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Cassette tape does not advance when playing.

Cassette does not advance when playing,just continues to bunch up and sometimes gets tangled and ruins the tape.I took it apart and cleaned the capstan and roller bars and still have the same problem.Thank you Ron Martin

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  • Ronald F.Martin Mar 13, 2009

    The Brand is an OPTONICA MODEL RT-3300 IF THAT HELPS! THANK YOU.

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I assume you can see the tape move so its probably not the motor, from your description either the take up reel is not turning (which winds the tape back into the housing) or the capstan isn't moving.
On some models this is driven by a belt feed, on others there is a "clutch" type felt pad.
Without your model number it is hard to give a definitive answer.

Posted on Mar 13, 2009

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Posted on Jan 02, 2017

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1 Answer

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You need to determine what is chewing the tape up. Most cassette doors clip off, this can often show the head and pinch rollers when they come into play. The pinch roller (the rubber one) is often the biggest cause of chewed tapes. But often it's the Take Up Reel that is not moving forward, so the tape is taken out of the cassette by the roller and spews out into the deck, getting tangled up in the roller. The roller itself can become worn and therefore doesn't make proper contact with the idler, or the idler (metal bar the roller pushes against) isn't turning caused by a belt that's broken.
The only way really is to observe what the tape is doing, but since this by definition means the tape could be chewed up, means you have to use an old tape that doesn't contain anything good on it. Make certain you can view as much of the workings of the deck mechanism as possible when using a test tape.
Since you don't mention the make or model number that is the best advise that any expert on here can give you.

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Hi there
This is an answer which is general to all tape cassette decks. I think it probably applies to yours but this may or may not be the case.
The tape is transported past the "read" head by a pinch wheel and spindle that come up into the cassette on either side of the tape. The spindle runs at a very constant speed and with the tape between this and the (rubber) pinch wheel sounds are transferred fro the read head to the electronics for amplification etc. We are not concerned with that here but with what physically happens to the tape after the pinch wheel. Under normal circumstances a belt is driven from the electric motor to the take-up reel of the cassette. This usually runs slightly faster than the spindle/ pinch wheel so that the tape winds cleanly onto the take-up reel. If this belt is loose, has come off entirely or is otherwise not working properly, then the spindle/pinch wheel will continue to feed the tape but it has nowhere to go because it is not being wound onto the take-up reel, except out of the cassette into the tape desk mechanism. In this case it often gets wrapped around the spindle/pinch wheel assembly and gets into a very nasty tangle, causing serious damage to the tape and possible damage to the deck.
Hope this explains your problem.
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Before re-assembling the VHS machine, take a q-tip with some alcohol or ethanol (non-scented nail polish remover), and lightly rub the mirror-like-surface cylinder (the playing head) inside the machine - all the way around. Dirt can accumulate on this head and will catch the tape to tangle it. This is likely why it got caught in the first place. Continue cleaning the head until the Q-tip shows no more dirt. I also used to clean any place the tape touched in sie the machine in this way (spools, etc, it want around that were obviously metal).

To wind the tape back up onto the cassette, locate the "button" on the side that allows you to flip open the front of the cassette (the hinged part that protects the tape but flips up when inside the machine), flip the front up and keep it lifted (temporary piece of tape, or rubber band arnound the entire cassette - whatever).

Look at the bottom of the tape and you will see a hole centered, and towards the top of the back side. you need to insert something into this hole and apply pressure. While keeping the pressure there, you can manually turn the cassette wheels to wind the tape back on.

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The best way I know of is to carefully (after unplugging of course) locat th screws (hint - sometimes they love to hide them under stickers/rubber "feet" etc. - run your finger over the stickers while pressing hard, and you will be able to find a "circular indent where a screw hole is hiding) that allows the main shell/case case to be taken off. Generally this will allow you access to the area where the tape is mounted/tangled. From there, just carefully untangle.

Before re-assembling the VHS machine, take a q-tip with some alcohol or ethanol (non-scented nail polish remover), and lightly rub the mirror-like-surface cylinder (the playing head) inside the machine - all the way around. Dirt can accumulate on this head and will catch the tape to tangle it. This is likely why it got caught in the first place. Continue cleaning the head until the Q-tip shows no more dirt. I also used to clean any place the tape touched in sie the machine in this way (spools, etc, it want around that were obviously metal).

To wind the tape back up onto the cassette, locate the "button" on the side that allows you to flip open the front of the cassette (the hinged part that protects the tape but flips up when inside the machine), flip the front up and keep it lifted (temporary piece of tape, or rubber band arnound the entire cassette - whatever).

Look at the bottom of the tape and you will see a hole centered, and towards the top of the back side. you need to insert something into this hole and apply pressure. While keeping the pressure there, you can manually turn the cassette wheels to wind the tape back on.

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If you can afford to, escape from this dinosaur technology and enjoy a digital camcorder with a hard drive and/or recording on cards.
No moving parts! No tape tangles, jams or breaks! HD quality!
Well worth considering.

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