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  1. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: United States
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    Hi guys I am a newbie here so please bear with me. I have Ihave looked all through the forums and cant find a problem like mine. I have a sony slv-779hf vcr that plays tapes very well but this one tape of a movie called the blue max it will only play the voice no picture. but when I push fast forward the picture comes on the screen in fast mode. when I release the fast forward button the picture goes away the sound still plays. I removed the top of the vcr and cleaned the heads and all the rollers and ect. with 91% isopropyl alcohol with chamios pads. Then reassembled it. Then I put the tape back in,same thing voice but no picture unless I push and hold fast forward. when I push pause a clear still picture comes on. is there something wrong with the tape or is it in the machine. any help would be greatly appreciated. THANK YOU.
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  2. Member M Bruner's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2008
    Location: United States
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    Can the tape be PAL and the machine NTSC, or vice versa?
    There are no problems - only chances to excel.
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  3. Member bendixG15's Avatar
    Join Date: Aug 2004
    Location: United States
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    Do other tapes play ok ??
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  4. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: United States
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    I dont know how to tell if the cassette is PAL or the other. how do you do that? as you can tell I dont know much about vhs tapes or machines. and yes the machine plays other tapes just fine. thank you
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  5. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2007
    Location: United States
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    Did you check the tape with another machine ? I think the tape's at fault, if the tracking code on the tape doesn't match the Sony's alignment path, you'll get the result you described. Sometimes tapes made with a particular VHS machine will play normally in the native machine, but not on others.....
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  6. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: United States
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    This is a store bought tape of the movie BLUE MAX in a two tape set both sets do the same thing in the sony and another vcr i have. both vcrs play other tapes just fine. thank you guys for your information with your help maybe we can resolve this problem.
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  7. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
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    The tape may be damaged. Or maybe it's a cheap release in LP or SLP/EP mode?
    Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
    FAQs: Best Blank Discs • Best TBCs • Best VCRs for capture • Restore VHS
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  8. Member hech54's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2001
    Location: Yank in Europe
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    My guess is it is PAL format. Where did you buy it from?
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: United States
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    I bought the taps at a flea mkt. they look in really good condition.
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  10. Member hech54's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2001
    Location: Yank in Europe
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    Originally Posted by kitchensira
    I bought the taps at a flea mkt. they look in really good condition.
    My PAL tapes look in really good condition too....and they look exactly
    like an NTSC VHS tape....
    You need to start looking at the fine print on the tape or the cover to look
    for a hint as to where it was made or came from.
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  11. Member julitomg's Avatar
    Join Date: Jul 2005
    Location: Mexico
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    I donīt think itīs an NTSC/PAL issue. Would the OP get the clear still frames he mentions when he hits Pause?, also, if it was a PAL tape he wouldnīt get clear sound. His VCR is fine, the problem is in the tape and not necesarily as beig defective itself, I think it could have been recorded with a VCR that had a severe misalignment but sold anyway without being checked in another VCR.
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  12. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: Republic of Texas
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    Companies like GoodTimes video and other second-rate, cheap-wad video distributors used to record their movies in the LP mode. Many American VHS units only had SP and EP (aka SLP) playback speeds. This was a VERY common problem in the old days. I seriously doubt that this particular case is a PAL/NTSC issue.
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  13. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2008
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    I have the tapes in front of me now on the box it says vhs format copyright 1966 by twentieth century fox on the back it says magnetic video corporation industrial park farmington hills mi 48024 (1980). about the same info on the cassette except on the back of the cassette branded in the plastic it says made in japan. on the side it says 120.thats all i can find. thanks again for the interest.
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  14. Member
    Join Date: Sep 2003
    Location: Northern California
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    kitchensira,

    I've run into this before.
    I suggest it may be a head clog.
    If I recall correctly, that Sony uses different heads for different speeds
    & for the scan function. The play heads are probably still clogged with oxide.
    When the unit goes from scan mode back into play mode the clogged
    play heads are again used.

