8-Tracks Are Back? They Are In My House

What was the worst thing about the 70s? Some might say the oil crisis, inflation, or even disco. Others might tell you it was 8-track tapes, no matter what was on them. I’ve heard that the side of the road was littered with dead 8-tracks. But for a while, they were the only practical way to have music in the car that didn’t come from the AM/FM radio.

If you know me at all, you know that I can’t live without music. I’m always trying to expand my collection by any means necessary, and that includes any format I can play at home. Until recently, that list included vinyl, cassettes, mini-discs, and CDs. I had an 8-track player about 20 years ago — a portable Toyo that stopped working or something. Since then, I’ve wanted another one so I can collect tapes again. Only this time around, I’m trying to do it right by cleaning and restoring them instead of just shoving them in the player willy-nilly.

Update: I Found a Player

A small 8-track player and equally small speakers, plus a stack of VHS tapes.
I have since cleaned it.

A couple of weeks ago, I was at an estate sale and I found a little stereo component player and speakers. There was no receiver in sight. I tested the player with the speakers and bought them for $15 total because it was 75% off day and they were overpriced originally. While I was still at the sale, I hooked it up to the little speakers and made sure it played and changed programs.

Well, I got it home and it no longer made sound or changed programs. I thought about the play head inside and how dirty it must be, based on the smoker residue on the front plate of the player. Sure enough, I blackened a few Q-tips and it started playing sweet tunes again. This is when I figured out it wouldn’t change programs anymore.

I found I couldn’t get very far into the player, but I was able to squirt some contact cleaner into the program selector switch. After many more desperate button presses, it finally started changing programs again. Hooray!

I feel I got lucky. If you want to read about an 8-track player teardown, check out Jenny List’s awesome article. Continue reading “8-Tracks Are Back? They Are In My House”