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Nagra repair


John Mills

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I have a Nagra IV-SJ and a Nagra IV-D that operate normally mechanically and play back OK, but neither of them record.  Input signals and Reference tone show on the meter.  They were fully operational last time they were used but they have not been turned on for some years.  I don't have the equipment or skills to troubleshoot.  I do have the Instruction and Service Manuals, Schematic Drawings and Technical Specifications.  Any suggestion for  someone who would repair these recorders?   I am in the Los Angeles/Ventura area.

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  • 5 weeks later...

Jon:

Many thanks for the reference, I contacted Forrest and he is doing the repair for me.  Now I need someone who can work on Sony TCD-D10 DAT recorders. I have four that have been in storage for years and are not working.  They were good before they were put away.

John Mills

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Ironically, it is much harder (if not impossible) to get DATs repaired (especially portable units) than it is to get even a very old Nagra (like III) worked on these days.  Nagras give some kind of pleasure to techs working on them, like old cars etc.  DATs are just a terrible pain in the ass.

If your DATs really were working ok when you stopped using them and were stored under reasonable circumstances then it would be worth trying to gently get the transports running again by cleaning the heads and the guides and then putting some sacrificable tapes in them and trying to get them to lace up and run at play speed.  Do the machines run well enough to give you a  BLER count?  The issues with DATs are almost always the transport and heads (as in clogged) vs the electronics...

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I would guess that has to do with the fact that Nagras are mostly from the era of discrete electronics, whereas DATs are much more reliant on integrated circuits and use much smaller, denser, more complex circuit boards.  Long story short, I suspect they really are objectively harder to repair.

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5 hours ago, The Documentary Sound Guy said:

I would guess that has to do with the fact that Nagras are mostly from the era of discrete electronics, whereas DATs are much more reliant on integrated circuits and use much smaller, denser, more complex circuit boards.  Long story short, I suspect they really are objectively harder to repair.

The electronics are almost never the issue with DATs.  It's their poorly designed and manufactured transports that cause nearly all issues.  The transport consists of a great many small parts, motors and sensors and relies very much on the tape being at the correct (high) tension for the thing to work at all.  This is one reason that DATs didn't wear very well.

 

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No one to recommend, but perhaps an archivist can suggestion someone who maintains their machines? Ya, they'd be more into studio rather than field recorders, but a step in the right direction?

 

In SF Bay Area, BAVC is still doing archival/preservation work with tape formats, including DAT. Maybe ask for a recommendation?

https://www.bavc.org/programs/preservation/

 

And the Association of Moving Image Archivists had (and probably still has) a great email list and directories.

https://amianet.org

 

Other than that, maybe ask on a music-recording forum such as Gearspace.

https://gearspace.com

 

That's all I can think of. Good luck!

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I don't know if this is any use, as you're in the US, and the man who's repaired mine is in Ireland ..so that'll involve Customs declarations, and possibly import taxes, etc, but his name is Paul Carrington (all one word in an email), and he's at btinternet.com ..but he's trying to cut down on DAT repairs, he says.

 

Send him an email and see what he says ..he'll quote you an excellent price if he takes them on, and he works fairly quickly. If the machine(s) won't (reliably) load, it's probably stretched loading belts ..and he'll replace them, and do whatever other tweaking's necessary. He just fully restored my old HHB PortaDat ..and now it's perfect!

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  • 1 month later...


I got these DAT's repaired.
The guy who repaired them has worked with DAT's from day one, and he is good to work with.  His name is Mark, he owns FET Electronics, in Burbank, 
818 954 9656, 818 881 2656.  He works on a lot of consumer equipment.
John

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