Monday, May 24, 2021

MAY 2021

Hello everybody and thanks for all the inquiries. I am still taking on work! Contact me through email and we can discuss your equipment details and then arrange a drop-off through text messages. I check my emails every day or two unless it is really nice out! If you are a repeat customer and you already have my contact, feel free to text me at any time, I will do my best to respond quickly. I won't answer calls.

Turn-around time varies almost exclusively depending on shipping time for parts. If I can use current production parts I can get them within 3 days (if I don't have them in stock). If I need NOS or obsolete parts it can take much longer. 

There is always something on the list ahead of you, but feel free to let me know if you need a rush job and I will do my best to accommodate you. I typically do a quick diagnoses within a few days of receiving an item so I can plan my coming weeks and make orders, etc. A fast diagnosis does not always mean a fast repair though!

Friday, January 29, 2021

SPACE ECHO REPAIR


I will take care of them.

Typically $120 - $150 for a full service* consisting of mechanical and electrical cleaning, head cleaning and realignment, new tape loop, calibration of bias and rec level for ideal feedback characteristics, felt replacement, and minor troubleshooting!

Drastically improve WOW and Flutter, Frequency Response & Feedback! 

*I do not replace bearings, motors or pinch rollers without cause. Be careful if someone tells you "your motor is dead" as that is rarely the case! 


Sunday, January 24, 2021

ACTUAL PHOTOS

I found the camera's USB cable!
Here are some recent visitors...

Top: ECHOPLEX EP3, Univox EM200 Disc Echo, Re 201

Inside the EM200

Classic BBD Delay from MXR

Tascam 246, one of the best MTRs

Tascam Porta02 mkII, one of the later MTRs

And EVANS brand BBD. This uses 3 MN3005 ICs.

Octave CAT wanted cleaning and tuning.

Some rare Japanese ELK pieces.

The Ace Tone EC-1, Great Grandfather of the Roland Re-201?

Akai ASQ10...

TEAC 3340S

Fostex 250

Hohner Combo Organ


TASCAM REPLACEMENT MOTORS

2021 is here and I now stock motors for Tascams and other MTRs. These are not drop-in replacements, but can be used to replace a worn Mabuchi EG-530YD-2B, etc...

These are not for sale, but it will reduce wait times and cost of repairs on any MTR with motor issues! This is in addition to my normal rotating stock of pinch rollers, belts, idlers, ICs, passive components etc. 

Different Tascams use different circuits for motor speed control and speed switching. E.C.H. motors have the correct voltage, RPM and direction of rotation but different modifications are required for each model of MTR. Calibrated using a 500hz/1Khz test tape made on a Nakamichi cassette deck after replacement.

Please inquire if you have an MTR with a bad motor, maybe I can help!




Saturday, December 12, 2020

ELECTROLYTIC CAP GLUED, NOT LEAKING

Hey internet, just so you all know, it is VERY common, essentially universal, to secure large components that could be susceptible to vibration on a circuit board with GLUE.

That includes electrolytic capacitors. So, while they can indeed go bad and even leak from time to time, I think  that all lot of people might be mistaking this glue for "leaked caps" and then replacing caps that are fine. I am not in favour of shotgunning repairs, especially for amateurs, as there is a high risk of creating new issues. That includes wholesale replacement of capacitors. 

That being said, electrolytic caps can and do dry out and cause problems. Identify the symptoms and proceed logically, don't replace every cap just because they were glued on when the machine was built.

A bad cap can LOOK FINE, or it will bulge a bit or push out the bottom, etc...

Just sitting by the fireside building on our vast knowledge....

Monday, September 21, 2020

SOME RECENT WORK

Here is another visually stunning list of some things I have been working on. 

As a list, it shows that I have been getting a lot of MTRs and 1/4" tape delays, which is fine by me! I will always welcome an organ or a synthesizer too!

This list is not exhaustive by any means and does not include duplicates of the same piece (i.e. quite a few Re-201s and various Tascams).

Thanks Folks! Keep 'em coming!

