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  1. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Michigan USA
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    Hi all, first post here and it is a cry for help

    I just bought a "perfect working order" 1970 from Ebay that had a tape stuck in it and once the tape was removed will not fully seat another tape. It sucks it in but it jams and never lowers the tape. After the second try it ejects and powers off. This behavior is slightly erratic..... lately it has remained on instead of powering off after it ejects.

    I have contacted the seller but the listing states no returns so I am likely stuck with it. Too bad.... it is immaculate inside and seems functional aside from the mechanical issue.

    I have a couple questions....

    1. How far do you have to push the tape in before it senses it and activates? I ask because it is not sensing the tape at all and I suspect an issue with the "tape in" sensor but I can't find it.

    2. When you press the power button and it power off, the S-VHS logo flashes and I can hear something ticking very quietly. I assume this is not normal?

    3. When you plug the power cord in, it attempts to load a tape, whether or not one is present. The loading process jams because without a tape present, the lifter that would open the cassette door falls into the wrong guide slot and jams the process. I assume this is also not normal, and perhaps an indication that it thinks a tape is present when it is not? Hence a sensor issue?

    4. If there is a tape present when you plug it in, it attempts to load it but after the tape is sucked in, it does not lower...... the loading fingers activate but since the tape is not lowered into position, the fingers miss the tape and the tape stays in the cassette. Any ideas?

    I'm reluctant to tear into it just yet in case the seller will accept it back. But if she blows me off I'll either see if I can figure it out or perhaps offer it up here for parts. It really is near mint inside from what I can tell. No dust, no dirt, no nothing.

    EDIT:

    I just realized that the "tape in" indicator in the display is on with no tape inserted, indicating it thinks there is a tape inserted when it is not. Anyone know how it senses the tape? That might lead me to the problem.

    TIA
    Paul
    Last edited by pgoelz; 27th Feb 2010 at 15:41.
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  2. Member victoriabears's Avatar
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: Canada
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    I sold a perfect vcr to a guy who man handled it and broke it (not saying you did), Paypal made me refund the buyer. file a problem with paypal.

    VCR's are fragile now, as they age, and inserting a vhs even at a slight angle could screw up the machine, best to ensure that they tape is wound back and forwards a few time before inserting into valuable vcr
    PAL/NTSC problem solver.
    USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS
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  3. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Michigan USA
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    Yeah, I hear you. But in this case, it arrived with a tape already stuck in it. It would not eject until I unplugged it and plugged it back in again a couple times and when it did finally eject, the tape was caught on the innards. Once I got the tape untangled and tried to insert a different (junk) tape, it now jams when it tries to load.

    A real bummer because other than that little detail, it is very clean.

    Yes I know older VHS machines are fragile. But this thing is almost built like a tank and it looks great inside. If the seller blows me off I may elect to keep it and try to figure out what is wrong. It SEEMS mechanical.

    Paul
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  4. Member victoriabears's Avatar
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: Canada
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    ah............the old "I forgot to take the tape out", I got one from Australia !! like that, just about managed to get it working.
    PAL/NTSC problem solver.
    USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS
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  5. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
    Join Date: Jun 2003
    Location: dFAQ.us/lordsmurf
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    A tape left in the transport for a long time, combined with bumps from shipping, could have caused it to die.
    Shipping alone may have done it.
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  6. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Michigan USA
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    Well I can hardly believe it but I managed to get the load/unload mechanism back in alignment. It had slipped a tooth and it was quite a bit of trial and error getting things set correctly. But dang it, it is WORKING!

    The machine senses a tape has been inserted after it is pushed in slightly. It does this with a linear pot on the right side of the transport. The slider is coupled to a gear driven sliding part of the transport that is in turn coupled to the cassette carrier. It seems to be used to sense the position of the cassette carrier and if the carrier drive slips a gear tooth (like I think it did), the machine thinks the cassette is not in the correct position. This can make it over or under drive the carrier and fail to sense the tape has been pushed in. If the machine manages to load a tape but the slider is not in the correct position, it can also prevent the machine from threading the tape.

    I am left with (at least) one question..... I see how to adjust tracking manually. Does the AG-1970 have auto tracking adjust? I have not seen it auto adjust so the feature is either not present or it is turned off and I don't know how to turn it on.

    It didn't come with a remote but it turns out a remote I have from another older Panasonic VCR actually works. How cool is that?

    After running a couple junk tapes through it I decided it was OK to try a good tape. And it looks really good.

    Paul
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  7. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Michigan USA
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    Couple more questions for those of you who have a 1970 / 1980.....

    I have figured out how to get into the clock/date set function but all I can do is change the year. How do you advance past that to change the time? I haven't found a button that functions as an ENTER key.

    How do you zero the tape counter (running time display)? Is this perhaps only available on the remote? I don't have the original remote. There is one on Ebay but they want almost as much as I paid for the machine

    And again.... is tracking adjust strictly manual?

    Paul
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  8. Member victoriabears's Avatar
    Join Date: May 2004
    Location: Canada
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    For Pannys , almost any Panny remote will work.
    PAL/NTSC problem solver.
    USED TO BE A UK Equipment owner., NOW FINISHED WITH VHS CONVERSIONS-THANKS
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  9. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Michigan USA
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    OK, one final post.....

    Not satisfied that I got my 1970 aligned perfectly, I searched for a service manual for the AG-1970 and could not find one anywhere. But I did find the AG-1980 manual on Manualsparadise.com and bought it (it is a $19 download). It looks like at least mechanically the AG-1980 is nearly identical to the AG-1970 and the gear synchronization / alignment information looks like it applies to either model. Alignment does not look difficult... there are alignment marks on the gears if you know to look for them. I have not taken mine apart and re-done the alignment yet since it is still working OK but it looks pretty easy if you are comfortable with taking the top off and partially removing the cassette carrier.

