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A portable cassette player and AM/FM radio designed by Sony and introduced in 1991

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Why is my Sony wm-20 cassette player making a buzzing noise?

It worked just fine when I bought it on eBay in June, but now after maybe 10-15min of playing it it gradually starts making a buzzing sound. I can’t find anyone around me to fix it for a decent price either. Is this a common issue?

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Hi,

Can you determine where the noise is coming from i.e. is the tape still turning at the same speed- motor noise, is the buzzing noise coming from the speaker in the player- audio problem?

von

It’s coming from the speaker; I don’t hear anything when I take off my headphones. My headphones work with everything else so I know they’re fine.

von

It's a portable player and isn't the version with a radio. It's this model. I tried cleaning the pinch roller, replacing the belt, and using this cleaner and it still makes the noise. This is what the inside looks like.

von

hey, I am having the exact same problem with my walkman (not sure what type it is). I would be really grateful though if you could tell me what you did to fix the buzzing sound when you get yours fixed.

von

@indiaheslop have you tried the suggestions provided in the excellent answers?

von

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Hi,

Does the noise only occur when listening to tapes, the radio or both?

If tapes only, try cleaning the tape heads in the player with a cassette cleaning tape or a Q-Tip lightly moistened with Isopropyl Alcohol 99%+ (available from electronics parts stores). Can't find an image for your model but here's one in another deck that shows what to look for when you open the door to insert the tape - see image in Step.2 & Step.4

If both tape and radio, try adjusting the volume control back and forth and check if the noise stops. If so it may be a noisy volume control potentiometer.

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Hi,

The radio comment was because you selected WM-FX20 as the device and didn't specify in your question that it was actually a WM-20. We can only answer based on the information initially provided by you.

Even so does the noise stop when moving the volume control, you never said?

Here's the WM-20 service manual that may help.

If it is the volume control it is potentiometer RV301 as seen on p.20 in the schematic.

It is a 10K Ohm / 10 K Ohm variable resistor i.e. dual gang.

You could try spraying some electronic contact cleaner (not WD-40!) into the potentimeter and check if this clears it. It is a carbon filament type so what happens is that the carbon dust etc builds up on the wiper and can create the noise.

If it is not the problem the schematics should help to find out what's wrong.

If you can't work it out from the schematics then try and locate a reputable electronics repair service and ask for a quote.

von

Oh sorry I didn’t notice that it was in the wrong section. The noise and the music get louder in the headphones when I increase the volume. I did what I could with the service manual before but I don’t have the tools or the skill needed to take it completely apart. I’ve been looking for someone in my area to fix it but no one will touch it because it’s vintage and the parts are hard to find. I found one person who was willing to do it but he wanted almost $300 to fix it using the parts of my other player. That one makes grinding noise but parts could be pulled from it to use but I don’t have the skills or tools to do that either.

von

@CherryBalm

Go back to basics to try and isolate what the problem may be.

Since I don't know what you've tried, besides cleaning the tape path components and adjusting the tape head this is what I'd do:

1. Try another tape in case the tape is faulty. Always a good idea when playing cassette tapes that haven't been used for a while is to wind it fully forward (FF) and then fully re-wind it to make sure that it isn't sticking etc. before playing.

2. Listen in each headphone ear speaker individually i.e. only wear one not both. That way you know if the noise is in one speaker channel i.e. L or R or in both.

If it is in only one that means you only have to concentrate on that channel's audio path through the board.

If it is in both it points back to the pickup circuit or maybe the power supply.

Let's know how this goes?

von

@jayeff ok so I tried those things and the problem persisted, so as a last resort I tried messing with the speed and the buzzing went away. Music sounds just a little fast now, but at least the sound is gone. Hopefully the problem doesn’t come back. Thank you for your help!

von

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If you push the play button in further when it has a tape in does the buzzing stop?

Tape head could be out of alignment. When the player is playing there is a screw that is exposed next to the tape head. Try adjusting it whilst its playing and see if that helps. I have a Sony radio cassette from years ago that had the same problem and adjusting it sorted it.

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I tried that and nothing changed. I also tried adjusting the speed and it made the noise worse. Maybe it’s a motor issue?

von

I kept messing with the speed and it went away! I don’t know for how long (hopefully forever) and the music is a little faster now, but not fast enough for me to consider it a problem necessarily. Thank you for the help!

von

How did you mess with the speed?

von

@strongbow sorry for the waay late reply, but there's a small screw that can be reached under the grey sticker on the back that's visible when you put in a cassette labeled RV601 in this picture: https://www.manualslib.com/manual/100290...

The sound came back btw :(

Edit: typo

von

@CherryBalm That is the screw I was trying to tell you to adjust.

von

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CherryBalm wird auf ewig dankbar sein.
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