MicroKorg

AKAI ASQ10

ELK PA-51

Roland RE 201

Roland RE 301

Roland TB-303

Farfisa Compact 

Roland JV-1080

Roland JP-8000

Univox Organizer

Roland RS-09

Tascam 246

Tascam PORTA 05

DJ 2000

Vestax MR66

Tascam 414

Yamaha DX 275

Roland SH-101

Acetone EC-1

Korg Poly 6

Tascam Porta 1

Tascam 424

Tascam 488

Electrocomp EML 500

Arp Odyssey

YAMAHA CS-15

Evans VE-80

Roland R-8

Tascam 644

Roland Re 150

ACETONE EC-20

Tascam 244

Tascam 144

Tascam 488 mkII

Acetone EC-10

AKAI MG 614

Farfisa Pro 222

BOSS RX-100

JUNO 106

Yamaha CMX1

EVANS EE-3

EVANS ES-1

EVANS EE-6

Guyatone AE-5

FARFISA Professional

FARFISA VIP 233

...

...


Sunday, September 20, 2020

YAMAHA DX-9


I had a YAMAHA DX-9 come in for a "battery change" as the front panel display was showing "CHANGE BATTERY!" when the synth was turned on. The customer had left the unit crated up for a long time and was testing it prior to selling it. 

I went ahead and replaced the battery without powering the synth up, only to find the same symptom with the new battery in place. Sometimes it would report the correct voltage of 3V, but sometimes not, arbitrarily. Further basic testing revealed that the DATA ENTRY slider was not working either. Electrical testing of the data fader showed that it was fine - the problem was elsewhere.

A helpful user on a forum that I can't trace at the moment (I would like to give credit as it was the only mention on the internet that I found) pointed out that there is an ADC (analog to digital converter) responsible for converting control positions (as voltages) into digital data for the CPU. It handles a variety of functions including the battery level, data entry slider and other controllers. A problem with the ADC or the associated multiplexers, buffers etc. would result in spurious battery reading and bad data entry.

This page (below) from the service notes shows the ADC (on the left, labeled A/D) and its responsibilities: Data Entry, Pitch Bend, Modulation, Foot cont, Breath cont, Aftertouch, Battery. The relevant parts of the DX9 are the same as the DX7. 

I replaced the ADC (M58990P-1) with a NOS part and also replaced a line driver (74HC240) and some multiplexers (74HC138) associated with the sub CPU, for good measure.

This resulted in the synth reporting correct BATTERY voltage and restored the correct functioning of the DATA ENTRY slider, as well, presumably of the other controllers which I had not tested.

The lesson for other DX7 or DX9 owners is that issues with the M58990P-1 will cause various problems that might be disguised as hardware failures. 




Sunday, March 8, 2020

TASCAM TEAC PORTA power notes

If anyone is trying to use a TASCAM PORTA ONE but does not have the original PS-P1 adaptor, here is some info...

The original was:

15V DC, 400mA, center NEG, 5mm outer barrel 

The machine states 11-15V DC beside its jack, and requests that you only use the original adaptor.

I service these machines and from time to time see an original adaptor, but not often.

Many ads online claim to be PS-P1 equivalents but I have my doubts...

The funny thing is, I have tried apparently equivalent warts only to find varying degrees of 120 Hz hum in all the audio. Two 12V DC 400mA adaptors produced quite different results, both bad.

The Porta power supply PCB will regulate on board the machine, make sure you are not starving those regulators!

Unregulated DC wall warts will output a voltage at least as high as they are labeled but often much more. a cheap 9V might throw out 16V, for example. Measure yours to see what you are actually working with, rather than just trusting the label. 

I just popped out and found a used 15V DC 1200mA adaptor and that works great (no hum).

Modern switching adaptors often don't work at all. You might see the machine struggling to turn on (blinking power light) as the motor's surge current shuts down the switching adaptor over and over again.

The lesson is, get a good 15V DC adaptor with sufficient current handling ability in order to get proper performance, or use 10 C batteries haha!

Monday, July 15, 2019

SUMMER 2019

An incomplete list of some types of gear I am dealing with lately - the focus is TAPE, but I will still take on synths and organs and anything interesting, from time to time. The shop is wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling with broken things, so I can't be taking on more for now, though ...

ROLAND Re201
ROLAND Re555
ACE TONE EC-10
ELK Tape Echo
SONY TC-5550-2
TASCAM Porta One
TASCAM Porta 02
TEAC 144
TASCAM 244
TASCAM 488 mk II
TASCAM MidiStudio 688
TASCAM 424 mk II
TASCAM Mini Potra 02
EML 500
WURLITZER 200A
YAMAHA CS-15
YAMAHA CS-30
FARFISA Professional
FARFISA V.I.P.
AUDIOMAT Opera Reference (again, DSP problem ha)
... as well as FOSTEX and YAMAHA multi-trackers
... and your general bits and bobs ...




