Hi Karl,
Especially if more than one person is doing the cleaning, I'd consider
the possibility of human error.  I used to regularly service cassette
decks from a recording facility and often I found cotton caught in the
pinch roller, and wound around the capstan shaft, obviously from less
than careful cleaning.

Tapes weaving at the capstan shaft and roller could be caused by a few
different things including a faulty pinch roller but also incorrect
pinch roller pressure, incorrect take up tension and back tension.
Once tapes start riding up or down the capstan, a permanently damaged
tape is often just about to happen. 

Cleaning of cassette deck tape paths can be easy to almost impossible
depending on the deck.  Tascam 122 decks can be dreadful for access.
Years ago I made up a dummy cassette to fool the deck into engaging
the pinch roller so it would rotate for cleaning purposes  although
access was still difficult.

I don't think the interval of cleaning the tape path can easily be
stipulated. Basically it's when it needs cleaning, which can depend
greatly on the tapes being played.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List"
<[log in to unmask]>
To:<[log in to unmask]>
Sent:Wed, 3 Jul 2019 19:10:48 +0000
Subject:Re: [ARSCLIST] How often do you routinely clean your rubber
capstan rollers , with what and why?

 Thanks for sharing your experience, Shai.

 I've been warned off of IPA in the past, being told it could
prematurely dry out rollers. Not hard to imagine if used a lot. It is
valuable to hear you've had success at your rate of use, Shai.

 By the way, as once advised by a trusted mentor, I have successfully
used 90% or higher IPA mixed 50/50 with water, for rare cases of
stubborn cleaning.

 I didn't say it well earlier, but the thing I grow concerned about is
the combination of fluid AND frequency. I am concerned that the water
I chose to use may be drying rollers out faster now that we have been
cleaning more often. I may be overthinking it, but I quote someone in
our book conservation department, "For Conservation use, DI is so pure
it’s aggressive and will strip paper (documents, book pages, etc) of
valuable components. So in conservation treatment, additives are added
back in. " Granted I am using Reverse Osmosis (RO) or Distilled -
maybe not as aggressive as Deionized (DI) - and paper and rubber are
rather different.

 But maybe my having chosen RO or distilled may already be
overthinking roller cleaning and inviting issues if it is not much
different than DI. Is tap water typically just fine for folks out

 The problems we have had, by the way, are namely tape not tracking
well, i.e. slipping side to side as it goes past roller/capstan. I
wonder about a reduction in roller suppleness and size. I know that
symptom can be related to capstan drive belt too though. I've been
waiting for months for new drive belts to experiment with too.

 A final note: CAIG makes a rubber reconditioner for printer rollers.
I've had success with that, getting paper to pass through a printer
more reliably. Anyone tried it on cassette deck rollers that are
suspected to be too hard?


 From: Association for Recorded Sound Discussion List
<[log in to unmask]> on behalf of Shai Drori
<[log in to unmask]>
 Sent: Wednesday, July 3, 2019 11:54:47 AM
 To: [log in to unmask]
 Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] How often do you routinely clean your rubber
capstan rollers , with what and why?

 Hi Karl
 I clean whenever it’s needed. Reel to reel about twice a week.
 about 1-2 a month. I use technical grade IPA

 On Wed, 3 Jul 2019 at 6:20 Karl E. Fitzke <[log in to unmask]>

 > Time for another check in on this subject.
 > I used to clean my casptan rollers once a week unless noticeably
 > Life was good. Others began doing it every morning on our cassette
 > and now and the decks seem to be more problematic lately. I'm
starting to
 > think you can over do it.
 > Maybe another factor is advantages/disadvantages of tap water vs
 > osmosis vs distilled vs deionized?
 > Thanks in advance, brain trust.
 > -Karl

 Shai Drori
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