Sony TC 530 Motor Cap Replacement

One problem I had with my TC 530 was that after about 10 minutes of running, the motor would slow down. A quick search of Google indicated that the likely culprit was the motor run capacitor. And another quick search of eBay yielded seller “tableterner”, who was selling a replacement. Hurray! I ordered said capacitor on the spot, and three days later, it arrived on my doorstep.

The installation was pretty straightforward, but I thought I’d document it for anybody who was interested in tackling it themselves.

A word of warning: This is how things look on my Sony TC 530—I make no claims about whether or not this will work for you, or whether your deck even looks like this inside. Your mileage may vary. As always, unplug your deck before working on it. Remember that capacitors can hold a charge for a long time, so be careful.

So, to work. You should have the deck’s chassis out of the case, with the back facing you.

The capacitor in question is the big silver one with the plastic cover on it. That cover is there to protect unsuspecting thrill seekers who might one day decide to open the case and reach in. We’re going to slip it off to expose the wires underneath. My unit has one green wire on one of the capacitor’s terminals, and two black wires attached to the other.

tape deck motor capacitor
Back of the TC 530, showing the motor and capacitor

Here’s a closeup.

capacitor closeup
Capacitor closeup

I pulled back the capacitor cover and unsoldered the green wire, but afterwards decided I would have been better off just cutting it close to the solder terminal. Because the wire was full of solder, I was concerned with wire breakage due to excessive flexing, and ended up cutting that part off anyway.

capacitor cover pulled back
Capacitor cover pulled back

Having removed the wire, it was time to solder that wire to the new capacitor. It’s important to remember to put a piece of heat shrink tubing over the wire first, because you won’t get a second chance!

If you haven’t done much soldering, the trick is to heat the work, not the solder. If the work isn’t hot, you’ll end up with a cold solder joint which could fail.

green wire on new capacitor
The green wire soldered with heat-shrink tubing (not shrunk yet)

Next, the two black wires. I suppose I could have put one wire on each of the terminals at the other end, but I decided to keep them together. This turned out to make dealing with the piece of heat shrink tubing more difficult, so if I had to do it all over again, I’d probably separate them.

All the wires in place
All the wires in place (heat shrink shrunk)

Notice in the picture above that I’ve removed the original capacitor. It’s held in place by two screws, with regular washers and lock washers. Don’t drop these in the deck!

One other thing to think about—the two remaining terminals are directly connect to the first set, so if we don’t insulate them, we’ll be exposed to the full motor voltage. In situations like this, I throw another piece of heat shrink tubing on the exposed tabs, shrink it, then pinch the end closed with needle-nose pliers. It’s not super secure, but does an okay job.

fully insulated
Fully insulated

Almost done. The instructions say to mount the new capacitor with one screw. If you look at the two screws you removed when taking out the original capacitor, you’ll find that they’re too short. However, there’s another screw that will work, and that’s the one clamping the bracket to the capacitor. That one is long enough. Remember to use both the regular washer and the lock washer, like so:

Proper use of a lock washer
Proper positioning of the lock washer

Secure the new capacitor with the screw, and you’re ready to test!

capacitor mounted
Capacitor mounted

So, did it work? Well, yes and no. The deck ran up to speed for a lot longer than it did before, but it still slowed down after about 45 minutes. (Before, it lasted maybe 15.) However, there’s still an issue with the flywheel vibrating, so it may be that the flywheel is just slowing down.

All told, I’m very satisfied that the new capacitor helped make the deck run better.

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