I bought this TC-152SD cassette recorder on eBay because it was sold as spares and repairs and the seller had the original leatherette style cover. The cosmetic condition of this unit was good because of the cover so I figured it was worth getting, because I can pretty much service and repair anything. I have had a number of high-end tape decks including a Nakamichi Dragon, however I love the wide frequency response of the ferrite head on this classic unit. When I make my mix tapes, I usually boost the bass and treble, and I have found that the ferrite head is able to imprint this on magnetic tape far better than anything else I have. When I play my mix tapes back on my personal Walkman, the sound is extremely high quality as a result.
This unit required a basic service and a change of drive belt and it was as good as new. The broken drive belt was 250 mm long, which gives me the circumference parameter, and basic maths gives the diameter parameter using the following formula.
Circumference = 3.1415 × Diameter
Circumference = 250 mm
Diameter = 79 mm
Thickness = 1.2 mm
I would imagine drive belts with the following diameters would work, 80 mm, 76 mm 77 mm, and 78 mm. I was looking on eBay and there were many sellers with 80 mm drive belts for 1.60 including postage. Now days you can also buy a bag of 50 assorted belts for as little as two pounds and it comes all the way from China.
The ferrite head is very durable and designed to last a long time, consequently I have never seen a worn out one yet. This one required very little cleaning and demagnetising and it was as new as when it came out from the factory. To get the maximum benefit from a ferrite head, you need to demagnetise not just the head but also any metal nearby. I usually use a strong degaussing coil, which does an excellent job. Of all the decks that I have owned over the years, this one is far more valuable to me because of its recording quality.
Cost / eBay
How much is a portable stereo tape deck worth to you? It has a ferrite head, and the manufacturing is to high Japanese specifications and standards. It would have taken skilled manual labour to wire the circuit board painstakingly. These units were reliable, and they continue to provide excellent performance even after all these years.
A good working unit, in good cosmetic condition, would be worth approximately fifty pounds, which is a steal these days. A working and serviced unit in mint condition would be worth much more.
This Article Continues...TC-152SD Service and Repair
TC-152SD Fast-Forward and Rewind Repair
TC-152SD Motor and Tape Speed
TC-152SD Auto Stop Not Working
TC-152SD Ferrite Head