    NOTE: If this is the cause, all tapes of the same speed should show the
    the same symptoms. (pic only on scan & still mode)

    At that point, the only way I've found that works, is to use one of those
    dry abrasive-type cleaner tapes. ( I only resort to the abrasive cleaners
    when all else fails )

    Good Luck I hope it works.
    Losing one's sense of humor....
    is nothing to laugh at.
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  15. Member Number Six's Avatar
    Join Date: Mar 2008
    Location: United States
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    I looked up the specs for this VCR - while it is true that it can only record in SP and EP (SLP), it CAN playback in LP mode. Also, in a 4 head system - 2 heads are used for normal playback and the other 2 heads are used for special playback features - ie: search, slow motion and freeze frame. If other tapes are playing properly in this unit, then the problem has to be with the tape itself.

    But, on the odd chance that the unit is not reading the control track properly - did you clean the AUDIO/CONTROL head which is on the right side of the transport unit in between the sliding loading forks and the capstan pinch roller? The control track portion is on the bottom of the head - since the control track is recorded on the bottom edge of the tape.

    Did you also look at the bottom edge of the tape - if it is rippled, then it will not make proper contact with the control head - this is a very common failure with the VHS VCR transport system. The tape could have been damaged in a faulty VCR during it's previous life.
    "I will not be pushed, filed, stamped, indexed, briefed, debriefed, or numbered! My life is my own" - the Prisoner
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  16. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2008
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    hi mike your idea on the problem makes sense to me because I have two other different tapes out of about 50 or so that do the same thing. If we ever solve this problem I will post my results here.

    to number six I will go back and clean the AUDIO/CONTROL paying attention to thebottom of the head.I checked the tape again and the bottom is nice and flat THANKS SO MUCH EVERYONE FOR THE HELP.
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  17. Member
    Join Date: Jan 2007
    Location: Republic of Texas
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    Number Six eliminated the LP speed theory, so we are indeed looking at either head clog, tape drag, or even an early form of copy protection. If even one of the video heads on that spinning drum is clogged, you'd have the symptoms you described. As far as the control track head, that too is very much a possibility. There is also the possibility of tape drag, where the hubs and rollers inside that plastic shell are not maintaining playback at a consistent speed.

    Yet another theory: It may be an early-80s form of copy protection that does not allow picture to lock up. Copy protection devices that only clear up Macrovision may not work on the earlier form of copy protection.

    Another factor to consider with the head clog theory. Even when cleaning the heads, an old tape like that may keep flaking oxide, re-clogging the heads with every reload into the VCR. It is from the 1980s, after all.

    You might want to consider giving up on that particular tape.
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  18. Member
    Join Date: Nov 2008
    Location: United States
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    Thanks filmboss80 for the info. I am going to keep working on all these bits of information I get from this board and if I can get the problem solved I will post it here. thanks again for all the help.
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  19. Member
    Join Date: Dec 2008
    Location: Brazil
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    Exactly the same problem here...

    But my tape is a home made from the 80s, so Iīd probably eliminate the copy protection theory as well.

    It used to work just fine, but the problem came up gradually, and in a few days, there was no more picture, only audio, unless i fast forwarded or paused.
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  20. OK bit of an old thread but this is exactly the issue i have, seems noone came back with a solution, anyone have any suggestions? I have an old Sony VHS player various tapes do same thing, blank on playback but pause or slownow picture is crystal.

    Tried removing the cover and turning the head on a piece of paper with some alcohol on it, was dirty but still the same, any thoughs?

    These tapes are definately tapes i used to record original races. mid 90's
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  21. Member
    Join Date: Mar 2011
    Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
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    Originally Posted by kitchensira View Post
    ... no picture unless I push and hold fast forward. when I push pause a clear still picture comes on ...
    If the tape is PAL and the vcr is NSTC, how would you get any image at all when ff'ing or pausing? I don't think that's the problem either.

    I think it's the tape, especially if other tapes work. If so the only way may be to disassemble it and put it in another case. This is something to be done very carefully and may make the tape permanently unuseable. But if the tape case mechanism is buggered you may not have much to lose.

    BTW don't clean the heads with a chamois ever again if you want to keep the VCR for a while. The heads should never be touched, by a cloth or those damn head cleaners or anything else.

    The way it's done professionally ... and I've seen this done by real techs ... is to dribble isopropyl over the heads, not touching them at all. No qualified tech would ever touch them at all.
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