Akai GX-220D Repair And Restoration

Almost every vintage unit needs to be disassembled for cleaning and to fix existing problems. This Akai GX-220D tape deck is no exception.

This Akai open reel tape deck was manufactured in 1970.

Like most of the old reel to reels that I see the tape path of this Akai GX-220D needs a good cleaning.

Many of the parts in the tape path will need to be removed. Always have the service manual available for the unit before you start any vintage stereo restoration.

An important area to clean during any reel to reel repair or restoration are the heads. The head cover that I have removed just pulls straight off.

Be careful when you start to remove parts on any tape deck. There are small washers everywhere and they can easily be missed if they fall.

Lay out the pieces in a way that makes sense to you. Don't get to far ahead of yourself. Service a section and put it back together before moving on.


Now I have the back panel of this Akai GX-220D open reel tape deck removed.

I have also removed the front faceplate so it can be cleaned as well as to take a look at the mechanics of this Akai GX-220D.

Lots of "stuff" in here! Pretty smart guys back in the day that designed these units.

With the faceplate off of this Akai GX-220D you can see the 45 year old grease that looks like peanut butter.

Use some alcohol along with a rag and/or paper towels to get the old grease cleaned up.

Q-tips dipped in alcohol also work well to get into tighter places. Don't forget to replace the cleaned up old grease with some new grease.

I've got the faceplate back on after doing some cleaning and as always give the unit a quick check to make sure all is still well before moving on.

The picture below shows the bottom panel removed. With this panel removed you have access to pots that are used for calibration adjustments.

One of the start capacitors in this Akai GX-220D reel to reel tape deck has begun leaking.

If you have this type of goop coming from any capacitor it goes without saying, it's time to replace it. It lasted 45+ years and that's pretty good.

The inside of the back panel is also covered as the capacitor had a small explosion and blew it's guts in different directions.

This one can contains two separate start capacitors, 1.0uf and a 2.0uf. Notice the 250 AC voltage rating, not DC.

The can capacitors are no longer available so I will use modern start capacitors that are still used with fan and air conditioning equipment.

Three wires on the old can capacitor. You must have the Akai GX-220D schematic available for reference.

I've wired in the new start capacitors using heat shrink tubing. I'll see if the unit is operating before I permanently mount the new capacitors.

You will sometimes need to improvise. The original can capacitor was mounted at the front of the chassis, the new capacitors are side mounted.

I've marked on the new start capacitors the date when they were replaced. This may help the next guy who works on the tape deck.

The picture below shows the original capacitor along with the replacements in the background.

There are a total of three start capacitor cans in the Akai GX-220D reel to reel tape deck. This is the can near the rear of the take up motor.

Before removing the wires take some pictures and/or write the lead colors down on a piece of paper. This will help you if you have a problem later on.

The picture below shows the can capacitor has been removed from this Akai GX-220D open reel tape deck.

This can start capacitor has two sections, one 3.0uf and the other 1.0uf. 260 AC voltage rating, once again this is an AC not DC rating.

The two modern start capacitors shown below will replace the two section original can capacitor that is no longer available.

I've mounted the new capacitors and started to wire them in. Sometimes vintage stereo restoration or repair requires you to improvise.

I've got the new start capacitors wired up. Once again when you have completed a section give the unit a quick check to make sure all is well before moving on.

Two of the three original can capacitors have been replaced. Now only the can capacitor near the rear of the supply motor needs to be replaced.

This can capacitor is not wired like the other one so take a picture of it. A picture can help in case you need it for troubleshooting down the road.

When you cut the wires on the original can capacitor leave a little bit on the capacitor. Having some of the color of the insulator may help you.

I've got the new start capacitors mounted in this Akai GX-220D open reel tape deck and it's time to wire them up.

Before permanently tie wrapping the wires into place I'll give the Akai GX-220D a quick test to make sure all is well.

The start capacitors have been replaced and everything is put back in neatly. It's time to do some bench testing on this Akai GX-220D.

I'll use a magnetic reference laboratory test tape which is the standard for reel to reel calibration.

This Akai GX-220D's frequency response numbers are excellent, 24HZ to 27,000HZ +-2DB. Really outstanding for a late 60's early 70's design.

This Akai GX-220D reel to reel repair and restoration is complete. It's time for some music!