The No.1 Website for Pro Audio
 Search This Thread  Search This Forum  Search Reviews  Search Gear Database  Search Gear for sale  Search Gearslutz Go Advanced
MCI JH-110 1" 8 track Problem DAW Software
Old 1st April 2010
Gear Maniac
Soundgeeza's Avatar

MCI JH-110 1" 8 track Problem

Hi Folks

I bought an MCI 110 without trying it first ... I know ... I know ... I won't be doing that again in a hurry (I did take another 4 machines at the same time and it was getting late ... lame I know but anyway).

The machine will Rewind, Fast Forward and Stop, but will not play or record (in that the spools do not go round). The MVC led is constantly on and I wonder if this has something to do with it.

Also, if I rewind or FF with used tape, the VU register sound (I've not plugged audio in yet), but there is not one led or VU bulb that comes on. I would expect bulbs to burn out, but I would think there'd be at least ONE LED on somewhere.

If I press play, the stop button remains illuminated as you can see in the image. I can't get the Rec or Edit buttons to illuminate for love nor money.

Hopefully, there is someone out there that can give me some suggestions of what to try ... alternatively ... does anyone know the number for a tech in (North) London that might be able to help me.

Cheers in advance chaps ...

Old 1st April 2010
Lives for gear
Usually if the MVC light is on, then it is active. Try moving it to the left and right. If the tape follows the direction and speed according to position, then the circuits are basically working but the MVC is stuck active. I noticed the Stop and Play lights also on. There is a possibility that there is a problem in the control logic. Either way, I hope you have the manual and are familiar with schematics because that's the only way you will get it working without apying someone for repairs.
Old 1st April 2010
Gear Maniac
Soundgeeza's Avatar

Thanks for the reply ...

Moving the MVC stick does nothing...

This weekend, I am going to open up the power supply and see if anything is untoward in there. I guess that's a good starting point and then move backwards from there
Old 1st April 2010
Lives for gear
soundbarnfool's Avatar

You're gonna need to go through the whole thing. I'm sure you have a multitude of issues. You should give Steve Sadler here in Nashville a call and sign up for his phone support service. A great deal for a couple of hundred bucks a year.

Inglewood SoundBarn

PS. Is your "Stop" button stuck?
Old 1st April 2010
Lives for gear

It would be too hard to diagnose the deck here on this forum, but it just needs some attention to the Molex pins on the transport control boards.

Yes, Steve Sadler can help.

You should un-plug the transport control Molex from the remote unit and try to get the problem resolved.
It could be a stuck button, but it also could be on the bottom right daughter board that fits onto the transport motherboard.
I believe that is called the ANNUNCIATION BOARD.

Try re-seating that board or moving it around on the Molex pins that protrude from the motherboard and through that board.
As you move the boards around you will see things change, go on and off, etc...
This is all due to poor Molex connections (see below.)
Don't be too aggressive wrenching things around because you can cause cold solder joints to get worse.

If you have a manual you need to find the section that pertains to the control logic.

MCIs were plagued with Molex pin issues on the transport and the fact that the voltages are only at 5V makes a bad connection turn into a real problem.

For me this would all be a minor issue and standard repair stuff, but it is an good time for you to learn about MCIs.

The good news is that it is not an expensive fix.
It is probably only bad contacts between the Molex pins.
Old 2nd April 2010
Lives for gear

I bought a 2 track JH110c and spent probably $2000 on bad techs trying to get it working right. Also spent a couple of years and many hours on it... it still never worked right. The best thing I ever did was call Steve. His fee is $200 for the first year.. unlimited phone and email support. WELL worth it for me. After dealing with him for a week my machine works flawlessly.

Here's his info:
Steve Sadler
[email protected]
Old 2nd April 2010
Gear Maniac
mattallen's Avatar

Steve Sadler is invaluable.
It would be well worth the time and headache you might spend figuring it out on your own, to sign up with his service and be talked through troubleshooting tips with him.

I recently had a similar problem with a JH16 and JH24.
Ruling out simple things is a good place to start.
Just from having it happen in the past, try un-hooking the Remote/locator and see how the tape machine acts without the remote.
With the JH24, the Cinch-Jones connectors, which are the black multi-pin connectors that plug into the machine, were oxidized, and providing a bad connection. After some careful cleaning and scrubbing of the male and female ends, it solved my particular problem.

now it is strange that the LEDS on the Channel Modules are not lighting up.
The bulbs make sense that they could be burned out.
The LEDS on the remote are looking fine, so it's receiving power of course.
Check on the back of the channel electronics drawers, that they have their appropriate power cables, which should be a small black cinch-jones connector, and that they are plugged in.
Sliding the drawers in and out can pull the plugs out, unless they are secured with the original metal bracket that holds them in.

As other have said, it's logic is getting confused somehow.
It could be a logic board problem, but more than likely, it's connection issues somewhere.

Good luck! That will be a fun machine once you get it going.
Old 2nd April 2010
Lives for gear
vernier's Avatar
For old gear, you need to know a tech that can work on it. And work on it when you have a problem.
Old 2nd April 2010
Lives for gear

I'll give you some sage advice since I have been around MCI machines since the late '70s.
I have worked on that very same model and era 1" 8-track JH-110C many times in the past.
ALL MCI JH-110s and JH-24s have the same transport except the JH24 has a few different things to handle 2" tape.

Learn how to fix the machine yourself.

