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  1. Member vhelp's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2001
    New York
    Search Comp PM
    Hi, last night, to my unfortunate surprise, my JVC HR-S3910U would no longer accept any tapes. Any. The unit keeps ejecting the tape.

    When I insert a tape, you can hear the tape load and then the machine appears to be trying to read the tape and then ejects it. It happens to commercial and home recorded tapes, SP and EP. This unit makes great EP recordings on fuji pro EP tapes. They look like SP recordings on regular vcrs that feature the svhs ep function.

    History. I do not know why this is happening all the sudden. I have never, ever moved the vcr. It is in its original place since the day I purchased it back in September 2001 at Circuit City in New York. And I admit honestly, I never miss-used the unit.

    1. Does anyone know exactly what causes this ?
    2. Can I fix it myself ? I am mechanically savy (maybe a rubber piece dried out, a belt perhaps)
    3. Or, do i need to send to a repair and what would the cost be ?

    I don't want to throw this out. It was mine from day one and I took very good care of it. No miss-alignment issues, perfect tracking when using the original tapes, etc..

    What you are thoughts?
    Thank you.
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  2. Member
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    United States
    Search Comp PM
    I had a similar thing happen shortly after I bought a brand new s3500 way back when. It was repaired under warranty and the guy told
    me a protection circuit had tripped. Fast forward to just recently, the same thing appears to have happened again, and this time I'm out of luck,
    not worth getting repaired. I might have attempted it myself, if I knew what part was to blame.

    Have you tried operating it with the cover off (do it in subdued lighting because of the tape sensors) so you
    can see what is happenng?
    On mine, not only did the tape kind of load and immediately get spat out, but the video head did not spin up.
    Last edited by davexnet; 16th Sep 2016 at 18:37.
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  3. Fifteen years is an amazingly long run for a JVC vcr: I've never owned one that didn't tank on me within 18-24 months!

    No idea how you'd go about repairing it. I'd imagine its a sensor or belt issue, or something broke in the loading slot mechanism. Like davexnet said: try watching it operate with the cover off and see if you can spot something obviously mechanical. Its a long shot, but if you see something minor you might be able to tackle it yourself. With some models, a gear train under the bottom cover gets misaligned or a tooth breaks: this can be hard to see and harder to fix.

    Worst case, you'll need to have it repaired, which at this point may be very troublesome and expensive. There's really nobody left in New York I'd trust with a VCR: all the good techs are retired and gone. The few places left open in the city are terrible: I've tried all of them the last few years. They charge exorbitant rates only to give your VCR back with additional problems it didn't have when you brought it in.

    DigitalFAQ may have some suggestions on good repair firms you can ship it to, but shipping costs at least $25 each way, plus whatever the parts/repair charges. Before incurring such expense, I would try to buy a replacement for it: a used 3910 in good shape should cost well below repair fees on your existing unit. Of course I understand your reluctance to do that given yours still has perfect tracking and EP performance: EP consistency was never a strong suit with JVC, so a replacement may not come anywhere close to matching your existing VCR. Still, I would probably try another (or even two) regardless: in my experience, anything is better than handing a VCR to a repair service. They rarely come back good as new: the mere requirement of removing the transport from the chassis could easily blow your "perfect EP alignment" straight to hell.
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  4. Member
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    Aug 2010
    San Francisco, California
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    Watch it with the cover off, in low light*, and note how far it gets before it chokes:

    1. Loader moves cassette down onto reel tables. Door is propped open.
    2. Two roller guides running in slots pull a loop of tape out and wrap it around the video drum.
    3. The drum starts spinning.
    4. The rubber pinch roller presses down on the capstan.
    5. Tape starts moving in PLAY mode.
    6. Takeup reel pulls in the tape.

    Watch for #6 in particular. The tape should never go slack anywhere along its path.

    * Or, you can tape over the IR emitter which is on a little post that sticks into the center hole in the bottom of the cassette.
    Last edited by JVRaines; 16th Sep 2016 at 20:00.
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  5. Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2000
    Search Comp PM
    Try the forums on YouTube repair video authors like 12voltvids. Many of these repairs can be done by people with little technical experience. I'm going to have to attempt repairs on several Beta decks now that they have died on me. Luckily, there are complete tear down as well as common faults and repair videos on YouTube for this kind of equipment these days. I have 2 3910U units still going strong after all these years. Might acquire a third I found in a recycle shop just last week. I'll test it out before purchase though. Oddly enough, VHS repair parts like capstans, tires, belts, etc. are quite common and fairly easy to purchase. Beta on the other hand, not so easy though you can also find places in the U.S. At least that will sell you a completely refurbished unit. Might have to go that route myself if my older units can't be fixed. Good luck...
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