Tag Archives: Audio

8-Track Radio Tapes

A carrying case for 8 track tapes arrived in the mail today. I picked it up because it had a nice look to it, would carry a small set of 8-Track tapes perfectly. It also came with an 8-Track head cleaning cartridge and a few tapes – perfect for testing. For just under $20, it was a steal. I still can’t get over how nice the case looks.

Lot of 8 Track Tapes Vintage Cartridges Various Artists With Nice Case

The pulley tries to move the 8-track tape forward

I found one of the tapes by the musical artist, Engelbert Humperdinck. I chuckled as his name reminded me of Prince Humperdinck from The Princess Bride. I hooked up the 8-track AM/FM car radio to the power supply and speaker. The tape slid in, a bit hesitant.

It was horrible. Sound would fade in and out as the radio tried to move the tape. I turned the belt inside-out and it was able to play the music much better.

Program 2

It was hard to make out what was being sung. It could have been the speaker with the poor audio distortions. I was having fun switching between all four programs. I would watch the solenoid retract while the head moved between tracks. I noticed my power supply would jump from a quarter amp up to two amps to hold the solenoid in place.

Broken 8-Track Tape

When the tape reached the end, the radio got stuck trying to switch the track. It would no longer play tapes. I wasn’t too happy. After a bit, I noticed the tape itself had broken at the metal tab. My guess is that after breaking, the metal tab bent out and kept contact with a switch, thus keeping the solenoid energized. Popping in another tape revealed a fully operational car stereo.

I may need to learn how to repair 8-Track tapes.

A few 8-Track cassettes arrived in the mail, providing me with an opportunity to test the car radios 8-Track feature. This little radio is going into my 1976 1/2 CitiCar. The manufacturer and dealer didn’t install a radio.

8 Track Car Stereo

My car radio has arrived! My CitiCar does not have a radio. It was an option listed that people could pay extra for. Growing up, we had a large stereo in the dining room that could play 8-Track tapes and records. My dad also installed an 8-Track into his Gremlin. I figured I could go for a bit of nostalgia and hook one up to my car.

I started looking at a few websites and found a listing:

8-TRACK AM Vintage car audio RADIO original

BrandKatone Corporation
Manufacturer Part NumberCSI-22
8-TRACK AM Vintage car audio RADIO original. Item is used and has not been tested for functionality. Please see photos for details and item condition. Please feel free to contact me with questions. Thanks for looking.

There were a few photos that showed the controls, input plugs, and that it generally had some wear. I figured I could give it a shot. I went ahead and put in an order, and also put in an order for a car antenna as well. Although the car radio was advertised with AM, it could also play FM stereo.

Katone Corporation 8-Track CSI-22
Car audio plug

Since I have sort of a miniature electronics workshop, I decided to wire it up to my bench power supply and try it out. It’s got a bit of an odd plug on the end of it. I started doing a bit of research, and found something similar called a 5 pin din plug connector. I couldn’t find an exact match on the pattern though.

I posted a photo to an electronics group, and I got the following responses when I asked what kind of DIN connector it was:

  • Kodak slide projector
  • M12 5 pin
  • Not a DIN specs connector
  • Commodore 64

Commodore 64 uses an 8 pin video socket, so that wouldn’t work out. The M12 5 pin has a cross-hair pattern, and wouldn’t fit. Someone recognized it was an old car audio connector and described what the pins were for. He had both a Kodak extension cable and the original plugs and took a photo of the two mating perfectly.

I found a listing for Remote Control Cable 5 Pin Male (Round/Kodak) Cutoff 5 Wires 22 Gauge 12 ft.for $5.99. These cables are used to control forward, reverse, and focus of Kodak and compatible projectors. So, I now have a Kodak slide projector cable on order for my car… yea.

AM/FM 8-Track Car Radio
Frequency Selection

On with the show. I started playing around with 12 volts. I quickly got it up and running. First, the box has a label that stating the covering was ground. Alligator clip to the frame… check. I found where the red wire was coming into the radio and tapped on it with the 12 volt positive. A light came on. Progress!

Car radio antenna

I grabbed my car antenna and plugged it into the antenna socket. I then stuck a few wires into the end of the radio plug and connected them to a speaker with alligator clips. I started up my little experiment again. First a buzzing sound. I started fiddling with some knobs and started to pick up an AM radio station talking about the president and his wife. Bingo! I’ve got me a working radio.

Unfortunately I don’t have any 8-Tracks to test the main feature of the little radio. The drive belt looks fine. I’ll have to wait a few days.

I grew up listening to records and 8-Tracks. Since the CitiCar was made in the 70’s and didn’t have a radio installed, I figured it was about time I learn about the adventures that my dad experienced hooking up a car radio in his Gremlin.