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  1. Member
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    Jul 2018
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    Hi all, new member here. Hopefully this post is in the appropriate (sub)forum...

    I have some VHS video tapes circa early 1990s I was hoping to capture with my PC.

    I got a deal on an NOS JVC HR-D620U from the same era that I was hoping to use for playback: https://www.ebay.com/itm/312099856505

    It's a Canadian machine, so I was under the impression it was NTSC (I live in the U.S., my tapes were recorded in the U.S.) and would be no problem.

    Upon receipt of the machine, I wanted to test it out before I plunked down coin on an EZ cap (Hauppauge Live2).

    To my dismay, on playback, the display shows horizontal bars with a shifting image within each bar. This, coupled with the display going black every few seconds, intermittently.

    Difficult to describe, really, so check this out:

    https://youtu.be/qETcbUt6W0o

    I tried fiddling with the tracking, tried playing back different tapes from different eras (early 2000s), tried switching between different cables, even tried different TV monitors. No change/improvement... =(

    Doing some initial googling, I find many who report this have dirty heads. But... this machine is essentially "new". Or... is it? Could something have happened with the machine sitting all these years, unused, to affect playback?

    Is there something with Canadian NTSC that differs from US NTSC?

    Did all my tapes over differet years fail in exactly the same way?

    Did I get a machine that had a problem from day 1?

    Advice?

    Best,
    Chris
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  2. Member
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    That's not dirty heads. Looks like a problem with wrap at the video drum. You could try cleaning the rabbet, which is the ledge that the tape rides along on the lower half of the drum. Use a toothpick and 99% isopropyl alcohol. Be careful not to touch the video heads (small bits sticking out of the rotating half) while you are working in that area.

    It could also be excessive tension caused by sluggish parts. When machines sit for years, the lubricants turn into sludge. It has to be removed and replaced with fresh lube.
    Last edited by JVRaines; 4th Jul 2018 at 12:17.
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  3. Member
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    Hi,

    Thanks for your feedback. Really appreciate it!

    Would you say it's more likely to be sluggish parts than a dirty rabbet if the VCR has never seen any playtime?

    Assuming that what you say is now sludge was once a special kind of grease, what type of grease would I use after cleanup of said sludge? Also I'm thinking that it wouldn't hurt to find a service manual, that would help me locate the areas needing the lube.
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  4. Member
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    There is at least one model of videocassette which is now shedding, so the machine could be fouled on a single playback. If it has never seen a tape, then of course that is not the problem.

    Definitely look for the service manual; they often have lubrication instructions. I use Super Lube synthetic grease and Singer sewing machine oil. Grease for sliding parts and oil for rotating parts. If there is no evidence of lubrication in a spot, then don't lube it. Once you clean out the gunk, new lube should be applied sparingly.

    It's not necessarily a lube problem, though. Holdback tension is achieved by a felt brake band that retards the supply reel table. If the band is too tight, the tension will be too high. If it's too loose, the tension will be too low. Also check the back tension pole, which is a moving piece that the tape first encounters on leaving the shell.
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  5. I assume you've played around with the tracking control, but if not, look up how to adjust the tracking manually. The others may very well be correct that the machine needs repair, but it's worth a few minutes to play around with the tracking.
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  6. Member
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    Like I stated earlier, I tried adjusting the tracking. No change.
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  7. Member
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    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    It's not necessarily a lube problem, though. Holdback tension is achieved by a felt brake band that retards the supply reel table. If the band is too tight, the tension will be too high. If it's too loose, the tension will be too low. Also check the back tension pole, which is a moving piece that the tape first encounters on leaving the shell.
    Assuming this machine really is NOS (I.e., unused), I'm just wondering how could the tension be too low or too high?
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  8. Originally Posted by fazeka View Post
    Like I stated earlier, I tried adjusting the tracking. No change.
    My bad. I need to start reading more carefully.
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  9. Member
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    Originally Posted by fazeka View Post
    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    It's not necessarily a lube problem, though. Holdback tension is achieved by a felt brake band that retards the supply reel table. If the band is too tight, the tension will be too high. If it's too loose, the tension will be too low. Also check the back tension pole, which is a moving piece that the tape first encounters on leaving the shell.
    Assuming this machine really is NOS (I.e., unused), I'm just wondering how could the tension be too low or too high?
    Bad out of the factory. Or not really NOS. Or the back tension pole is stuck.
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  10. From what I see looks like a dry out pinch roller, it can't keep the right pressure with the capstan so the tape transport if affected and it might cause that horizontal lines across the screen.
    There is nothing you can do to fix it, you need a person with good knowledge in VHS to handle it, from the noise I hear the gears need to be decontaminated and re-apply a fresh grease, check to see if the tape guides are aligned and clean, possible full recap and board decontamination if necessary, etc, etc.

    This is normal with never used old stock electronics, electrolytic capacitors and rubber dry out with time, the humidity of the air + grease creates a gunk within the gears.

    So, this unit needs repair.
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  11. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    That was never a suggested VCR anyway.
    Just low-end consumer stuff, not what you want for quality VHS>digital transfers.
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