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Vintage Tape (Audio), Cassette, Wire and Magnetic Disc Recorders and Players Open-reel tape recorders, cassette recorders, 8-track players etc.

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Old 12th Apr 2024, 11:51 pm   #1
Katar83
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Default Philips N4414 - various questions

Hi All,

Got this on my workbench in a rather sorry state today and just finished putting it back together and I have a few questions, hopefully someone could advise.

1. What's the best way to clean old sticky tar that used to be the original belts? It took me 2 hours, half a kitchen roll and probably half a bottle of IPA to get everything off, I've cleaned up some proper nasty stuff in the past of various equipment but this was right there in the top 3
2. Are there any typical faults for this recorder that I should be aware of, except for the power button that of course disintegrated.
3. Is it worth replacing caps on this? Recorder wasn't powered for probably as long as I live but all the caps I've checked seems absolutely fine. I'm not used to this sort of reliability!

I've replaced all 4 belts, bypassed power switch for now, the ticking noise from the capstan area was really driving me crazy, same issue was reported here:
https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...d.php?t=182453
but finally realised that after replacing belt it just needed some adjustment using a little screw with a tiny spring, gave it a couple turns and its silent now. I'm amazed how good this sounds, I didn't think this was possible with old reels.
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Old 13th Apr 2024, 12:46 am   #2
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katar83 View Post
What's the best way to clean old sticky tar that used to be the original belts? It took me 2 hours, half a kitchen roll and probably half a bottle of IPA to get everything off, I've cleaned up some proper nasty stuff in the past of various equipment but this was right there in the top 3 ...I'm amazed how good this sounds, I didn't think this was possible with old reels.
That sounds about par for the course - belt goo is nasty stuff. Open reel tape could and did give good results on decent machines - it was after all the main mastering tool of the record industry for over thirty years.
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Old 13th Apr 2024, 4:17 am   #3
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Katar83 View Post
1. What's the best way to clean old sticky tar that used to be the original belts? It took me 2 hours, half a kitchen roll and probably half a bottle of IPA to get everything off, I've cleaned up some proper nasty stuff in the past of various equipment but this was right there in the top 3...
I've found gel based type hand cleaner for motor mechanics better than others. The gel will remain on the area for some time, hopefully dissolving it into the gel. I think this topic has been covered before in this forum. A search under something like "Philips gooey belts" might bring the threads up.
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Old 13th Apr 2024, 11:48 am   #4
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

These were the lower end of a range of r-r recorders in the 70's. I repaired a lot of them when at Philips....not because they were unreliable but because there were so many about and very popular if you just wanted a basic good quality recorder....and they did sound good when coupled up to a decent amp or the Philips MFB's which I think they could drive directly. The next model up was the N4416 and then the N4418 which had electronic control rather than mechanical buttons. As I recall, they all used the same heads and the same pre-amp modules.

I notice that the PLAY button is higher than the others when in the rest position (first picture) there is a rubber wedge under the button that disintegrates....changed many of them in the past. Should be relatively simple to fabricate something similar by copying one from another button.
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Old 13th Apr 2024, 12:50 pm   #5
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

when cleaning the goo off I use Elbow Grease (Home Bargains), paper kitchen towels, old clothes, latex gloves and baby wipes! It's important to get it all off which means using a pointed objust (such as a wooden skewer) to get into the pulleys.

Capacitors? These used the excellent Philips components which are probably good for another forty-odd years! jsut use discretion and if any of the larger electrolytics are going crusty it's prudent to change them.

These decks are arguably better than the electronic controlled ones with their electrically flimsy AC128s and so on.
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Old 13th Apr 2024, 7:18 pm   #6
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Smile Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

Hi,
I used brake fluid to clean the goo from my Philips 4418. I think I read about that on the forum a couple of years ago.
Then I used meths to clean off the brake fluid.
Hope this helps. Cheers, Pete.
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Old 13th Apr 2024, 8:52 pm   #7
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

Cif can work surprisingly well.
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Old 13th Apr 2024, 9:29 pm   #8
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

And whatever precautions you take you will always get some goo where you don’t want it!

My first Ferrograph I naively thought I could just plug in and use. It played for a few seconds then slowed down and stopped. On removing the front panel discovered the idlers had gone soft and gooey and had covered the whole insides with as they spun.

