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Author Topic: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn  (Read 10193 times)

channel29

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FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« on: May 01, 2013, 10:28:42 am »

Hi,

I was hoping someone here may have some experience with the Fostex E-16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel.  It powers up fine, rewinds, but won't play or FF.  Sometimes if you give it a little help it will roll a bit, but it's almost as if something is seized or holding it back.  If anyone has any ideas on things I can check myself, before I bring it to a dealer would be much appreciated.

Cheers!

radardoug

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2013, 04:07:40 pm »

Throw it in the bin, its well past its use-by date!
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channel29

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2013, 08:34:57 am »

Throw it in the bin, its well past its use-by date!

lol, I just KNEW someone was going to say that!  I have a shtton of old 16 track masters from various forays into the studio going back to the mid 80's which of COURSE I have grand plans import into PT to remix better than the originals and become famous so this is very important! 

mbrebes

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2013, 01:09:25 pm »

First things to check:
1.  Is the capstan spinning in Play?
2.  If capstan is spinning is the pinch roller making contact?

I am assuming that one of the two is not happening.  If they were both operational, it would be spooling out tape if the take-up motor was not working.
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channel29

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2013, 10:56:01 am »

First things to check:
1.  Is the capstan spinning in Play?
2.  If capstan is spinning is the pinch roller making contact?

I am assuming that one of the two is not happening.  If they were both operational, it would be spooling out tape if the take-up motor was not working.
Thanks Michael, I just checked now and the capstan IS spinning however the pinch roller is not making contact.  If I give the pinch roller a little nudge down to the capstan the takeup reel begins to roll a bit but obviously I don't want to put much pressure and break anything.  I also noticed that the left tensioner arm does not slide up the little slot in the frame as the right side one does.  I really can't tell from the manual where these are supposed to be in various operation modes.  The one on the takeup reel stays down in play but I can push it up with my finger whereas the left side one I can't. 

Rick Sutton

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2013, 10:47:30 pm »

 Not to jump in un-invited as Mike knows his stuff, but as per where I believe his advice is leading you it is common that the solenoid in older machines gets sticky and will no longer pull the pinch roller up against the capstan. I've had to re-lube and often re-tension these solenoids on several machines over the years. I don't know your machine specifically but the pinch roller solenoid is where I would start. Unfortunately there are other common transport problems that may also be in play but it is often pretty basic mechanical issues that drag old machines down including sensor switches not activating and take up motor not receiving voltage  (or as simple as the brake bands sticking thus keeping it from pulling tape) etc. Most of these issues occur after years of non-use.
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channel29

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2013, 09:24:45 am »

Thanks Rick I appreciate everyones input INCLUDING the advice from Doug to throw it in the bin lol, as we'll see what kind of money this is all looking like.  But more specific to your comment, certainly it hasn't been used in many years.  The bass player for my old band gave it to me a couple years ago and he'd had it for some years without use so perhaps these issues are a result of that.  Rick would you know if there are any service manuals lurking around the internet, that would break down how to open this sucker up and check these things?

Cheers!

radardoug

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2013, 04:58:03 pm »

At least I got the thread started again for you!

There are several things to consider on the E16. Its been quite a while since I saw one, but I used to service them.
The E16 uses the two swing arms on each side to control tension, and varies the power to the motors via processor control. In addition the pinch wheel is pulled in against the capstan by a solenoid.
Then there is the problem of tape shedding.

THE MOST COMMON PROBLEM I SEE THESE DAYS IS DIRTY MACHINES!!

You are playing old tapes. Are they Ampex/Quantegy tapes?
If so, shedding is most likely your problem.

You need to clean ALL parts of the tape path that come into contact with the tape. The goo that comes off 456 is very sticky and colorless. So you need to be scrupulous with your cleaning.
And don't forget guide posts and rollers.

I got the impression the takeup side was not pulling up. If so you have a problem with the power going to the takeup motor. This could be caused by:
Faulty motor
Faulty drive electronics
Faulty tension sensor.
Lots of possibilities.

As previously suggested, the pinch roller should pull in against the capstan and pull the tape through. But if your tape path is dirty it will have trouble doing this.
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channel29

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2013, 01:00:00 pm »

At least I got the thread started again for you!.....

That you did lol!  Thanks Doug and I wasn't being facetious when I said your first response was a distinct possibility!  The actual reel I've been trying to get going with is AMPEX but is a blank reel.  It IS old though so would shedding still be an issue?  I wasn't going to even risk putting one of the old recorded masters until I determined the machine was operating properly.  Worse come to worst I will bring them to properly equipped studio and have transferred to digital.

Cheers

mbrebes

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #9 on: May 13, 2013, 01:49:25 pm »

I agree with Rick, it could be the solenoid.  I would clean the whole assembly up and make sure that the pinch roller assembly turns on the shaft without any sticking.  You also need to remember that the pinch roller has probably shrunken through the years.  You will need to adjust the pinch roller tension so that it will grab the tape.  Probably need to pull off the front skin to get at the adjustments.
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channel29

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2013, 02:03:43 pm »

Good stuff thanks Rick, I take it just a matter of removing the screws on the front face?

jamesp

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2013, 10:45:46 am »

Rick would you know if there are any service manuals lurking around the internet, that would break down how to open this sucker up and check these things?

I put a copy up at

http://www.4shared.com/account/file/jFMH30mm/fostexE16manual.html

a while ago for someone else - hopefully it is still there but I can't see the 4shared site from here.

James.
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James Perrett - JRP Music
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Timtape

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Re: FOSTEX E16 1/2" 16 Track Reel to Reel won't turn
« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2013, 06:37:24 am »

I agree with Rick, it could be the solenoid.  I would clean the whole assembly up and make sure that the pinch roller assembly turns on the shaft without any sticking.  You also need to remember that the pinch roller has probably shrunken through the years.  You will need to adjust the pinch roller tension so that it will grab the tape.  Probably need to pull off the front skin to get at the adjustments.

Over time the pinch roller rubber usually goes hard. The only real solution is a new or re-rubbered pinch roller. Then the new pinch roller needs to be adjusted as per the service manual.

Speaking more generally,  a project like this would be done quite differently if done by well trained/  highly skilled people.

As mentioned , quite likely at least some of the tapes will be vulnerable to Sticky Shed Syndrome. The rule is to first identify which tapes are in this category and treat them. We never attempt to play such tapes at all before suitable treatment. The risk is damage to either or both the tapes and the machine, but especially the tapes.

Then there's the playback machine. The machine itself should be got back into excellent working condition , again well before a tape is played on it. Machines can damage tapes and tapes can damage machines... but since the tapes are usually "one off" recordings it's usually far more important to avoid damage to the tapes.

A service manual is a good start but remember these machines are old now and may have developed faults not necessarily covered in the manual, which generally addresses newer  machines.

In the end, the amount of time and trouble you go to over such a project  depends on how much you value the recordings and what standard of quality you expect from them. With legacy formats and recordings like this it's dead easy to get a result of some sorts but often a lousy result that may not do justice to the original recordings.  Again it's up to you.

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