|Call 928-533-9666 (Paying Repair Jobs ONLY)
|DO NOT CALL FOR BELTS, PARTS OR FREE REPAIR ADVICE!
|Watch Us Convert a Radio - Step By Step !
|A picture is worth a thousand words, and this page has lots of pictures of every step we take during the conversion of a
1975 AMC Pacer AM-FM-8 Track unit to modern electronics. The process is similar for most AM-8 Track units, and is less
complex for a radio-only unit. For customers requesting additional options such as Bluetooth or a USB reader, these extra
features are typically very easy to add once the FMR-1 conversion has been completed. Read on, and enjoy the ride !
If you have a DELCO system with a separate radio and 8 track unit, don't miss the special note at the bottom of this page.
To take full advantage of the enhanced sound quality of your converted radio, we recommend converting the 8 track also.
You can click on most of the pictures below for a larger view - after viewing, click your browser's "back" button to come back
|Here is the unit before conversion. If the customer wishes to use the
original connectors so that the unit simply plugs right back in, the unit's
schematic is consulted and careful notes are taken to ensure that the
connectors are properly wired to the modern conversion electronics.
At this time, the controls and tuner are thoroughly tested - and if needed,
repaired and/or modified for compatibility with the conversion module.
|The tuner assembly, controls, connectors, tape-in switch, 8 track transport
and all other items that will be reused are removed, repaired, lubricated
and serviced as necessary to ensure long term reliability and top notch
performance when the conversion is completed. In most cases, even the
existing wiring is removed from all terminals on the controls and tuner.
|This picture shows what is removed and discarded, or might be saved in
some cases in order to repair other jobs for which parts are no longer found
except from an identical unit. As is shown in the picture, ALL of the original
electronics will be replaced - including the motor for the 8 track section.
As a side note, Barry's 8 Track Repair is the world's only shop who has a
large stock of motors for 8 track machines - after all, that is our specialty !
|The head assembly is removed for servicing and lubrication - and if necessary,
taken completely apart to remove all the accumulated dirt, oil, grease and grime
to restore the smooth adjustment and operation it had when the machine was
new. At this time, the head might be replaced if it is found to be defective or
have excessive wear. Please note that due to finite available quantities, the head
is replaced only if it is truly defective, and at a significant additional cost.
|In the case of this particular unit, the head was indeed found to be defective as it was
producing a continuous static noise on the left side and had zero output on the right
side. As the picture shows, the new head comes with a protective plastic cap to avoid
scratching the pickup surface during the many phases of the repair and reassembly
process. This cover is left on the head until the unit is completely reassembled.
|The tape transport assembly is disassembled for repair, service, lubrication and
cleaning. Due to years of being in the elements and after soaking up grease and
grime for decades, this step of the servicing operation cannot always be seen
from outside the unit when peeking in the tape opening. However, you will notice
that there is no longer an accumulation of dirt at the base of the head assembly,
in corners, or at the base of the automatic track change sensor and other parts.
|Unlike most units containing only a radio, 8 track units often require a bit of creative
inventiveness to restore reliable operation. In this case, the cast steel tube which
houses the motor is just a bit too small in diameter to accommodate the NEW motor
and must be modified. On a Chrysler unit using a sheet metal motor mounting
tube, we press the new motor in using a 12 ton shop press. But since the tube
shown here is cast, there is a danger of cracking it - which would mean a BAD day!
|Thus, on this unit we consider it safer to cut down the motor mounting tube, then
cut it even further to relieve the pressure of the new motor against the walls of the
tube. Even though the motor could be pressed in place, the walls of the mounting
tube might contract during the cold winter weather and end up cracking. It's worth
the extra time and steps to ensure that this will not happen with your restored unit.
|Your new motor, unlike the old one, will have ADJUSTABLE SPEED just in
case the speed should drift over the next several years like many of them do.
We hand-build a brand new speed control board for your new motor, which
facilitates easy speed adjustment (even by the customer) if ever needed.
|Barry's 8 Track Repair is the WORLD'S ONLY SHOP who routinely installs NEW MOTORS !
This adjustable-speed motor is our own development, roughly a full year in the making.
|This capstan has come loose from the flywheel, allowing it to slip occasionally and cause
slight speed variations (technically called "wow and flutter"). This is a problem that many
shops might not find, as it can play just fine on the bench - but malfunction at a later time.
