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Akai GX 230D Playback issues

An Akai GX 230D will not playback at 71/2 ips. I have old tapes that were recoreded on a Sony TC-580 at 71/2 IPS. When playing back on the Akai GX-230D at 7/12 IPS they seem to play in slow motion. When I switch to 33/4 IPS they play at the same speed(slow motion). Any ideas of what may be the problem? Any help would be appreciated. Thanks.



Akai GX 230D Playback issues

I think one of your AC capacitors at the take up motor is bad. There are two capacitors rated at 1 and 3uf at the supply and take up motors--these go bad.
You need to replace them with the same value; they can have the same or higher voltage rating, but they must be AC capacitors. You will probably have to use separate capacitors as dual caps are no longer available.

Akai GX 230D Playback issues

Not sure about the configuration of the GX 230D, so the problem could be a belt, which are prone to stretch, breaking and turning to dust...but Johnnysan is probably correct and it is a motor capacitor for the capstan. I have an old Roberts (Akai) vacuum tube deck and most all the capacitors were bad. After 50 years that is not unusual. You can identify them easily since they are the size of battery (C or D cell) only a little longer and their rating will be in uf. They hard part is not replacing them, the hard part is finding new ones. Capacitors rated at 1 to 3 uf are rare and expensive, in relation to new capacitors. Good luck.

Akai GX 230D Playback issues

Johnnysan,
Thank you for your response. However, I am not an electrician nor do I know how to read electrical schematics and identify capacitors. I guess I'm stuck unless I can locate someone locally that can perform this kind of work. Thank you again for your advice/help.

Akai GX 230D Playback issues

jmeyers,

This tape deck uses a direct drive capstan motor. There would not be any belt or pulley issues with this machine.
If the speeds aren't changing, and at the wrong speed then check the following:
The capstan is what provides the proper speed for transport. If you have the tape threaded improperly, or the pinch roller isn't pushing the tape against the capstan, you will not get the proper speed, (and may not transport at all). Make sure you have the tape threaded properly in-between the capstan shaft and the pinch roller. (You can look at the user guide posted on this site)

If you have the tape threaded properly then
The motor control board could have a problem or
The tape speed switch is either very dirty or broken or
The pressure roller isn't engaging properly to the capstan. (Mechanical problem)
Your best solution would be to find a vintage electronic tech to look at it for you.

Hope this helps
Tom

Akai GX 230D Playback issues

Tom,
Thanks for the response.
Can I rule out the possibility of bad motor capacitors from a response from someone else? The playback motor does run. It just seems to be playing at the 33/4 IPS speed rather than the 71/2 IPS speed that the tapes were recorded at.
I was led to believe that if a motor capacitor is bad that the motor will not run at all.
Maybe the capacitor for the 71/2 IPS speed is bad.
Thanks for your help.
James

Akai GX 230D Playback issues

James,
Those caps mentioned are motor start caps that provide a phase shift to start the AC motors used for FF Play (take-up) and Rewind. If those caps were bad, the reel motors wouldn't turn. These reel motors have nothing to do with the speed, although if the Take up motor torque is too high, it can pull the tape through the capstan/pinch roller and cause the speed to be too fast.

But this is not your problem. Your problem is too slow with no difference between 3 3/4 and 7 1/2. A bad or very dirty tape speed switch can cause your problem. try moving it back and forth multiple times. Clean it with caig deoxit, but be careful to not get the spray all over the unit.

If you have the tape threaded properly, and the switch doesn't fix it, there is a problem on the Servo Control board (MY-2036) This board controls the speed of the capstan motor. You will need to remove the wooden cabinet from the unit. (Usually 4 or 6 screws on the back, and 4 screws on the bottom) Look for signs that someone may have been working on the unit. (damaged screw heads, washers that are shifted and don't fully cover the lighter wood underneath. Look at the wires that connect to this servo control board and make sure none have broken loose. As you can see the bottom of the board, does it appear that someone has been resoldering areas? If it looks like someone has worked on it, you may have component problems.
You should first check the 24VDC power supply and adjust if necessary as 24 volts is what feeds the servo control board. (MY 2037 Board on the other side of the chassis
Looking at the picture of this board in the posted service manual, locate adjustable potentiometer VR1. This is the adjustment for 7 1/2. make sure it is not broken (which could cause the problem you have). If it is not broken you can try turning clockwise to bring the speed up, as someone could have messed it up. While this adjustment is usually done with special alignment tapes and frequency counters, but if you have a good ear, you can get it close. After the 7 1/2 adjustment is made, then the VR2 pod should be adjusted for proper speed of 3 3/4. you should use a very small insulated screwdriver for these adjustments.
These adjustments need to be made with power on and tape in play mode. There are dangers relating to working on "live" equipment. If you haven't done things like this before, find someone qualified.

Tom

Akai GX 230D Playback issues

Tom,
Thank you for your reply. The Akai GX-230D is for sale at a local Pawn shop so I have
not been able to try out your suggestions.
I tried playing a tape and got the slow motion effect at 71/2 IPS setting and the 33/4 IPS setting.
On my second visit to try it again I noticed that the tension arm sensing rod is missing.
Would this be something that might be affecting the playback speed? I'm not sure that I want to
invest any money into a machine that is going to cost big $ just to fix. I have about 10 old reels
from the 1970's that I want to get transferred to a CD. That is the only reason I am looking for a reel
to reel unit to purchase. All of my tapes were recorded at 71/2 IPS. If your troubleshooting advice is correct and it is just a dirty switch or an adjustment, I may go ahead and try to purchase it.
Thanks again for your excellent advice.
James

Akai GX 230D Playback issues

James,
This unit seems to have multiple problems and question marks of what the problem could be. Missing the tension arm post raises other questions as to "what else". This will need the missing part replaced, (assuming the tension arm is what is missing, or the the sensing post to the left of the tension arm) Neither of these missing parts would cause a "slow speed". If the tension arm is missing, the deck will not function at all in the auto shut off mode. in the "on mode" the motors will keep turning until you press stop.This means that after the tape is ended either in FF, REW, or play the motors and reels will not stop until you press the stop button. If the sensing post is missing, the auto reverse function will not work, as a piece of foil towards the end of the tape goes across the sensor and reverses the machine.
I state again that these missing parts are not going to cause slow speed. If there are parts missing from the impedence roller on the left side, or the small tension arm on the left is missing, this could cause some problems with speed but don't think to the degree you are seeing.

My suggestion is to not gamble with this unless it is really cheap $50 or less) and you are looking for a project. These GX units were very nice because of the special heads, but there are a lot of them out there. I have probably 10 to 15 Akai RTR's mostly GX, and some older ones with 8 TRK and Cassette capability built in. Some I paid as little as $25 locally, and some special ones (RTR, 8TRK and Cassette in one) up to $240. I would suggest you check things like craigs list for ones like this or similar that aren't missing pieces or have problems like this one. I would say ebay as well, and you can find cheap ones there, but shipping can jack up the cost as these units are heavy.
Good luck
Tom