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  1. Member
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    Can anyone tell me a decent (perhaps a few model #'s/brands) DVD Recorder or combo unit that I could use as a pass-thru TBC?

    I'm playing back tapes on a few different VCR's, mostly panasonic or a sony circa late '90s and am noticing flickering in the image. It's for a split second every now and then like a quick dropout but only on a segment of the image. Again it's really subtle, but I think something in between my VCR and DVD recorder would help but I don't know what to look for.

    Is there a panasonic brand dvd recorder that would act as a TBC through a Line 1 in/out?

    Also, there's no quality loss using a pass through, correct? Even on a multiple pass?

    Thanks in advance.
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  2. Could you describe your problem more precisely? There are a number of DVD recorders that can be used as passthrough line TBC's (and I just settled on one this week actually), and some if not all have some frame syncing abilities as well, but I'm not sure if they're intended to solve the kind of problem you're having.

    You say you're getting flickering in part of the image. Could you describe this in more detail? What is your signal chain? Are you hooked up to a tube TV, LCD (etc.) TV, or a computer capture card? If I hook my VCR directly to my All-in-Wonder 9600, the AIW's automatic gain control will sometimes flicker and show a "hockey stick" curve at the top of the screen in response to a blip in the signal...and sometimes this will cause it to horribly blow out the signal and create a nasty interference pattern for the rest of the capture. If this is the kind of problem you're having, a full-frame external TBC like the Datavideo TBC-1000 or AVT-8710 will almost certainly clean up and strengthen the video signal enough to correct it. In fact, it's nearly the only thing my [probably defective] AVT-8710 is even useful for.

    That said, I'm now using a Philips DVDR3475 as a passthrough TBC, and it equals or surpasses my AVT-8710 in pretty much every category. Davideck praised the more expensive DVDR3575's abilities as a line TBC in this thread and others, and I decided to take a leap of faith that the much cheaper DVDR3475 has the same circuits, based on orsetto's advice. Now that I have one, I can confirm that it does. It works excellently as a line TBC, and it cleans up squiggly lines and geometric distortions perfectly (just as well as my AG1980's field TBC, but without the drawbacks of DNR and field tearing). It's not perfect at frame synchronization - typically the domain of full-frame TBC's - but it's ironically much better than my [probably defective] AVT-8710 in that regard anyway. In my limited testing so far, it's only ever gotten out of sync by one frame (judging by taking multiple captures), and that happened during a empty section of tape filled with static.

    As far as flickering goes, my DVDR3475 regulates the video signal enough to avoid my capture card's horrific blowouts...but it sometimes flickers a little bit itself with minor blowouts of its own in response to super-bright whites in an image. If you're trying to avoid any kind of flicker whatsoever, I'd look elsewhere. My AVT-8710 doesn't flicker...but only because it always defaults to "blown out whites" that bloom and swallow up surrounding detail, whereas the DVDR3475 only does it for a few frames under stress. Go figure. (EDIT: Actually, it's flickering FAR too much, and it's very annoying in motion. The flicker is triggered by high or out of range white values in the signal, so the workaround is to reduce the contrast with a proc amp before the signal gets to the DVDR3475...but that's yet another piece of equipment.)

    There are other DVD recorders you can use as passthrough TBC's, but I have no personal experience with them, so I have even less of an idea whether they'd correct the specific problem you're having. The Panasonic ES-10 and ES-15 are known for correcting horizontal timing of lines and even vertical timing of frames, but I'm not sure how they fare with frame drops and signal stability. The Toshiba RD-XS series is known for a pretty good line TBC (and possibly decent frame syncing?), but I'm not sure how they fare with signal stability. I've learned recently (from orsetto) that the entire Toshiba RD-XS lineup is extremely likely to operate similarly or exactly the same in these areas, and the pre-2006 Toshiba DR series is likely to behave similarly.

    Just to recap, your options as I understand them are:
    • Datavideo TBC-1000
    • AVT-8710
    • Other expensive TBC's I'm not aware of
    • Philips DVDR3475/3575/3576
    • Toshiba RD-XS series DVD recorders (e.g. RD-XS25, RD-XS32, RD-XS34, RD-XS52, RD-XS54) and maybe pre-2006 DR series recorders
    • Panasonic ES-10 and ES-15 (and some say the rear inputs of the ES-20, but people disagree about its effectiveness)
    • Possibly other DVD recorders I'm not aware of
    • Certain MiniDV cameras are known to have extremely strong line TBC's built in, but I don't know if that would fit into your workflow.
    Your problem sounds to me like a signal quality/strength problem, and conventional wisdom suggests a full-frame external TBC like the Datavideo TBC-1000 or AVT-8710 for this category of problems. I don't know exactly what your problem is though, so I can't promise that any of your options will solve it.

    What I CAN say is that any time you add a new piece of hardware to your signal chain, it will come at a cost in quality. The analog signal picks up noise and interference, and many pieces of equipment inherently perform analog to digital conversions (and vice versa) of variable quality to do their job, and the signal degradation only ends there if you're working with flawless pieces of equipment. As far as I know, none of your options are flawless pieces of equipment.

