Project 1960s Rediffusion Reditune TP48A
My never ending quest to find a period, background music system
SIS Music Master S2 (No tapes)
Reditune TP80 (Failed Motor, and other faults)
Now this Reditune TP48 which I think is the new rightful owner of the title “swampy!”
I've unearthed this thing, and when I say unearthed I'm speaking metaphorically, but it certainly looks like it was an archaeological find. This came from a farm, it is complete, with power lead and original, small, round-pin plug. Plus a bonus a lot of carts, though these are also in equally awful condition, many of the pinch rollers in the carts are beyond hope. Correction; only one cart was beyond hope.
I have to say, I'll never understand the collector that thinks, "hmmm must save this piece of history”, only to then proceed to store it in the most inappropriate place to ensure its eventual destruction. I've seen it time and time again, especially with TVs in barns or tin sheds or leaking sheds. I think if you can't store it, don't bother, or let someone else have it who will. Anyway......
There is not a lot of info out there about the TP48, my assumption is it came after the TP1 which was released around 1957/8 and before the TP80 which was the most popular in the 70s and 80s. I'm guessing early to mid 1960s. I suppose you could say out of the frying pan with the TP80 and into the fire with this TP48A, and you'd not be wrong.
OK, what are the positives? Well, only one really it's complete, no missing bits, and yes, it's a complete mess, there's so much to sort out. I'll list some initial findings, seized capstan, seized eject, solenoid is OK, Track select OK, but body of that has pulled away from unit, due to rotted screws, so it won't work until it's secured, that means drilling and tapping. Head positioning is free and floating OK, volume pot rotates, motor rotates, belt perished, fuses OK. Most screws are rotted and just break off. It's going to make a full strip down tough, lots of drilling out and self tappers needed.
I'm not sure certain it's even a viable project, but I'll give it a go, as I really want to have a background music system running in the museum. Anyway, enough waffle, I'll let the pictures speak far better than I.
Worst of the barn crud removed, TP48A moved to the stockroom bench where it will remain to be worked on before getting into the main workshop.
Will I ever get a period background music system working for the museum? I really hope so, and I would dearly like it to be this one, as it has such a wide genre range of carts. Oh well, wish me luck, but as I say this is going to be a long haul project with a very slim chance it can be resurrected.
One positive I've discovered is the large batch of carts are compatible with my other TP80 Reditune machine. Although they are shorter, they are identical in operation. I loaded them into the TP80, they align correctly to the tape head, the spindle engages with the carts internal pinch roller, and the cart fits into the lock and eject mech.
I'm not certain, but I believe the larger carts just held more music, as the cart has much more tape than the half size cart. Then again they might have done so by running at a slower speed, I won't know until one of the machines is working. If nothing else comes of this rotten TP48, at least I might be able to clean, and might be able to use these carts, on the TP80 giving me quite a nice library.
If it looks like a basket case, smells like a basket case, it is a basket case.
The more I look at this, the more I think I should cut my losses, and put it in the bin and count myself lucky I managed to get a suite of tapes out of the deal.
However, I plodded on, repaired the unit that selects the tracks. This is nothing more than a glorified cam that adjusts the play head up and down. The problem was the two screws that mounted the block to the case had sheared off. I used the old screw stubs a locating locks, then drilled a new hole in the case and base of the cam block, it worked a treat.
Next the capstan, this is stiff but does rotate, however the spindle up top does not. As I've indicated in another thread, I've little or no experience in how Audio tape systems of any sort work. Question; how does one go about removing the capstan wheel. I didn't figure this out on the TP80 and now the same with this TP48. I removed the circlip, removed the securing nut and expected to be able to withdraw the wheel and spindle in one go, but no it steadfastly refused to withdraw. This was the same scenario on the TP80, so I gather I'm being a newb, and fail to grasp what is required to achieve removal. Any advice greatly appreciated.
That thing looks like a nightmare!! Normally on all the tape machines I've ever worked on (bog standard cassette's!) you just take a plate off the back of the capstan and it just falls out.. Yours is odd, how can the wheel rotate, and not the actual capstan? Maybe it's just rusted in and needs a good tug to shift it, but I'd wait until someone else says that too before trying it!
That thing looks like a nightmare!!
Indeed, and I'm so close to thinking, stick it in the shed and forget it. There's no way this is going anywhere near the workshop. I think I could spend hundreds of hours on this, and it will still look like a bag of ****. I may even find the heads are toast.
I think I should concentrate my efforts on the TP80, which at least stands a good chance of working If I can figure out why it keeps tripping, and what is up with the amp side of things.
What I am intrigued about though is the capstan, as I said above, both the TP80 and this TP48 when the circlip and nut are removed, the wheel just does not withdraw. I'm wondering if there is a circlip up top somewhere, though I cannot see where.
