. Too much moisture. I wouldn't bother with those tapes. If you want you can fast forward and rewind the tape above the head block, so as not to gum up the guides, while running the tape through a gently held handkerchief. If you see a lot of brown or black on the handkerchief, I wouldn't run that tape.
     
  6. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow Waiting for Vintage Gear from this century Subscriber

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    handkerchief, I use some cotton makeup remover pads just cause they were available and disposable and an easily used size. Who knows how bad the detritus from the tape is going to be.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019

     

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  7. dr*audio

    dr*audio Fish fingers and custard! Subscriber

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    Kleenex works too, as long as it doesn't have lotion in it. Or an old T shirt.
     
  8. Numone

    Numone Active Member

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    Nice to see and hear from another A3300-10 owner. Got mine 6 years ago for £20. I bought it for the reel tables, after being to they'd fit for our A7030GSL which had one that was broken... it didn't of course. But curiosity got the better of me and two years ago I retrieved it from our basement, plugged it in and tried it... and it bloody-well worked! Anyway....
    So you'll have no issue with the Maxell tapes... ever. They'll work perfectly. The TDK may spill a load of white powder, which is the lubricant that's gone hard, but they will work... messily. Run the tape on FF through a silicone gun cloth and that'll stabilise the tape for a few months, maybe more in good conditions. Depending upon the tape type, the Ampex tape may suffer of Sticky/Shed Syndrome. If it does and the content on the Ampex tapes are important, buy and use a cheap food dehydrator (£25/$30) to remove the moisture, which is better than baking it - literally - in an oven, and that'll allow you to digitally copy the tapes.
     
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  9. OldSubSailor

    OldSubSailor New Member

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    Thanks to all that have replied. Unfortunately, you're confirming my darker suspicions about those old tapes. But, fortunately the majority of the material on them is from records many of which I either still have or, at least, have on later CD releases. The records I still have are in pretty good shape because back in the day I'd buy a record, listen to it a couple times then copy it to a tape for regular play (wish I'd have taken better care of the record jackets though). Of course I also swapped records with other guys to copy the music, so here are a handful of things I cannot replace that I may try to capture. The TEAC I have does hold the tape off of the heads when it's running fast forward or rewind, so I can try the swap or T-shirt trick.

    I looked up the suggested new tape and appreciate the suggestion. I'm inclined to try buying some on the hub. I have several good metal reels that contain the old tape. Am I correct in assuming that I can remove the sides from the Scotch or TDK reels and transplant them into the hubs that, that tape is shipped on?

    That said, I sure wish I could buy it for the $10 - $12 per reel I got it for back then! (Some of the boxes still have price stickers on them from the Navy exchange: $10.50 for 3600' of Scotch 207 on a metal reel.... <sigh>.

    This is a very helpful group. Thanks to all.
     
  10. OldSubSailor

    OldSubSailor New Member

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    Yeah, I bought my 3300-10 way back in 1973.. The thing has been a real workhorse. I drug it all over between my Navy, university & work life times. Now I'm retired and getting out some of my old toys. I have it on my electronics workbench right now. I've had my hands in a lot of equipment over the last 45 - 50 years and can say at least this family of TEAC gear was really commercial grade stuff masquerading as consumer gear.
     
  11. Numone

    Numone Active Member

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    Well, the A3300-12 15ips 1/2 Track decks were used by the BBC and many, many studios here in the UK, and given all the electronics were the same yes, they were pro units.
     

     

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  12. Numone

    Numone Active Member

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    .... and try your deck with Maxell UD and you'll be amazed just how good this deck is!
     
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  13. 604man

    604man Well-Known Member

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  14. OldSubSailor

    OldSubSailor New Member

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    A couple of the old reels I have are Maxell. I don't remember if it was their UD but it was their 'good stuff' back in the day.

    I'd wondered what the difference was between the -10 and -12, now I know. Presumably they use the same drive and electronics expect for the head.
     
  15. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    If they are tapes not known for SSS (e.g. Maxell), I recommend you clean them, then dehydrate them. A simple sealed box with desiccant can do wonders (though it takes time...weeks). Baking is an extreme measure in my hands, reserved for the most problematic tapes (heat is bad). A low temp. dehydrator works well. Mold/mildew need moisture to survive so I feel you need to get rid of this pronto. Even then, spores can remain, waiting for a moist environment to re-emerge. So I would also toss the boxes these tapes were stored in and keep the dehydrated tapes in a clean, stable environment going forward. The tape can further be wiped down with a soft pad (microfiber, make-up, or gun cleaning pad) whilst running through the deck to remove these contaminants. Once dried, they should play fine. These fungi feed on the binder & lubricant as a food (carbon) source so it is important to eliminate the moisture and contamination for long term stability, even if the tape currently exhibits no signs of shedding. I wipe my tapes down with alcohol containing a biocidal surfactant (a quat, that is also antistatic). This treatment is controversial among preservationists so I do not widely promote it but cleaning and dehydrating seem widely accepted.
     
    Last edited: Jan 12, 2019
  16. OldSubSailor

    OldSubSailor New Member

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    I'm not sure what you mean by SSS ... please enlighten me
     

     

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  17. Blue Shadow

    Blue Shadow Waiting for Vintage Gear from this century Subscriber

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    Sticky Shed Syndrome where the backcoating comes unglued from the tape and becomes glued to the tape path of a machine that tries to play the tape frequently making the machine grind to a halt. Search for it and a list and see if your brand/type of tape is listed for that or other issues that old tapes have been exhibiting and if not listed, I would just run the tape outside the tape heads with a rag, t-shirt, cotton balls/pads, handkerchief lightly pressed on both side to clean the tape wihout bending it then run the tape through the machine.

    The Maxells will be fine. Once you get a feel for this quick clean/dusting of the tape, do a Maxell and give it a spin on the machine.
     
  18. phantomrebel

    phantomrebel Serial Tapist Subscriber

    Last edited: Jan 14, 2019 at 6:26 PM
  19. OldSubSailor

    OldSubSailor New Member

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    That's my, somewhat modified, '70 1800E ... I also have an almost stock '71 .... these are some of my other retirement 'toys' along with an antique radio collection
     
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  20. oldvinyldude

    oldvinyldude AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Beware that you cannot unfasten the Maxell Reels to put another pancake into them. The others will allow the screws to be loosened. Have no idea of why Hitachi\Maxell went that route.
     

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