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Success Stories If you have successfully repaired or restored a piece of equipment, why not write up what you did and post details here. Particularly if it was interesting, unusual or challenging. PLEASE DO NOT POST REQUESTS FOR HELP HERE!

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Old 15th May 2022, 12:34 pm   #1
paolo
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Default Nakamichi LX-3

I bought this 1983/4 Nakamichi LX-3 cassette deck from a eBay and the seller said that it “played well but needed a service”.

It arrived in one piece thankfully but on applying power it quickly became apparent that it was going to need a bit more than a service. Only a partial display, no tape transport and the whole thing looked as though it had been stored in a deep fat dryer.

Anyway, new belts and capacitors were ordered and I then had to wait a month or so. I gave the deck a clean and read up as much as I could about Nakamichi “classic” tape transports. Complex to say the least. Four belts, numerous springs, fiddly washers and all contained in a three-deck sandwich of metal and brittle plastic. Oh and an array of wiring harnesses to wrangle.

Amazingly (for me) I managed to dismantle everything and put the belts in. I even managed to replace the idler tyre that powers fast forward and reverse. Popped it all back together (sounds easier than it was) and….nothing. Closer inspection showed that the pinch rollers (dual capstan machine) were seized and not rising. This meant another strip down and a battle royale trying to free the rollers. It took best part of a day but I did it and then reassembled and double checked everything. The moment of truth had arrived. I put in a cassette and the mechanism whirred. I smiled with satisfaction and then hit Play.

It was horrible.

Flutter galore and a serious lack of back tension on the supply reel meant the sound vanished after a few seconds. After expressing my dismay through a range of choice four letter words I did a bit more reading and found that these classic mechanisms are very sensitive to the tolerances of the capstan belt. Fortunately I had ordered a couple from different suppliers and took the transport out yet again and swapped out the belt. The second one was a much more snug fit so I was hopeful.

Got it all back together for a final time and it is now working beautifully!! Awesome sound and it has an 80’s design that is now starting to look futuristic once again .

Very happy with how this turned out. Having been through this project I wouldn’t feel daunted by tacking another Nakamichi. They are well built, albeit fiddly. Taking it slowly is the key along with the service manual. Oh, and photos, lots of photos!!
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Last edited by paolo; 15th May 2022 at 12:52 pm.
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Old 15th May 2022, 12:48 pm   #2
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Default Re: Nakamichi LX-3

You are a brave man! Well done. Definitely worth it, what a looker too!
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Old 15th May 2022, 1:10 pm   #3
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Default Re: Nakamichi LX-3

Well done. That looks scary. I'll stick with valves.
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Old 15th May 2022, 1:25 pm   #4
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Default Re: Nakamichi LX-3

I think the LX-3 was the last attempt by Nak to build an affordable deck using their own mechanism. As you've discovered, they are complicated beasties inside, making the manufacturing economics difficult. The next series (BX100 and up) used a much simpler mech bought in from Sankyo.

Congratulations on sorting it out - it's often been said that Nak never made a bad deck, and it's true.
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Old 15th May 2022, 2:35 pm   #5
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Default Re: Nakamichi LX-3

Well done! It can be the electro-mechanical things that cause most head-scratching, but if you're anything like me and have far less theoretical electronics knowledge, I find they are simpler to fix with some rigorous cause-and-effect thinking. I'm glad to see the towelling trump card for the 'find the piece on the carpet' game.

What's the fourth picture of? It looks like a solid cassette, but I can't find an online reference to the model number. It looks like it's been well protected.
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Old 16th May 2022, 12:40 am   #6
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Default Re: Nakamichi LX-3

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bulgaria View Post
What's the fourth picture of? It looks like a solid cassette, but I can't find an online reference to the model number. It looks like it's been well protected.
Aha! I was wondering if anyone would query that picture .

Nakamichi produced a number of unique gauges for their mechanisms covering things like tape path alignment, back tension adjustment and a very high tech one to adjust tilt.

This photo is of a reproduction M-300 gauge which is essential for resetting the pinch rollers and guides after removal. It also measures tape head height which is essential on Naks because they have a built-in tape lifter system which bypasses the felt pressure pad in the cassette itself. If the height is wrong, playback will be muffled. The gauge can also be used to check head zenith. It is made out of heavy anodised aluminium with a stainless steel “pointer”. Not cheap but almost impossible to correctly align the LX-3 and others without it.

Fortunately the gauge is universal so I will be able to use it for other projects. I got mine from Nakamichi specialist Willy Herman in the USA. More information here:

https://www.willyhermannservices.com/whsu_011.htm
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Old 18th May 2022, 3:15 pm   #7
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Default Re: Nakamichi LX-3

Wow! Really doing things properly. I notice he doesn't include prices! I'm sure you'll have a very satisfactory time knowing you've got it set up spot on. It's always pleasing when there's a special tool for a specific job, and also quite nice that someone's bothered to reproduce these for the only purpose of keeping old machines running.
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Old 19th May 2022, 3:03 am   #8
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Default Re: Nakamichi LX-3

There's another essential tool in pic5 - won't work without many mugs of tea! Very well done and very satisfying after frustrating!
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Old 23rd May 2022, 12:18 am   #9
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Default Re: Nakamichi LX-3

Thanks for your kind comments everyone!

Paul
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