As the world's top 8 track specialists, repairing this is part of our comprehensive service.
|This switch changes position when a tape is inserted, switching back and forth from
the tape head preamp to the radio when tapes are inserted or removed. This will
now be used to switch between the head preamp and the external line input if this
option is requested by the customer. All existing wires are removed and replaced.
|This picture shows how the tape-in switch terminals are reassigned and rewired. As the
radio/tape switching will now be performed in a different way by the conversion module,
we can now assign this switch to automatically select between the 8 track tape function
and the external line (MP3) input when a tape is inserted or removed by the customer.
|All wires previously connected to the volume/tone control (which in most cases
is also the power and track change switch) are removed and replaced with wires
that conform to our own special color code for easy identification when it comes
time to install the conversion module - white for volume, green for tone, etc.
|This picture shows the unit partially reassembled, with all of the new wiring neatly
arranged and directed towards the location where the NEW tape head preamp and
the Aurora conversion module will eventually be mounted. In some cases, the
exact location of the Aurora conversion module and the NEW, hand-built tape head
preamp are determined only after we have installed and routed all of the new wiring.
|At this time, we can mount and wire the NEW, hand-built speed control board shown
earlier to the NEW motor. The new speed control board contains a regulator transistor
which must be mounted to a metal surface to dissipate heat. Whenever possible as
space permits, we mount this board directly to a location on the 8 track tape transport
itself, so that the entire transport can be removed as a self-contained unit for service.
|One of the last steps in completing the newly rebuilt 8 track section is the
construction of a BRAND NEW, hand-built tape head preamp for units in
which the preamp is not already on a separate board. These pictures are
also helpful in showing off our meticulous skills in quality hand soldering.
|At this time, the new head preamp board is mounted in place and wired to the head
and a temporary source of 12 volt power, together with the speed control board and
track change solenoid. Once this step is completed, we can now fully test and adjust
the 8 track section using an external amplifier before continuing with the conversion.
Thanks to measures taken earlier, by this time the 8 track is performing flawlessly.
|This is where we start entertaining hopes of the entire job actually being finished
soon! As almost all the new wiring has previously been routed to the location of
the conversion module, the process of wiring it in generally goes quickly and with
no confusion thanks to the special wiring color code we use. As this customer
wants to use the original, common-ground connectors, output capacitors will be
required for proper isolation. You can see the 4 large capacitors in this picture.
|With the 8 track section fully finished and tested - and all internal wiring
completed - it is finally time to either route all external wiring outside of
the unit for connection to an isolated-ground speaker system - or in this
case, to the customer's original connectors so that the unit simply plugs
back into the car's existing common-ground speaker system. It should
be noted that this arrangement delivers only half of the maximum audio
power available, but is still much more powerful than the original radio.
|This picture shows the entire converted unit very close to completion, with all
wiring neatly tied, tucked and routed - not only as a measure of our excellent
workmanship, but to ensure that all wiring is clear and stays clear of all moving
parts in the 8 track section. As you can see, the track change mechanism has
plenty of breathing room - with the head height and azimuth adjustments kept
easily accessible. Though our conversion process is expected to last many
years with no future attention needed, we nevertheless keep it servicable.
|A view from the right side of the converted unit, where the front-rear fader is
usually located. Though difficult to see from the picture, the fader control on
this unit requires the addition of two 5 watt resistors, with the other end of these
resistors interfacing with the conversion module as well as the terminals on the
fader control itself. This new interfacing method is necessary because the added
audio power of the conversion would quickly burn out the original fader control.
For units without an actual fader, the tone control also operates as a virtual fader !
|Other views of the nearly completed conversion. If your Delco
radio did not previously have a left-right Balance control, the
tone control also operates as a virtual Balance control ! At this
point, we carefully double-check all the new wiring, clean up
the unit as needed, then take a break before setup and test is
performed. We are getting very, very close to completion.
|After a short break, your newly converted unit is ready for setup and final testing.
As the output capacitors are covering the board-mounted status LED indicator, on
this unit we temporarily soldered a status indicator LED for easier reference. At
this point, we can now fire up the unit and go through the setup process which is
customized for the particular unit. This unit, of course, calls for American FM
channel spacing and automatic switching when an 8 track tape is inserted.
|Final testing of the AM, FM, 8 track and Aux input functions. If the unit has an
existing FM Stereo light, it will work exactly as it did before the conversion.