    I've read some opinions that the Toshiba XS series is relatively transparent, but I haven't seen it for myself. That said, pretty much everything else has known issues:
    • The Datavideo TBC-1000 is said to soften the image somewhat, and it can occasionally cause "hockey sticks" at the top. In addition, a recent thread indicates it may sometimes exhibit the same checkerboard artifacting as the AVT-8710 under some conditions (such as using S-Video in and S-Video out). I don't have any personal experience, but I'd be surprised if it doesn't have any effect whatsoever on the color balance.
    • My AVT-8710 has a distinct effect on hue and saturation, and these issues are not easily correctable, because the effects are totally nonlinear. Certain colors are emphasized, whereas others become faded. It's not hugely obvious if you're just watching the video, but you'll definitely see it in a side-by-side comparison of frames with and without the AVT-8710. It also creates checkerboard artifacts: My unit creates a grid of roughly 2x2 pixel blocks, where light squares are surrounded by dark squares on the top/bottom/sides, and vice versa. The grid alternates in parity each frame like a dither pattern, so it's most apparent in stills, but it can be annoying in motion too, and it hurts compressibility. The grid affects the luma shade of each pixel, but the grid's actual intensity is determined roughly by the chroma saturation in a given area: Bright colors will show a strong checkerboard pattern, whereas shades of gray will not. Some people have had luck power cycling their AVT-8710's or using composite input and S-Video output (instead of S-Video all the way), but my unit has a checkerboard grid ALL the time. That said, it did once glitch and give me a grid that didn't alternate parity each frame, which made it far more obvious than usual; power cycling actually did correct that. On top of that, my particular AVT-8710 is either defective or easily overwhelmed by cumulative errors in the signal, since it doesn't even properly sync frames...and it sometimes creates torn or out-of-order fields, and it pretty much always causes bright whites to bloom to a degree.
    • The Panasonic ES-series (e.g. ES-10 and ES-15) are notorious for harming picture quality. They create [likely uncorrectable] color posterization, especially in dark shades, and I've heard rumor that they even encode the signal on the fly with lossy compression and then convert it back to analog, resulting in compression artifacts like blocking.
    • My DVDR3475 affects the image in a few ways beyond its passthrough TBC functionality, and one can be considered a major flaw despite its apparent perfection at eliminating waviness. I originally thought it added some noise to the image, but it's far more transparent in that regard than I first thought (I was tricked by differing levels ). It also sharpens the image somewhat (including noise), although it avoids adding new halos. However, my new Toshiba XS-34 does the same, so I think it might just be part of the composite->S-Video conversion it's doing for my sources. It significantly increases the contrast of the image in my signal chain though, so I need to correct for that. In and of itself, that's not too bad...but it digitally clips the input signal in the process, and it has a completely insane AGC that that likes to increase (yes, increase) the contrast when input levels clip too much. This causes crazy flickering in bright scenes and blows out some whites. The worst blowouts are equivalent to my AVT-8710's output all the time, but the flickering can be extremely distracting, and I've since learned just how much both better things can get: You can fix the AGC issues by putting a proc amp in front of the DVDR3475 and reducing the contrast. This eliminates the flickering and generally gives very graceful levels without any blown out whites...but you do need to be careful about garbage material or unrecorded sections between scenes, because they can still clip and screw up the AGC for the next scene (resulting in sub-optimal levels and a lack of predictability/consistency between captures).
    • The Toshiba DR / RD-XS series are reputed to be relatively transparent, and I'd love to see one in action. Davideck seems to think its line TBC might not be as strong as the Philips DVDR3475/3575/3576 though, so it's probably a tradeoff...and "relatively" transparent refers to a comparison with the rest of this flawed hardware. UPDATE: I have an RD-XS34 now! Input-wise, it's pretty transparent: It slightly sharpens composite input, at least when you output with S-Video, but it does it almost exactly like the DVDR3475. It has a slightly better Y/C comb filter, which helps reduce any remaining rainbows. It also has very graceful levels output and no AGC issues that I've noticed yet. However, its TBC is not nearly as strong as the DVDR3475's. You can see from sanlyn's tearing images/videos here that it can still be very effective for some tapes, but on the videos I've tested it often only corrects the larger time base errors slightly better than the AVT-8710. It does so without any side effects though (which is rare!), and you may not need any stronger correction depending on your particular tapes.
    • MiniDV cameras encode the signal to DV, which is a lossy DCT-based compression scheme. This is fine if you were already planning on using DV and had no plans for further processing, but otherwise, it's suboptimal...and depending on your source, DV's 4:1:1 colorspace might throw away too much horizontal chroma information.
    So, in short: Every piece of equipment has its quirks and drawbacks, and using multiple passes is likely a mistake, even if you found a way to make it work without buying duplicate hardware.
    Last edited by Mini-Me; 28th Feb 2012 at 17:20.
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    Originally Posted by ruehl84 View Post
    Can anyone tell me a decent (perhaps a few model #'s/brands) DVD Recorder or combo unit that I could use as a pass-thru TBC?

    I'm playing back tapes on a few different VCR's, mostly panasonic or a sony circa late '90s and am noticing flickering in the image. It's for a split second every now and then like a quick dropout but only on a segment of the image. Again it's really subtle, but I think something in between my VCR and DVD recorder would help but I don't know what to look for.
    Your DVD recorder already has a built-in tbc, of some quality or other. You don't say which DVD recorder you have. You don't say what kind of tapes, either. If you're copying retail VHS, most of these have some form of copy protection. There are several "brands" of Macrovision, each of which exhibits different behavior and affects copy devices in different ways. I'd suspect, though, that if your DVD recorder is making any copies at all, these aren't copy protected tapes. DVD recorders are programmed to stop recording when they detect copy protection.

    If this flicker has appeared only recently, you should determine whether it's coming from the tapes themselves. It would be unusual for every tape to exhibit the same flicker on every VCR, unless all the tapes have suffered the same damage through poor storage conditions. Play the tapes directly to your TV. If the flicker isn't present, then the problem lies in your DVD recorder.

    Originally Posted by ruehl84 View Post
    Is there a panasonic brand dvd recorder that would act as a TBC through a Line 1 in/out?
    All Panasonic DVD recorders can be used as pass-thru on Line 1. But as usual with Panasonic, black levels aren't correct, red tends to be pushed, and contrast is juiced up beyond normal. Many users' favorite Panasonics for pass-thru are the ES10, ES15, ES20. I've used all of them, but I disontinued use when I saw vague floating gray lines in the image which I discovered from old 'net posts was due to a poorly filtered power supply. The effect is most noticeable in large dark areas, but I see it in bright objects such as open sky.

    I've been using Toshiba recorders as pass-thru (RD-K2, RD-K4, RD-XS34 and RD-XS35). Their performance looks identical to me. Newer Toshibas, I have read, have pretty much the same circuits. The bonus with Toshiba is that they have excellent y/c comb filters for composite input, and a very clean composite to s-video conversion circuit. The output is much cleaner than I got from my Pansonics, with no apparent attempt to juice up the signal. They do a nice job of line-timing (correcting crooked lines, tearing, many (but not all) forms of flicker due to uneven line- or frame-rate); as long as I connect the VCR's audio and send it thru the recorders, I've never had an audio sync problem.

