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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 16th Jan 2021, 10:08 am   #1
DMcMahon
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Default Akai 1800 Check Out

Been having a quick look at my 1800 (that arrived yesterday) an early to mid 1960s 4 track stereo reel to reel, fairly basic 2 speed single motor machine.

Based around the Akai 1700 design (which was 3 speed) with the addition of integral 8 track tape player/recorder. It is the most basic version of the 1800 series and like the 1700 I believe is all valve. The next level 1800, the 1800L is a hybrid mix of transistors & valves with the higher level 1800's being all solid state.

Cannot find a schematic for the 1800, have found one for the 1800L which I think should electrically be similar (about from transistors) but to my eyes is very difficult to read clearly.

Unfortunately it arrived with shipping damage, 2 sides of the top wooden lid are smashed off, I think with careful gluing and some wood filler will be able to make a reasonable repair. There is a nasty dink in one corner of the front metal cover and a little damage to the wood panel next to the corner, may be able to improve that a bit.

Apart from some old bits of damage to the woodwork it overall externally cosmetically looks in reasonable condition for its age.

It has the push on black rubber spool retainers, my previous experience of these is often they are fairly useless due to age degradation of the rubber.
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Old 16th Jan 2021, 12:37 pm   #2
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

A valve 8 track player?! That's a new one on me. Will be interested to read your progress with this one, as always!
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Old 16th Jan 2021, 1:20 pm   #3
Ted Kendall
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

On that score alone, I'd say it's at least hybrid. The 8 track system didn't get going until about 1968.
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Old 16th Jan 2021, 2:44 pm   #4
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

Yes Ted that was a silly statement of mine, I was referring to the R2R (not including the 8 track) itself being all valves, the 8 track of course will be solid state so you are totally correct, the unit as a whole is hybrid.

David
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Old 16th Jan 2021, 9:09 pm   #5
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

I've got the X-1800SD which is the later, all transistor version of this machine. It's a nice curiosity and the reel to reel is as good as any other Akai of the era. The thing about the 8-track deck is that 8 track carts only play best when they are upright, not sideways as on this machine. It gives a reasonable account of itself and is better than some of the cheapo 8-track recorders about, but can't equal Akai's dedicated 8-track decks like the CR-80, 81 etc.

That's a real shame about the shipping damage and very annoying. Just hope you can repair most of it.

Wrap a cable tie tightly around the top of those rubber reel retainers. It gives them a decent amount of grip again.

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Old 17th Jan 2021, 12:39 am   #6
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

Thank you Mark, that is a good tip about the cable tie, I will give that a go.

Yes it does not seem logical to have the 8 track deck playing on its side.

Prior to powering up started the usual internal inspection and when I removed the front panel found a major problem, that I thought worst case might occur, the Play/Record metal cam looks completely shot. Will have a proper look at it in the morning.

Somewhere I think I have a spare cam off a GX-4000D, cannot remember if it is Play/Record or FFD/RWD cam, I know the Play/Record cams are very similar across many of the Akai range, but I do not yet know how compatible the 4000D cam is with the 1800.

I see there are loads of Threads/Posts about the Akai cams that crumble apart, looks like I have found my first one.

David
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 9:14 am   #7
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

Somebody recently posted a link to a shop that makes replacement cams for this series of decks, recall it was an audio/electronics shop in Cheshire way,
Regards, Alan.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 9:36 am   #8
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

Thank you Alan I remember that, in fact I posted to that Thread in response at the time.

That was for the 4000 series where the cam looks very similar, maybe is the same as the 1800 cam.

David
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 9:38 am   #9
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

When I removed the front panel found loads of small bits of wooden splinters all over, no sign of where originating from, hopefully nothing important.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 9:46 am   #10
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

Have got the Play/Record cam removed, certainly looks very similar to a 4000 series cam. I think it is beyond practical repair, although will try gluing it back together for an emergency temporary spare.

Cannot (without spending days looking) easily find my spare 4000 series cam, which anyway maybe is a RWD/FFD cam, so plan to steal/borrow one from my GX-4000D (# 2 machine), the machine is a little tatty and need some repairs but I think the cam is in good condition, just hoping it is compatible.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 10:03 am   #11
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

Quote:
Originally Posted by stacman View Post
Somebody recently posted a link to a shop that makes replacement cams for this series of decks, recall it was an audio/electronics shop in Cheshire way,
Regards, Alan.
This is the link-

https://www.wilkinsons.tv/

There are possible other sources, as well as new 3D printed ones.

I wonder how good the 3D ones would be long term reliability wise as it is quite a heavy duty mechanism.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 1:56 pm   #12
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

Have removed good condition cam from my GX-4000D, looks virtually the same as the 1800 cam, the only difference is there is some less metal on the 4000 cam on the rear where it is machined away.

