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MCI Tape Machine Question
Old 11th September 2011
  #1
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RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

MCI Tape Machine Question

Looking for a little help with my MCI JH 16/24. She was running just fine today and then the Autolocator II went down and now it won't transport tape. Basically, I've lost machine control completely. I can engage individual tracks via the Autolocator (so it hasn't lost power to it), but the red LED lights for track position are out and I am not able to advance, rewind or playback from either the Autolocator or the Machine itself. Any ideas?
Old 11th September 2011
  #2
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I've seen a dead LED in the autolocater cause exactly this.
Old 11th September 2011
  #3
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RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

It was running fine and was actually in the middle of tracking a guitar take when it just died... which is strange for this machine and not the usual way it breaks down (funny how I get used to how it acts when it goes on the fritz). This time it seemed as if something got unplugged or a fuse blew somewhere.. but I've honestly never changed a fuse in this thing ever.
Old 11th September 2011
  #4
Gear Head
 
TheBankInc's Avatar
 

I miss our jh24
Old 11th September 2011
  #5
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
Did you reseat the connectors to the ALII? Have you done an analog torque board adjustment lately? Is the tape sticky and just messing with the transport?
Old 11th September 2011
  #6
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

The autolocator is an integral part of the transport controls and not just a remote like on other machines. I'd look for a loose autolocator connection or a bad LED before messing with anything else.
Old 12th September 2011
  #7
Gear Guru
 
drBill's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBankInc View Post
I miss our jh24
heh heh Yup, I miss mine too.....all those sleepless nights up worrying about whether the tech would show up before tomorrow's session or not..... heh

OP - reseat your cabling, maybe clean the side that plugs into the machine if it's dusty / oxidized. Never had a problem with a LED out causing these issues, but it's worth a check like Bob said. If your'e up for it, reseat any boards, and/or chips that are part of the chain AL chain.
Old 13th September 2011
  #8
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Thanks Bob. I'm going to pull the machine out of the closet and clean & reseat all the connectors. This machine just never dies that quick, so I'm thinking something is not making contact somewhere. I'll chime back in if I suss it out.
Old 13th September 2011
  #9
Here for the gear
 

I used to have a machine exactly like your, MCI JH16 24tks Quior.
like they told you i too think that the problem lies inside the ALII or the connectors on the machine...
Usually when a led on the ALII stops working you begin to have problem with track recording selection or with the Repro/Sync switching..
Or maybe is a problem on the logic card, never happened to me a thing like this...
Unplug the locator from the machine and try to push play on the machine, it should start... if the trouble remains maybe the problems lies inside the machine itself...
Anyway i Don't miss at all this machine, during the 4 years that i've dealt with it was a constant fight with issues of every kind.... now i've have a STUDER A80 and i sleep better during the night!!!
Old 13th September 2011
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by drBill View Post
heh heh Yup, I miss mine too.....all those sleepless nights up worrying about whether the tech would show up before tomorrow's session or not..... heh

OP - reseat your cabling, maybe clean the side that plugs into the machine if it's dusty / oxidized. Never had a problem with a LED out causing these issues, but it's worth a check like Bob said. If your'e up for it, reseat any boards, and/or chips that are part of the chain AL chain.
Disconnect the AII and see if the problem goes away in local control...clean and reseat the molexes, clean and reseat everything related to the ps [check for cold solder joints as well], and analogue torque board, and check and see if you lost a driver transistor to one of the reel motors, check and see if one of the switches, most likely stop or play, has broken or died. As the oh so wise Bob mentioned- the AL is in a "loop" and is part of a bigger system... Good luck!

Super Tech Steve Sadler or Chris Mara at Welcome to 1979 are great resources in the South, but Soren [Soren <[email protected]>] or Shea Ako [at Engine] in your city could quickly sort you out...

