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Vinnie D.

Repairing a 410 drive

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My Atari 400 happened to come with a free 410 tape drive. Unfortunately said tape drive does not work. I've successfully repaired Commodore 64 datasette drives before, so I thought this would be a simple matter of putting in new belts. Sadly that was not the case. I ask myself who designed this thing? It takes driving 3 rubber idler wheels (where a reasonable design would just use belts or gears) to transfer energy to actually turn the tape. These idler wheels have worn slick, cracked, deformed, or in some cases entirely fallen off. I've searched the forums and done what I can. I've replaced the belts, roughed up the surviving wheels, and applied belt dressing. My cumulative efforts got rewind, but not play working, and the fast forward has totally deformed.

 

So I am left with 2 options. Replace all of the rubber wheels in this thing, in which case I'd need some very specific parts, and an affordable source for them. Or I could do something more drastic, and use the entire tape playing mechanism from another tape drive, and just keep the main board. The latter of those presents its own challenge, as I'd have to find something that would fit in the same case, and have the same button arrangement, or alternately just put the electronics of the 410 entirely into another tape drive. The C64's datasette is a good candidate. It's plentiful. It's inexpensive. The mechanism is durable, simple, and easy to repair, and I'm fairly sure I could just solder this board into it, or at most attach the read and write heads. Of course the latter, while the easiest to do means I lose the original 410's snazzy retro case, which would be a shame since it's not so much the utility of tape loading I'm looking for (as there are far better options these days), but rather to restore an old piece of hardware.

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Can you describe your testing process in more detail?

the tape drive should fast forward and rewind as long as it is powered.

in order to play, you need to hold start, switch on the computer (youll hear a beep at this stage), press play, then enter/return (or any normal keyboard key really). the device will not play until you hit enter/return and can give the false impression of failure

hope this helps

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I don't think I was clear enough. We're well beyond the software stage of things here. This is a mechanical issue. When I attempt to load from tape the motor spins turning the main belt, but beyond that nothing else can happen, because all of the rubber is worn out and no movement can be transferred from there. Whether you call them tire wheels, idlers, or rubber wheels, the rubber parts are worn out, slick, deformed, and/or just plain missing. Because of this nothing can move. What I'm looking for is a solution to repair the actual mechanism that turns the tape, or replace it with one that works.

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Working on 410s in something I hope to get to, one day. Despite its many flaws, it has a special place in my heart, as my first ever computer peripheral. I'm curious about the rubber wheels. Are you encountering these in the older version or the newer version of the 410?

OLDER

post-16281-127904783029.jpg

 

 

NEWER

post-16281-127904783746.jpg

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crikey it sounds like it's had a hard life. ive had 3 or 4 410s but not encountered this before..

being old tech, it would be hard to find replacement parts. you may want to consign it to 'parts-spec' and acquire another, its probably less costly.

if the remaining rubber parts are removeable, you could soak them in a 50/50 mixture of isopropyl alcohol and methyl saclicylate to soften and re-profile them. this should restore their grip but it wont solve your missing parts issue.. maybe you match them up with modern equivalents?

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In spite of finding some disassembly tutorials, and various suggestions for dealing with the rubber problem, nothing worked. I've tried sanding, belt grip, rubber bands, rebelting, cleaning, and it actually seems to have made things worse. All attempts at reconditioning the rubber that was present only made it more slick. I could find no workable substitutes for the lost rubber. Meanwhile the fast forward wheel completely snapped off. I give up.

 

I've fixed tape drives before. In most cases a simple new belt and head alignment gets it back in shape, but this thing is a nightmare of horrible design. Honestly I'm not even sure if a working 410 drive even exists anymore. The playing mechanism is just too reliant upon UN-serviceable rubber parts. I declare this thing dead. The only thing I could imagine would be to replace the entire playing mechanism, and solder the main board to something better designed, and as that's a gigantic hassle, I am seriously considering just gutting the entire thing for an SIO2SD case later.

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I've fixed tape drives before. In most cases a simple new belt and head alignment gets it back in shape, but this thing is a nightmare of horrible design. Honestly I'm not even sure if a working 410 drive even exists anymore.

 

They do. Plenty of people on the forums have refurbished them with new belts and cleaning/aligning the heads. A search of the forum should turn up the success stories.

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If it turns out to be beyond repair, put in something like this:

 

ULIFE033300_2.jpg

https://usb.brando.com/usb-cassette-mp3-player-ii_p01481c0035d015.html

 

Yeah I know, it isn't anything to a working original but it now has at least some kind of use.

 

b.t.w, there are much cheaper versions around, some with recording ability too.

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I'm trying to resurrect my 410 drive. Belts are in good shape, but the unit wont even fast forward or rewind. Spindle wont turn. Suspecting a power issue. Replaced the 2200uf filter cap in power supply although the original tested good.

 

Looking at the schematic in service manual now and will trace power supply to see why motor is not turning.

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Ive never been a fan of the game 410, especially the later version. Not so much from a repair point of view but from a usability view. Many many too many times 410s have errored out on loading something that a 1010 rarely does for me. Of course the 1010 issue for me has always been a broken play key plastics.

 

There are at least three versions of the 410 (one is called a 410p as it has its own removable plug) and the 1010 has two version but one of them has two different mechs (supposedly). As for the XC11 and 12... well Id like to add the 11 someday to my collection.

 

As for a fantastic tape deck I look no further than the TI99/4 white or Black variant drive.

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Ive never been a fan of the game 410, especially the later version. Not so much from a repair point of view but from a usability view. Many many too many times 410s have errored out on loading something that a 1010 rarely does for me. Of course the 1010 issue for me has always been a broken play key plastics.

 

There are at least three versions of the 410 (one is called a 410p as it has its own removable plug) and the 1010 has two version but one of them has two different mechs (supposedly). As for the XC11 and 12... well Id like to add the 11 someday to my collection.

 

As for a fantastic tape deck I look no further than the TI99/4 white or Black variant drive.

 

https://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/Atari-XC11-Data-Recorder-for-Atari-400-800-XL-XE-Superb/312197424890?hash=item48b06aa6fa:g:w7EAAOSwNydbVkeC

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410p - I recently acquired a 410 with this 6V DC 3.5mm removable power plug, never seen it before but nice to know it's an official variant.

 

Last week I ordered a boxed Atari XC12 program recorder from BEST - U$D 59.95

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