There could be one hidden up there, I was looking at the top end of the capstan and wondering what that reddish brown stuff is? Is it potting compound, or some sort of rubber? I'm thinking that maybe there's some sort of bearings in there, or a friction drive maybe? Also, what is the black thing next to it, from here it looks to be either a screw, or a rubber bung?
After some brute force, and evenly applied pressure behind, the capstan wheel finally gave up its grip. Removing the side panels greatly increased my ability to gain better purchase behind the wheel.
I now know why there is no rotation to the capstan shaft up top, the bearings are seized. I'll try heating them up and apply copious amounts of lube to see if they can be freed up. I've also managed to get the eject mech working, that again was seized, but some oil and taps with the hammer dislodged it.
For this to stand any chance of ever working, properly, a total strip down, is going to be required. No point touching any of the electronics (which are very basic) until then.
Got sick and tired of after touching swampy, being covered in filth, decided to give him a shower. At least when I work on it now, both the bench and I don't end up covered in swamp turds.
Just a reminder, as he was before
And now ......
That looks a lot better! One of the best things I ever installed in my workshop is a sink! I wouldn’t be without it now!
@crustytv Hi crusty
i have joined this group after reading about your exploits with the TP80 machine. I worked at Reditune on and off for 20 years in sales . There is even a rarer TP80 machine than the one you have ..the blue machines are mono.....the inputs on the back are for micophone and for a unit called a Spot Announcer.....Reditune would record subscribers in house announcements etc etc...this unit would mute the music whilst the spot is played. The rarer TP80 a red one is stereo. The music cartridges were always supplied on a rental basis. As i think you have found out the TP48 mahines and TP80 play same format of tape. The ref to "CT" is i think referring to "common terminal"....connect speaker line to ct and 100v or ct and 50v......the advantage of both 100 and 50 v speaker lines is that you could for example connect twice as many speakers tapped at say half a watt say in an office on 50 volt line as oppose to 100volt ....if i remember correctly the TP 80 had to see a minimum impedance of 100 ohms. Hope this is of interest to you.
Hi Jim, a very warm welcome to the VRAT.
Wow! Fantastic, a real treat to speak to someone who actually worked for Reditune, there is very little information out there to call upon and seems even less folk who actually worked there. I think you're as rare as the player themselves. 🤣
Thanks for your insight and information on the machines, indeed it is all very useful. I was aware there was a stereo machine, but only by chance. At one point, I didn't have any carts, but tracked down the very large ones which were located in Japan. When speaking to the chap who was selling them, I was concerned whether they were correct for my TP80, he assured me they were, explaining they worked both in the Mono & Stereo (A-HA!) machines, hence I bought them. Cost a small fortune, but I had little choice, as I thought the chances of finding any carts local, were next to impossible.
Again by chance and a tip off from a friend, I was made aware of the TP48, complete with carts, but it was about to be sent to the recycling centre, so had to act swiftly. When I purchased the TP48, I had no idea the smaller carts that came with it, were also compatible with the TP80. I'm very pleased that they are, as I now have a wide choice of content, just itching to hear what's on them. Upon opening up the carts, I was pleasantly surprised to find them in good condition, despite initially the cases looking awful. I've cleaned them all up and, as a precaution, they're sitting near one of the museum/workshop storage heaters. The building, which houses my collection, is kept at a constant 23-24°C, the tapes should feel a lot more comfortable after having spent nigh on 50 years in a barn.
As you're probably aware, both my TP80 and TP48 players have their own issues. The TP80 had a motor failure, which I've resolved, but I'm left with a number of problems to resolve, tripping and amplifier faults. Then of course there's course swampy (TP48), which has not been cared for. He's in intensive care, and it's touch and go whether he can be made to work again, but I'm not giving up on him.
Are you in touch with any of your colleagues at Reditune? If you've not seen this article (link below) on my blog, it might be of interest. Maybe you recognise some of the staff, perhaps you're even there. What I'd dearly love to find is a circuit diagram, but I think I've more chance of finding Lord Lucan. 😉
Still, there's always hope, I never thought I'd find what I have thus far, and now you've popped in too.
Today, I removed the eject mechanism and the motor from swampy.
Although I had previously freed up the eject mech, the linkage had corrosion, it also relies on sliding on the cabinet baseplate, which was also heavily rusted. Thankfully, all the retaining nuts freed up, and everything came out in one piece. This allowed me to get the dremel out to remove all the crud.
Still not managed to free up the capstan spindle, I've left it soaking with penetrating oil, this is no doubt going to put up a fight
Now the motor is out, I can feel it rotates beautifully smooth, which is a nice surprise, I fully expected it to feel rough. Next checking resistance across the windings, thankfully I find they are not open. First bit of good news on this sorry Reditune.
