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 Post subject: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Aug Thu 23, 2018 12:32 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 02, 2017 1:37 am
Posts: 496
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
I picked up this Claricon 48-075 portable reel-to-reel tape recorder yesterday:
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So far I haven't been able to find any service information on it. All I've found are a couple of ads that list it for sale at $9.99 (was $29.99!). Any chance someone has some info on this unit?

It needs cleaning and lubrication, but I got it to play a bit and think it will work, although I'm going to have to try to fix the speaker. My carelessness caused me to break one of the wires to the voice coil :(

Thanks!

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Aug Fri 31, 2018 12:01 am 
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Joined: Mar Thu 02, 2017 1:37 am
Posts: 496
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
I'm going to give this one bump to see if anyone can help me out...

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Sat 01, 2018 1:30 am 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2661
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
Half-an-idea that it's a mini Concord or National/Penncrest in disguise.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Tue 04, 2018 12:59 am 
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Joined: Jan Thu 01, 1970 1:00 am
Posts: 9348
Location: Beaver Falls, PA. USA
Does it have a capstan, or is it "rim driven"?

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Tim KA3JRT


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Tue 04, 2018 3:15 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 02, 2017 1:37 am
Posts: 496
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
I'm sure I took pictures of the mechanism when I had it apart but can't find them. Quite disappointing...I'm usually very good at keeping my documentation organized. I'll open it up again and take some pictures when I get a chance. Thanks for your interest!

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Tue 04, 2018 7:26 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2661
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
All you would have to do is flip up the lid - press the PLAY button and shoot a picture straight down through the headstack the way it is. If a pinch roller is visible - it's capstan-drive. if only head-pads are visible - it's rim drive.

The other way to tell is hold the tape takeup table up to your ear while in the PLAY mode. If you hear a faint ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ noise chances are it's a rim drive because normal midline capstan drive players have only one motor and a belt drive - and rubber belts going around a plastic rim don't make any noise.

Another way to tell is to put a tape on - nevermind if you can hear it or not - and then count the RPM of the takeup reel throughout the length of the tape. If it remains fairly steady around 45 RPM (or 33 for some models) - you have a rim drive player.

Also - most rim drive players have a SPEED dial that varies the RPM - usually for low battery but also to compensate for tapes made on other rim drive players.

Regarding mfgr - I was close.
Radio Museum wrote:
ClariCon Electronics of East Liberty (Pittsburgh) PA imported and rebranded a number of budget-line Japanese electronics from its' founding in 1959 to its' demise in 1972 after which the brand was sold to and sunsequently absorbed by a major U.S. consumer electronics conglomerate. Contract manufacturers included Matsushita (Panasonic/PennCrest/National) Sony and Hitachi.
So I would look around especially Hitachi because it has that same kind of generic mid-60's off-brand look of a lot of other similar department store items (Mayfair comes to mind) that Hitachi etc manufactured for.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Tue 04, 2018 8:49 pm 
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Joined: Jan Mon 12, 2009 7:38 am
Posts: 1211
Location: homestead, fl
i see some similarities in design to an aiwa i had.

look at the caps and transistors. matsushita/panasonic used their own caps which have the triangle on them. i think sanyo/channelmaster did something similar on transistor stuff of the era.

claricon is one of those oddballs you dont see much info own yet the stuff turns up. i have a tiny little claricon (3wpc?) integrated amp i recapped and it sounds astonishingly good on my big efficient altecs. tried to snag a second one on ebay as mine didnt have the case and they keep getting bid high so maybe some audio nuts know something i dont about that model.

my memory is vague on this other one but i had a pierce simpson/gladding quad receiver (talk about odd) that was made by claricon. maybe they OEM'd for other small brands? i remember the inside of that one as being like something you'd expect from lafayette.


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Wed 05, 2018 8:07 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 02, 2017 1:37 am
Posts: 496
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Thanks for the interest guys...I appreciate it! I've attached a few pictures I took this morning of the mechanism as well as the circuit board. And here is a link to a short video:

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1jKJhZf ... sp=sharing

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Thu 06, 2018 1:26 am 
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Joined: May Wed 18, 2011 2:40 am
Posts: 4243
Location: Littleton, MA
Nice! Capstan drive and it looks like it will handle five inch reels.

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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Sat 15, 2018 7:14 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2661
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
Yeh. As I suspected. Concord-esque (Hitachi) or Matsushita (Panasonic/National/Penncrest)
stevebyan wrote:
It looks like it will handle five inch reels.
Five-inch? I dunno looks kinda tight for that. Lotta those stopped at 4-inch.

Here's that same 3-inch reel you have on there on a 4-inch Craig 212 (which I have in pieces if anybody wants a project) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZSRkOqXpS5Q Looks like it has about the same amount of room as your ClariCon.