Presently trying to remove the tape transport and amplifier chassis's for full inspection which is not easy. Quite a bit of small wood debris again in the rear, no idea where it is coming from, maybe the termites have been in there

When I get the amplifier chassis out will check out the coupling capacitors and electrolytics.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 10:21 pm   #13
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

Old and replacement cam comparison.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 10:46 pm   #14
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

After a serious struggle got the tape transport and amplifier chassis's out of the case.

Impossible to get them out individually as per procedure (for similar units) but in the end had to put the unit face down and lift the case up off the chassis's. What made it impossible to remove them individually was the Record/Play switch actuator linkage that connects both chassis together, procedure just said lift flexible linkage out of bracket which was nonsense, it had to be unbolted which was impossible to see/get to with the chassis's in the case.

Also the loudspeaker cables had to be disconnected from the speakers in order to fully get the chassis's out which was just about impossible until the chassis's were virtually nearly out. Will probably fit some inline quick disconnects for the speaker cables to make that part easier in the future.

Another cam will need to be replaced, the lower cam on the Play/Record selector that operates the Play/record switch lever and linkage is on its last legs, is loose and I am sure if I attempt to tighten it, it will just fall apart.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 10:52 pm   #15
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

After removing the chassis's found the source of all the mysterious wood debris/splinters, that were everywhere.

The 2 large rubber feet at the top rear have obviously had a hard knock at some time and have caused the large metal washers on the inside of the case to dig into the case, so some woodwork repairs required later.
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Old 17th Jan 2021, 11:32 pm   #16
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

The link at 11* doesn't take me to Kestrels original thread [of 29/12/20] Dave but the shop in Preston. Not so long ago some posters here would have been happy to buy a cam at any price but if you need two? There can be very slightly different tolerances as I recall, from all the talk a number of years ago. Let me know if I can help in anyway, maybe with an outline of the cam I have? These machines are very much worth having, as people have now [belatedly] found out!

Dave W
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Old 18th Jan 2021, 9:18 am   #17
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

Yes I know Dave it was not supposed to. Kestrels Thread did not have the Shop link, he just named it, that is why I used the Shop link.

Thank you for the offer, I think I should be OK.

The second cam is smaller and a simpler shape so possibly could make one from metal or even wood, the difficult part would be the shaped hole for the selector shaft, the round shaft having 2 flat sides.

I will remove/borrow this second cam from my GX-4000D and hopefully it will be compatible for use in the 1800.

Later on I will need to find replacement cams for the GX-4000D, this machine also requires other repair work and at the moment is very low down a huge list of machines awaiting work to be done, so realistically is a long way off.

David
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Old 18th Jan 2021, 1:59 pm   #18
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

Removed donor small cam from GX-4000D to compare with bad cam on the 1800.

Had to partially remove the 8 track unit to get better access to the bad cam. Cams are similar but not the same, the angle/orientation of the hole for the selector shaft is different, with result that the operating areas of the cam will be different. Looks like donor cam will be no good.

The bad cam was very loose on the selector shaft, tried to tighten its securing screw, but as soon as I lightly started to turn the screw the cam crumbled apart, so that is the end of that cam.

Fitted the donor cam. Impossible to be sure without refitting both chassis's back into the case and coupling up the flexible PB/Record switch operating arm, if the donor cam will be of any use. But by just operating the PB/Record selector and observing the movement or non movement of the PB/Record lever arm it strongly looks like the cam will be no good without some inventive modification to the cam. It maybe easier/more practical to make a suitable cam.

Will look further at this later, once I establish that the tape transport and PB amplifier are functional etc.
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Old 18th Jan 2021, 3:47 pm   #19
dave walsh
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

I'm sorry that's not worked out for you David. Some people did seem to machine relatively all purpose [solid] cams in the end but it was almost a bit secretive at one point [or maybe I'm just exaggerating now .] I remember someone getting frustrated and saying that it was almost as if each cam had been individually moulded but that hardly seemed likely. I'll say again though that I think the use of monkey metal was unfortunate but not deliberate, considering the quality and advantages of the 4000 range overall! An economy too far perhaps. Using a single motor and the basic speed change collar worked well. Perhaps you should consult with the guys at the shop even if you want to "roll your own" overall? A strategic purchase might pay dividends. I'm certainly interested to perhaps pop in when I can return to the North. [My brother often goes over to the Leyland area]. If they've come out with these cams I'll be interested to see what else is on offer!

Dave W

I always thought that the Sugden Connisseur Record Deck had similarities in that it was also built down to simplicity but quality. As I understand, it the synchronous motor would need a DC start-up overwind in Industry but this is replaced with just a rubber bung that simply flicks the turntable to get it going-brilliant!

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Old 18th Jan 2021, 7:11 pm   #20
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Default Re: Akai 1800 Check Out

Yes does seem a little strange that a Japanese company which produced quite high build quality recorders opted for the inexpensive cast pot/monkey metal cams (which now appears to be poor quality), I guess at that time it was not realised that 30 or more years later, some of them would crumble apart.

David
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