I have the Samsung SV-5000W multi-system vcr (worldwide vcr). I'm in the US. I also have a dvd recorder that if it detects a PAL signal it will record it as PAL, so the vcr is usually set as "pass through" instead of converting one format to another.
On occasion I will get comets when playing some tapes (all tapes are PAL format). It may play fine at first and after a while they appear. If I clean the machine and re-do the tape it usually is fine. Other times if I slightly jiggle the tape while inside the machine they disappear. However tonight's fix seemed odd and I am curious as the cause of fix this delivered---
Tonight I was transferring another PAl vhs (film does not seem to have a US release). Played fine a for a while, about mid way in comets started a little at first and then more on the screen as it went on. If i jiggled the tape this worked and got rid of them for a few seconds and then they would come back. However (and it was accidental) I put my hand on the top of the vcr and when I did that the comets disappeared in that second. Once I let my hand up they came back. I went to my room and put a heavy book (Art of He-man and the Masters of the Universe- so you know just how much weight) and this fixed the comet problem.
My main question is what might need adjusting (or possibly fixing) in the machine that would make them appear to begin with and what exactly would the extra weight on the top of the vcr have to do with the playback and in this case fixing the playback?
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The problem with the SV5000 is the ground flange between the floating head unit and the main board don't make good contact after they've corroded a bit. This causes static buildup and discharge -- resulting in comets. You can clean the contact point with a piece of very fine sandpaper.
I paid a pretty penny for this deck a number of years back. Glad to know I can fix it (without sending it out)