8 Track Player Problem

Old 02-20-14, 02:56 PM
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8 Track Player Problem

Hello! I was wondering if someone out there can help me figure out what's going on with my 8 track player. I bought this player last week on eBay. The seller claimed it worked great and was well tested and everything. So naturally, I bought the player. Finally, it arrives to my doorstep on Tuesday. There's a crosstalk problem when I turn it on. But only on some tapes. So I adjusted the tape head and that problem was easily fixed. Now, I'm running into another issue. And again, this is only on some tapes. I have a copy of Led Zeppelin IV, I pop it in, works great! Sounds remarkably good if I must say. However, I have a copy of Off the Wall by Michael Jackson and Bella Donna by Stevie Nicks. Both of these tapes have a problem. When I put these tapes in, they stop and start. They'll play for a good second or two, then it slows down and eventually there's no sound, and then the sound will come back again for a second or two and the problem repeats itself. There's quite a lot of shifts in the pitch, definitely. But I happened to notice that if I apply pressure to those two tapes, the tape will play just fine, just like my Zepp tape. I'm really confused as to why it is doing this. I'm not technically savvy when it comes to these 8 track players. So when I try to look up the problem, I get vague instructions on what's happening, terminology that I am completely unaware of or some dumb website *****, a radio website that is completely irrelevant to what I'm trying to find. If there's anyone at all who can help me to understand what's going on and maybe even help me fix the issue, that would be great. Otherwise, I'm gonna try and set up a return on eBay. And yes I am aware that these things are prone to problems considering how old they are. Thank you!

Last edited by Shadeladie; 02-20-14 at 03:21 PM.
Old 02-20-14, 04:18 PM
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Years ago as a hot shot driver one of the things I transported was data tapes to a company that treated the tapes when they became sticky. Of course these were 10" real to real data tapes not 8-tracks.My first thought as I read was sticky tapes. I seriously doubt there is any DIY or commercial solution for 8-tracks.
Old 02-20-14, 07:57 PM
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ost likely the problem is with the tape cartridge as opposed to the player.

1. The rubber roller built into the cartridge may have hardened due to age so it is not grabbed by the rotating shaft (capstan) in the player that supplies all of the motion for the tape.

2. The tape may have lost its slipperiness, usually as a result of having been played many times. Unlike cassetts, 8 track cartridges have a tape loop where the tape is pulled from the center (hub) of the spool and returns to the "perimeter" of the tape pack on the spool. To accomplish this, the layers of tape in the pack are constantly sliding against each other and the tape as manufactured has a special dry lubrication on the back.

Holding the cartridge in by hand increases the pressure between capstan and rubber roller causing more forceful pulling of the tape from the cartridge. If the tape lubrication is that lacking, this will sooner or later stretch or wrinkle or break the tape.

Sometimes crosstalk happens because the tape guides are worn allowing the tape to drift up and down. You may be able to fabricate new guides with a tighter tape path.

Radio stations that have not completely switched over to digital equipment still use similar cartridges. Those cartridges have an empty space and a hole in the bottom instead of the rubber roller in the 8 track cartridge and the rubber roller is part of the player and comes up into the cartridge to engage the tape. Radio stations record and re-record the cartridges as needed and discard cartridges that act up, thus little information is available about repairing the cartridges.

Last edited by AllanJ; 02-20-14 at 08:46 PM.

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