Friday, March 1, 2019

2019 TASCAM PORTASTUDIO SERVICE AND REPAIR

PORTASTUDIO family portrait

Well, last year was a quiet one for me. I focused more energy on music and project building and less on customer repairs. I still did a whack of interesting repairs and restorations including the usual assortment of integrated amps, tube power amps, effects pedals and tape decks.

This year, however, I am jumping in full time. E.C.H. is going to be your dedicated tape machine restoration destination. I feel that there are a lot of cassette 4 tracks and 8 tracks being abandoned which could be saved!

DON'T THROW OUT YOUR MULTI-TRACK IF IT STOPS PLAYING!

Rubber will degrade and belts, at least, will need to be changed. I have found that in most cases minor mechanical issues will stop a machine from working long before the heads are worn out.

I can replace your belts, pinch roller, rubber idlers etc. and strip and clean your tape transport mechanism. Some common fatigue-stress faults can be repaired in many cases. Your contacts, pots, faders and jacks can be cleaned and replaced if needed.

Signal path problems or output problems are likely just bad caps or a bad op-amp.

E.C.H. will perform a tape transport restoration and full cleaning of your multitrack for - 

$150 CAD (maximum)

new belts, pinch roller, idler tires if needed
transport mechanism cleaning and repair (where possible)
motor speed calibration
head cleaning and demag
cleaning of all contacts/ pots/ faders
electronic troubleshooting and component replacement 
full test of all functions

I offer a six month warranty for my work and will happily troubleshoot any new problems that arise.

I am happy to fix machines shipped from outside Toronto

Contact me if you are having trouble finding a TAPE TECH and let's figure it out!


Saturday, March 17, 2018

SPRING 2018

HELLO!

Spring is nearly here and I will become more active again. Like the great Canadian Black Bear, I am thin and hungry and ready for electronics. I will be taking on more work starting in April and May, as the shop warms back up to a reasonable temperature.

Due to an overwhelming number of inquiries I will only be able to reply to emails when I believe I can reasonably be of service. Thank you for your business!


Wednesday, October 11, 2017

SHORT HOLIDAY Oct 11 until Oct 21

Hello! E.C.H. will be closed until Oct 21st. Any pending pick-ups can be arranged after that! 


See you all soon.

Monday, September 11, 2017

SUMMER @ E.C.H.

Summer has passed us by. I was in the garage. Missed it altogether! Here is a sample of some of the things that came through recently.

Drip Electronics PULTEC EQP1A kits x2. These kits were partially built by the customer. I finished the wiring to the panels and tested and calibrated the units.

Drip LA2A Levelling Amplifier - Testing and troubleshooting.

1176 Limiters x2 - ground issues and power supply cap replacement.

FENDER PRINCETON REVERB Amp - faulty ground connection causing oscillations and noise and a failed resistor in the HT supply.

FENDER SUPER REVERB - Early 70s Fender bassman that face-planted. Confirmed safe operation, isolated bad pre-amp tube. Confirmed bias and all voltages.

HAMPTONE Tube pre-amp - Recap.

D&R Mixer - IC replacement, resistor replacement (bad IC cooked power supply).

LINE 6 Delay Unit - power supply (internal) repair. Fault caused by incorrect wall wart (common issue).

PHILLIPS 209 Automatic Turntable - a cranky TT from the early 70s. Had problems with the discrete transistor flip-flop circuits in its brain. Totally degraded rubber parts (idler wheels, belt) and other frustrations. Fully restored to working condition.

ALLEN & HEATH DJ Mixer - headphone jack tip stuck in jack. Bleeding fader. Repaired jack and cleaned fader.

Various Headphone repair - cable replacement etc...  a pain in the butt but often worth it.

ELECTRO-VOICE Dynamic Mic repair - changed to XLR high-impedance from original 5 pin cable (mic has 2 impedance options wired internally).

PIONEER Tape Deck - stuck tape preventing door from opening. Disassembled and removed.

TECHNICS 1200 x2 RCA replacement.

MARANTZ 1530 Receiver - bulb replacement and cleaning.

STANTON DJ Turntable - ground issues, motor issues. Repaired, lubricated.

HOHNER Symphonic 320 organ repair. Adjusted several oscillators that had drifted causing the overtones to dominate the tone. Ds sounded like As, Bb sounded like F, etc... Minor calibration restored the tuning. THIS WAS JUST ME (much of my own gear is in need of maintenance)! I have possessed this organ for years and am happy to have it back in shape.

...and certainly more that I have forgotten as well, as usual.


