How to find a repair shop to repair vintage Sampson Reel to Reel Deck?

I

iKokomo

Enthusiast
I found my grandpa's old Sampson reel to reel deck. When I plug it in, there is no "magic smoke" or any weird sounds. It seems to power up just fine.

However, whenever I press play, the tape reel or tape hub either doesn't move or (when touched) moves extremely slowly and then freezes up.

I was wondering how to find a repair shop to work on this?

I know it may not be worth much, but for sentimental value/listening to some old tapes I found with it, I would love to get this up and running. This is run with valves/tubes.

I live kind of nearish to the Raleigh/Cary area of NC. I can make a drive into town if there is a good repair place locally. However, if there is an online repair store that you would trust, please let me know!
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
I found my grandpa's old Sampson reel to reel deck. When I plug it in, there is no "magic smoke" or any weird sounds. It seems to power up just fine.

However, whenever I press play, the tape reel or tape hub either doesn't move or (when touched) moves extremely slowly and then freezes up.

I was wondering how to find a repair shop to work on this?

I know it may not be worth much, but for sentimental value/listening to some old tapes I found with it, I would love to get this up and running. This is run with valves/tubes.

I live kind of nearish to the Raleigh/Cary area of NC. I can make a drive into town if there is a good repair place locally. However, if there is an online repair store that you would trust, please let me know!
You won't find one. Pretty much only hobbyist DIYs like myself work on reel to reel decks. We all have only one or two manufacturers equipment we work on.
It is very difficult and you have to source vital parts over years.

I think I know the history of reel to reel recorders pretty well. I have never heard of Sampson recorders, and nor can I find anything about them
So unless that unit is a rebrand of something that was more common, then in my opinion that unit can not be repaired.
 
Eppie

Eppie

Audioholic General
If this is a tube unit I know of only one qualified tech in Alberta, Canada. Go on YouTube and search for "Mr Carlson's Lab". He also has a Patreon site. He has repaired everything from vintage radio gear to guitar amps and vintage test equipment. He also designs his own circuits and equipment. One of the most knowledgeable techs I have seen, especially when it comes to older tube gear. He may be able to fix the electronics, but the problem may end up being mechanical, in which case the parts will not be available. If this is a rare brand then the tubes might to hard to find or cross reference, but tubes can be pretty robust.

You mentioned that it powers up and spins slowly. There is an off chance that this is just a mechanical issue. Some of the shafts or bearings may have seized or dried out and require cleaning and lubrication. Any rubber rollers will also need cleaning and reconditioning, unless the rubber has gone completely soft and tacky or rock hard. If the rubber is shot, the unit is likely not repairable unless someone has a stash of scrap units for parts. Someone that repairs cassette decks should also be able to handle a reel to reel but may not have the proper knowledge for the tube components. There are special considerations that need to be taken into account when working with tube gear.
 

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