    Originally Posted by ruehl84 View Post
    Also, there's no quality loss using a pass through, correct? Even on a multiple pass?
    Mini-Me has covered this well. The more processing you have, and the more cables the signal goes thru, then you have to expect some change in quality. Well-designed components inflict minimal damage on signals. Even cable wire itself has some effect on any signal, so use quality cable. Monster cable is not recommended. Besides being overpriced, their connector design is plagued with ground loops and cracked solder joints, and their core wire doesn't meet impedance specs. But cable brands are an area of wide dispute, so use whatever you want. Just stay away from the $1.99 specials, cheapo OEM cables, and the $100 markups).

    I don't know what you mean by multiple pass. The signal goes in one end, gets processed, and comes out the other end. Internally all tbc's work somewhat differently, but by type they all attempt to accomplish the same thing.

    Originally Posted by Mini-Me View Post
    . . .a full-frame external TBC like the Datavideo TBC-1000 or AVT-8710 will almost certainly clean up and strengthen the video signal enough to correct it. In fact, it's nearly the only thing my [probably defective] AVT-8710 is even useful for.
    These are often necessary, even if a line-tbc pas thru is in the capture setup (line tbc's make many corrections, but they can't fix everything). Keep in mind that the circuit should be set up this way:
    VCR > line tbc > full-frame tbc > capture
    Note that the line tbc should get the signal first, then the frame tbc. This is because most frame tbc's correct timing to such an extent that the line-tbc rarely sees any problems and won't do anything. This means that if you record directly to DVD in a recorder and have a full-frame tbc active before the signal reaches your recorder, the recorder's tbs will do little if anything.

    Originally Posted by Mini-Me View Post
    There are other DVD recorders you can use as passthrough TBC's, but I have no personal experience with them, so I have even less of an idea whether they'd correct the specific problem you're having. The Panasonic ES-10 and ES-15 are known for correcting horizontal timing of lines and even vertical timing of frames, but I'm not sure how they fare with frame drops and signal stability. The Toshiba RD-XS series is known for a pretty good line TBC (and possibly decent frame syncing?), but I'm not sure how they fare with signal stability. I've learned recently (from orsetto) that the entire Toshiba RD-XS lineup is extremely likely to operate similarly or exactly the same in these areas, and the pre-2006 Toshiba DR series is likely to behave similarly.
    My Toshibas seem more effective than the Panasonics. Images look much cleaner, and the y/c comb filter does a nice job of preventing dot crawl and even a bit of chroma bleed from tape. I've been able to prevent audio sync problems altogether by feeding audio thru the pass-thru as well as video.

    Originally Posted by Mini-Me View Post
    I've read some opinions that the Toshiba XS series is relatively transparent, but I haven't seen it for myself.
    I think the outgoing image looks very clean from my Toshibas. They certainly don't have the gritty blacks and power supply noise I get from the Panasonics.

    Originally Posted by Mini-Me View Post
    My AVT-8710 has a distinct effect on hue and saturation, and these issues are not easily correctable, because the effects are totally nonlinear. Certain colors are emphasized, whereas others become faded. It's not hugely obvious if you're just watching the video, but you'll definitely see it in a side-by-side comparison of frames with and without the AVT-8710. It also creates checkerboard artifacts . . .
    I get the same effects from my AVT-8710. You can somewhat mitigate the problem with brights by using the 8710's image controls and lowering contrast. Lowering brightness doesn't help, and the hue control is useless for everything except badly discolored tapes -- but for tapes that bad, you'll have to do additional post-processing to fix the problems. One cause of this bloated brights effects is not just over-brightening the image, but most of the effect seems to be in raising gamma somehow. You can correct this in Avisynth or VirtualDub. I use the 8710 only for Macrovision when the pass-thru doesn't defeat it, although I do have copy protected tapes that went thru my Toshiba with no need for a frame tbc. As I said, copy protection comes in many flavors: you don't know what the effects will be until you try a capture. As for the dot crawl and fine grid you see on the 8710, most denoisers make detail look rather weird when trying to clean it, but I find NeatVideo does a superb job clearing it.

    I don't know that the TBC-1000 has any of those same effects, but its image softening was just intolerable to me. I returned it and got the 8710.

    As Mini-Me said, every component in the recording chain has some effect. At least the results should be an improvment over no fix at all. Mainly, however, recording tape directly to lossy DVD compression isn't the best way in the first place. I've yet to capture a tape (including some rather pristine looking retail VHS on high-end players) that didn't require some level of post-processing. Residual tape noise alone gives most video encoders apoplectic fits. It looks worse after encoding than it does during playback directly to TV.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 15:17.
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    I'm just wondering if it's possible to use a Panasonic AG-1980 as a pass through device? I seem to get a better tracking from a Sharp vcr on some tapes, but the Sharp doesn't have a TBC. Would the 1980 allow me to run an S cable in (via RCA/S cable adapter) in and back out to my DVD recorder?

    I'm using a Panasonic DMR-EZ48V as my RECORDER. The dvd quality is great from what I can tell, but the VHS on this unit has a very limited tracking range unfortunately and gives a jumpy picture on anything other than SP mode tapes. It also tends to super-soften the image, which is what I don't want for especially for SLP/EP tapes.

    Any more input with this added material would be great, thanks.
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  5. Originally Posted by ruehl84 View Post
    I'm using a Panasonic DMR-EZ48V as my RECORDER. The dvd quality is great from what I can tell, but the VHS on this unit has a very limited tracking range unfortunately and gives a jumpy picture on anything other than SP mode tapes. It also tends to super-soften the image, which is what I don't want for especially for SLP/EP tapes.
    BINGO! We have a winner: this is the likely source of your troubles. The EZ48v is the single most hated DVD/VHS combo deck on the planet, second only to the earlier, universally loathed EZ47v. They have a bizarre design flaw where the video encoder is not implemented correctly and is unnecessarily disturbed by the tuner-timer circuit. Perversely, the worst thing you can do with it is try to dub tapes from its VCR to its DVD recorder.