Thursday, May 25, 2017

STARK 9-66 TUBE TESTER REPAIR


The Tube Tester was needed for some tube testing recently and I had to get in there and troubleshoot a few problems. There was B+, but no bias voltage or heater voltage. This machine uses two separate power supplies to generate the needed DC. A 5Y3 Rectifier tube had finally gone bad in the low voltage supply. Replacing this tube as well as the AC cord (brittle) and cleaning all sockets and switches (particularly the NORMAL/LIFE TEST switch) restored proper functionality and the machine can be used again! Basic maintenance after 60 yrs.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

SPRINGTIME @ E.C.H. 2017

SHARP VZ-3500 Linear TT / Cassette Boombox (speakers not shown)

Spring is here and with it comes spring cleaning and fresh starts. Why not freshen up your sound system? I have been delighted to spruce up a variety of integrated amps and other stereo equipment for some people lately. In almost all cases the problems have turned out to be minor and fully addressable. Here are a few examples that required next to nothing in parts cost (one TT motor, a 12V bulb, some LEDs) and minimal labour. All of these units were brought back to fully working condition for less that $100, often much less.

NIKKO ND100W Cassette deck - high frequency noise on playback
 - cleaned internal record switch. Bias oscillator signal was leaking into playback.

MACKIE 1202-MZ Mini Mixer - unreliable
 - full cleaning including master send select buttons (causing intermittent drop-outs)

TECHNICS SL 1400 Direct Drive Turntable - left channel dead
 - New RCA installed

CEC HD53 Headphone Amp - erratic left channel
 - Cleaned and reseated all ICs

ROTEL RX 602 and 202 - erratic, noisy, dropouts
 - full cleaning of all pots and switches

LUXMAN L-410 - condition unknown, pulled from extended storage
 - full cleaning and testing of all INS/OUTs

LUXMAN M-02 Power Amp - distortion at all volumes, VU backlights dead
 - cracked/dry solder in driver stage and protection relays repaired.
 - LEDs to replace VU backlights.
 - full cleaning of all pots and switches.

LUXMAN C-02 Pre-Amp - erratic, noisy
 - full cleaning of all pots and switches

HARMON KARDON hk330 VI Receiver - LCD screen dead, volume knob loose
 - new 12V mini-bulb for LCD backlight, tighten volume pot

HARMON KARDON 430 - no output right channel, turner dial broken, bulbs out
 - right channel speaker protection fuse blown. Cleaned selector switch and tested for safe operation (expected output levels, low DC offset). Repaired tuner assembly. Replaced fuse-style bulbs with LED equivalents.

MARANTZ 2235 Receiver - no output, bulbs out
 - cleaned speaker protection relays, replaced fuse-style bulbs with LEDs.

TECHNICS SLBD 20D Turntable - too slow (progressively slower after exteded use)
 - Confirmed defect of DC servo motor, replaced. Strobe calibrated, confirmed working.

SHARP VZ-3500 Linear Turntable Boombox - not working at all
 - cleaned degraded belt from TT assembly, replaced belt. Replaced Linear Motor belt.
 - cleaned all pots and switches. TT, tape and radio working again.

CASIO CZ-3000 - two broken keys
 - repaired keys, full cleaning and testing.

==================================================================


Thursday, May 11, 2017

YAMAHA MT 4X motor replacement


I recently revitalized a YAMAHA MT4X 4 track recorder that had stopped working. The unit in question had a dead motor (exploded capacitor inside the motor, worn brushes). As these motors typically run the entire time the machine is powered up they burn through a lot of hours of use. Everything else in the machine seemed fine however, including the belt.


A new motor was sourced on the internet - a Sankyo SHU2L from a small company in Australia called PROBE - and installed. A transistor controlling motor voltage switching was replaced as well. The machine works fine again and should for many more years.

===================================================================

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

INSTAGRAM

I have an INSTAGRAM profile now. I will try to put exciting pictures of the insides of things and outsides of things from time to time. My main activity is actually spending time fixing things so don't expect too much action in the digital realm.

instagram.com/echrepairs



===================================================================

Saturday, March 4, 2017

MORE RECENT JOBS - February 2017

In the last few weeks I have had the pleasure of restoring or modifying:

Saturday, February 11, 2017

LAST MONTH at E.C.H. - January 2017

A brief summary of some of the pieces to pass through E.C.H. last month, with a complete lack of exciting pictures!

Friday, September 30, 2016

NEW FACEBOOK PAGE


ECH now has a facebook PAGE for social media basic representation!