The other thing those are good for since the torque is so low is - unwinding the QIC type data tape cartridges you can get from the thrift shop for pennies apiece by the hundreds onto those 4-inch reels when you can find `em and then record on that.

A) The formulation is of course intended for digital recordings so you'd never be able to get any kind of acceptable sound on a higher fidelity deck and

B) the tape is either half mil or quarter mil thick meaning your normal 1.5 mil 450 feet on a 4 inch reel (or 5 inch NAB hub) means you could get 600 feet of one mil tape (900 on a 5 inch normal hub reel) and so on and so on onto that same reel and use it the same way the field service loggers did back in the 60s.

As far as speed - most of those were 1-7/8 without the capstan sleeve you see and 3-3/4 with it on. You just untighten the knurled knob on the top and presumably store it on a corresponding post in the headstack lid to use the lower speed.

As far as track configuration - half track absolutely but the width could be 75 mil Ampex format or 82-mil Panasonic format.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


Last edited by ndiamone on Sep Sat 15, 2018 7:36 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Sat 15, 2018 7:28 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2661
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
Double posted. Remove.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Sun 16, 2018 3:22 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 02, 2017 1:37 am
Posts: 496
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Great info...thanks ndiamone! I wondered what this extra post was for!

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Sun 16, 2018 3:43 pm 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2661
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
I always stored my 45 adapter (it was 3 sided vs round) on there as a kid since
A) the equally stupid little portable phonograph I had at the time didn't even have it's own post to store it on and

B) I was never anyplace with one without the other (relatives houses where there was no kids and no toys and it was boring for hrs on end etc).

I have a SL of 4-inch reels and another SL of the QIC tape I can wind onto em if you want to try a few out.

The other thing you can do talking abt trying to play a 5 inch tape on a 4 inch player and winding it from e.g. the 5-inch NAB hub reel onto the 4-inch normal hub reel - if you ever wanted pre-recorded tapes to play on it (even tho they wdnt be worth anything after you got done) is to go online and find some of these 3-3/4 half-track mono 5-inch tapes from the U.K.

They look like this http://www.analogicmc.com/categories/vi ... tapes.html but as you can see - even though they are STORED on normal EMI-UK 5-inch reels with normal hubs (NAB hub reels never caught on there any more than 7-inch stereo reels did) they only fill up about 2/3rds of the reel.

This makes it easy to wind off onto a 4-inch reel and have something nice to play once you finish repairing it. Don't pay this guy's prices though - he's been dreaming he's gonna reel some kid in at those prices for years and hasn't had any bites.

Same with the frequency and speed and etc test tapes you can get used online from what used to be called STL (MRL Labs now). They'll come on the normal 7-inch NAB hub we discussed earlier - but you can wind it off onto a 4-inch reel so you have something to calibrate with.

You'd be surprised how good those can sound when properly aligned - including re-doing the rack wrap height azimuth and zenith on the heads (using marker and some paper leader if you don't have the actual calibration film to do it the right way).

The hardest ones to find though are the 4-inch reels that were originally included - with the 2-1/2 inch or even 3-inch hubs - like the 3-inch reels with the 2-inch hubs are hard to find as well (normal hubs as you can see are 1-inch for a 3-inch reel).

Also due to the low torque - especially in PLAY mode without going thru the headstack - if you ever get into repairing and reloading endless loop tape formats (8-tracks and small-size 4-track [Muntz/Fidelipac] cartridges) - this is the perfect thing to stand in for a radio station cart winder.

Now if you are the kind of super-dork-boy like every other man on this board - you might be amazed at an Aiwa TP-1003 http://www.radiophile.com/aitp1003.htm Yes you read right. Rim drive and stereo sound besides. It even came with a couple demo tapes which surprisingly play quite well considering.

First one has music and ping pong sound effects on one side like any other demo tape and blank on the other - and the second one has a series of sweep tones on one side and blank on the other.

When I sell it - since I have two - I think I'm just gonna put the program from one and the calibration tones from two onto the same tape.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Wed 26, 2018 6:12 pm 
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Joined: Mar Thu 02, 2017 1:37 am
Posts: 496
Location: Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Thanks for the great info ndiamone! The reels that came with this are 3" reels. I'm not going to go crazy with this...I just bought it because it was cheap...$5. But I did take the mechanism apart, clean all the old grease, lubricated it and re-assembled everything. It played, but very low volume. So I replaced all of the electrolytic caps and now it has plenty of volume. I think I'm probably done with this, but if there is a good tutorial available for how to do the alignment, I might fiddle with that...let me know if you know of one.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1f-u7h8 ... sp=sharing

Rich


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 Post subject: Re: Claricon Tape Recorder
PostPosted: Sep Thu 27, 2018 3:52 am 
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Joined: Feb Mon 06, 2012 7:24 pm
Posts: 2661
Location: Gold Country, (Stanislaus National Forest) California 95235
There are 5 head adjustments
Rack - Z axis by itself sliding in or out toward you or away from you
Wrap - X axis pivoting left or right on the Y axis
Height - Y axis by itself sliding up or down
Azimuth - X axis pivoting left and right on the Z axis (like turning a radio dial)
Zenith - X axis by itself with the top leaning forward or back
There is no sliding left and right on the X axis without pivoting on Y or Z axis

See diagrams on pg 188 of Rumsey-McCormick Sound and Recording: Applications and Theory which is basically Music Engineering 101 (or at least it used to be back in the Pale Boy Ozone-ic Era when I was starting off).

