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Old 01-07-2018, 10:29 AM
svampen's Avatar
svampen svampen is offline
In loudness we trust
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Sweden
Posts: 377
Reelspin Teac X-10 restoration (lots of pics)

My stephfather, who passed away way too early in -93 owned a massive HiFi setup. I was not too old those days but remember his very nice black Teac X-1000R. I have not used a R2R before that, nor after that.

I just had to try this out now, 25 years later. I grabbed a Teac X-10 said to be in ”good condition” for equivalent of USD $500 (yes, those are the ridiculous prices here!)


This very serious wooden crate showed up!

…and out comes a X-10 :P

Since it was in ”good condition” it did not work. Some random noises from inside and the reels spinning, but that’s about it. I realize this is going to be a big job. But hey: that’s the whole point with this hobby, right?!
Started to open the beast:

And yup, the most gooy capstan belt I have seen. There are pieces of this all over, inside the deck.

And it is extremely dirty!!


So I started to take out the transport. Reading on this forum there is a known issue of frozen lubricant. Yes, indeed. I could not even move the pinch rollers by force.

Took things apart…

Cleaned them…

Looked a bit at the heads at this point. Not too bad, but a bit worn. There is a little ridge on them, but they are far from ”open” as far as I can see.

So, went for it and started lapping them on my knife-sharpening stones, that are of very fine granular. (Eeek!!)
(Yes I did use a 90deg angle while doing this. Just set this up like this, to take the photo…)

A bit better:

Even better:

Pretty much done:

After finishing off with a fine polish I put them back in the assembly. I am quite satisfied at this point.

The pinch rollers were cleaned in the sink with water and soap-impregnated steel-wool. They came out really nice as well:


Continued to strip down all things

The things that were not removed ended up in the garage for a spray can full of spirit and compressed air:

This is the bottom side of the amplifier board, before cleaning (Yuk!):

During cleaning.
I use a lint free cloth, soaked in ethanol and a brush. This to soak the grime, dirt and flux residues up into the cloth.

The result is great!

Some parts are just dead due to age. These end-stop foam thingies were more cruble than function, so they got replaced.

The front got really nice with ordinary window cleaner

And the glass for the VU were grimey, but ended up nice after some car polish

The back cover were cleaned with water and a brush but ended up looking strange, like it was dried out. A cloth with silicone made it look nice again.

I got two NAB-adapters with the deck. The o-ring were broken, but I found this do-it-yourself-kit at work. Some cutting and gluing later:


Working on the electronics. All potentiometers got a whiff of contact cleaner/lubricant.

The power distribution board got all new capacitors:

I took apart the two reel motors, cleaned and checked their functionallity. They look pretty good I must say!

One thing that struck me was the poor light on the VUs. As the Swedish darkness falls this had to be corrected. I found some nice LEDs in a box and but a resistor on each side of it:

Which acts as a replacement for the stock bulb

And the difference is positive, at least according to my prefs. :D

At this point I also removed the old trim potentiometers and replaced them with something not too oxidized

The transistors and To220 components on the power board were cleaned and got new heat dissapation paste.


Oh, the joy of putting it together again. After many hours of work it was finally time!

The capstan belt showed up in the mail. Christmas made it take quite some time in the mail…

Front is remounted

After some reassembly I could start trying to follow the service manual’s calibration sequence. I had to buy a test tape for azimuth and frequency response for this.

The azimuth is spot on

And the frequency response is set to be as good as possible, at least equal on L and R.
This is a FFT display of simultaneous 1, 3, 5 and 10kHz playing at both channels. They are a bit offset on the scope, to be able to see both.

(And since you might wonder:
The frequency response test, according to the specifications, shows it is spot on: 25Hz-20kHz at 7,5in/s and 25Hz-16kHz at 3,25in/s. This test is done at quite low volume and the limit counts were the signal is -3dB)

After tedious work with setting every trim pot I could finally remount the power distribution board and tidy the internal cables

And remount the very last screw - the one that I started with! :D


So yet another deck is back in business and will again record and play some nice music! __
Old 01-07-2018, 10:45 AM
svampen's Avatar
svampen svampen is offline
In loudness we trust
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Sweden
Posts: 377
Oh, I forgot to mention.

