Gear / Technical Help > Ask The Tapers

start up for OLD Norelco

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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.

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!

I am a user of old tape machines, mostly cassette, but am a member of 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      but they are "moderated joining" so you have to fill in a short questionaire and then they take 24-48 hours to approve it.

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 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.

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?


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