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Universal Capstan Motor
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  #1  
Old 02-19-2012, 11:37 AM
ggeorge ggeorge is offline
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Nakamichi Dragon capstan cleaning concern...

I just acquired a Dragon yesterday through an eBay sale from a kind and generous seller who lived close enough to me for me to take personal delivery. It has seen a fair bit of use and at least three owners; also, it was a little tweaky and had some cosmetic issues... But anyway, that's beside the point, and having had a little time with it, I am thoroughly satisfied with the deal even if it means I'll need some service/maintenance to get it into top shape--and I hope the seller is too...

My question comes from something that happened while attempting to clean the tape path: the swab unravelled and tangled around the capstan, creating enough friction to stop it. Is this potentially damaging to the drive mechanism and gears, or should I not worry too much and just be more careful in the future?
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  #2  
Old 02-19-2012, 05:18 PM
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When you turned it back on is it spinning normally?
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  #3  
Old 02-19-2012, 05:48 PM
ggeorge ggeorge is offline
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As far as I can tell, yes.
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Nakamichi Dragon, DR-2, DR-3, BX-1, MR-1 (sold)
Tandberg TCD 340 A
Denon DRM-700
Yamaha KX-630
Advent 201 (x2)
Technics by Panasonic RS-631 (x2)
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  #4  
Old 02-19-2012, 07:07 PM
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mrfoxboy mrfoxboy is offline
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I wouldn't worry too much about it. However it is a good idea to keep an eye on it. Keep your ears open for anything out of the ordinary
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  #5  
Old 02-19-2012, 07:30 PM
ggeorge ggeorge is offline
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I suppose it might be useful to ask what mechanisms could be affected and how by stopping the capstan that way--stripped gears, motor strain...?
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Cassette:
Nakamichi Dragon, DR-2, DR-3, BX-1, MR-1 (sold)
Tandberg TCD 340 A
Denon DRM-700
Yamaha KX-630
Advent 201 (x2)
Technics by Panasonic RS-631 (x2)
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  #6  
Old 02-19-2012, 07:38 PM
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scan80269 scan80269 is offline
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If this Dragon has not been serviced recently, then the capstan bearings can probably use some lubrication. Increased bearing friction with age and usage will cause the motor drive transistors inside the deck to run hot, which can eventually lead to failure.

One way to tell if capstan bearing friction is high is to time how long the capstans take to come to a complete stop after power is turned off. If the capstans stop within 3-4 seconds or less it is indicative of lubrication being needed. Another way is to feel how hot those motor drive transistors get after the unit has been on for a few minutes.

While the front bearings are relatively easy to lubricate, getting to the rear bearings will require some disassembly. Other areas that typically require attention are the cam belt and the NAAC belt. IMHO, Dragons are well worth the effort to get them back in shape.
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Old 02-19-2012, 10:34 PM
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I will agree with scan. While have never even touched a Dragon, i hear they are marvelous, especially if you have some tapes that were recorded with the wrong azimuth. Keep her tip-top shape and she will reward you!
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Old 02-20-2012, 01:45 PM
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Sam is exactly correct. To answer your original question, no, no damage can occur from a stall from an unraveled swab. Happens all the time. Dragon requires a very clean tape path, yet ironically has the hardest tape guides in the world to clean.
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  #9  
Old 02-20-2012, 02:45 PM
ggeorge ggeorge is offline
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Whew...that's a great relief. One thing I did notice, in both the owner's manual and service manual, is that they say that the bearings--being a long-life, sealed design--don't require any lubrication except when parts are replaced. Any comments? (The capstans on mine stop at about 4 seconds or so, btw.)
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Cassette:
Nakamichi Dragon, DR-2, DR-3, BX-1, MR-1 (sold)
Tandberg TCD 340 A
Denon DRM-700
Yamaha KX-630
Advent 201 (x2)
Technics by Panasonic RS-631 (x2)
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  #10  
Old 02-20-2012, 02:56 PM
kawzx7 kawzx7 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggeorge View Post
Whew...that's a great relief. One thing I did notice, in both the owner's manual and service manual, is that they say that the bearings--being a long-life, sealed design--don't require any lubrication except when parts are replaced. Any comments? (The capstans on mine stop at about 4 seconds or so, btw.)
Your capstans stop when idle???? Is this a unicorn, guys?
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  #11  
Old 02-20-2012, 03:35 PM
ggeorge ggeorge is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kawzx7 View Post
Your capstans stop when idle???? Is this a unicorn, guys?
When powering off...
My mistake.
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Cassette:
Nakamichi Dragon, DR-2, DR-3, BX-1, MR-1 (sold)
Tandberg TCD 340 A
Denon DRM-700
Yamaha KX-630
Advent 201 (x2)
Technics by Panasonic RS-631 (x2)
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  #12  
Old 02-20-2012, 06:38 PM
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scan80269 scan80269 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ggeorge View Post
Whew...that's a great relief. One thing I did notice, in both the owner's manual and service manual, is that they say that the bearings--being a long-life, sealed design--don't require any lubrication except when parts are replaced. Any comments? (The capstans on mine stop at about 4 seconds or so, btw.)
Sintered bronze bearings were impregnated with oil at the factory, but the oil cannot be expected to last 20-30 years, regardless of how much or little the deck was used.

I'm sure Nakdoc, Perry & others on this site have seen more than a few Dragons where the capstan bearing friction has gone so high that the drive transistors run hot to the touch. Every Dragon that I treated to bearing lubrication responded by the drive transistors running just mildly warm. Since both capstans in a Dragon are driven by DD motors, increased bearing friction is the biggest factor that forces the motor drive circuit to work harder.

4 seconds is a bit short. My Dragon takes about 8 seconds for the capstans to completely stop after power is cut. I'm going to guess that the drive transistors in your Dragon run hot. You may want to check that.

Another benefit of properly lubricated capstan bearings is reduced wow & flutter. In fact, W&F may be out of specifications until the bearings are lubricated.

If you are not comfortable disassembling the Dragon transport for the lube job, there are people here at TH who can help.

Last edited by scan80269; 02-20-2012 at 06:43 PM.
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  #13  
Old 02-29-2012, 06:00 AM
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whoking whoking is offline
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I just found this thread yesterday and I'm having a similar problem with my Dragon. One of the capstans spins freely while the other does not and sometimes stops, causing the tape to stop. Any pointers or suggestions on how to tackle this disassembly would be greatly appreciated. I don't want to ruin the Dragon, but I'm not too sure this is an easy job.

Thanks,
Matt
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