While doing the checks and calibrations, I noticed the take-up torque was very high. According to the manual there is no adjustment more than to exchange things. Haha!! Yeah, right.

I measured these values:

682 g*cm (Large reel setting) (Spec. says 440-520)
403 g*cm (Small reel setting) (Spec. says 220-300)

217 g*cm (Large) (Spec. says 260-340)
155 g*cm (Small) (Spec. says 140-220)

So, a bit high.

I started to backward engineer the electronics. There are two transistor that opens more or less to set the speed for each reel motor Q70 and Q71.
These are driven with a pre stage, consisting of Q68 and Q69.

I laborated a bit and changed R140 (that was marked R130 on the PCB???).
I changed it from 1k to 1.2k and thereafter got the following results:

496 g*cm (Large reel setting) (Spec. says 440-520)
279 g*cm (Small reel setting) (Spec. says 220-300)

341 g*cm (Large) (Spec. says 260-340)
155 g*cm (Small) (Spec. says 140-220)

Much better within specifications!
Old 01-10-2018, 08:30 AM
mikeslps mikeslps is online now
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Posts: 55

Old 01-10-2018, 08:52 AM
Skywavebe's Avatar
Skywavebe Skywavebe is offline
Skywave Tape Deck Repair
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Bensenville, IL
Posts: 14,206
Nice set of pictures but how many hours did you spend doing all this?
Most all of it can be done without all that dis-assembly. Most shops can not afford to spend a week doing one deck- they will be out of business fast that way.
The audio pots are bottom adjust which is the largest issue. How did you adjust the machine with the top adjust trimmers?
Best regards,

Sam Palermo, BSEE , ProSquad Member
Skywave Tape Deck Repair- Chicago area
(630)616-0932 Office/ Email skywavebe@sbcglobal.net
Past Teac/Tascam Lead Service Technician at Chicago Factory Service still doing repairs.
Now accepting MC, Visa, Amex & Discover Cards!
Old 01-10-2018, 09:49 AM
bohelcho bohelcho is offline
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Join Date: May 2014
Location: Sofia, Bulgaria
Posts: 1,154
In my humble opinion the number of hours spent in rehabilitation of a deck does not count for a hobbyist.
A repair shop cannot afford such in-depth treatment of a machine for economic reasons, and in most cases repairs are reduced to the most necessary ones (no offense, just reasoning).
The OP has clearly indicated his intent to "rebuild" the X-10 to new condition, which every audiophile with self respect would do.
Excellent work, Svampen

Hats off to you.

Old 01-12-2018, 05:41 AM
svampen's Avatar
svampen svampen is offline
In loudness we trust
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: Sweden
Posts: 377
Thanks for feedback, guys.
Yes, it took many hours of work. But I do this purely of recreational reasons. Only hobby and on my own equipment.

On my previous work I designed and manufactured electronics on a Consultant company. Every minute counts and customers did not want to pay. It ended up with half-done solutions and cutted corners. Mostly this was "good enough". But why? Well, the sales dept did not understand this when they sold the works to the customers (engineers estimate 80h for doing a task - sale sell it for 40h, otherwise the customer thought it was too expensive and did not buy the job. We were often confronted with the question "but how hard can it be?")

So Sam, I totally agree and understand your consern: If I did this as business it would not be very effective.

But therefore, as hobby, I can enjoy just looking at a nut for a few hours in my little workshop. For me this hobby works as a stress-relief and is not comparable to a pro tech-shop.

Regarding the pots this was a "doh!". On the other hand it is no trouble reaching any of them from the top with the deck standing up normally. Sometimes s**t happens.
Old 01-12-2018, 07:20 AM
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390FE 390FE is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Western NY
Posts: 6,230
Great job. Looks good.
Old 01-12-2018, 09:57 AM
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StereoGaryo StereoGaryo is offline
musical fun for everyone
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: SoCal
Posts: 540
Beautiful job. I enjoyed every photo and the photos are great. You must also be experienced at picture taking.

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