Old 13th September 2011
  #11
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Okay, I disconnected the ALII and still could not control tape transport at the machine. I reseated all the connectors in the back. I checked both fuses in the back and did find a bad one in the upper of the 2 (labeled "Deck"). I replaced the fuse hoping for "voila!" but no avail. Now I've noticed the power supply on the right side (when facing the the back of the machine) labeled "Deck" does not have a spinning fan... so I'm not wondering if that is my problem.
Old 13th September 2011
  #12
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FYI - The green "track engaged" lights come on in ALII as do the record lights etc. It's only the RED LED's that are all out. I'll give my local tech a call tomorrow unless anyone has other ideas.
Old 13th September 2011
  #13
Gear Guru
 
Drumsound's Avatar
IF the fan wasn't running on one of the PSUs you probably blew something within it.
Old 13th September 2011
  #14
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dualflip's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWallStudio View Post
Looking for a little help with my MCI JH 16/24. She was running just fine today and then the Autolocator II went down and now it won't transport tape. Basically, I've lost machine control completely. I can engage individual tracks via the Autolocator (so it hasn't lost power to it), but the red LED lights for track position are out and I am not able to advance, rewind or playback from either the Autolocator or the Machine itself. Any ideas?
Reseat the molex connector card, maybe its just a false connection. Otherwise (and not trying to hijack the thread) visit MCI Console and Tape Machine Forum - Index there are a lot of experienced MCI tape machine techs that may already know the issue

Best
Old 13th September 2011
  #15
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RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

I've put a post up on the MCI site (Thanks!!!), but where is the Molex Connector Card you are talking about. If it is the cards at the front of the machine, connected to the main mother board, I have tried reseating those. : (
Old 13th September 2011
  #16
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

The PSUs have fans that suck in air and lots of dirt with it. If they get too dirty inside, they'll overheat and need to be repaired.
Old 13th September 2011
  #17
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RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

I usually shop-vac the back of the machine once in a while.. so the PSU's are pretty clean. I've also determined that the 5 amp fuse on the machine itself (not the PSU) keeps popping.. so something is making that happen.
Old 13th September 2011
  #18
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

I learned the hard way that you really need to open them up and clean them out every few months.
Old 14th September 2011
  #19
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RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

Agreed... I may be learning that hard way right now.
Old 14th September 2011
  #20
Quote:
Originally Posted by RedWallStudio View Post
Agreed... I may be learning that hard way right now.
You have at least localized part of the problem! Something is pulling the PS down, and a long look at the schematic's and some time probing with a Fluke might get you closer to working again.

Cleanliness is pretty important on JH's as is constant molex & colder solder joint vigilance...

Good luck man, you are making progress!

best-
Jonathan
Old 14th September 2011
  #21
member no 666
 
Fletcher's Avatar
Sounds like a power regulation transistor took a holiday in one of the supplies... time to call a tech.
Old 15th September 2011
  #22
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RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

Yeah, already boxed up the Deck power supply and sent it to my tech. Hopefully I'll have an answer in a couple of days. Fingers crossed...
Old 24th September 2011
  #23
Gear Head
 
mcijh's Avatar
 

I know everyone thinks I'm an Ass. But, compared to weeks of down time and hundreds of dollars to tech's who don't know: I fix 'em fast and relatively cheap. Or, teach you how to fix 'em cheaper.

SS
Old 25th September 2011
  #24
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RedWallStudio's Avatar
 

Hey Steve... I've used your service before. And actually, I bought you a twelver of Bud while you fixed a few channels of an MCI JH636 that I bought in Nashville a half dozen or so years ago. I've fortunately got this issue under control, my tech came out today. The power supply blew a transistor. My tech feels that the tape machine may be too close to the back wall in the closet that I have it located in and it's not getting enough air flow. He also thinks that the boxer fan on the power supply may need to be replaced soon (the fan stops cold when you turn off the machine instead of spinning down). He changed the voltage going to the fan to pick up the speed slightly and that seems to help... but I'm going to replace the fan and improve the ventilation into the machine closet.

