Sony TC-123

I will say, right up front, that I have never used this little recorder. It was given to me by my grandmother when she no longer had a use for it. It was probably a gift to her from her eldest son, my namesake, who used to send her audio letters on tape when he was overseas in the navy. I do have some of those tapes, all on 3" reels.

When I got the recorder out as I prepared to write this I powered it up and the motor turns but the capstan does not spin, indicating that it is in need of servicing. The volume control sounded scratchy which tells me that the amplifier circuit is functional and that the control needs the Deoxit treatment.

At first I was going to just let it go at that but decided to dive into it and see it it was a quick fix. It wasn't. It turns out that there is no drive belt and the sluggishness is due to all the grease having turned into a waxy solid which means that things that are suppose to spin do not. Things that were supposed to slide do not. I disassembled the machine, just the top part and cleaned out the old grease and applied new. It was a puzzle to reassemble but I did get it back together and it now plays. It still has some issues but at this point I think it is good enough.

It came with the instructions manual, the extra capstan for changing the speed from 1-7/8 ips to 3-3/4 ips, and some inspection tags. For what it is, it's a nice little recorder and the only capstan-drive 3" model that I have in my collection. Plus, it does have some sentimental value.

The tear down, cleaning, and reassembly.

Click on an image to enlarge it.

Updated November 2020.