    As a bonus, the service manual includes the operating instructions, but I believe they are available online too.

    Paul
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  10. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2005
    Location: USA
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    Even with a "no returns" listing, you can always file an "item not as described" with PayPal -- especially if it's a "perfect working order" VCR that arrived with a tape stuck in it! Hard to argue that the buyer is the one who broke the machine when it arrived with a tape stuck inside, LOL. Just a heads-up for you. It's a shame that the seller is uncommunicative.

    It's been mentioned a few times on this forum that the AG-1970/1980 were very common in schools and other facilities, so repair shops are well-versed in them. You might consider taking it somewhere for a checkup, especially if you got a good deal on the unit originally.
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  11. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Michigan USA
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    I have no need to return it since I was able to get it aligned well enough even without the manual. I am in fact an engineer by trade and have extensive experience working on equipment like this without any documentation. It is actually a fun challenge.

    It has been working perfectly ever since I got it close enough to work And now that I have a service manual I can open it again and see just how close I got it by guess and "feel".

    The seller was in fact perfectly communicative.... no problem at all reaching her. She even offered a refund without me asking for it. But since I was able to resolve the alignment issue I quite like the machine and have no intention of returning it. It is in fact absolutely MINT inside. Not a single speck of dust or dirt to be seen. And the playback is flawless.

    Paul
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  12. Member
    Join Date: Jul 2005
    Location: USA
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    Oh sorry--I misread you. Didn't realize you wrote "if" the seller is uncommunicative.

    That's great news then! Glad you got it working.
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  13. Member orsetto's Avatar
    Join Date: Oct 2007
    Location: NYC
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    The AG1970 is near-indestructible, even more so than the later AG1980. The 1980 has unique video processing circuits that are superior for playing some kinds of tapes, but otherwise its actually a bit inferior construction-wise to the 1970, especially in the tape transport and power supply which are much better built in the 1970. The service manual for the 1980 may or may not be useful in servicing the 1980: the transport mechanics are somewhat different, with the tape kept fully wrapped at all times in the 1980 but partially retracted during FF/REW in the 1970. There are also differences in the audio board and video circuits: the boards in both machines are very similar so its possible the added features in the 1980 are just grafted onto the 1970 boards, but theres no guarantee they get serviced in the same manner. The power supplies are significantly different.

    Regarding the clock setting, you push the CLOCK button on the middle-left of the drop-down panel to get into the setting mode (two digit year starts blinking). Use the TRACKING plus or minus keys to scroll the year up or down to 10 (for 2010), then push the NEXT button to lock the year and start the month blinking. Continue using the plus, minus and next keys to cycle thru and set the month, day, clock minute and clock hour. When you press NEXT after setting the hour, the entire date/time will be saved and the display will stop flashing. There is no ENTER button, you store changes by hitting CLOCK again or by cycling thru the entire date/time range with the NEXT button until you finish with the hour. So for example, to just change the hour for daylight savings time, press CLOCK then just keep hitting NEXT until the hour blinks. Change the hour with the plus/minus keys, then hit NEXT to lock everything in. The timer setting works the same way, except you start off with the PROG button instead of CLOCK.

    The one glaring omission to the wonderful "every possible function on the drop down panel" design of the 1970 and 1980 is the the counter reset button: there isn't one, anywhere on the machine, and the counter reset is the ONE remote code not shared with generic remotes for consumer Panasonics. The only ways to zero the counter are by loading/unloading the tape, using the original 1970 or 1980 remote, or using the AGA96 wired edit controller accessory. Remotes for the 1970/1980 are ridiculously expensive, they run $60 new and $50 on eBay. A much better investment would be the wired AGA96, which frequently sells for $35 or less on eBay: this was originally a $249 accessory. It is a 1" thick controller pad about the size of a large paperback book, with a huge LCD counter display, jog/shuttle knob and full transport controls. It has dual cables and dual displays capable of running two VCRs simultaneously. The biggest advantage of the AGA96 is its durable LCD tape counter display, which comes in handy when the front panel plasma display on the VCR inevitably dims with age or becomes illegible.

    Tracking is automatic unless you engage manual by pressing and holding the plus or minus tracking buttons to adjust it. Manual tracking is reset to automatic each time you eject or load a tape, or if you press and hold both plus and minus buttons for a moment. If you cannot see any auto-track activity, the circuit might be defective on your 1970, or its plus/minus buttons may be worn/dirty/stuck, or your tapes may be beyond the range of the auto-circuit (this is common with LP or SLP tapes, the auto-tracking has an easier time with SP).
    Last edited by orsetto; 4th Mar 2010 at 21:41.
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  14. Member
    Join Date: Feb 2010
    Location: Michigan USA
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    Thanks for your comprehensive response. Yes, I am quite impressed with the 1970 and might get another parts machine "just in case". There was one on Ebay recently with a dim display and "untested" but I let it go.

    I did figure out the clock.

    Excellent suggestion re: the edit controller. I have the machine on a shelf under the PC table and while it is accessible, having a wired remote with display would be absolutely perfect since a wireless remote on that same table top cannot see the recorder. I'll see if I can pick one up on Ebay.... I imagine they have little value unless you intend to edit tape to tape.

    While I have not re-opened my machine yet, the 1980 mechanics seem nearly identical to my memory of the 1970, at least where the load / unload mechanism is concerned. I have no doubt I can use it as a guide to perfecting the alignment if I so desire.

    I have not yet seen any evidence of auto tracking but maybe I inadvertently turned it off when I was looking for activity. I'll try setting it incorrectly, ejecting and then re-loading the tape and see what happens.
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