Tech Support - Non-Conversion Radio or 8 Track
Since a video DVD of your unit operating properly was included with your paperwork, it is recommended to look for
wiring errors, defective speakers, breaks in the car wiring, connectors not mated properly or other possible issues.
This is not to say that things can't happen while the unit is in transit during shipping, but the vast majority of callbacks
are what the electronic repair industry calls "nuisance" callbacks since the trouble is on the customer's end, and the
call is a needless, unfair and unjust  waste of our time which can affect the progress of jobs currently in process.

Our rates do not include any type of phone tech support, which we do not offer at any price.  Since we go to significant
expense to provide your performance verification DVD - and since the DVD lends indisputable proof that your unit was
operating properly while still in our shop - helping the customer to get his unit working in the car is an action that we
consider chargeable, whether it be by the hour or per incident.   Bottom line:  Even after the sale, our time is NOT free
unless it has been determined that the failure or inconsistency in performance was due to poor workmanship by us.

We are not here to teach electronics or basic car stereo wiring.  All information needed to
connect your unit has been provided in the form of diagrams, descriptions and wire labeling.
If information supplied is not sufficiently clear, a more experienced installer is needed.

Now we will cover the more common problems upon reinstallation, as well as the reasons for failure.  NOTE:  In order
to perform proper and thorough testing, some procedures require an ohmmeter, voltmeter, ammeter, a 12 volt bench
power supply, a pair of known good test speakers and possibly more.   For anyone wishing to perform his own work
and install a repaired unit himself, it is expected that the customer has (and knows how to use) the above equipment.

Unit will not turn on at all

Check fuse - - -  ensure that voltage is present at the unit's power connector - - - measure unit's current draw (any current
with the unit turned ON indicates that the power switch is good and that the unit does turn on, so look instead for
defects in the speaker wiring) - - - make sure unit is properly grounded.

Unit turns on, but no sound is heard from the speakers

Check speaker wiring - - - test speakers (AT THE CONNECTOR, NOT AT THE SPEAKERS) using a known good signal
source - - -
do not assume speakers are good and properly connected just because they're new and recently installed - -  -
refresh antenna connection by removing and inserting antenna plug several times (many radios are completely silent
without an antenna connected) - - - if you hear a "pop" through all speakers when turning the unit on, speakers are
functional and properly connected.   If the radio is AM-FM, flip the band switch several times to clean the internal contacts.
If the unit also has an 8 track player, insert and remove a tape several times quickly to clean the radio/tape switch.

Did you do something stupid - like connecting left and right outputs together?  You may have just ruined the radio !!!

My 8 track player is eating tapes

WRONG !!!  With the 8 track format, tape-eating is a problem caused by the TAPE, not the machine, and is an indication
that your tapes need to be serviced with a new foil splice.  You'll notice that the break in the tape always occurs at this
splice where the adhesive, brittle after decades of neglect, gives out causing the tape to separate at the splice area.

Cassette players eat tapes, yes.  VCR's eat tapes, yes.  This is because the pressure roller is part of the machine, and
will stick to the tape material if it is soft or gooey.  The tape sticks to the roller, then becomes wrapped around the capstan
which usually requires the services of a professional to repair.  On an 8 track tape however, the pressure roller is part
of the TAPE CARTRIDGE.  Thus, as long as you keep your capstan clean and your tapes competently serviced, your
8 track machine will never "eat" a tape.  If it ever does, it's from
poor owner maintenance or a defective tape cartridge.


My 8 Track Player Plays - But Won't Change Programs

FIRST THING:  TURN THE MACHINE OFF NOW !  Pull out the cartridge, open the tape door and make sure there isn't an
old foil splice shorting out the automatic track change sensor.  This will keep the track change solenoid held in and
quickly burn it out.   NOTE:  For bench testing before installation, an absolute minimum of 10 amps CONTINUOUS
capacity is required.   The popular Delco T-400 draws only about 4 amps while playing, but can cause a sudden draw
of  10 to 15 amps when called upon to change tracks.  10 amps (continuous) can handle this sudden current demand.