    At the very least you need an external VCR, to double check proper tape playback directly on your TV. Not necessarily a Panasonic AG1980: those are expensive overkill for most people who started with a combo deck, and they cause as many issues as they solve. Instead, look for any clean, nice ordinary VCR. Preferably a Sharp if you need exceptional SLP tracking (the Mitsubishi 448 and 449 are also great SLP trackers). The older Panasonic AG1970 can often be had for $50 or less on Craigs List and does better with SLP than the AG1980. If you still have problems with the the tapes on another VCR, your tapes are funky and this may be the best you can achieve (adding an external dedicated TBC or using another DVD recorder as passthrough might help). If the problem doesn't appear running VCR direct to TV, but only on the EZ48v DVDs, either the DVD section of your EZ48 is faulty or the tapes have defects invisible in normal TV playback that get magnified and made visible during the digitizing process (this is more common than you might expect: never trust the monitor during the recording, always watch the actual DVD afterward).

    Originally Posted by ruehl84 View Post
    I'm just wondering if it's possible to use a Panasonic AG-1980 as a pass through device? I seem to get a better tracking from a Sharp vcr on some tapes, but the Sharp doesn't have a TBC. Would the 1980 allow me to run an S cable in (via RCA/S cable adapter) in and back out to my DVD recorder?
    No VCRs function as passthrough, they only work their magic internally by tapping the signal right of the tape heads. The AG1980 takes the signal from the tape, filters it and corrects it, then presents it to the line outputs for you to watch or record from to digital. If you simply connect your other VCR to the AG1980 line inputs, and the AG1980 line outs to the inputs of your DVD recorder, there will be no improvement. The tape must be played by the AG1980 itself.

    DVD recorders work a little differently, which is why many CAN be used as passthrough devices. A DVD recorder continually digitizes any line input and passes that digitized signal to its line outputs for you to monitor, even when it isn't actively recording. So if you connect a VCR to a passthrough DVD recorder, and the passthrough recorder to your EZ48v, the passthrough will digitize the VCR input and correct it for DVD recording, then pass that massaged analog signal to your EZ48v which will digitize it again, adding its own corrective spin. Sometimes this works well, other times its a case of "too many cooks." Once you get heavily into tape digitizing, you learn its way more complicated than you'd hoped. There's no middle ground: either find a combo VHS/DVD deck that works reasonably well, or get stuck cobbling together five pieces of gear in multiple configurations depending on the tape. If you want to stick with an all-in-one, check popular web dealers like WalMart or J&R for new or refurb Toshiba or Magnavox DVD/VHS recorders. These will work better than an EZ48v.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    I've been using Toshiba recorders as pass-thru (RD-K2, RD-K4, RD-XS34 and RD-XS35). Their performance looks identical to me. Newer Toshibas, I have read, have pretty much the same circuits.
    Newer Toshibas (DVD and DVD/VHS combos made after 2006) have nothing in common with the previous DR and XS series. They are not mfr'd by Toshiba and have next to no Toshiba design input. They are strictly by-the-numbers OEM knockoffs made by Funai. This is not to say they are bad, but you will find none of the earlier distinctive (expensive) Toshiba processing circuits and filters. Post-2006 Toshibas are essentially clones of similar Philips and Magnavox models. As davideck and MiniMe have noted, these later Funai units do have some nice passthrough abilities if connected between a VCR and your preferred capture device (PC, another recorder). The later Toshiba DVD/VHS combos also work much better as standalone tape dubbers than the problematic Panasonic EZ series.
    Last edited by orsetto; 10th Feb 2012 at 15:07.
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    Yes I understand the DMR-EZ48V is hated, although I actually like the DVD Recording quality. It's the VHS playback that is horrific!

    I am using stand-a-lone VCR's running them to my Panny DMR-EZ48V to record. I'm not even using the VHS component of this machine.

    My main problem is just getting my VHS tapes to play back properly on regular vcr units. I have various T-120, T-1-30 and T-160 tapes recorded in the EP/SLP modes that are tricky to track. The tapes are in superb condition, no crinkled edges or damgage...nice shiny black tape. My problem is that I no longer have the original VCR. I actually think many were recorded on a TV/VCR combo unit, which wouldn't help me anyway since these units never had A/V OUTPUTS.
    I get fair tracking results from the Panasonic AG-1980, but I really can't stand the plastic, smearing of the image when the TBC is on. It seems when a TV character moves quickly I notice a cartoonish smearing effect which is annoying. I'd rather have a tiny bit of noise and a more realistic looking picture. When switched to "edit" it appears overly grainy...almost as if there's added grain to the picture...not good.

    Anyone have recommendations on Sharp, standard Panasonic, or other regular VCR models they've had success with tracking extended play tapes?
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  7. Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    All Panasonic DVD recorders can be used as pass-thru on Line 1. But as usual with Panasonic, black levels aren't correct, red tends to be pushed, and contrast is juiced up beyond normal. Many users' favorite Panasonics for pass-thru are the ES10, ES15, ES20. I've used all of them, but I disontinued use when I saw vague floating gray lines in the image which I discovered from old 'net posts was due to a poorly filtered power supply. The effect is most noticeable in large dark areas, but I see it in bright objects such as open sky.

