Sony EL-7 Repair And Restoration

This Sony EL-7 elcaset deck is in pretty good cosmetic shape if not perfect.

The elcaset format never took off in the late 1970's. This Sony EL-7 is the first elcaset tape deck I have ever touched.

This Sony EL-7 elcaset has similar features to a cassette deck of the same era.

The Sony EL-7 is a tape deck so it has the same controls any cassette or reel to reel deck would have.

It's always a good idea to take a casual look before powering up a piece of equipment that you are not familiar with.

The first thing to do with any tape deck is to clean the tape path. Many of the tape decks I see have not been cleaned in years.

If your Q-Tip looks like this one then keep cleaning.

With the tape path of this Sony EL-7 elcaset tape deck now cleaned up I can see if the transport is working.

I found that the pinch roller assembly in this Sony EL-7 was stuck in place when putting the deck into play mode.

I removed the faceplate of this Sony EL-7 elcaset tape deck to see if I could access the pinch roller assembly from the front.

I was able to see the old grease in the pinch roller assembly had hardened. There is always some disassembly required on tape units.

I have loosened the head block and set the Sony El-7 elcaset tape deck on it's side so that I can clean up the old grease and install new.

With the head block removed I can now disassemble the pinch roller assembly and clean off the 40+ years of dried up old grease.

The dried up old grease shown in the picture below is acting more like glue then a lubricant. This will clean up easily with some alcohol and a rag.

After cleaning up the old grease and installing new this Sony EL-7 's pinch roller assembly is now working correctly.

Well Damn! Even the NOS elcaset tape that I purchased( which was expensive!) was gummed up. It wouldn't turn smoothly.

 I had to clean the tape hubs and then I used just a little grease.

Fortunately the tape would now move freely. After putting the elcaset tape case back together I'll try it in the Sony EL-7.

With the faceplate removed from this Sony EL-7 elcaset tape deck it will be much easier to clean up decades of dirt and grime.

I will be replacing the two rubber belts in the Sony EL-7. The old capstan belt is shown below still installed.

While I have the capstan motor accessible I'll clean up the pulley.

This pulley had some tape residue that could not be cleaned up by liquid alone. I used some fine sandpaper to completely remove the tape residue.

I will also clean up the old grease and install some new. This Sony EL-7 repair and restoration is getting closer to completion.

With the new capstan belt installed, the pulley cleaned up, and new grease installed this Sony EL-7 is getting closer to starting it's next 40 years.

I found that the fast forward and rewind function were not working correctly. I had to remove the tape hubs. These are accessed from the bottom.

There are two 1mm hex screws that need to removed. Once removed the tape hubs will slide off the shaft.

Once the tape hubs are removed the shafts and hubs can be cleaned up. Once serviced, the fast forward and rewind worked fine.

The pots and switches were cleaned with deoxit. Some disassembly is almost always required to properly clean the controls of vintage audio equipment.

With the assemblies loosened from the chassis it is much easier to get the deoxit cleaner where it needs to be.

I have replaced the faceplate, knobs etc. along with verifying that the tape loads and unloads properly.

It's now time to do some bench testing on this Sony EL-7 elcaset tape deck.  

This Sony EL-7 records, plays, rewinds and fast forwards well.

This Sony EL-7 elcaset tape deck repair and restoration is complete. It's time for some music!