Philips EL3548 reel to reel


Yes I know, what am I doing wasting my working hours on a little tape recorder. I guess it’s a bit like someone seeing a puppy by the roadside and thinking, I cannot leave that there.

A quick power up of the machine proved that everything mechanical was jammed or gummed up. However, a good sign, the magic eye lit up and a good healthy crackle from the loud speaker when the volume control was moved. So in we go. As expected all the drive belts had turned into black shmoo. This muck is really hard to clean up. It´s like tar, well, I guess it is really. It clogs up the pulleys and anything else it happens to fall on including fingers and trousers. Everything has to be cleaned off with isopropyl alcohol or lighter fluid. I prefer the smell of Ronson’s lighter fluid and it goes quite well with a good Indian Tonic Water. With all bits cleaned and a set of belts fitted and capstan, idlers and other mechanical parts cleaned and lubricated, we how had the tape transport working. No audio though. This is a hybrid machine, a mix of valves and a couple of Germanium transistors chucked in for good measure. The audio output valve was running cool, suggesting that it either had no HT, it was feeling sorry for itself or… No HT due to a bad solder connection on the valve base. Didn’t explain where the volume control crackle came from. Still no music however. The machine is a 4 track set up, with a switch selecting tracks 1-4 and 3-2 depending on which way you put the tapes on. Noticed that the rubber belt that drove the counter had rested upon the track selector before dying and turning into black gum schmoo. This section had to be removed and the switch fully cleaned. We now had good playback and good recording. With the excitement of the day taking over and the applause from the crowds that had gathered outside the shop, I hurriedly tried to fit the top case which has the speaker fitted as part. Like a twat, I dropped it, pulling off the speaker wires from inside the machine. The C word was expelled several times. Strip the machine down, rewired and assembled. Sounds very nice too. Perhaps Abbey Road wants to make me an offer to use it as a mastering machine?

5 thoughts on “Philips EL3548 reel to reel”

  1. I restore old electronics, and love it. I have a collection of 70’s radios; including MW/LW/VHF/SW made in Rhodesia and a Yaesu FRG-7. Early 80’s C.Bs. Also 70’s onwards cassette recorders. It’s good to recognise where present technology came from.

  2. Hi Seth,
    If the tape recorder is for sale, how much please.

      1. Hi I’m in the process of restoring the same machine. Where did you get the belts from?

        And how many need replacing? Pretty sure all one have also turned into black oooz….

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