    I've been using Toshiba recorders as pass-thru (RD-K2, RD-K4, RD-XS34 and RD-XS35). Their performance looks identical to me. Newer Toshibas, I have read, have pretty much the same circuits. The bonus with Toshiba is that they have excellent y/c comb filters for composite input, and a very clean composite to s-video conversion circuit. The output is much cleaner than I got from my Pansonics, with no apparent attempt to juice up the signal. They do a nice job of line-timing (correcting crooked lines, tearing, many (but not all) forms of flicker due to uneven line- or frame-rate); as long as I connect the VCR's audio and send it thru the recorders, I've never had an audio sync problem.
    This is good information! My DVDR3475 behaves very similarly here. I don't have a reference for comparison for judging the quality of its Y/C comb filter and composite/S-Video conversion, but it's decent at the very least. It eliminates a good deal of rainbows (if not all), and I haven't seen any dot crawl yet.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    Mini-Me has covered this well. The more processing you have, and the more cables the signal goes thru, then you have to expect some change in quality. Well-designed components inflict minimal damage on signals. Even cable wire itself has some effect on any signal, so use quality cable. Monster cable is not recommended. Besides being overpriced, their connector design is plagued with ground loops and cracked solder joints, and their core wire doesn't meet impedance specs. But cable brands are an area of wide dispute, so use whatever you want. Just stay away from the $1.99 specials, cheapo OEM cables, and the $100 markups).
    I'm guilty of enjoying the $1.99 specials, actually... I was being a bit pedantic talking about cable noise and interference before, since it's not something I especially notice, and the actual hardware generally dwarfs the cables in terms of its effect on the signal.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    Originally Posted by Mini-Me View Post
    . . .a full-frame external TBC like the Datavideo TBC-1000 or AVT-8710 will almost certainly clean up and strengthen the video signal enough to correct it. In fact, it's nearly the only thing my [probably defective] AVT-8710 is even useful for.
    These are often necessary, even if a line-tbc pas thru is in the capture setup (line tbc's make many corrections, but they can't fix everything). Keep in mind that the circuit should be set up this way:
    VCR > line tbc > full-frame tbc > capture
    Note that the line tbc should get the signal first, then the frame tbc. This is because most frame tbc's correct timing to such an extent that the line-tbc rarely sees any problems and won't do anything. This means that if you record directly to DVD in a recorder and have a full-frame tbc active before the signal reaches your recorder, the recorder's tbs will do little if anything.
    sanlyn gives good advice here about the equipment order. In my case, my DVD recorder has completely replaced my AVT-8710's job in the chain, since it does a better job at everything I need a TBC for, and my tapes are home movies without any kind of copy protection. Adding an AVT-8710 afterward only introduces frame drops, frame/field reordering glitches, image tearing, somewhat blown out brights, and the aforementioned color and checkerboard artifacts. It even reintroduces a little bit of jitter that looks almost like dot crawl. Mine is probably broken though, because other posters at least find the AVT-8710 much more reliable in terms of signal stability and frame sync. My experience with this TBC is unusually bad.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    My Toshibas seem more effective than the Panasonics. Images look much cleaner, and the y/c comb filter does a nice job of preventing dot crawl and even a bit of chroma bleed from tape. I've been able to prevent audio sync problems altogether by feeding audio thru the pass-thru as well as video.

    I think the outgoing image looks very clean from my Toshibas. They certainly don't have the gritty blacks and power supply noise I get from the Panasonics.
    Although I'm happy with my Philips DVDR3475, this just makes me even more curious about nabbing a cheap Toshiba RD-XS recorder for comparison...

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    I get the same effects from my AVT-8710. You can somewhat mitigate the problem with brights by using the 8710's image controls and lowering contrast. Lowering brightness doesn't help, and the hue control is useless for everything except badly discolored tapes -- but for tapes that bad, you'll have to do additional post-processing to fix the problems. One cause of this bloated brights effects is not just over-brightening the image, but most of the effect seems to be in raising gamma somehow. You can correct this in Avisynth or VirtualDub.
    I know what you mean: When the image gets blown out, most of the image gets a treatment that looks a lot like raising the gamma a bit. This doesn't explain the bloom effect that happens in the brightest areas though: Large white areas will literally swallow up small details inside them or nearby, and even very dark pixels (like a dark brown tree branch outside) will be engulfed by the blown out whites. The only explanation that makes sense to me is that the AVT-8710 modulates the analog signal such that really bright areas bleed outward when it's digitally sampled. I haven't found lowering the AVT-8710's contrast to help, but that might just be my unit. No matter how low I set my white point, there's a huge histogram spike in that location in bright scenes, and the detail in bright areas of the region just disappears entirely...so there's nothing left to recover in software. My DVDR3475 is better at avoiding this problem on the whole, but it will occasionally adopt the same behavior when the AGC gets tricked out. So far that hasn't happened for more than a few frames, but we'll see.

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    I use the 8710 only for Macrovision when the pass-thru doesn't defeat it, although I do have copy protected tapes that went thru my Toshiba with no need for a frame tbc. As I said, copy protection comes in many flavors: you don't know what the effects will be until you try a capture. As for the dot crawl and fine grid you see on the 8710, most denoisers make detail look rather weird when trying to clean it, but I find NeatVideo does a superb job clearing it.
    I agree about NeatVideo...with some effort, it can give unrivaled results. The checkerboard pattern isn't a showstopper for me for that same reason (software noise reduction), but I'm glad to use something now that doesn't exhibit it. Since you only use your AVT-8710 to defeat copy protection, we're probably on the same page!

    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    I don't know that the TBC-1000 has any of those same effects, but its image softening was just intolerable to me. I returned it and got the 8710.

    As Mini-Me said, every component in the recording chain has some effect. At least the results should be an improvment over no fix at all. Mainly, however, recording tape directly to lossy DVD compression isn't the best way in the first place. I've yet to capture a tape (including some rather pristine looking retail VHS on high-end players) that didn't require some level of post-processing. Residual tape noise alone gives most video encoders apoplectic fits. It looks worse after encoding than it does during playback directly to TV.
    I'm the same way. I'd probably go for an easy VCR to DVD workflow if I were digitizing unimportant videos like old TV episodes or commercial tapes, but nothing beats doing it the "hard way" for precious home movies. In the end my signal chain is turning out to be VCR -> DVD Recorder Passthrough -> Capture, but it was definitely work finding a chain of hardware that works well together, let alone the right capture drivers, etc.
    Last edited by Mini-Me; 11th Feb 2012 at 05:21.
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  8. Originally Posted by ruehl84 View Post
    Anyone have recommendations on Sharp, standard Panasonic, or other regular VCR models they've had success with tracking extended play tapes?
    Check out this thread here. We've been having a VCR discussion, and orsetto is a treasure trove of knowledge in that area...
    His standard recommendation is that the Panasonic AG2560 is a great tracker, and Sharps in general are as well. His latest post (as of right now) seems to indicate that 2-head Sharp models are good for EP tapes. This older thread about Sharps caught my eye today too, as well as this orsetto post about VCR's for SLP/EP tapes. He also mentioned the Panasonic AG1970 above, which apparently has even better tracking mechanics than the AG1980 without the smeariness. I don't have any personal experience with any of these VCR's except the AG1980 though: I'm in the market too.
    Last edited by Mini-Me; 10th Feb 2012 at 18:47.
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  9. Originally Posted by ruehl84 View Post
    Anyone have recommendations on Sharp, standard Panasonic, or other regular VCR models they've had success with tracking extended play tapes?
    No recommendation would be guaranteed to help you, I'm afraid. SLP/EP is a nightmare all these years later, just getting decent SP tracking can difficult enough. It seems like you have a large collection of SLP/EP, many on thinner tapes: this is a challenge that may require experimenting with multiple VCRs until you find one or two that track your stuff reliably. Luckily good used "ordinary" VCRs are cheap now, but you may have to lay out $20 here and $30 there until you hit one that works for you.

