I have three VCRs that I use regularly - and all three have some type of problem right now. Maybe I can get some help and see if I can get them repaired.
The first VCR I have is a Funai VHS-DVD Recorder Combo. These are the cheaply-made ones that were the last VCRs to come off the assembly line a few years ago. It has been a reliable VCR the past couple years (albeit it does squeal on some rough tapes)...until now. I put in a tape that had two movies taped off AMC in the early '00s and all of a sudden it tried to eject it. Not only did I see the Eject symbol on the screen, but I saw an error code of 'C', before it shut off. The tape had been caught up in one of the guide posts and I was able to pull it out - this time I turned it back on without a cassette and I saw an error code of 'D', I think. The next (good, tested before) tape was messed up and had a dirty, flickering picture. Figured the heads were gummed up so I grabbed the alcohol and chamois swabs, cleaned the heads, rollers, guides, erase head, etc. Didn't improve it. Tried again. Didn't improve it. Are my heads shot? I have pictures of an SP-quality tape that has been tested perfectly in other VCRs...
The second VCR is a Panasonic PV-7455S manufactured in 1997. It was bought used from a thrift store for $7.99 a couple of years ago. It hasn't been used as much as the Funai. However, I think there's a sensor issue or mechanical issue. About 50-75% of the time, a tape will go in, play for anywhere from 5 seconds to a couple minutes and then a blue screen appears with 'STOP'. I opened up the VCR and saw the guides go back to their resting position, the motors run like they are trying to eject the tape, then the tape goes back on the head drum. I'll play it again and after a few seconds, the VCR randomly shuts down. Doesn't matter what mode or tape. The picture is quite good and I like the fast speed of rewind/fast-forward. It reminds me of the old PV-9662 I used to have - similar blue screen, fonts, picture quality, etc.
The third VCR is a Panasonic PV-S7670 - I *love* this VCR! It's got Super VHS capability and has a great picture. Until one day last year where the VCR fell about three feet to the floor on accident. Now something is very wrong with the unit. A tape that was in perfect shape, now gets ate up in the VCR and it's a pain in the rear to take out. I'll tinker around with it, maybe a part fell off and needs to be attached back in, but I've got it outside in a box waiting to be shipped out for somebody to repair it. Saw a VCR repair place in Oak Creek, WI that may be able to help me - but maybe I can get some help here. I'll upload pictures this weekend.
Maybe some people can help me out. Thanks in advance!
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Funai: Something in the tape path probably went out of alignment when the tape hung up or when you yanked it out.
Panny 1: Could be an issue with the takeup mechanism. Does it FF and REW okay?
Panny 2: Misaligned pinch roller will destroy tape. You could also have cracked circuit boards. Dropped decks make for an expensive repair.
Sometimes it will fast forward, sometimes it will rewind fine. Other times it fast forwards for 15-25 seconds, then stops and does the same thing.
I'll try and get some pictures of the inside of these VCRs this weekend.
BTW tried to get into the PV-S7670 and now I can't get the bottom plate off! Pain in the rear IMO.
As for the Funai, it was when the tape got hung up.
So for Panny #1, likely a problem with the idler that swings between supply and takeup tables. Maybe it's getting stuck or not making good contact. It could also be a problem in the gear train or belt that drives it, or in the clutch.
So it could be a plethora of problems. Yikes. Maybe better to junk the PV-7455S at this point! And I thought Panasonic's VCRs were quite good in the mid '90s timeframe.
But as for the PV-S7670 I'm making a couple calls today and next week to a couple of electronics repairmen in eastern Washington (one place is in Kennewick) and maybe I'll just have it boxed up and shipped out there for repairs. This is a really good VCR with S-VHS capability and recording. I'd rather have that one fixed IMO if I were to pick only one of the three. I can always buy another Funai or Magnavox, they are basically off the same assembly line with the same quality. I'm sure I'll find another one at the thrift stores.
I followed the tape path last night with a dud retail tape. The tape wraps around the head drum, and instead of staying in place and playing through, the tape tries to come off the head drum until it almost reaches the top, in that case a sensor forces it to go back to resting mode and try again - then it shuts down. I can take the tape out no problem but it has caused some crinkle marks in the tape portion that was supposed to be played. I wonder if the head got damaged when it initially fell 3 feet to the carpet.
In the meantime I found an emergency spare Quasar VCR (mono however) to take over the 7455S for now.
These low-end decks are not worth the money to repair.
- Late 90s Panasonic VHS decks were infamous for issues, playback blue-screen issues especially.
- And Funai VCRs have always been junk.
If you were talking a JVC or Panasonic S-VHS decks, sure, definitely repair it. But those? No way.