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  1. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: United States
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    I've been trying to capture some old VHS tapes I created with a VHS camera over the past 20 years. When I play anything recorded prior to 1990 my VCRs seem to bog down and eventually stop within a few minutes. It seems like the drive motor's bogging down. They'll start squealing, bog down, and eat tapes. I'm on my third VCR, and all 3 seemed to have the same problems. The drive motor never dies completely, just seems like it's speed control's shot. Once it exhibits these problems, I can't even play a brand new VHS 60 excercise video or the head cleaner tape. I've opened them up and don't see anything building up on the heads. I've used tape cleaners, compressed air, and alcohol swabs, but no improvement. Most of these old tapes are the VHS 120 tapes; so, it takes some torque to turn them.
    The 3 VCR's that died are cheapy Daewoo, Emerson, and GE VCR's. Do you think this is a VCR thing? Or a tape thing? Should I invest in a better VCR? Recommendations?
    Any suggestions would be appreciated.
    Thanks.
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  2. Member wulf109's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2002
    Location: United States
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    Buy a VHS rewinder. Try Radio Shack. See if the tapes will fast forward and rewind in $20.00 rewinder before buying another VCR. It's possible that the tapes are so oxidized that they won't unpack from the reels. Older VCR's have tension sensing that will shut down the VCR before damaging motors and other parts. Your three VCR's were probably all manufactured at the same sub-contract plant in Communist China using the same sub-standard parts and no tension sensors.
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  3. Member Marvingj's Avatar
    Join Date: Apr 2004
    Location: Death Valley, Bomb-Bay
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    If you didn't stored the tapes at least tape room temperature 65. The Tape could be stuck together oxidized. I think the Rewinder would be a cheap solution to see if they are good. But playback different story.
    http://www.absolutevisionvideo.com

    BLUE SKY, BLACK DEATH!!
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2004
    Location: Australia
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    There's a product you can buy for $40 bucks for cleaning the tape's prior to recording , it's also a fast rewinder ... 20 year old's tend to collect furball's .

    The one I am talking about has a spot in it that hold's the cleaning sollution .

    Buy one or more new vhs cassette's , and exchange the tape's from their old casings into the new one's before recording ... the roller's and drive spindle's in their old casing's could be defective causing the drag and chew up issue .
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: United States
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    That's a good idea, the rewinder. I bought a Kinyo rewinder/cleaner for $12 on-line. I have a DVR that's worked well on my 1990+ tapes; however, I don't want to screw it up with a bad or nasty pre-1990 tape.

    In my failed VCR's I've cleaned the pinch roller and guide roller along with all the other contact parts. I did not see any gunk or dirt come off on the cleaning pad. Could metal oxide shedding to the heads cause speed control or tracking problems? The fact that the schematic of a VCR shows a "Control Track head" makes me wonder if this is a control issue. Although I've cleaned this easy to reach head until it's imaculate.

    thanks for the help!
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  6. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2000
    Location: Canada
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    Find one that uses damped slowdown nearing the end of the tape or else it may snap the tape or the leader may come off the take up reel and that will leave you in a pretty pickle, no? I actually use a very expensive Sony vcr to rewind tapes. Works much better than any rewinder I ever owned....
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  7. Member wulf109's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2002
    Location: United States
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    Will your damaged VCR's fast forward and rewind the tapes? Don't try to play them. Does the counter work on the VCR when you FF and rewind?
    Also open the front flap on a tape amd visually inspect the tape. Is it flat or are the edges curled-under. Curled edges probably means the control track is unreadable by the the control track head.
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  8. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: United States
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    These VCRs will play the tape for a few minutes and then they start bogging down it seems. They eventually go to STOP. I can restart a couple of times; however, they never achieve full play speed and quickly go to STOP. I try to FF and REW; however, again they can't achieve full REW or FF speed and go to STOP. When I remove my 1986 tape and put in a new VHS tape it also bogged down and stopped. Usually, I can try to FF and REW several times and it will get where it will REW and FF; however, it won't play. It also has trouble tensioning the tape, and wants to eat the tapes. I try cleaning the heads, but these are new VCRs and I don't see any crude on the heads. The cleaning may help, I've got one of the last failed VCRs back to where it will REW and FF a new tape now. In play mode it's squealing and there are lines through the picture. I don't think it's achieving the correct speed. I just bought another wet head cleaner tape. I'm going to see if that helps.

    Thanks for the help.
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2004
    Location: Australia
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    Seem's odd that your having issue's with more than 1 vcr ... are they on a powerboard with spike protection (basic level protection) ?

    I noticed my sister had a problem with power ... stupid company kept switching her home from first phase to third phase line , because people along the line weren't getting enough power ... blew up a couple of thing's ... stove , hot water service , dryer , tv ... I told her to bill the mongrel's as her house wiring code was up to spec's ... and it didnt help even though she had those new spike controls in the home power panel ... stuff just blew up all the time for no reason .

    I measured the incoming current source ... twice my service tool blew ... but from the reading's I did manage to get a hold of ... not all was well with the current supply ... it took them 6 month's to fix the problem ... after she had sold the place .
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  10. Member wulf109's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2002
    Location: United States
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    Personally I don't recommend cleaning tapes. You should open the VCR and clean the heads with foam swabs and alcohol. Always clean the heads in the same direction as they rotate,never with an up and down motion. Do you know anyone with a very old vcr,preferably a top loader. see if they will let you FF one of tapes.
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  11. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: United States
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    New development - I've used the new head cleaner tape and the VCR's working fine now. The cleaner tape has a course white ribbon for a tape, and they provide a vial of liquid to put 5 or 6 drops onto the ribbon before you run it through. As the VCR ran the cleaner tape in play mode I could actually hear the VCR drive slowing down and speeding up just as it had been doing on a good VHS tape. I ran it through a couple of times, 30 second cycles. I then ran a 5 year old VHS movie I had and it ran for a couple of minutes with some lines in the picture and squealing. After about 5 minutes, it lined out and it's working perfectly now.
    Does this help with the diagnosis?
    Thanks
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