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Buy used ghetto blasters or get vintage radio repairs for a 1980's boom box. Buy ghetto blaster 80’s boomboxes see ghetto blaster boombox and read ghetto blaster lyrics from your boombox stereo.

Sell Us Your Old Boombox
 or
Buy Parts You Need

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Wanted: Dead or Alive

We pay for these boomboxes listed below $100 to $200 depending on condition. Send us a email if you have a similar boombox to sell. Send us a email to 
vintagesurf@ymail.com with pictures and what is broken or not working.

JVC RC-M90, JVC RC-M70
Sharp GF-767, GF-777Z
SANYO MR-X20, BIG BEN, MR-X960K, M-X960
Panasonic RX-7200, RX-7700

Boombox Parts For Sale

Coming Soon.

The buying and selling of stereo systems and boomboxes (portables), both new and vintage, has been quite popular.  The following information will give you, the buyer,  a better understanding of the items being sold and what questions you should ask. 

Tape Deck -  The tape deck is by far the most important and beloved part of a vintage boombox, especially those made in the 80's. Cassette tapes were extremely popular during that period. Countless manufacturers made both high quality and low quality tapes for use in recording (dubbing), and cassettes offered the versatility of portability that vinyl albums could not match.  Any commercially sold music or voice recording could be found on cassettes as well as on vinyl records. The following is a list of several tape deck characteristics which will significantly define the deck's quality and performance. Several cassette tape formulations were introduced.  Each aspired to be better than the other. Formulations such as normal, ferra-chrome, chrome and  metal. So, a good question to ask is, what formulations can be played and recorded on this boombox? Any boombox can play and record on a normal bias tape. However, all the other formulations are considered high bias and require different circuitry. Ferra-chrome did not stick around very long, so you don't have to fret if it is not included. Chrome tapes were, and still are, extremely popular. They were the most reasonably priced of all the high bias tapes and they were made by many manufacturers. Metal tapes refer to the oxide particles on the tape itself and do not denote a metal frame, although one huge tape manufacturer did come out with such a tape. Metal tapes had a higher head-room, meaning you could record slightly louder onto them.  This in turn should result in less noise and hiss in the background.  Metal tapes were popular for a while, but not as popular as Chrome. The bias is important because  you cannot properly record on a high bias tape with a deck made for normal bias only. If you playback a normal tape using the high bias setting, the tape will sound muffled and lifeless.  If you play back a high bias tape in the normal mode, the tape will sound shrill and a much more "hissy".  Therefore, look for a boombox that can play and record on at least Normal and Chrome positions.  Metal position is a plus only if you intend to use it for recording.

Noise Reduction -  DOLBY LABS was, and is, the popular noise reduction circuitry of choice.  Noise reduction in itself is a huge topic, so I will just deal with how it relates to boomboxes in this article.  If the boombox you are considering features DOLBY NR, than you are most likely looking at a unit which will record and playback tapes in DOLBY B.  Tapes made with DOLBY should be played back with the same, or they will sound shrill, distorted and exhibit more noticable hissing.  With standard DOLBY B, you can make fine recordings, depending on the deck's quality of course, and playback virtually any store bought tape.  Other DOLBY circuits came out later on, but DOLBY B was by far the most popular in boomboxes. Other notable features.  Electronic deck controls became popular in the very early 80's. Some boomboxes had them and some did not. Electronic deck functions employed solenoids, belts/gears to move the deck's tape head gently into place, whereas mechanical deck keys tend to jolt and jar the tape heads. 

Auto reverse - allowed recording and playback of both sides of a tape without the user having to open the deck and flip the tape over to the other side.
 

Full auto shut-off - is a very good feature.  If the deck is allowed to rewind or fastforward unattended, the deck will shut off when the end of the tape is reached.  Some decks only offer shut off at end of playback or recording.  These decks may not shut off in fastforward or rewind, thus having the potential to stretch or break the tape.  There are many other possible features, such as music search, editing capabilities, etc.

Problems with older stereos - When a seller states the tape decks aren't working, but the cause could just be a belt, be very careful.  You are most likely buying an item that is sold as-is.  It is also most likely an older item for which parts may be extremely hard to come by.  For all you know, the buyer has no idea why the boombox is not working.  Stating that it may be a belt is a very common generic excuse.  A bad or broken belt is the most likely cause, but not the only one.  Damaged pinch rollers, capstans or motor(s) could be the problem.  Even problems with the power supply.  So, when the unit is not working, you are buying it blindly, with no idea if parts can be had. 


The Deck - By far, the most common failure we see is with the cassette mechanism. Many, many used boomboxes will be described as perfect with the exception of the cassette drive, which doesn't work, "but probably just needs a belt. Don't be decieved by the seller's confidence. Belt replacement can be difficult, perhaps impossible if you plan on relying on your local stereo repair shop to do it. You might be able to determine if a broken belt really is the culprit. Engage the play button and listen closely for a motor. If you hear it, it may indeed be a broken belt. If not, you could be looking at a more detailed repair. Remember that a broken belt is not the root cause for all tape drive failures. Many pricier systems utilized a power-assisted control system (in this system, the cassette controls need only be touched, rather than pushed, motors do the rest of the work), which is also quite prone to failure. In any case, if a piece in this mechanism is phyiscally bent or broken, you will need replacement parts. Working ok, but sometimes eats tapes. There could be damage to the pinch rollers, capstans or motor(s) which can cause this problem.  If the seller states that a cleaning will probably do the trick, that should mean nothing to you.  If a cleaning should do it, then, why didn't the seller clean it and try again?  Tape deck cleaning tapes are still sold.  Someone knowledgable about decks can clean it very well with just a couple of cotton swabs and some rubbing alchohol.

