Tape Getting Caught in Mechanism

I purchased a DCC 91 which was sold with a known problem – the player was showing an error message “No Cassette”. It was not expensive, so I thought I’d take a chance and see if I could repair it myself. When I opened the case, I found that a ribbon cable was disconnected from one of the circuit boards. Re-connecting the cable solved the “No Cassette” problem. However, when I put a tape into the player, it the machine failed to read/play the tape. When I removed the cassette,I found that the tape is becoming tangled inside the mechanism. I’ve attached a quick video to show this.
DCC 91 Tape Issue video
Does anyone know what steps I can take to fix this?


Unfortunately, your link does not work. You can upload a video file here directly, by pressing the upload arrow or dragging it in the editing window. This helps to preserve the context for the future.

Welcome to the forum.
Please upload the video here.

From what you are describing your player player Might need new gears. We have them in stock at the dcc museum Contact [email protected]

As a new user, I can’t upload a video directly. Here’s a second attempt via Youtube. DCC 91 Tape Problem - YouTube


The tray part : tape blocked is the tray belt.
The tape looping out is a broken gear.


I’ll analyse the problem, sorry for the inconvenience.

Thanks very much Ralf. I watched your Youtube video and was able to disassemble the tray unit. I’ve sent a note to the DCC Museum Service Contact form to request a new belt and gear. If you do take the service orders, you’ll see that inquiry.

I do have two technical questions about the tape head that are generated by a general interest in the technology and not to a specific problem with my player.

  1. The tape head in the DCC 91 is mounted on a gear that allows the head to rotate. Why does the head rotate?

  2. In traditional analog tape players, the play head has two wires running into it that transmit the magnetic pulses recorded on the tape. The DCC 91 seems to have a more complex mechanism. There are two parts labeled on the PC board as parts #1701 and #1702 that connect to ribbon cables with 14 connections. There is also a black wire connected to the head (ground??). Does the tape head for a DCC player record in 14 different places (tracks) on the head and therefore there are 14 connection points to each of part !701 and 1702?

Thanks in advance for satisfying my curiosity.


The parts will be on the way soon.
The head rotates to emulate side A/B on the tape

The head on your dcc player/recorder has 20 tracks! 2 for analog, 9 for playback and 9 for recording. First on side A and the on Side B the head rotates and the tape moves in the other direction.

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OK, I replaced the gear and the belt and that did solve that particular problem. However, there seems to be some other issues I need to work on.

I can now load a tape and the DCC player will read it. Sometimes the player will identify the name of the song, other times it will list the song as “Track 3”, “Track 4” etc. More critically, when I play a track, the sound will cut in and out rapidly. I’m attaching a link to a short video to show the problem. Any suggestions on how to fix this would be greatly appreciated.

The music is playing through a pair of headphones so you may need to increase the volume on your computer to hear the problem with the way the machine is playing the tape.

DCC Sound Cutting In and Out

update: I tried the player again and it will sometimes play a track and sometimes not. If I turn the machine off and then on again, it may play a track. Seems like there’s a general issue of the player detecting and playing songs.

Any suggestions on the next step to repairing this unit are greatly appreciated.

That could be cleaning of the head or bad pinch rollers. Hope it is not the head.

Does an analog tape play ok?

It seems the analog tape plays OK but the DCC tape cuts in and out. So the problem is only for digital recordings.

I wasn’t sure if you were suggesting that I clean the tape head, or if the tape head is defective. Let me know what you think.

If I need to clean the tape head, is this something I do with alcohol and a cotton swab?


Yes cotton swap with alcohol.
Clean the head and pinch rollers.

Special attention to the head. You might have to do it several times as they could be dirty


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Just want to thank you for helping me.

I cleaned the tape head and pinch rollers with a cotton swab and 99% alcohol. Unfortunately, the cleaning (or perhaps the dis-assembly and re-assembly) have made things worse. The digital tape still cuts in and out and only plays on the right channel. The analog tape no longer works and the player searches endlessly for an analog track and never settles down on anything.

I’m afraid this one may be heading for the graveyard. However, if you have any other suggestions I’d be happy to give it a try.

Send it to us in LA
We could take a look at it for you.

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OK, might be worth a shot. Just want to confirm your address:

2700 Vanderbilt Ln, Redondo Beach, CA 90278

Lert me know and I’ll ship it down to you. I’m in Palo Alto.

Address is correct.

I sent the DCC 91 to you in Redondo Beach. It should arrive later today (Thursday 7/16) or tomorrow. Let me know what you think.

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