Like the poster above said.... he spent $2K on techs and never had the deck running correctly in the end.
VERY FEW techs know these machines any longer.

This is part of the deal.
The Molex connector issues will always be there.
The deck is at least twenty years old now.
It CAN be made to be a fairly reliable machine, but it will need attention to get it into shape and then it WILL need attention from time to time.

You should be able to get it running WITHOUT major repair bills (I know that I could.)
If you do it yourself you will do yourself a big favor because you will learn the "personality" of the deck and you will be able to repair things yourself without calling a tech in.
Old 2nd April 2010
Lives for gear

BTW... the first thing I would do is to un-plug the Molex pin coming from the MVC control.
It is under the transport and goes between the MVC control level mechanism itself and to the transport circuit board.

Eliminate the MVC control itself.

Be careful because the wires on that particular Molex connector are fairly thin.
I had to repair a broken wire a few years ago and they are a B I T C H to replace!

The MVC control is actuated by the capacitance change caused by your finger making contact with the lever.
If the problem is not with the MVC control it is probably in the transport logic.
Old 2nd April 2010
Gear Maniac
Soundgeeza's Avatar

I really can't thank you all enough ... especially dbbubba for going the extra mile.

I am quite used to getting stuck into equipment with a soldering iron, so am not intimidated by working on this machine myself and having looked a little more into it ... it looks like Steve Sadler will be on speed-dial for the next few months!

For now ... this weekend's project will be to look at the Molex plugs as advised and I will keep you updated.

Once again - thank you all so much ... it is VERY much appreciated.

Regards - Paul
Old 3rd April 2010
Gear Maniac
A4722's Avatar


DeoxIT is your best friend for the molex and cinch-jones connectors.

Remember to check and clean all of the cinch-jones connectors where they connect to the back of the main power supply.

Just for the heck of it, also check your power supply fan on the back of the unit for fur balls, groupies, etc.
Old 3rd April 2010
Lives for gear

Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
Like the poster above said.... he spent $2K on techs and never had the deck running correctly in the end.
VERY FEW techs know these machines any longer.
i agree whole-heartedly. these are great machines that get kind of a bad rap 'cause the support system is dwindling.

Originally Posted by dbbubba View Post
This is part of the deal.
The Molex connector issues will always be there.
i respectfully disagree. i restore MCI JH110s and after resloldering/reworking all of the connections they are VERY stable. i also own/use MCI decks in my all analog-retro studio (i have 5 decks in use at all times) and they're all very stable. molex connectors are actually really's just after 20 years of plugging and unplugging they need a little TLC. i've found ways to rebuild them so they're super solid again. i've shipped restored machines to each coast and they hardly even need to be re-aligned. one even arrived upside down in the crate (doh!), once flipped over it worked fine.

having read the original post it doesn't seem to sound like a huge problem. most likely a lamp driver board issue..or perhaps a logic board issue.

steve will have you up and running in no time.

-chris mara

Old 3rd April 2010
Lives for gear

By saying that the machine will not be 100% I meant that like even a new or almost new MCI machine they will need some attention from time to time.

Since 1981 I have owned three JH24s and four JH-110s along with the JH-110 2-tracks and a JH-110C-8 like the poster has which were at a radio/TV production facility I worked for.
I know MCIs pretty well!

One of the first things I do when I get a machine that has been in storage for a period of time and I don't know much about is to remove the boards from the transport motherboard and re-heat ALL of the Molex pins.
This will cure almost all problems most times and after a good cleaning the machines will be VERY stable.
They won't be 100% stable.

There are too many other sub-systems and connections that need attention from time to time.

Truthfully, I don't keep my JH24 powered and almost every time I do power it up I have to do some sort of cable jiggling.
My machines are about as restored and clean as any you would ever find, but they are twenty-two to twenty-five years old now!
Old 3rd April 2010
Lives for gear


i certainly didn't mean to impugne your MCI knowledge, just wanted to clarify how stable these machines were, and can be once again.

can we agree that a well restored & maintained MCI deck is as stable (if not more stable) than a Pro Tools rig?

-chris mara

Old 3rd April 2010
Lives for gear


I realize now that my post looks like I was stating my MCI knowledge in response to your coments.

I guess that my point was that of all of these MCIs they have all had their "moments."
If you are going own one you had better know how to keep it running.

Yeah... a twenty-five year-old MCI deck requires about the same amount of attention as a Pro Tools rig.
Probably less!
Old 23rd April 2010
Gear Head
mcijh's Avatar

Hey, Danny. Don't you still have one of my decks @ You're house? I don't need it, I've got more than I know what to do w/. You O.K.? How's that JH5XX desk?

Top Mentioned Products
Post Reply

Welcome to the Gearslutz Pro Audio Community!

Registration benefits include:
  • The ability to reply to and create new discussions
  • Access to members-only giveaways & competitions
  • Interact with VIP industry experts in our guest Q&As
  • Access to members-only sub forum discussions
  • Access to members-only Chat Room
  • Get INSTANT ACCESS to the world's best private pro audio Classifieds for only USD $20/year
  • Promote your eBay auctions and listings for free
  • Remove this message!
You need an account to post a reply. Create a username and password below and an account will be created and your post entered.

Slide to join now Processing…
Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Similar Threads
Thread Starter / Forum
FTRSHK / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
tapesandtubes / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
soupking / So much gear, so little time
Dominic / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds
concentric / Gearslutz Secondhand Gear Classifieds

Forum Jump
Forum Jump