Subject: Re: ADATs
From: Dennis Bathory-Kitsz (
Date: Wed Oct 06 1999 - 08:20:06 EDT

At 03:29 AM 10/6/99 -0400, Kevin Austin wrote:
>(Can anyone tell tales of cleaning the
>heads themselves? Is th warning not to do it just to keep the amateurs
>away? or is special equipment and care in order??).

One day a week I still supplement my meager income fixing equipment in a
tech shop ... it's my three-decade penance for being an American composer.

These heads are definitely not for amateurs. But with a service manual,
good disassembly tools, a very clean bench, and proper cleaning tools
(special chamois cleaners combined with the FreonTF -- now in its last
months before the full ban kicks in -- or one of the newer but less
effective replacements) and techniques learned hands-on from a tech with
experience, you can do this maintenance yourself. It requires a steady
hand, a small microscope (what used to be called a 'stylus microscope'),
and lots of patience.

You'll also learn to stay away for the cleaning tapes, which have a high
incidence of what we call dirt polishing. That's when tiny particles of
oxide lodge in the head gap, and rather than remove them, a dry head
cleaner generates just enough friction to fix and polish the dirt into
place rather than scrape it off.

I've also serviced at least two machines this year where the cleaning tapes
have been used too often, and frayed fabric (or whatever that stuff is!)
yanked the heads right off.

So if you can find a tech willing to share the techniques, do it. You'll be
able to clean the machines by hand on a regular maintenance schedule, avoid
the cleaning tapes, and while you're at it, learn to inspect the machine
for other signs of trouble (worn parts, shedding oxide, etc.) Then you can
be sure of its condition.

You can also find more info in


The Transitive Empire
Kalvos & Damian's New Music Bazaar
Erzsebet The Vampire Opera
The Middle-Aged Hiker

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