Assuming that you have sufficient current and that there is nothing shorting out the automatic track change sensor,
there is a definite problem with the machine if it won't change tracks either automatically or manually.

One of More of My Program Indicator Lights Does Not Light, Or is Intermittent

This is more likely to be a temporary problem with what I call the "distributor" whose operation is nearly identical
with the distributor in a car - that is, there is a rotor that turns and makes contact with one out of four terminals which
then send the voltage on to the program indicator lamps (or LED's).  The cure for this condition is to manually change
programs several times in succession, which will clean the contacts and restore solid operation.

VERY IMPORTANT:  Give the machine about a 3 minute break for every 10 times you change tracks.  This will allow
the track change solenoid to cool down a bit and prevent it from burning up.

I've Only Played the 8 Track About 10 Hours and Now I'm Getting Speed Variations

It's already time for owner maintenance, which can be done from outside the machine.  All 8 track tapes are
impregnated with graphite to allow for the necessary slippage between layers of tape on the hub.  This graphite
VERY QUICKLY builds up on your playback head and capstan and must be cleaned.  The cure for this is to clean
not only your head and capstan, but
also the roller on the tapes themselves.  Gently pull the tape away from the
roller with tweezers, and clean the roller until there is NO visible brown or silver band around it.

For cleaning, I recommend the easy-to-procure household rubbing alcohol for quick removal, followed by
a treatment with rubber cleaner to restore the moisture and pliability of the tape rollers.

I'm Experiencing Crosstalk (double tracking) On a Few Tapes

If it's only a few tapes, those tapes need a new pressure pad to make proper and accurate contact with the
playback head.   
You do know that ALL 8 track tapes need to be serviced, right?  Yes - they do !

Okayyyyyy, How and Where Can I Have My Tapes Serviced ?

I have found the following services to be excellent and highly reputable:

8 Track Avenue   (   Jon also sells the supplies and offers excellent FREE training videos.

Kate's Track Shack (  The first dedicated 8 track service on the Internet !

Note the Kate's Track Shack also sells tapes, both in serviced or "as is" condition depending on customer preference.

My 8 Track Player Has a Horrible Static Noise with Some Tapes

By playing an 8 track tape, we are reproducing an old school lab experiment:  That of rubbing together two
types of materials to generate electricity, the most popular combination being rubber and plastic.  Well, guess
what an 8 track tape is?  BINGO - a rubber roller turning within a plastic cartridge, in which another form of
"plastic" (the actual tape material) is moving past all this stuff too.  This causes static charges to build up,
constantly charging and discharging as the tape moves along.  The cure is to move the cartridge around a
bit, and find the position that results in continuous discharge, in turn producing the least static noise.

If the noise cannot be completely removed, try playing the machine without a tape inserted (requires
manual activation of the tape-in switch).  If the static noise is still there, the machine requires service, up
to and possibly including replacement of the playback head.  This condition is not covered by warranty.

Tapes Sound Extremely Muffled, No Treble at All

8 track tapes are only held in the machine on the right side, where the notch in the cartridge is
engaged by a roller inside the machine.  Because of this, the tape cartridge tends to go in slightly
crooked and the actual tape material is not square with the playback head.  A good habit to get into
is to move the exposed portion of the cartridge to the left after insertion.  This squares up the
cartridge in relation to the playback head resulting in more uniform head contact.
My 8 track player actually broke my tape - pulled it right apart, and NOT at the splice !

This happens when the cartridge jams and the hub will no longer turn, thus allowing the capstan to literally CUT through
the tape by spinning against it while the tape remains stationary.  The capstan uses the tape's roller as a cutting board,
and simply spins against the tape unit it finally breaks from the friction.  No  8 track player ever manufactured has nearly
enough torque to actually
pull a tape apart - not even close.
Call  928-533-9666 (Paying Repair Jobs ONLY)
( Note that my phone number does not appear on this page - support is via E-MAIL ONLY )