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  1. Hi guys,

    So I have two Panasonic VHS players, one I had for a while and was fine until last month when black horizontal lines began appearing on the screen during playback of any tape. After running a tape cleaner through it and then attempting to clean the heads manually with rubbing alcohol, I assumed it had just had seen better days.

    So, I bought another Panasonic VHS player - all was fine until yesterday when the same horizontal black lines appeared again. I ran a head cleaner through it (a tape version) but haven't manually tried to clean the heads yet as it didn't work on the other player.

    Now, the weird thing is that I played a tape on the second VHS player yesterday that I played on my old VHS player before the black lines appeared on it - basically, I'm wondering if it's possible for a video tape to damage the heads or something along those lines.

    It just seems weird that both players have the same problem after playing the same tape through them. Any ideas regarding this issue? Is it fixable?

    Many, many thanks for your help and time with this!
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  2. Member
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    Aug 2010
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    Try cleaning the rabbet below the rotating video drum. This is the tiny ledge that the tape rides along. Dip a pointed toothpick in isopropyl alcohol (91 percent or better; don't use "rubbing alcohol"), drag it along the rabbet and see if you get any black gunk. Then follow up with an alcohol-soaked swab, being careful to stay away from the video heads.

    Soft binder syndrome is relatively rare with VHS tapes, but you may have one that needs "baking" to make it safely playable.
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  3. Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Try cleaning the rabbet below the rotating video drum. This is the tiny ledge that the tape rides along. Dip a pointed toothpick in isopropyl alcohol (91 percent or better; don't use "rubbing alcohol"), drag it along the rabbet and see if you get any black gunk. Then follow up with an alcohol-soaked swab, being careful to stay away from the video heads.

    Soft binder syndrome is relatively rare with VHS tapes, but you may have one that needs "baking" to make it safely playable.
    Thank you very much for your reply! Before I try this, I thought Id upload an example of what Im experiencing: https://youtu.be/r7ajRpxDPxo

    Thanks!
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  4. Member
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    Looks like tension problems caused by the tape dragging in the transport. Clean everything in the tape path. IPA is fine, although I prefer Windex on the pinch roller. If you have stubborn black deposits on any metal parts, you can easily get them off with acetone, but keep it away from plastic and rubber.

    Open the door on your evil cassette and very gently (with clean or cotton-gloved hands) twist the tape so you can peek at the other side. Is it shiny? Or is it a very dull black?
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