Today I picked up an old VCR. It's a Matsui VP9409, and it plays most tapes fine. However, if I rewind a tape to the beginning (where you can see both the magnetic tape and the small amount of clear tape that comes before the magnetic tape at the beginning) and try and play that, the player does not work. I insert it into the VCR, and almost immediately it ejects the tape and powers itself off. I opened up the VCR and discovered that it does not even pull the tape around the head. It just hums for around two seconds, then ejects the tape. This does not happen if the tape is mid-way through.
Additionally, if the player finds a section of the tape where the recording is poor (e.g: the static at the beginning of a home-recorded tape) it also stops playing, ejects the tape, and powers itself off. It seems to me like it detects that the signal it is outputting is not perfect, and is not happy with this.
Has anyone else experienced this problem and knows a way to fix it?
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Slipping drive belts would be my first guess. You may be able to inspect them from the bottom of the drive.
But other members may be more familiar with that particular model.
You can also check YouTube for some tutorials. Try a internet search for ' YouTube, slipping VCR drive belts '
And welcome to our forums.
Find one of those vcr cleaning tapes and use it.
Thanks for the responses - and the welcome! I have now observed the VCR with its cover off several times, and have more of an idea to what is happening. It seems to have changed somewhat from what it was doing yesterday.
Firstly, a quick clarification: I am not rewinding the VHS by hand, the VCR is doing that. I also looked for belts that could be worn or loose, but I can't find any. It looks to me like the motor that drives the machine is directly connected via a gear to the "bits that turn the tape" - not sure of the proper name for these.
If I put the tape in when it is mid-way through and press rewind, it rewinds quickly until around 10 seconds worth of tape is remaining. It then slows down to a halt. It then attempts to rewind the last few seconds of the tape, and while it does push the tape out of the right spool, the left spool does not spin and so around 3 seconds worth of tape spools out into the machine. The machine then makes a few funny noises, and then powers itself off. If I then try and play the tape, the machine makes some more noises, makes no attempt to actually spin the tape, and powers itself off. Ejecting the tape causes the spooled-out part to get caught in the machine.
However, if I fast-forward the tape, it is different. The VCR must have a reverse-at-end function, because when the tape reaches the end it rewinds back to the beginning. If I fast-forward the tape to the end, it rewinds all the way back to the beginning. However, this time it does manage to get to the beginning without spooling out tape. The tape is then ejected and if pushed in again the first three seconds are played, before the machine pulls the tape back inside the VHS and powers itself off. Pressing play again will play the tape from around 3 seconds in, this time without any issues.
Any ideas what is going on? Is this normal?
Oh, and is my theory about the "non-perfect picture quality causing eject" just the result of a too tightly wound recorded tape and an over-active imagination? Or is this a known thing?
Years ago, when I was working on Beta machines, I discovered that tapes would not retract fully when I was watching it while under a workbench desk lamp.
The lamp would trigger the photo-sensors and cause retraction problems.
Also, tape oxide flaking mid tape would cause it to think the tape had ended.... and stop, or trigger auto-rewind.
Maybe sensor problems are affecting your unit ??
Hope this may be helpful. YMMVLosing one's sense of humor....
is nothing to laugh at.
mikel is correct about the desk lamp causing problems with the cover off of the player. There are sensors inside the machine that their purpose is to cause a reaction to the clear portion of tape at the end of the tape. Accidentally triggering the end of tape sensing with outside light ( because the cover is removed ) can cause unexpected and unwanted results. You can cover the sensor to shade the outside light from causing these unwanted results. It usually is located near the tape's path as it leaves the cassette. Just don't forget that is covered, as it will no longer be able to detect "end of tape".
1. As others have said, many VCRs will malfunction with the cover open because of light sensors inside. Just put a piece of cardboard over the area containing the sensor in order to reduce the light from the desk lamp.
2. I've seen your main problem of not being able to play the first few seconds of tape on many VCRs. It seems to happen most often with cassettes that use an oversized tape hub and therefore only contain a fraction of the normal amount of tape. These large hubs were common on 30-minutes cassettes used to distribute corporate product videos.
To work around the problem, rewind the tape. Press play. Let the tape sync up and when you get a good picture, don't stop the tape but instead use the reverse function to play the video backwards. You should be able to see a picture all the way to the beginning. Note at what point the picture turns to snow. Then, repeat the process, but this time press the "play" button just before you get to the beginning. This requires a sense of timing and you may have to repeat the process a few times until you get the maximum amount of video. Have your capture hardware recording during this entire time so you don't miss anything. You can chop off the garbage later. You should be able to get much closer to the beginning of the tape than you can by rewinding all the way and then pressing play. In fact, when I have done this (and I've done it many times) I can often get every last bit of video.
If there is truly something important in those first few seconds, and you are not able to capture it using this technique, you still may be able to get video right up to the beginning of the tape by capturing the video during the 1x rewind step. Take that backwards video and reverse it in your NLE and splice that onto the beginning of where the capture was able to start in step #2 above. Yes, you will have noise bars on the video, and won't have any audio, but at least you'll have captured every last bit of video on the tape.