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Old 13th Apr 2024, 10:25 pm   #9
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

Oh, I'm well aware of it, I literally had gloves on and after I've finished hands were covered in black tar
I've used brake cleaner as well, but it didn't seem to be any better than IPA so went back with that. I do like the idea of using cif or elbow grease, both are basically slightly abrasive, if I ever get another one of these with belts sprayed all over chassis I will give these a try.
Thanks all!
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Old 14th Apr 2024, 9:17 am   #10
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Smile Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

Hi,
When I mentioned brake fluid, I meant the actual operating fluid, not cleaner.
Typical me, spreading confusion.
Cheers, Pete.
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Old 18th Apr 2024, 7:50 pm   #11
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sideband View Post
I notice that the PLAY button is higher than the others when in the rest position (first picture) there is a rubber wedge under the button that disintegrates....changed many of them in the past. Should be relatively simple to fabricate something similar by copying one from another button.
This got me confused. I've looked at the button from every angle and it seems like it suppose to be higher than the rest? Looking at google pics, I can find lots with the play button slightly lifted compared to other buttons so either there is that many recorders with this issue or this was somehow designed this way on some of these?
The button itself feels absolutely fine and it sits in there solid so I'll probably leave it as is.

I've spent a few more hours on this today as received a replacement power button and a new power lead. Fitted both, started it up and of course it had to go immediately wrong and the player started motorboating from both speakers. Turns out its best to check all caps

I'm not sure if this is by design but most Elko capacitors on this are quite a lot over spec, e.g. 680uF are ~820uF, 330uF are 420uF, etc. I did leave them except for the main 4700uF cap which although was reading ok, it had quite a big bubble in the seal.

The culprit behind the motorboating was C203 and of course it was hidden under everything else. Looking at it, it wasn't original Elko cap so I think someone might have already been here in the past. Anyway, replaced and its all good and working great again.

Oh and of course, still got covered in black goo while getting to that capacitor and spent an hour wiping old belt remains
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Old 18th Apr 2024, 8:32 pm   #12
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

No...the buttons should all be the same level. I suppose because the play button is used most, the little wedge wears before the others. If you look at the buttons you will see that where they pass through the top cover, they are stopped by a wedge (which also reduces the noise when the button is released) and there should also be a tiny metal sleeve that reinforces the rubber wedge. I changed hundreds of these back in the 70's....it was one of the normal repair procedures. Your right...it doesn't affect operation, just the looks.
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Old 18th Apr 2024, 9:16 pm   #13
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

For what it's worth, here is a snip from the manual showing the pushbutton assembly. I've added some text for clarity. There is a wedge and reinforcer for each button.
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Old 18th Apr 2024, 11:35 pm   #14
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

What ever you do with the buttons please don't leave any of them pressed with the power off as you will put flats on the rubber. I see in the fifth photo above that the play button is pressed with the power lead not plugged in.
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Old 19th Apr 2024, 12:59 am   #15
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

No worries, this was me just trying to figure out that play button. Happy to confirm that its sorted now as per attached photo. It was just that little metal wedge that needed reattaching. It was almost entirely out.

That said, as soon as I've fixed the damn button the whole thing pretty much stopped playing

Another two hours of head scratching later I've figured out that something was wrong on the main board as slightly bending or hitting it restored sound on both tracks and stereo. There are two small plug in boards on the main board and wiggling these restored sound so lots of resoldering later it was better and mainly working but what I think fixed it was resoldering big red connector next to these little boards. Bit scared to shake it and hit it a few times to see if its definitely fixed now, so wont try it until morning now

Of course every time I've touched anything inside, despite cleaning it many times now, my hands were covered in black goo

This(again) turned into a major project. It was supposed to be quick belts change only.
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Old 19th Apr 2024, 5:57 pm   #16
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Default Re: Philips N4414 - various questions

Quote:
Originally Posted by Analogue man View Post
What ever you do with the buttons please don't leave any of them pressed with the power off as you will put flats on the rubber. I see in the fifth photo above that the play button is pressed with the power lead not plugged in.
It's solenoid controlled. Disconnect the power and the pinch roller is released. The play button stays locked down until you press the stop button.
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