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Author Topic: start up for OLD Norelco  (Read 669 times)

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Offline 2reelrookie

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start up for OLD Norelco
« on: December 12, 2022, 08:19:56 PM »
I'm not sure which forum to post in so this is my starting point. I have an old Norelco type EL 3542 A/54 G. What is a safe way to power this up as it's been sitting for many years. It's a tube model...of which I can see 4 tubes.

Offline commongrounder

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2022, 09:31:15 AM »
Speaking from experience, the largest concern will be the capacitors, both electrolytic and film. The electrolytic caps may have become electrically leaky as they lost their “form” while sitting. The paper film caps used at that time may have also become leaky, where there is zero tolerance for leakage. This can throw off the normal operation of the circuitry causing poor, or no, sound. When a long disused device like this came into my shop, I would test the caps, and if they weren’t too far gone, I would slowly bring up the mains voltage over time to allow the electrolytic capacitors to reform without drawing too much current and potentially exploding. My general opinion is, if you intend to use this machine for serious tape playback, get it into the shop for a recapping, and a mechanical cleaning and relubrication. The heads can also be checked, to be sure they aren’t too worn to reproduce your tapes well. Best of luck!

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2022, 11:39:37 AM »
I am a user of old tape machines, mostly cassette, but am a member of tapeheads.net which the techies all recommend NOT powering old gear on using the normal wall plug. They almost 100% of the time use a bench power supply doing as commongrounder mentions bringing up the power gradually so as not to burn out caps (esp pwr supply caps).
oh https://www.tapeheads.net/      but they are "moderated joining" so you have to fill in a short questionaire and then they take 24-48 hours to approve it.
« Last Edit: December 15, 2022, 11:41:29 AM by rocksuitcase »
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Offline 2reelrookie

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #3 on: January 10, 2023, 09:10:42 PM »
Adding to my thread here. I've managed to power this unit up, without any 'magic' smoke coming from it. I noticed the  rewind function is not working. A little trouble shooting after lifting the top cover off to reveal the inner workings and I discover the three rubber discs that should contact the left reel are pretty much gone...They look like tiny discs that were glued into a small pockets on the aluminum drum. It's highly doubtful I'll find original pieces for these...is there an alternative I can use instead? I say doubtful I'll find replacements...I haven't tried yet to be honest. I just need something to put there to allow rewinding function. And, what suitable lubricant/grease can I carefully apply to some of the pivot points? There is evidence of a light grease used originally...and I know to apply any sparingly and careful.
« Last Edit: January 10, 2023, 09:23:31 PM by 2reelrookie »

Offline dyneq

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #4 on: January 10, 2023, 10:04:35 PM »
Here is the manual, which includes a parts list, etc. Like you say, very unlikely that you'll be able to source OEM parts, but it wouldn't hurt to make some calls to tape specialists who may have some NOS stuff or know others who do. Even if they don't have the parts you need, they may have suggestions for replacement materials for those rubber parts. I would imagine that they need to have enough friction to grab adjacent metal disc, similar to an automobile clutch?

You could try gently cleaning the metal disc of what looks like rubber that has rubbed off and then 'treat'/clean the 3 rubber discs. I seem to remember that back in the day that I had some cleaner that was marketed as being safe for the rubber capstans on my old cassette decks. Not sure if anyone still makes that or if there might be a DIY solution recipe out there?

Offline 2reelrookie

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #5 on: January 10, 2023, 10:13:38 PM »
Thanks for the manual link...I did use a Que Tip and Isop alcohol to try and clean the wheel....as well as a gentle scraping to remove material. At first I thought it had a soft Teflon like face to it...but I believe it should just be the aluminum wheel...am I correct on this?  I wonder if nothing else a small 'rubber' type bumper could be used. I'll do some more checking around. TY

Online goodcooker

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2023, 09:06:36 PM »

The tech who refurbed my cassette decks used food grade lithium grease on anything that slides and need lubrication against friction. Gently clean off any old hardened grease first.

Anything that spins got a bit of sewing machine oil.
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Offline 2reelrookie

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2023, 08:36:16 AM »
I'm hearing more than noise than I'd like to hear coming from this unit when it runs. Later on I'll try to record a snippet of it, as well as a short audio piece that I recorded into Audacity. That is assuming I can upload an audio file here...I see wav file as an option here... Thanks for the grease tip...

Offline dyneq

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #8 on: January 12, 2023, 09:36:01 AM »
Thanks for the manual link...I did use a Que Tip and Isop alcohol to try and clean the wheel....as well as a gentle scraping to remove material. At first I thought it had a soft Teflon like face to it...but I believe it should just be the aluminum wheel...am I correct on this?  I wonder if nothing else a small 'rubber' type bumper could be used. I'll do some more checking around. TY
It's hard to say without seeing it first hand, but the larger wheel seems to have old, hardened grease. For that, I'd remove it all, and reapply the same amount of fresh grease in the same area (check manual for correct grease, or ask an expert). For the 3 smaller wheels, it's too covered in to see what it is and try to guess what it should be.

If you're hearing squeaking and straining as it runs, don't run it any longer than necessary to diagnose. Apply sewing machine oil one drop at a time to metal on metal moving transport parts and then recheck.

Offline 2reelrookie

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #9 on: January 12, 2023, 01:53:52 PM »
There sounds to be a low rumble as it runs. I need to open things back up and explore the main large drive wheel to maybe learn more. Here's a brief audio clip of it running w/o any reels on it.

Offline 2reelrookie

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #10 on: January 12, 2023, 07:19:03 PM »
Opened things back up and watched & listened closer....There are three separate wheels that run this thing.

One for each speed. The noise is greatest when the middle speed is selected... and as I watch the wheel turn I can see a slight out of round spin to it. Naturally this is the speed I need to use..Short of finding an OEM replacement I fear I am out of luck. I have also determined that what I thought were small rubber discs that drive the individual spools are a cork material. I also see issues with the fast forward/rewind functions. FF the right hand spool turns fast...but the left spool has ever so slight reverse direction happening...working against the FF . Also, when attempting to rewind the right hand spool turns in the opposite direction...essentially creating a tug of war between the spools..

Offline rocksuitcase

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #11 on: January 13, 2023, 11:52:31 AM »
I highly suggest joining tapeheads if you wish to restore or have it restored. Some of those guys give great advice in the forums, but several of them are professional techs, and quite a few have R2R experience. Often, on some threads, an experienced tech will take up the person's question and guide them through step by step troubleshooting/repairing. Sort of like old skool PC forums.

Also, from what I read and see, most R2R's are bit "easier" to work on than say, cassette decks due to their size. Finally, Most of your rubber or cork parts have replacement materials these guys know of. Any bent metal part which needs replacing may be found on there. And, if not, those guys are quite direct, and will tell you upfront if it is a no go project.

Maybe this company has parts: (BTW- I believe, on rudimentary research, the Norelco is the same or similar design as the Philips).
https://www.electro-andijk.nl/index.php/categorien/bandrecorder/bandrecorder-snaren/philips-el3534-snarenset-detail

« Last Edit: January 13, 2023, 11:56:53 AM by rocksuitcase »
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Offline 2reelrookie

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Re: start up for OLD Norelco
« Reply #12 on: January 13, 2023, 03:51:12 PM »
Will do...thank you for this guidance. My dream is to have get my grandfathers reel to reel restored to working condition.

 

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