Managed to get the capstan spindle removed. Indeed, as Lloyd and I suspected, there was another circlip hidden up top, and it was under that brown Bakelite cap along with another set of bearings. Once the clip was removed, a few taps of the hammer, and the spindle cam out along with the top bearings.
The bearings up top run free, though will need good cleaning and regreasing. However, the ones at the bottom are well and truly stuck in the capstan spindle housing, and still seized. I will give this another good soaking in penetrating oil and leave overnight. I think I'm going to have to give them a good whack to free up the grip, the rust has on it.
If I can just get past this stuck bearing hurdle, I'm confident the mechanical side of things will be overcome, as there isn't a lot to it. That would then just leave sourcing a very large flat belt, and hoping the head is not overly worn.
Compared to all this mechanical trouble, the electronics should be straight forward to fix..... Famous last words a!
Bearing out, I think I'm going to have to source a new one though, looking at it shows they are just balls of total rust. Hopefully I can source the same size from somewhere.
Found the exact bearings on eBay 5mm 16mm 5mm, bought 2. 😎
That just leaves trying to find a belt, it's not your standard tape deck belt though, this might be more tricky.
The motor has been cleaned and oiled, the fly wheel also cleaned and polished up. The rubber belt had fused to the capstan surface, it seems to have reacted with it. However, despite looking rough, the surface is actually smooth to touch, it's almost like a photo print to the metal.
Cleaned the capstan spindle housing, that takes the bearings. Also, replaced the distorted PVC cover on the shaped plate, I used real leather.
The new bearings have now arrived, so reassembly has begun.
The real main problem I'm left with now, is finding a suitable replacement drive belt. I've all manner of belts stocked in my workshop, mainly VCR, and cassette types, nothing this size. The belt had broken into 5 pieces, But I believe the diameter to be 20cm.
The unit is looking so much better than when it first arrived. I plan to paint the alloy with silver hammered 'Hammerite'.
Would any Vratters know where I might source a suitable belt, to enable this project to continue. I've spent ages looking on Amazon and eBay, but not found anything suitable.
Width: 13mm (I guess 10mm will suffice)
Diameter: Approx 20cm (200mm)
Have you tried CPC? They show a range of flat belts. A longer flat belt could be cut and glued to size just to get machine going.
must admit I hadn't looked at CPC, I thought they'd only have all the thin stock, like I already have. I had started to wonder if I need to look at Vacuum cleaner, or tumble dryer options. I'll have a look at CPC now, to see what's on offer.
Likewise, I wondered about cutting and gluing, but thought that was a non-starter. I did find on eBay Flat belt in long lengths, and various widths. They were orange rather than black. Looked like you cut it to size to make your belt. I think it was to replace broken lathe belts. I also wondered how they achieved a good join.
Of all the challenges this Reditune has presented, I can see this belt one is going to be the hardest to overcome. Well, unless the heads are duff, then g'awd knows what I will do then.
Crust almighty! - What have you let yourself in for this time?!
Where to start? - Glad you've swapped the bearings. They were destined to give you grief if you hadn't, and I would not be surprised to find you'll end up changing the other two. I had a Ferguson VCR many moons ago, with equally rotten bearings in the head drum. You wouldn't believe the horrendous effect they had on video replay - And they didn't feel all that bad!
Drive belt? - Vacuum cleaner belts aren't a bad idea at all, but as you have found, you can buy lengths of flat belt to make up your own. To that end, there is a specific adhesive that you can buy which allows you to butt-joint the ends. It was something my brother used to use in his car repair business, and was invented specifically for joining and sealing "split" gaiters on CV joints etc. It's not hard to see how that would be developed into an adhesive for butt joining of belts.
For the rusty metal, I'd have a bit of a look around and see if "Evapo-Rust" is available anywhere nearby, or alternatively https://www.thompsonsltd.co.uk/qevp5l-evapo-rust-5l-rust-remover-liquid-solution-removes-metal-oxides-water-soluble.html It's also available via Amazon and eBay etc. It's brilliant stuff, and it literally dissolves away all rust and other oxides, leaving nothing but clean bare metal - It takes a few hours to do its best, but who's in a hurry?
The reassembly is well underway, the capstan spindle housing, capstan flywheel, eject mech, Play head and track select. The motor and capstan wheel run really smoothly now the bearings are replaced. I need to order some new circlips, as the one that secured the capstan flywheel, snapped in half due to corrosion.
The belt turned out as expected, a tad too large and my plan to splice and glue pointless. The problem? The new belt, unbeknown to me, and despite being described as rubber, is not flexible. This appears to be a fixed belt with no give, one side looks like material, the other side indeed rubber. I think it's designed for an adjustable tensioner type arrangement.
Back to square one ! As expected, sourcing a belt is going to cause more grief than anything else, and is scuppering progress now.