My parents found a 25 year old VHS tape a couple months ago. I put it into my VCR and watched some of it, did a lot of fast forwarding and rewinding, and had no problems at all. Then I let the tape sit in the VCR for the last 2 months.
Now I want to convert this tape into a DVD, so I hooked up a DVD recorder to the VCR. But suddenly the VCR won't play the tape anymore. If I hit Play, Fast Forward, or Rewind, the VCR tries to do it, but it can never do it, so it either stops or it powers down. Any idea why the VCR can't play this tape anymore, when it had no problems with it 2 months ago? I tried a couple other tapes and those are working fine, it's just this one tape that won't play.
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Check to see if the spool gear teeth/catch mechanism is locked up. Turn the cassette over and stick a ball point pen tip into the 1/4" hole between the spools, near the "back" of the cassette. While pushing down on the pen, turn the spools with your finger -- you should be able to turn both spools a bit once you've released the catch with the pen tip. If they turn freely, put the cassette in your VCR and immediately try to FF to the end of the tape. If you can do that, rewind all the way to the beginning, then try to play it. If that doesn't work, and other tapes play fine in the VCR, you have a bad cassette.
And, it's a good idea for any VCR tape that hasn't been played for several years to do a full FF and rewind first.
Last tape I had like that I took the tape apart and removed the entire spool tensioning mechanism, captured it then threw it away.
Glad to see it worked out for you.
Eventually it happened. I did some similar repairs like that, removed brakes, etc, and even put the spools into the cases of other tapes that worked if they were the same design and brand. (I only took apart tapes that worked only AFTER they were captured.)
Boy, what a mess of parts all over the place! But, although it didn't take "one day", I DID "do them". I managed to capture them all. It felt so good throwing them all away after.I hate VHS. I always did.
Thanks for the advice! I was able to do the pen trick and manually FF it a bit. Then I tried FFing it all the way and rewound it all the way. Seems like there's a problem in the first 10-30 seconds, because the VCR still won't play it if I rewind it all the way, but if I manually FF it a bit, then the VCR can play it.