Teac R61D
Written by Bryce Ringwood   

This cassette recorder was intended to be used for recording scientific data. (There also was a version for professional audio recording. ) As far as I know, it was used to collect data from CSIR's “Heavy Vehicle Simulator”, or maybe for braking tests on heavy vehicles.

Teac R61 D Data Recorder - Front and Side Views

It can be used to play stereo tapes, but since it is a four-channel recorder, it can't record stereo without erasing the recording on the other side of the tape. Since the purpose of the recorder is to record data, music played back might sound a little odd to the trained ear, as there are no equalisation circuits. (It sounds perfectly good to me). Two of the channels may be used to record DC data. This is done by recording a frequency-modulated tone onto the tape.

The tape transport has motors for fast-forward and rewind, as well as a DC servomotor to operate the tape capstan. There is no flywheel to regulate the tape speed – this is all done electronically using a phase-lock loop.

If you open most domestic tape recorders, the cabinet is mostly empty space. By way of contrast, this small device is jam-packed full of electronics and weighs “a mere 5kg without batteries” according to the manual. Since it requires 6 “D Size” batteries, you can imagine its really very heavy for its size-about the same weight as a house brick.

It had been discarded because it no longer worked and, in any case, computers with analogue to digital converter cards had taken over the job of doing the recordings. Not that there was a great deal wrong – a small magnet had become unstuck from one of the spools. The magnet was used to activate a reed switch informing the recorder that all was well with the tape spooling. (I am not claiming to be a wizard with tape mechanisms, nor did I get lucky, it took me ages to puzzle out why it wouldn't work and what a reed switch was doing seemingly in the middle of nowhere.) The tape transport bears no resemblance whatever to that of a domestic tape recorder.

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