On a different subject, I do need a repro card for my machine. Can you give me a fair price on one? I've been watching E-bay and there hasn't been any showing up.
Old 9th January 2014
  #25
I am picking one of these machines up in a few weeks. Anyone know what the input connections are on the back of the deck? Are they to tuchel, XLR, something else? Can't seem to find any info online.
Old 9th January 2014
  #26
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If its a JH16, It'll have XLR's, which are Pin3 hot btw.
If its a JH24, it'll have Tuchels

Of course, anything is possible, I've seen JH24's with pigtails out to an XLR panel.... I've seen DB25 panels mounted on the machine as well.

If you are picking one up, why wouldn't you ask the seller or look, or see a pic? Buying an MCI machine blind is a bit silly.
Old 9th January 2014
  #27
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogtodd View Post
If its a JH16, It'll have XLR's, which are Pin3 hot btw.
If its a JH24, it'll have Tuchels

Of course, anything is possible, I've seen JH24's with pigtails out to an XLR panel.... I've seen DB25 panels mounted on the machine as well.

If you are picking one up, why wouldn't you ask the seller or look, or see a pic? Buying an MCI machine blind is a bit silly.
Thanks for the info. A former mentor/studio owner that I studied under is giving me the machine for free. I'm not picking the thing up blind, let alone paying anything for it, so I figured I'd check here if I could find an answer to my question before I talk to him next.
Old 10th January 2014
  #28
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Its like a loss leader, the machine is free... the tape costs, the calibration costs, the Qtips and alcohol cost.

Make sure to get the manual and if at all possible, the wiring harness if its a JH24. Without the tuchels, you are kinda farked.
Send the heads off to JRF. I cannot stress this enough. EVERY SINGLE TAPE MACHINE I've bought has had some sorta issue and the last thing you want to deal with is unknown/funky wear heads.
You'll see this in every tape thread, but it can't be repeated enough. Just because the thing moves tape, doesn't mean its working.
Old 10th January 2014
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogtodd View Post
Its like a loss leader, the machine is free... the tape costs, the calibration costs, the Qtips and alcohol cost.
I'm sure this will be a new adventure

Quote:
Originally Posted by analogtodd View Post
Make sure to get the manual and if at all possible, the wiring harness if its a JH24. Without the tuchels, you are kinda farked.
Send the heads off to JRF. I cannot stress this enough. EVERY SINGLE TAPE MACHINE I've bought has had some sorta issue and the last thing you want to deal with is unknown/funky wear heads.
You'll see this in every tape thread, but it can't be repeated enough. Just because the thing moves tape, doesn't mean its working.
He's got the manual, haven't talked to him about the harness yet. Do you think the attached snakes would work to go to/from the machine? Zero experience connecting anything via tuchel...would each of these cables send/receive 8 channels, and the larger male/female ends are output/input connections respectively? I got these out of an old box included with some patchbays.

From what it sounds, the heads are in great shape.
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Old 10th January 2014
  #30
Quote:
Originally Posted by mharmon1 View Post
I'm sure this will be a new adventure



He's got the manual, haven't talked to him about the harness yet. Do you think the attached snakes would work to go to/from the machine? Zero experience connecting anything via tuchel...would each of these cables send/receive 8 channels, and the larger male/female ends are output/input connections respectively? I got these out of an old box included with some patchbays.

From what it sounds, the heads are in great shape.
Those are 90 pin elco's to 56 pin elco's, the cables would work, but not the connectors, or at least the not for the tuchel end. The 90 pin end could be used to connect to another 90 pin or other snake back to your patchbay. OR the 56 pins could, but either way you are buying tuchel's and soldering them on...
The other hassle is the tuchel provides for input AND output for four channels at time... so 8 channel cable is ideal.

The machines are beasts and use lot's of commonly available parts, search the threads for great resources like chris mara of maramachines for skype help, etc.. They are capable of quite good performance when setup correctly.

Happy trackin!

Best-
Jonathan
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