You’re not supposed to use alcohol to clean your cassette deck, right?

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by John Pine, Aug 18, 2004.

  1. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Doesn’t it dry out the components or something? I went to buy some cleaning solution, but it’s main content was alcohol. Would it be ok to use alcohol for cleaning once a year? My deck gets little use these days. Any feedback?
     
  2. Matt Gordon

    Matt Gordon Supporting Actor

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    It'll be fine, John. [​IMG]

    Make sure you use a cotton swab and get the rubber wheels, capstans, and especially the read heads. When I was in radio, I cleaned the equipment all the time with that cleaner (or regular denatured alcohol, which is probably cheaper).

    Matt
     
  3. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    Plain drugstore alcohol will dry out the rubber. If you've found a cleaning solution specifically designed for cleaning tape machines, I would assume that it has some kind of additional ingredient that will minimize this effect.
     
  4. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Matt: Thanks, that's what I thought too.

    Philip: Even with just an annual cleaning? Ok.....you've got me intrigued now. What cleaning solution are you using and where did you get it?
     
  5. CalvinCarr

    CalvinCarr Supporting Actor

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    What's a tape deck?[​IMG]
     
  6. Kevin Farley

    Kevin Farley Second Unit

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    Don't use alcohol on the rubber pinch rollers, just the heads. And the metal post that is connected to the pinch roller.
     
  7. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Calvin: hehehe....good one! I'm sure there are young guys on this forum that have never used one.

    Kevin: Understood. If I clean everything else thoroughly, is it even necessary to buy something to clean the pinch rollers?
     
  8. Philip Hamm

    Philip Hamm Lead Actor

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    I am using a bottle of "Geneva" tape head cleaner that I got about 20 years ago.
     
  9. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Philip: Ohh....ok....thanks, but that's not goin' help me. Now I understand why you didn't say in the first place. hehehe
     
  10. Glenn Overholt

    Glenn Overholt Producer

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    Alcohol, used alone, lease a residue, even if it is the best cleaner to use.

    In order to remove the reside, anothr chemical was added. It used to be one of the Freons (112, I think), but they may have changed that because of the ozone layer. Radio Shack should have what you're looking for, or any electronic gear repair store.

    Glenn
     
  11. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    I always used that 91% pure alcohol to clean and used it on the rubber rollers too. I had 2 Tandberg decks that I had for many, many years and the rollers never got hot and bothered. Same with my reel to reel decks too...
     
  12. Ted Lee

    Ted Lee Lead Actor

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    i wouldn't recommend it either. alcohol will definitely dry out the rubber. it may be minimal, or take many years to happen ... but it will happen. why take a chance?

    i'm pretty sure there's some specially formulated stuff you can buy. as stated, rat-shack is a good bet.

    excuse me while i skip down memory lane...

    remember buying those maxell 10-pack bricks? for me, it was like a kid in a candy store. i remember going to my car...thinking about what mixed tape i was gonna make next...how i was gonna theme it, what order i was going to put the songs in.

    i miss my nakamichi deck. i had the one that auto-reversed by ejecting and rotating the cassette. no azimuth problems and my friends always said, "cool!"

    at one time, i think i had over 200 store-bought cassettes and probably another 200 or so in compilations.

    good times!
     
  13. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

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    To my knowledge alcohol will not leave a residue. Various methods of denaturing and the substances used could leave a residue. Everclear (witch is not denatured) and should be available in your local spirit shoppe might be the best possible solution if your going to use alcohol.I Don't think a periodical cleaning with a dilute 50/50 solution of Everclear and purified non mineralized water (which also would not leave any residue) the type recommended for steam irons should be perfect. Sterile Q-Tips saturated then squeezed dry using non-powdered surgical gloves should be about as perfect a method that you will find. Personally, I would't go to this extreme. Just the 50/50 solution and a little care when cleaning would work for me. Edit- Distilled Water was the term that escaped me 50/50 Everclear/Distilled Water, Good luck
     
  14. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

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    Here's another benefit of the above rec. After your tedious attention to detail during the cleaning process, take one ounce of your cleaning solution and add to a half grass of orange juice. Salute to a job well done.
     
  15. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    Pure isopropyl alcohol (IPA) won't leave a residue. The stuff you get in a drug store will (rubbing alcohol).

    Place like mcmelectronics and partsexpress.com have the stuff specifically to clean rubber (pinch rollers).

    I have a bottle of this stuff from Teac that I got years ago. An oily like solvent type liquid. Maybe freon containing.
     
  16. JackS

    JackS Supporting Actor

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    Iso-propyl may be fine (dunno). If using Iso-propyl, probably best to forget the little after work party that was planned using the ethyl. Isopropyl-Alcohol= BOr-ing
     
  17. John Pine

    John Pine Supporting Actor

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    Glenn, Rachel, Ted & Jack thanks guys and gals for the good information! I'll check out more local (Atlanta) shops this weekend. I just bought a used (eBay) Denon DRM-710 deck and I want to get it "Ship/Shape, before using it.

    Kevin: Kevin Brown...Kevin Brown.....man that name sounds familiar. Do you work for Honeywell?
     
  18. Rachael B

    Rachael B Producer

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    Isopropyl alcohol is the 91% pure stuff I alluded to. I think rubbing alcohol is 70% pure??? It should be avoided. It will leave considerable residue. Even isppropyl will leave a tiny residue but it's better than having an oxide residue.

    I've always heard that isopropyl was gonna dry out rubber rollers. I didn't heed the warning. I wanted those suckers clean so they wouldn't cross-contaminate the heads. I used alot of isopropyl on decks I kept a long time without ever drying out a single roller. My last reel to reel which I got in 1982 was bathed with isopropyl regularly till 2000 when I sold it. I sold it to somebody I know and it's stille going strong.

    I lamblasted my 2 Tandberg cassette decks with isopropyl too. Never a problem with the rollers. I used both of them for approximately 20 years. They died because parts other than rollers were no longer available.

    I think that extreame cleanliness outwieghs any fears that rollers are going to dry out prematurely. It doesn't really matter if rollers last 50-100 years, the rest of the deck surely won't![​IMG]

    The distilled water to get for the cleanest possible rinse is the triple-distilled water that's used for medical applications, since somebody mentioned it. My father worked at a hospital and used to bring it home to me for vinyl cleaning.

    Di nada, John![​IMG]
     
  19. Kevin C Brown

    Kevin C Brown Producer

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    John- Nope, but it's a common enough name...

    I still play some baseball every now and then though. [​IMG]
     
  20. Yee-Ming

    Yee-Ming Producer

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    Funny this topic should come up, a few days ago I was digging through an old box of casettes at my mother's place, looking for my old tape of Eddie Murphy' stand-up routines. Couldn't find it, but I found cassettes where I'd recorded the BBC's Two Cheers shows, which were spoof news round-ups done in the inimitable British way. It was quite a hoot to play these in the tape deck in the car on the way to work the past two days -- the car's tape deck is the only one I have now. Which will be a real pain to clean if necessary [​IMG]

    As an aside, I was quite amazed that a recording I made in 1987 sounded fine, within the limitations of the source (BBC World Service isn't exactly hi-fi). So I can personally vouch that a decent cassette tape can and does last in excess of 17 years, even in this climate (really really humid).
     

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