The Tuner -  Most boomboxes employed analog (dial) tuners, especially in the 80's.  Digital tuners were infrequent then and became more popular in the 90's.  Analog tuners may not work because internal mechanical parts may be worn or broken.  Be wary of such units.  Digital units either work or they don't.  If it is a simple problem like the display doesn't illuminate, that can usually be repaired.  If the antenna(s) are broken, they can be replaced, but may not fit exactly like the originals.

The Amplifier -  If the seller states the amp works a little, or intermittantly, be very careful.  An amp is solid state circuitry.  If one of the channels do not work properly, then the amp may be blown.  Sometimes however, it could be the speaker.  A simple test is to connect a speaker you know is working to the amp and see if it plays.  If it still does not, then the amp may be dead.  If the seller isn't willing or able to try this test for you, then you may want to look elsewhere.  Again, if you buy it and try to repair it, you may have a very difficult time acquiring the parts and they may be very expensive.  There is always a small possibility that a fuse is blown.  However, that is assuming an easy fix for an item that might have cost quite a bit.  That is a big risk on the buyer's part.

The Speaker Systems -  Speakers are moving parts.  Their performance can degrade with time.  The individual speakers within a boombox are referred to as drivers, woofers or tweeters.  The speakers cone surrounds should be intact.  Many woofers have cloth-roll, foam-roll or rubber-roll surrounds.  If the surrounds are torn or rotting due to age, then the speaker cannot possibly work properly.  Most of the speakers are unattainable because the boombox is so old, so you are out of luck if you buy one with damaged speakers.  Speakers may not work for many reasons.  If the seller states a speaker is not working, keep in mind that a replacement speaker may not be found.  A particular problem with most boomboxes is the way the original speakers were designed to be installed.  They may employ specially shaped flanges and mounting gear.  You can't see this from the outside.  The speaker that requires replacing may look like a simple speaker with a round or square frame that is easily replaceable.  When you attempt to install a general replacement speaker of the same size, you may find it will not fit properly or not at all.  This rule applies to all boombox speakers, even those boomboxes which feature detachable speaker boxes.  Many times the actual speaker drivers are mounted in unusual ways not seen from the outside, making the installing of a replacement speaker very difficult.  Also, many boomboxes employed woofer or tweeter sizes that were slightly different than the sizes of general replacement parts.  Finally, the speakers physical depth may be hard to match.  Many aftermarket speakers may have magnet structures which are too big.  They may fit on one side of a boombox but not the other, because electronic boards or a power transformer may be in the way. Manufacturers also match the internal speakers to the boombox's amp and tone characteristics.  When you try replacing a boombox speaker with a higher quality speaker, you may find that the replacement speaker does not play nearly as loud, or does not deliver as much bass or midrange.  You would think the better replacement speaker would act as an upgrade.  But it usually does not work that way.  Most boomboxes weren't designed to meet the same criteria as home components, so they cannot properly power better quality speakers in many cases.

The Other Features -  These can be very important.  If the unit has VU meters, but only one is working, that may indicate that only one channel of the amplifier, tape deck or tuner is working.  That's a big problem.  So, if only one VU meter is working in the pictures provided by the seller, be wary.  Broken or missing knobs and switches may be extremely difficult to replace.  If the seller states that a channel goes in and out when manipulating the volume and/or balance controls, that could mean a control defect or a short.  Static in the volume and other controls may be relieved by using a cleaning spray made for cleaning tuning controls.  It all depends on how corroded or filthy the controls' internal moving parts may be.

The Cases -   Obviously, broken cases, huge cracks or very noticable damage to the boombox indicates it was used roughly or even abused.  Any type of sudden impact can jar a boombox enough to cause misalignments, shorts, disconnection of electrical fittings, belts, etc.  Unless you are specifically looking for parts only, be very careful of such units.


The Static -
 Other common ailments include static-y audio when adjusting the volume or balance knob. This can be remedied with a blow of compressed air into the suspect control.

The Antenna - Radio Shack sells replacements for less than $6. You can probably find one that's even longer than the original, if radio is your thing. Aesthetic problems like missing controls, scratches or cracks are impossible to resolve, unless you have a spare boombox you can part out.

Repair Shop -
I don't plan on attempting to fix this boombox myself, where do I get it repaired? This is where brand name is important. You're more likely to find replacement parts for the popular brand names, like Sony and Panasonic. Stay away from broken ghettoblasters made by obscure brands. Depending on the shop, they may not touch the system without a service manual, and again, brand name ghettoblaster service manuals are more prevalent than obscure brands. That said, finding a shop that will do the repair can be a task in itself. Contact local stereo, VCR & TV repair shops and inquire.  Certainly inquire about hourly rates for repairssome will charge $70+ per hour for repair. Are you prepared to pay for 2 or 3 hours of service plus parts to get that system fixed?

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