    The smearing effect that bothers you with your AG1980 is caused by temporal distortion in the TBC/DNR filter. It is very powerful, but not "fast" enough to keep all the details in each frame moving coherently: this lends the cartoonish, plastic effect. The DNR in the 1980 cannot be disabled, only the TBC, and its the DNR that is the problem. You will find the same motion smearing with any other TBC/DNR vcr you try, its the nature of the circuit built to an affordable consumer price. With other such VCRs, the TBC/DNR are linked together and both are either completely on or completely off. This does give you the TBC/DNR when you want it, while being able to shut it and use the same VCR normally. Unfortunately there are other considerations: aside from the AG1980, which has finally dropped to "affordable" prices used, all the other TBC/DNR either have a cult behind them that drives prices up (JVC SVHS) or are even more expensive, recently discontinued DVHS models from JVC and Mitsubishi. For the money asked, you may not see any improvement and SLP/EP tracking might be worse (definitely worse on the JVCs, the Mitsu 2000 DVHS tracks SLP/EP nicely but its TBC/DNR can add undesirable white pseudo-dropouts to SLP/EP playback (and if you only have EP tapes, it makes little sense to pay $400 for the Mitsu TBC/DNR if you can't use it).

    I'd suggest hunting down an older Panasonic AG-1970 for primarily EP/SLP playback. It has no DNR, so there is no motion smear (note this also means no color smoothing and no luma grain reduction, either). The TBC is weaker than the AG1980 but peculiarly suited to camcorder tapes and EP recordings. The picture sharpness slider and edit/detail switch on the front panel are much more effective in the 1970, with wider range than in the 1980. By fiddling with these you should be able to set a nice combination of picture smoothness and detail. The only trouble with the AG11970 is its age: many at this point need a tuneup to their loading slot and tracking systems. You can easily find one for $50, but its 50/50 odds any particular AG1970 still retains the correct neutral center tracking setting. If it has drifted, EP tracking will not be at full potential. Whether you think its worth spending to fix would depend on what you think of its overall condition.

    Aside from the AG1970, or perhaps the Mitsubishi HS-U448 or 449, or most Sharp models, there are no specific VCRs I can recommend from personal experience as having notably better EP/SLP playback. Really reliable tape interchange at SLP/EP sort of went out in the late '80s: after that mfrs didn't take too many pains to assure one VCR could track anothers EP tapes. Best results would likely come from an older 2-head mono non-hifi VCR, scads of these were sold until the early '90s when even the cheapest VCRs adopted the 4-head design. If you can find a nice clean 2-head VCR it would probably give you better EP playback, since they are optimized from the get-go for EP. The four-head VCRs are somewhat tilted toward SP playback, EP tends to be an afterthought that works best with that machines own tapes. Panasonic alone made scads of two-head VCRs, usually with the model number ending in 20, 21 or 22 (PV-1220, 1320, 1420, 1521, 4220, 4320, 4420, 4522 etc). I once briefly owned a GoldStar (now LG) 2-head which had amazing EP playback, you never know. Ask everyone you know who still owns a VCR if you can borrow it for a week, and audition them all with your worst tapes. Check thrift shops.
    Last edited by orsetto; 10th Feb 2012 at 19:21.
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  10. Does anyone know if:

    Pioneer DVR-433H

    Can be used as a Line-TBC?

    I saw that one had tried it, but donīt know if it was as Pass Through or DVD recording (he had a severe TBC problematic Tape).
    He said the image was Ok from it, but got frame drops (but there was almost problems with all of the Tbcs he used for that tape).

    Have asked him, but havenīt got any answer on it, and i donīt have that much time as itīs sold on a bidding page, and i need more information.
    So if anyone knows anything, please tell me

    Edit:
    Has gotten in contact with him*
    Last edited by zerowalker; 16th Jun 2012 at 15:47.
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  11. I would not advise buying a used Pioneer 531, 533 or 633 for any purpose today. They were nice enough recorders when working perfectly, but have several severe design flaws which tend to make second-hand examples buggy or useless. They can be extraordinarily difficult to repair. While these 2005 Pioneers were the first to offer a truly "solid" lock on VHS/Beta tape input, this performance doesn't necessarily translate into pass-thru capability (its more of an internal function of recording to the units own media drives). The 2005 thru 2008 Pioneers on the whole were great recorders, especially for tape dubbing projects: I've been buying, using and repairing them for 8 years. But they seem to operate better as a closed system, used to make the actual digital recordings, rather than as pass thru TBCs or frame syncs. If you want a passthru feature to another encoding device, a Toshiba XS makes a much better choice (as do some Panasonic and Magnavox models).

    If you get a very low price ($100 or less), a 531, 533 or 633 might be worth experimenting with. The later x40, x50 and x60 Pioneers had incrementally better encoding performance but are rare and expensive on the second hand market: not really practical unless you intend to use them as designed (to make the actual recordings). The earliest 310, 510, 220, 225, and 520 models did not handle tape signals very well unless they were absolutely pristine: those early units should be avoided for passthru or recording of problematic VHS/Beta tapes.
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  12. Well lucky i couldnīt get my hands on it;S
    Yeah know Toshiba has excellent TBC, but havenīt found any, the PAL market is rather faint here right now.
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  13. How is the samsung ones?
    for Example: DVD-SH853

    Canīt find any information on itīs TBC if it has any.
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    All DVD recorders have some form of tbc. But not all can be used as pass-thru, and most newer products (after 2005) are not as effective as earlier models. Look for Toshiba D-R3, D-R4, D-R5, D-KR3, D-KR4, D-KR5, the RD-"XS" series (tend to be expensive), Pansonic ES10, ES15, ES20, and Panasonic hard-drive DVD recorders made between 2000 and 2005. These were all made in NTSC and PAL versions. Both brands also marketed DVD/VHS recorder combos that can be used for pass-thru. Later models of the Panasonic DMR-"EX" and Toshiba "RD" series have useable tbc's.

