Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: Stoney Creek, Ontario
Welcome to the forum! A sense of humour is a must around here as I will aptly demonstrate. 8-track tapes are a 1/4 inch wide continuous loop of magnetic tape. The 8 tracks are actually 4 - 2 tracks. This is why you can switch from 1 to 2 to 3 to 4 and back to 1 again. The playback head in these units moves up and down across the tape to align with the current stereo channels 1 through 4. Each channel has 2 tracks, a left side track and a right side track giving you stereophonic playback. As the loop of tape does a complete channel cycle, a small metal strip on the tape makes contact with a set of electrical contacts that automatically advances the channel selector. Most of these units where internally belt driven. A motor inside the deck drove a belt which in turn drove a large flywheel. The flywheel is attached to the capstan. When to tape is inserted, it moves a reed switch with a small wheel attached to it. This engages power to the electronics that provide channel switching, amplification, lights and the drive motor. If you look at the tape end. you will see 3 slots with the tape running through it. Similar to a cassette tape, just bigger. The first hole is for the channel contact set and keeping the tape aligned because you don't want the tape to move with the playback head. The middle hole is for the playback head. The third hole is the one with the rubber wheel behind the tape. The tape gets pinched between the rubber wheel and the capstan which in turn advances the tape across the head and circulates the tape. The tape is pulled from the center of the reel inside the cartridge across the channel switch, across the head, through the rollers and back on to the reel. The usual problem with these units is the drive belt failing. On some occasions, inadequate care and cleaning will produce similar failures. Here comes the sense of humour part. A rubber band is not a sufficient replacement for the drive belt. The capstan is designed to drive the tape speed at a constant 3 3/4 inches per second. Imperfections in a rubber band do not allow the motor and flywheel to turn at constant speeds. Get the proper drive belt replacement. Do not bend, fold, stretch, mutilate, or use for sexual purposes the drive belt. A new belt is only meant to stretch a small amount to keep enough tension on the drive motor pulley and flywheel. Or... get a replacement deck that has a usb port and can playback MP3's.
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