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Using a slightly modified Square mag stripe reader, an RCA MODEL SRT-403 Tape Recorder, an iPod Touch, and requisite audio software, maker Evan Long got a modern digital media player to record and play back an obsolete paper reel-to-reel format from the late 1940s. [via HN]

Adam Flaherty

I make cool stuff and write about other people making cool stuff on makezine.com. If you have something you think I should see, send me a tip.


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Comments

  1. jim says:

    This is just so cool! I am in love with the idea of making obsolete tech work again. Its part of our shared heritage.

  2. Roger says:

    I jumped when I saw this article about old audio tapes! I have over 300 seven inch reels containing thousands of hours of old music and no way to play them.

    I still have a couple of old tape decks, have dumped a couple more, but all are (were) belt driven and I’ve never been able to find belts that would last even through one tape. I have the usual dubbing equipment available and would certainly appreciate any ideas on how I could recover my music. Some of these tapes go back over 50 years, made while in the military and stationed overseas. Thanks to anyone with any helpful information.

    1. jammit says:

      MCM electronics (do a Google to prevent me from adding a link) does have belts, but they might be expensive. As an alternative I have used “O” rings designed for plumbing as belts. They seem to be made of the same material, and last about as well. I have used “O” rings in various items, from turntables, tape decks, Betamax, CD players, VHS, etc. for many years without problems.

      1. Roger says:

        Thanks for the tip but nothing online but flat belts and square belts. I played the game with “O” rings until the supply ran out locally.
        Since you have experience with “O” rings you might like to know that they can be glued together with Super Glue. I made up belts by gluing ends together but the belts kept breaking, not at the glued joints but in between. I finally wound up with more glue than belt!
        The belts that I had seemed brittle and deteriorated and that may have been the reason they glued together so nicely. Being porous they sucked up glue and once dried the glue was stronger than the belt material.
        I would like to find that round rubber material on roll. I think a person could easily cut the material to length and glue the ends with Super Glue, making any length belt desired.

        1. jammit says:

          When the belts go bad, they get “krinkly” and that’s why they keep breaking. I’ve had some success in replacing a square belt with a round one. It sometimes takes a little fidgeting with different sizes to get one that works well. If you want some nitrile rubber in bulk, hit the Google up and search for “nitrile roll”, “nitrile cord”, and “nitrile rod”. One good hit (I hope Makezine lets this link through) is:
          http://www.rubbersheetroll.com/nitrile_buna_n_rubber.htm

          1. Roger says:

            The link came through just fine and I think I’ve found what I need to get up and running.
            Rubber rod! I had never heard of rubber rod, especially on a roll. There are several sources available. The URL you posted is one source and Google turned up several more when searching for “rubber rod”. Some of the belts I needed where made of .1250 material and that’s readily available. I’ll have to tear down those tape decks to determine if anything other than the 1/8″ stock is necessary.
            The recorders have been stored since about 1985 so I may be engaged in an effort of futility but I intend to pursue the idea until I can run the machines or find a good reason to dump them.
            Again, thanks for the help. Rubber rod never crossed my mind and the term still doesn’t compute in my old senile mind. The stuff may solve my problem after all these years!
            Buna-N is a product I’m familiar with as it’s what’s used in wet wing aircraft to make the fuel cells. When completed the cells are coated with Thiokol to prevent water absorption. I’m assuming the fact that Buna-N absorbs moisture is also the reason it absorbs Super Glue so readily.
            Progess! Thanks again!