To have the rack wrap and zenith knocked out of kilter - a player has to be pretty much beaten about the box fairly regularly and fairly severely (e.g. field recorders are notorious for this - in the Army we had to do all five adjustments every couple weeks or so).

So before you diddle with those - do the height and azimuth with the calibration tape first.

For that you need one half-track Cat. 6000-A5, 3-3/4 Ampex Standard Alignment Tape - (5 inch reel) (7 sections) or it's STL equivalent. Wind it off onto a 4-inch reel tails out, rewind to use and then leave it in the played out - not fast-wound - position tails out when you put it away,

Studios use red leader for the head and blue leader for the tail for single-direction mono stereo or quadraphonic tape and red leader for the head and green leader for the tail for 2-track mono or 4-track stereo. Other combinations are used for 4-track mono or other specialized formats.

If you wanted to cheese it for the height and azimuth if you couldn't find a calibration tape in good condition for a decent price - or at all for 3-3/4 - then like I said you could try one of those 2-track mono 5-inch prerecorded tapes from the UK I told you about.

Simply attach the correct leader as outlined above, wind onto a 4-inch reel and go about your business - remembering to leave the tape HEADS out (i.e. Side 2 played to the end) before putting it back in the box.

Sometimes you get lucky and these were ISSUED on 4-inch reels in a 5-inch box with a cardboard slug between the reel and the inside edges of the box to fit snugly the same as they used to do with a few classical reels here giving you a 5 inch reel in a 7 inch box.

Since there's no record of what titles were issued on a 4 inch reel and what were issued on a 5 inch reel since they are both in 5-inch boxes - as long as the 4 inch reels are EMI and you have or can replicate the cardboard slug - after putting on the leader and storing them in the Side 2 played out position - you should be able to re-sell them for as much or usually more than what you paid for them once you are done using them.

Or keep the 4 inch reels - wind the tape onto a 5 inch EMI reel and nobody is the wiser.

If you STILL find you are not getting the correct sound THEN do your other three adjustments.

For the rack you have to measure the curvature of the headstack (if it has one) and whether the Rec/Play head and the Erase head engages the tape to the same degree of displacement without lifting off the tape guide posts. This has to be repeated for each head E R P or E R/P to make sure the tracks are aligned across each head.

For the zenith and wrap you need some white leader tape and a dry erase marker. Scribble the DEM onto the head thickly and leave dry. Thread the white leader through the headstack - paint (dull) side towards the heads and push PLAY.

If you get a `square' shape rubbed off on the head from the white board marker you scribbled it on with - no further adjustments are needed.

Trapezoidal shape with the big part on the bottom means your zenith is out of whack and you need to raise the BACK of the head so the top track of the head (or blank space where one would be) is square with the bottom and vice versa with trapezoidal with the big part on the top.

If you also get trapezoidal figures left or right besides your top and bottom trapezoids - then your wrap is out of whack and you have to rotate the head in the opposite direction like a turntable rotating to get your square.

Repeat for the pinch roller and all internal or external tape guides to make sure everything is squared off - especially with tape guides which can get a flat spot underneath where the tape has been traveling.

If possible, rotate these to a round spot before re-installing - or if not and there's no replacements - affix Teflon caps to these prior to reassembly.

For wire recorders - until we can have new ones made - we thread old VHS tape shell rollers and then make a cap for the spindle so the roller doesn't come off.

Out-of-round pinch rollers or out-of-plumb pinch roller shafts will cause uneven head wear uneven roller wear and uneven tape wear often causing rippling or warping near the affected edge.

Repeat again for reel table height as improper reel height will cause edge rubbing on one edge or the other.

Repeat again for the holdback tension on the supply reel. Too loose and tape will spill all over. Too tight will cause squealing or break the tape (acetate) or stretch it out of shape (polyester).

Repeat for the brakes on both tables, with the same settings as the holdback tension.

Several YouTube video tutorials offer step by step instructions on how to do all these adjustments - albeit none of em involve normal consumer decks nevermind itty bitty little battery operated Living Letters players like this - but these should give you a good primer anyway.

_________________
2 kinds of men/tape. Low Noise/Wide Range.
LN=kind. WR=abrasive. Engineers=same thing.


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