RS-DC10 Random Dropouts

Hello. I’ve got an RS-DC10 I’ve had for many years. A few months ago I did a re-capping using Dr. DCC’s instructions.

At first, it worked well - but now I’m getting more and more dropouts. The dropouts seem to be random, and they don’t happen all the time. They’ve happened on pre-recorded and blank tapes with my own recordings. Sometimes I can get through a whole song - record or play - with no dropouts, and sometimes a whole song will drop out every other second. There seems to be no pattern.

I’ve looked at the video mentioning cleaning tapes, and I have not seen any of the white particulates on these tapes. These tapes also work fine in both of my DCC-951s.

Any suggestions of where I should start looking? I have replaced the drive belt and the SMT capacitors, but not the pinch rollers.

It seems to improve when I clean the head, but goes back shortly - could the head be that sensitive?

Any advice appreciated!

Welcome to the forum!

When you play an analog cassette, is there extensive wow and flutter? If so, it means your mechanism may need some more TLC (particularly, lubrication). If an analog tape plays smoothly without variations in speed, see if you can put the recorder in Service Mode and find out if there are specific tracks that are causing trouble. Maybe a stubborn dust particle is making one track completely unreadable, and DCC’s error correction only goes so far. Clean the heads thoroughly anyway to see if it makes a difference. And no, simply wiping it off with a Q-tip and Isopropyl is not enough, you really have to scrub DCC heads (carefully) sometimes.


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So, analog cassettes play fine with no wow or flutter. I have never really gone and “scrubbed” the head - any suggestions on how to do that? I have only gone the q tip and isopropyl approach - maybe only just going a little firmer with the qtip than typical, but no more than that. It certainly “feels” like dirty heads to me, but I also know my pinch rollers are not in great shape - so the tape may be slipping as well.

By using a firmer approach with a cotton swap. Drenched in alcohol, you should be able to clean the head. If the pinch rollers are not in good shape, replacing them is also a good idea.

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Thanks Ralf. I’m hoping the rollers I ordered from you will help.

I’ve also tried setting the azimuth (or ‘aztec’ as the RS-DC10 service manual calls it) using an analog azimuth adjustment tape, it seems to have helped slightly but there are still dropouts.

In the service mode, the dropouts appear to be on all channels when it happens.

One thing I was reading in the service manual that the digital output from the head board might be low - is there any legitimacy to that? The DCC900 manual doesn’t mention it at all…

I would not go this route as this seems highly unlikely.

Cleaning and the pinch rollers, are first.