There are a couple of things I need to tell you with regards to the use of the tape deck.
Back in the day when all we had were cassette tape decks, we all became so familiar with them that we could operate them blindfolded. We never paid much attention to the fact that many of the operating components were made out of plastic. Today, we know that all plastic things lose their 'flexibility' as they age, and it is this issue that I must address.
Most specifically, I need to warn you about using the Eject feature. I consider it imperative that you never let the lid 'pop' open. You must 'restrain' it's quick movement by putting your hand over the lid as you press the Eject button. This way, your hand works as a shock absorber, and you can allow the lid to open fully by raising your hand after the lid strikes your fingers (or palm).
Secondly, it's a good idea to prevent the buttons from 'snapping' either on or off. This can be easily done by putting your finger on two buttons simultaneously. Example: If you're going from Pause to Play, hold one finger on the Pause button as you depress the Play button. This way, you can allow the Pause button to change position slowly. The same is true with the Stop button. In this case, keep your finger on the Play button, and allow it to return to the off position slowly.
Treating the deck with care, as stated above, will greatly increase the life span of the deck. In fact, it is because of the fragility of the plastic parts in the transport mechanism that the factory refurbished decks are only warranted for 90 days. I have demonstrated the 'correct' way to use the deck to you, and I explained the reasons for operating the deck with care.
There is no lubrication necessary or desired, but the capstan and pinch roller should be cleaned regularly with rubbing alcohol and a Q-Tip. You only want the swab to be damp.. Not wet!
I raise the deck lid, put the unit in Play and hold the tip to the pinch roller first. (Do it away from the capstan so it doesn't accidentally get jammed between the roller and the capstan. Then dampen the other end of the swab and 'ring it out' between your index finger and your thumb, using a twisting motion (clockwise or counterclockwise -so the cotton gets tighter). Then, with the capstan still turning, hold the tip to the capstan at the point farthest from the pinch roller, and move the swab up and down the length of the shaft. I inspect the swab after each pass (for both the roller and the capstan) to see if they are clean.
You can also clean the heads (record and playback) with a damp Q-Tip.. to remove any oxide on the heads...
These days, as the tapes are aging, the oxide from the tape gets on the capstan and pinch roller, causing them to be "out-of-round". That's what most often leads to tapes that get 'eaten'.
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