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Relubricating Analog Tapes Dynamics Processors (HW)
Old 18th November 2008
  #1
Gear Maniac
 

Relubricating Analog Tapes

Hello i am curious as to how i would go about relubricating some of my analog tapes i have. They seem to have a lubrication problem... perhaps? not sure yet, not a sticky shed problem i dont think, i get white stuff coming off the tape and sticking to the heads, i understand this to be lack of lubrication? correct me if i am wrong. i have baked them and they seem not to respond to this so i believe that they are not suffering from sticky shed syndrome but rather lubrication problem? i am going to try rebaking again. maybe it will work i dunno, either way i am curious of how to relubricate a tape.
so i am wondering the process of relubricating the tapes.
is this an easy process? or should it be done by someone else?
who does this relubricating of tapes?
i would prefer to do it myself if possible, so i am curious what is the process of relubricating a tape?
materials needed? etc?

i am trying to relubricate 2inch polyester tape i also have a large amount of 1/4 inch tapes that i will get to enventually and i want to know how to deal with this problem
thanks
Old 18th November 2008
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

The lubrication they are talking about is imbedded particles in the blend of goo that creates the recording media applied to the mylar "tape". you can never "re-lubricate" a tape. if you were to "lubricate" the tape with some slippery stuff the thickeness of the lub would move the tape away from the head ~1mm which would not transfer very much sound from the tape. 1mm is a large distance from a head gap. so no you cant lub a tape.
Old 18th November 2008
  #3
Gear Maniac
 

this article implies that it can be done, it just gives no info as to the process

http://www.imation.com/government/nm...agtape_S_H.pdf

taken from page 12

Over time, the level of lubricant in the tape decreases. Lubricants are partially
consumed every time the tape is played. This is all part of their job as lubricants —
they are consumed and worn down sacrificially to protect the tape. Some of the
lubricant will migrate from the tape to the guide pins and heads of the recorder each
time the tape is played.
Lubricant levels decrease over time even in unplayed, archived tape as a result of
evaporation and degradation. The lubricants used in some tapes are oily liquids that
are volatile and slowly evaporate away over time. Some lubricants are also subject
to degradation by hydrolysis and oxidation, just like the binder polymer, and will
lose their essential lubrication properties with time.
The information stored on severely degraded magnetic tapes can be recovered, in
specific instances, after relubrication of the tapes. By significantly reducing the
friction of the magnetic coating with the addition of lubricant, tapes can be made to
play back. Prior to relubrication, the tape may have seized in the tape transport as a
result of high friction, or the magnetic coating may have been readily torn off the
tape backing by a high speed tape head. Relubrication of tapes must be done
carefully by experienced individuals. If a tape is over-lubricated, the excess lubricant
on the surface of the tape will act as debris and increase the head-to-tape spacing,
causing signal losses and dropouts.
Old 18th November 2008
  #4
Gear Maniac
 

Well I never! would have thought:

* Lubricant loss:

The depletion of that substance or substances that allow the tape to move through its necessary path with a minimum of friction. Like sticky- shed, lubricant loss appears to be an inevitable part of the aging of modern magnetic tape, with the rate and severity of the loss being related to storage and use conditions. Lubricant loss will cause increased friction of the tape, resulting in increased headwear, contributing to sticky tape, sticky-shed, oxide loss, tape squeal, and head clog; the results can include mistracking. This can sometimes be temporarily corrected by judicious application of lubricants, such as a silicone solution or Krytox applied with a wicking or cotton ball applicator.

Krytox - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Old 18th November 2008
  #5
Old 18th November 2008
  #6
Gear Maniac
 

Krytox huh
well i am trying to picture myself applying some strange chemical to these tapes by hand, and it seems like a pain in the butt.
still not sure what to do becasue as i said does not seem to respond to baking and leaves nasty white shed and brings the tape deck to a hault due to the friction so at the moment this tape appears to be unplayable.
it seems there may be no easy fix
Old 18th November 2008
  #7
Gear Maniac
 

I wonder how alcohol would react to the tape after. are these tapes to be thrown away right after?
Old 18th November 2008
  #8
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amorris View Post
I wonder how alcohol would react to the tape after. are these tapes to be thrown away right after?
well after we get a good playback for transfer and are hapy with the tracks the tapes are to be donated to a museum. so really i do almost anything to get them to playback without any mishaps of anykind.
Old 18th November 2008
  #9
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by amorris View Post
I wonder how alcohol would react to the tape after. are these tapes to be thrown away right after?
i read an article on mold removal said to use alcohol to clean the mold off, so it may not harm the tape at all
Old 18th November 2008
  #10
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by modulation View Post
i read an article on mold removal said to use alcohol to clean the mold off, so it may not harm the tape at all
I read that too and that's the image I get from what you're describing (maybe dusty, powdery residue).

Good luck on it (in the process of transferring some 20+ year olds as well here)

George
Old 18th November 2008
  #11
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jidis View Post
I read that too and that's the image I get from what you're describing (maybe dusty, powdery residue).

Good luck on it (in the process of transferring some 20+ year olds as well here)

George
yes its not quite sticky like when tapes shed under other circumstances and its not brown like usual sticky shed, it big flakes that are whitish in color and appear to be kinda dry looking, yet somehow sticky enough to stop the tape deck this being the lack of lube part.
Old 17th June 2009
  #12
Here for the gear
 

loss of lubricant issues

i know this is an old thread, but i'd rather revive it than post a new one:

I have loss of lubricant issues; 1/4 " tape (from 1980, generic stock that's usually reliable). It's causing severe squealing that's audible in the sound file. My Nagra is cleaned and in good shape, not the problem.