If it did not, one can be installed at customer's request. The AM-FM switch
functions exactly as it did before on an AM-FM unit. For an original AM-only
radio, band switching is accomplished by turning the unit off, then right back
on within two seconds. Longer than that retains the function you last used.
|After initial setup and testing, we go on to confirm proper output on both (or all
four) speakers, proper operation of balance and fader controls (physical or
virtual depending on the model), correct switching action between AM, FM,
tape and AUX inputs, repeated power cycling, extended operation to ensure
that no overheating occurs, shock and vibration testing by giving the unit a
few good smacks, slamming it on the bench several times, shaking it, etc.
We want any inconsistencies to surface NOW, not after the unit is reinstalled.
|Further final testing includes frequency
accuracy, wow and flutter measurement,
audio power levels, consistency of unit's
performance with fluctuating power supply
voltage and current, testing using several
different tapes, proper track changing both
manual and automatic, tuner pushbutton
settings - AND making sure the unit still
works properly after sitting for a few days.
|Barry's 8 Track Repair performs proper capstan resurfacing using a sandblaster !
|Another feature offered only at Barry's 8 Track Repair ! After your unit has
passed all tests, it is finally placed on a stand so that it is tilted at a nice
angle for the camera. Then, we record an actual video DVD of the unit
operating properly on all functions before shipment. This step virtually
eliminates all possible doubts that all work was performed in a complete
and competent manner because we include the DVD with your paperwork.
With our service, you will never have the questionable and uncomfortable
"Well it was working fine here on the bench" situation - you'll have proof !
|Okay, so it's not exactly a Hollywood production -
but it provides verification beyond any question
that the money you paid, and in some cases, the
extra time you waited beyond what was estimated,
was well spent and worth waiting for. Besides a
demonstration of all functions operating properly,
your DVD may also contain special tips or other
information that can be helpful for maximum joy !
|Finally, the last step before your
unit is packed and shipped. We
include your detailed receipt, the
video DVD of proper operation, as
well as a description of which wires
should connect to what, which can
reduce confusion on reinstallation.
Also included is the official manual
for the conversion, and often a
custom-written document or two
for your particular application.
|As you might have guessed by now, our service is not necessarily designed to
have your unit back before the next car show. Rather, it is tailored towards
making sure your unit will never need to be pulled from the dash again, and
this is reflected by the fact that we currently perform work for more than 50
car restoration shops all over the United States and in many other countries.
Our extremely low warranty return rate of less than 2 percent - that is, out of
every 100 units we service, fewer than two ever come back with problems -
tells us that we are approaching our job the best way possible, even when
customers are calling expressing impatience or suspicions that we may have
forgotten about them, or even that they may never see their unit or money again.
Don't worry - we are a BBB Accredited business with an A+ rating, and have
been at the very top of "8 track repair" search results for a number of years. If
your job is taking longer than the estimated turn time, it is because we are
giving jobs that arrived before yours no less than 100% top notch attention,
and because it is impossible to determine an exact time frame on a unit that
is decades old and has been out in the elements for 30, 40 or 50 years. When
we finally get to your unit, it will also receive our outstanding workmanship.
You don't want us taking shortcuts on your unit, and neither do any of our
other customers who sent in their unit before we received yours - right ?
If your only concern is how fast your unit comes back, we respectfully ask
that you continue shopping around for a shop that will accommodate this
concern. We take longer because we are the world's most recommended
8 track repair shop, and because we perform more comprehensive service
that other shops can not perform due to parts availability issues such as
new motors and other parts peculiar to the 8 track format. Our primary
focus is long term reliability - and the quality of our work cannot be rushed.
We thank you in advance for your patience and understanding. Please see
our current workload as of June 13, 2015 shown below. Our estimated return
ship dates are projections based on our current workload, and we hope you
can understand why it is impossible to accurately guess 50+ jobs ahead. On
these shelves are units from businesses and individuals all over the world:
|Thank you in advance for your patience and understanding !
|Back to Conversion FAQ Page - click HERE
|Back to Home Page - click HERE
|Back to Conversion Pricing Page - click HERE
|Call 928-533-9666 (Paying Repair Jobs ONLY)
|DO NOT CALL FOR BELTS, PARTS OR FREE REPAIR ADVICE!
|also play through the upgraded amplifiers. For details on this, CLICK HERE