    A caution, however: As recoders they're all OK, but none of them can make direct-to-DVD recordings of old, faded, damaged, poorly stored, discolored VHS tapes look better. Except for some improvement in wiggles and line timing problems, the recordings will still look like old, faded, damaged, poorly stored, discolored VHS tape, and tape noise and invalid luma/color levels will look somewhat worse than the originals.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 15:17.
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  15. I have bought an D-R3 unit from Ebay for 27 GBP, so i will probably get it, next week or the week after, then i can make som tests if all works well.
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    That's great. I use my old D-R2 frequently. The "3" is better, as Toshiba fixed the IRE levels on it. My "2" works OK as a tbc, but I can't record with it -- incorrect black levels for North America. Recordings made on the 2 look OK when played on the 2, but not on other players. The 3 doesn't have that problem. I was aware of the problem, but I bought the 2 as a well-used unit, strictly for its tbc.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 15:17.
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  17. Ah, well good that they fixed it
    Letīs hope the PAL is as good as the NTSC, as itīs the same unit (Region 0).

    And yeah i read that you really complimented itīs Y/C Comb Filter, i hope itīs not strictly for NTSC (i think some are for some reasons;S).
    Cause it would really be nice to let it handle all the Composite drawbacks, than just feed the "Clean" image into the capture card.

    And hopefully itīs True S-video
    Last edited by zerowalker; 19th Jun 2012 at 18:12.
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    Originally Posted by sanlyn View Post
    All DVD recorders have some form of tbc
    Not entirely accurate.
    There are TBCs, frame synchronizers, and filters that partially mimic one or both.

    Don't assume all DVD recorders have TBC abilities. That would be wrong.
    Want my help? Ask here! (not via PM!)
    FAQs: Best Blank Discs • Best TBCs • Best VCRs for capture • Restore VHS
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  19. sanlyn, is it possible that you could provide a vcr tape clip directly and one with the use of D-R2 (or similar).
    Without encoding the clips.
    As i have hard to see the difference on encoded mpg files, as they have low detail, and kind of blurs the waviness.
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    The clips I posted a few weeks ago used the D-R2. They are posted as mpg's, but there was no processing of the original AVI. I went directly from captured AVI to high-bitrate MPEG2. You would see no difference between the capture and the two-pass high-bitrate encode. I have no idea where those captures are now, they were made specifically for the earlier posts. The original AVI's would have totalled 4 GB, as there were several comparisons.

    I don't know what you mean by this statement: "As i have hard to see the difference on encoded mpg files, as they have low detail, and kind of blurs the waviness." If encoded correctly, you should see very little difference between your original cap and the final product -- assuming there was no processing between capture and encode.

    I don't know how you're encoding (I use TMPGenc Plus 2.5 or HCenc).
    Except for the demos I posted earlier, I never capture without a pass-thru tbc.

    Why do your encodes have low detail and blur? By the way, the European version of the recorder has all standard outputs, including "true" s-video, etc., as well as SCART.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 15:17.
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  21. Well it was wrong to say, low detail and blur, a bit extreme.
    But i was refering to the black and white clips you uploaded, with the severe tearing at the top.

    I was comparing the Toshiba with the Separate TBC(i think).

    But i couldnīt really see any difference, Except for the top of course. But i couldnīt see difference in waviness.
    But maybe the TBC was a line TBC, and not a Full Frame which i thought it was?

    G_Swing_AVT.mpg
    I_Swing_Tosh.mpg

    These 2
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    Originally Posted by zerowalker View Post
    Well it was wrong to say, low detail and blur, a bit extreme.
    But i was refering to the black and white clips you uploaded, with the severe tearing at the top.

    I was comparing the Toshiba with the Separate TBC(i think).

    But i couldnīt really see any difference, Except for the top of course. But i couldnīt see difference in waviness.
    But maybe the TBC was a line TBC, and not a Full Frame which i thought it was?

    G_Swing_AVT.mpg
    I_Swing_Tosh.mpg

    These 2
    There are differences (the Toshiba has a smoother "flow" to it overall, is sharper, and has less noise in the darks). The AVT sample was played thru the AVT-8710 full-frame tbc. The tape was a very old retail VHS; before playing it I repacked it several times. The major reason you see so few wiggles or bent lines, however, is because of the tape player. It was made in 1996. It's about 20% smaller than later, similar models, but it weighs almost three times as much. It has been serviced, aligned, and received new anamorphous metal video heads a little more than a year ago (and, wow, I had to save for over a year to afford that, and sent it to Florida 1,000 miles away). It is more heavy-duty than consumer units made after 1998 or so. The "new" player I purchased in 2000 had no physical weight at all and seemed made of plastic and old candy wrappers. It had terrible, wiggly playback and jitter. It died an early death and is long gone.

    I just spent an hour going through videos I made in 2004 and 2005. The last time I captured tape without a tbc was in 2004. The first time I captured a wiggly tape thru a tbc pass-thru, I saw the light and never looked back.

    If you think you'll see no difference between your earlier captures and those you'll be making through a tbc, you're in for a surprise.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 15:18.
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  23. Oh, sounds like a wonder machine. And by the looks of it, it was worth the cost right?
    And i really love how old stuff tends to be more robust than new stuff, even when you think that, oh technology just getīs better,
    but the way to use old technology just getīs worse.

    Oh, that long ago, i really hope i am in for a surprise, i hate that i will have to wait till next week for it.
    But i really hope it will work as intended, and do itīs job, cause it will be fantastic to get some Real work done!


    EDIT:

    Just realized, you know the latest clips, with the bad color, chroma leak and severe wiggling.

    I think that itīs had a transfer.

    Like this:

    Video Camera Records -> The Video Cameras Tape -> Transfer to VCR Which Records.

