I have this broken Panasonic AG-1950 VCR. This is the last place I can think of online to ask for help. This VCR will only play a cassette when its video head amplifier is disconnected. When connected, the tape guides advance a bit, then retreat. It does that even when there's no tape and thus no resistance so it does not seem to be a mechanical problem. Also whether the video head amp is connected or not, it will only play recordable cassettes because it detects the tab.
So let's recap. this VCR will only play cassettes that have the record tab intact, with the video head amplifier disconnected. When those 2 conditions are met, it will play. When they aren't met, pressing play will make the tape guides advance, but then immediately retreat. Same behavior whether there's actually tape in the cassette or not, so it does not seem to be a mechanical issue.
When I got this VCR, its mechanism was stiff and barely worked. So I added new grease. Now the mechanism seems to work, but everything else got completely destroyed. The only electronic device that came into contact with the grease is the mode switch. Could a simple 3-wire switch really cause this all of this chaos? It's so strange that it's as if, the grease I added didn't even cause the problem. But it's the only thing I did to it.
This is definitely the strangest, most abstract VCR problem I have ever seen.
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an ag-1950 in perfect working condition is worth about $30. find something more worthy to worry about.--
"a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303
Yeah ok I'm tired of this stupid boat anchor too. I'll put it back together and forget about it.
Check the power supply output voltages against what the service manual says they should be.