Tandberg Tapedeck Teardown
This is a Tandberg TCD 301 cassette recorder. I believe this is somewhat of a professional recording device from the mid 80's. As you can see, this is Very well built. The wood grain gives it that undeniable 70s/80s feel. You just don't see that in product design anymore, anywhere. There was a time for everything I guess.
The look and feel of this recorder is exceptional. Unfortunately, I have to take this apart because it does not work, I don't have the time to repair it with schoolwork and I don't have the dorm space alongside my 10s of other projects. A common problem with cassette recorders and old cassette radios is the tendency of the cassette drive belts to rot out and snap over time. Because these belts are so tightly woven into the heart of the device, they are very tedious and time consuming to replace. You will need to be MR.Steady-Hands and have a truck load of patience when dealing with decades old plastic pulleys and c-clip fasteners so you don't end up breaking an unobtanium part. I painstakingly decided to just salvage whatever I could from the recorder and use some design cues for a future MIDI project.
Made in Norway, read it and weep! The top and bottom sides of this unit are all extruded aluminum. The top is adorned with fasteners and audio ports.
A close up of the back of the device. Clearly a stamped piece of painted steel with some ventilation holes.
Here's what I really love about this device: slide potentiometers. Slide potentiometers for free.
More goodies: Gauges! It kind of reminds me of the old galvanometer voltimeters. I had to keep these.
Off goes the folded aluminum front with a few fasteners revealing a glimpse of the innards.
Oh boy there's a lot going on here. The play / pause / stop / fast forward keys are all aluminum - cut from the same extrusion and then anodized. The gauges and slide potentiometers are all mounted quite snug with dedicated fasteners and the cassette section looks like the traditional clock-like designs of yesteryear.
I spot a circuit board, and not a phenolic one either! This is certainly a step up in build quality to various other low cost Japanese audio sets of the same era. There are 3 chunky looking drive motors and hand soldered joints. There is a chunky-boy shielded transformer in the upper right corner.
Danger Will Robinson! A warning silkscreen? I find it rather amusing that products of yesteryear would feature design choices around the possibility of an owner taking a peak and, dare I say, changing a value or component. Today, you barely find silkscreen component names or values on most commercially produced PCBs. It's also the defining photo that adorns this website.
Here's what we're all waiting for: the rat's nest. It's the telltale design of audio gear of seasons past. Loads of individual wires hand soldered to various parts of the device with no connector, wire-loom or ribbon cable in sight. The board in the middle looks to be home to the pre-amplifier stage with some trim pots for final adjustment.
Oh my god Becky, look at those slide potentiometers! These are some serious 25k slide pots, measuring about 3.5in long, 0.5in wide. and featuring a 70mm travel. nice indeed.
Here's the final haul. I still regret tearing this down. I wish I just kept it intact and shoved it up in the top of a closet or left it in some steam vent room.