I don't want to use Marie O'Connell's isopropyl method without some data as to the long-term effect on the tapes, as this is an archival digitization project. Anybody used this method successfully? Or have any recommendations as to other lubricants?

My next step is going to be playback at a low temperature (i.e. me freezing my tuchus off in the vault.)

feedback?
Old 17th June 2009
  #13
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soundbarnfool's Avatar
 

Wish I had some good suggestion. Sounds pretty scary. Why don't you contact the manufacturer of the tape itself, if they are still in business or maybe give Mike a call at ATR? Good luck and let us know what you find out, OK?

Inglewood SoundBarn
Old 17th June 2009
  #14
TRA
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TRA's Avatar
 

It's all ball bearings these days.
Old 18th June 2009
  #15
Here for the gear
 

update

day 2 of tape wrasslin'.

put everything in the vault overnight (55-60 degrees.) Cleaned the pinch roller and took one of the tape guides out of the path to reduce tension.
this helped, but not enough.

I found that if i put a makeshift guide (me, holding a smooth-barrelled socket wrench) between the record & playback heads, the change of the tape's angle was enough to stop the squealing. unfortunately, it also reduced the high end substantially, but i was able to get a listenable transfer.

I'm NOT stoked about the idea of holding a tool in the tape path for 30-45 minutes per tape, especially in a cold vault. I'm considering testing Richard Hess' theory that LOL syndrome is only sticky shed by another name, and baking me some tape.
The question nagging me though, is, if it is LOL (which i think likely, given that it's a non-backcoated tape that's been humidity-controlled for the last 20 years) won't baking make it worse?

again, any thoughts welcome.

p.s. The Sound Barn looks really sweet. Hope I get to see it in person sometime.
Old 19th June 2009
  #16
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soundbarnfool's Avatar
 

Give me a shout and come on over!


Inglewood SoundBarn
Old 19th June 2009
  #17
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by AWrestoration View Post
I'm considering testing Richard Hess' theory that LOL syndrome is only sticky shed by another name, and baking me some tape.
The question nagging me though, is, if it is LOL (which i think likely, given that it's a non-backcoated tape that's been humidity-controlled for the last 20 years) won't baking make it worse?
I can say that after baking and transferring approximately 150 tapes over the course of about 2 months, that I ran into one particular tape, that even after repeated baking still displayed signs of a lack of lubrication. I dunno, I finally just gave up on that one particular tape.
All the other tapes I baked turned out just dandy, some had to be baked twice, but in the end, minus the tape I gave up on and a couple other tapes that had un-repairable damage it all turned out well.
As for the tape that I suspected of LOL, well i never got around to attempting to relubricate it, it turned out to be a tape that was perhaps not so important, thus it went back into storage.
Old 21st June 2009
  #18
Gear Addict
 
Time Tech's Avatar
 

Tape Cleaning, baking and relubing

We use custom built cleaning machines to wipe clean the tapes backing and oxide sides, removing any contaminates that could re adhere to the oxide during the baking process.

If a tape shows any signs of LOL we place it in a mechanical re hydration chamber, after a period of time, we bake the tape. I know it sounds a bit counter intuitive but we have had great success with the process.

We just completed a 100+ tape archive and this really helped us get through it.

I would not advise using alcohol for tape re lubing or mold removal, since its general usage is to REMOVE oxide from objects like tape guides and heads.

Every tape is a different challenge but that’s what keeps it interesting.
Old 22nd June 2009
  #19
Here for the gear
 

Time Tech,

sadly, no custom built anything when you're working for the State of Tennessee. What process does your rehydration chamber use? Is it something I could reproduce?

current status: the other tapes in the series seem less problematic. i successfully cold played 4 of them with no manual interference. i'm going to go back to normal temperatures today and see what happens.

since i got a listenable (though not ideal) transfer of the worst tape. i may try to bake it and run it again.
Old 22nd June 2009
  #20
Gear Addict
 
Time Tech's Avatar
 

rehydration chamber

A quick and cheap version of a hydration chamber can be built from a picnic cooler.

A large open cell sponge like the type they sell to wash cars with, a watertight enclosure to hold the sponge, and some distilled water. You can get fancy and add a hydrometer (available at cigar stores ) and a 12vdc 120 mm box fan (radio shack or computer parts store). Run the fan at 5-6 vdc to slow it down.

Open/remove the picnic cooler plug used to drain the melted ice. Place the sponge and its enclosure near the plug opening. Use 1/2" to 1" standoffs to mount the fan above the sponge and enclosure. Run the fan wires out the open plug hole.

All in it should only cost about $50.00 dollars to build.

If you have any questions please feel free to PM me.
Old 19th December 2017
  #21
Here for the gear
 

Lubrication with Isopropyl

Quote:
Originally Posted by AWrestoration View Post
i know this is an old thread, but i'd rather revive it than post a new one:

I have loss of lubricant issues; 1/4 " tape (from 1980, generic stock that's usually reliable). It's causing severe squealing that's audible in the sound file. My Nagra is cleaned and in good shape, not the problem.

I don't want to use Marie O'Connell's isopropyl method without some data as to the long-term effect on the tapes, as this is an archival digitization project. Anybody used this method successfully? Or have any recommendations as to other lubricants?

My next step is going to be playback at a low temperature (i.e. me freezing my tuchus off in the vault.)

feedback?
Greetings from New Zealand. Did you ever try the isopropyl method I created in 1994? You do realise I've worked in Archives for 24 years and so the tapes I've worked on are archival?
Hope you gave it a shot, even with Q-sticks and a mask.
Merry Christmas,
Marie
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