    Well something like that, so i am currently investigating if i can get a hold of the originals if they are left.
    As i know that transferring Tapes with normal VCR and the likes, arenīt something you should do for archive material.

    But that may be a cause for the bad colors and such, of course added to the age of it.
    Last edited by zerowalker; 20th Jun 2012 at 00:20.
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    Originally Posted by zerowalker View Post
    Oh, sounds like a wonder machine. And by the looks of it, it was worth the cost right?
    Oh my, I wish there really were wonder machines. I think they exist, but I certainly can't afford them. Actually I bought it used from eBay, at a very low price. The repairs and updating cost 10 times the purchase price. The company that did the update has closed its doors (owner retired). That used VCR was one of 3 that I purchased cheaply in the same year. Of the other two VCR's, one was over-used but cost very little and no parts could be found for it. The other was OK but its playback isn't as stable. Many months of research into old VCR's on Google, and on this forum and others, eventually paid off. Thank goodness I didn't have to go all the way back to 1995/1996 to get a used dvd for pass-thru (2 of mine are used, one is refurbished)! Now that I'm retired, I'm afraid my collecting days are over. I'll just have to make the most of what I have.

    I forgot to mention: one benefit of using these recorders for pass-thru is that most consumer VCR's don't have s-video outputs. Panasonic and Toshiba DVD machines had excellent composite-to-svideo converters and decent y/c comb filters. So, even without the tbc, the y/c cleanup in itself brings an improvement.

    Hmmm, duplicating from tape to tape would compound the issue. A tbc works only with the current playback. It can't fix something already imbedded by an earlier process. On the other hand, we've seen line timing and other playback problems in several videos you posted, not just the family videos or the chroma bleed tape. At least, using a tbc on a poor transfer prevents making an old problem worse. In many cases you find improvements where you didn't expect them. I recently saw a post from you that appeared to be from A Clockwise Orange, or similar movie. A tbc would have helped that one.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 15:18.
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    zerowalker, while I haven't found any recent no-tbc compares, you might want to take a look at a post from September. The person making the post was in a learning situation and managed to dig out an old Panasonic DVD recorder to use as pass-thru. This post and the three short replies following it might be of interest in your case:
    https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/338999-Calibrating-luminance-levels-color-for-captu...=1#post2109257

    You might find this entire thread to be instructive.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 15:18.
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  26. Well true, I have seen and use the works of professional equipment in my work.
    Though i get encoded material, but itīs really sick how well it can play the tapes,
    some are so bad that there is barely any picture, but even then it can handle the tape and track it without any severe problems.
    And the TBC and stable output is incredible.

    If i could get my hands on one of those, it would be nice, but as you said.
    Itīs impossible to afford it, and itīs special equipment, you need more than just the "VCR".

    But i wonder, how can you make a company improve and maintain your VCR?
    As your had almost, no Real TBC problem, so i guess it must be tuned very well.
    How does that work?


    Well i really do hope it does some improvement on that level as well, with the Y/C Filtering, as my card is a bit of a mystery.
    As you can see, if i turn the Filter off, it looks better, and thatīs just weird, so donīt know what to make of it.
    But if this DVD Recorder handle it well, i can probably get out S-Video quality, or atleast very close to it to work with


    Yeah i know that when itīs on tape, you canīt fix it, without alternating the content.
    But it may be a reason, if it now is the case, why it looks so discolored and weak.

    Clockwise Orange?
    Donīt know what movie we are talking about here, but all my clips has bad TBC as you have seen;S
    I pretty much ignored the issue from start, thinking, Well some waviness isnīt that bad.
    But itīs really starting to get me, when all the lines are all over the place making everything into a pond of ripples.


    Okay, will look into the posts in that thread
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  27. A bit off topic, but about the D-R3.
    I ordered from UK, and i live in Sweden, as you may know, the power outlets are different,
    But i Think, that the Voltage is within acceptable range.
    UK uses 240V i think, and Sweden is set to 230V, but on my LCD TV, it says 240V.
    And i read that EU has some standard where the voltage can go from about 210-245V or something like that.

    Does that mean, i can just use it without a Voltage changer, and just change the cord so it fits the power outlet?

    (Both are 50hz aswell)
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    I'm not familiar with all the European voltage ratings, but when I visited Europe a few years ago I bought a package of adapters that had me properly configured in the UK, France, and Germany. Some members here might have more experience, or a local electronics shop might have the answer.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 15:18.
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  29. Was it just a plug adapter, or did it change the voltage and stuff?

    And your Toshiba DVDs, are they European or USA?

    And how is the plug to the DVDs, is it detachable?
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    The package of adapters I mention were adapters for various European power connectors. I purchased the package in Edinburgh, Scotland (later I saw exactly the same product being sold by Amazon and by B&H Photo in the U.S.). We went to Europe and later took a cruise -- awarded to my wife by her company -- that cruised around some northern South American countries for a week. Boring cruise; I stayed on ship most of the time for the free movies and the ice cream machine. We carried USA-110v battery rechargers for our laptops, phones, electric shavers, hair dryers, etc. The package consisted of a 110-220v downscale transformer, plus a handful of adapters. The transformer had a UK connection; the adapters were designed to match the UK connector to connectors in other countries. As far as I can tell, the adapters themselves made no voltage changes.

    There should be an electronics dealer in your country who is familiar with these adapters. I don't think that a voltage change would be necessary, but don't take my word for that. Every travel map and electronics site I consulted at the time gave this information: the AC power standard for USA/Canada and most of South America is 100-127v/60Hz. The universal European standard is 200-240v/50Hz. Our 110-<220v transformer had no problem with any voltage conversion. The only problem was the difference in connectors between countries that used the same power ratings.

    The connector problem even exists in the U.S. Newer 110v connectors use a 3-prong connector that has one larger metal tab that fits a large matching slot in AC wall sockets, while the second flat tab mates with a smaller slot. This is a polarity feature, as these connectors can only fit one way. The third metal contact is a thick round grounding lug. These three-tab connectors will not fit in older homes or locations that have the older two-slot AC connectors. So, even Americans have to hunt around for a 3-prong to 2-prong adapter, even though the voltage in those connections is the same for all.
    Last edited by sanlyn; 21st Mar 2014 at 15:18.
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