I'm in the process of digitizing my families old VHS, VHS-C, and Hi8 tapes. I have successfully converted about 130 of 131 tapes. The one tape (VHS-C) that did not work has the following characteristics when I try to play it back:
Intermittent cycling between normal picture and static every 15 seconds or so (about 7 seconds of normal picture and 8+ seconds of minimal to complete static)
Picture is perfectly fine when fast forwarding
I use a JVC VHS adapter and a Toshiba combo DVD/VHS player to convert these tapes but since this is the only tape that has this issue and I have identical tapes that also work, I am pretty positive this is a tape problem and not an equipment problem. I mailed this tape out to a digitization service who stated that the tape had been "demagnetized" and could not be recorded, but I don't really think that is the problem even with my very limited experience. I wouldn't think that the tape would have perfect quality when playing in fast forward if it had been demagnetized. To me it seems like the playback is out of sync or something and needs special equipment to play it back an alternate speed. This is just a guess.
So my questions are:
Is there a way I (someone with very limited abilities) can fix this? If not, is there a way that someone with more experience/better equipment could do it for me?
Thanks in advance.
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Open the tap flap and look for edge damage and/or tape crease at the affected part
Thanks for your reply. I should have been more clear. The entire tape is affected upon playback. I did open the tape flap and, when compared to another tape that had no issues, there does appear to be mild edge damage throughout the tape on one of the edges (it looks a little roughened). Also, at the beginning of the tape, there is some pretty bad creasing/wrinkling (maybe 5 inches worth). The remainder of the tape appears to be fine other than the edge damage. I have attached a few images showing the start and representative pictures of the edge.
From what I have read after seeing your post, the damage at the beginning can be fixed by simply cutting off the affected area and reattaching it to the clear leader (I would probably have a professional service do this). The edge damage doesn't seem so bad, but that might be the main culprit and may be harder if not impossible to fix.
Any thoughts on a potential fix?
Is that the lower edge? Unfortunately, that's where the control track is.
When the tape is recorded the control track is written along that edge. So when the tape is played
back, those pulses are read allowing the rotating video drum to "sync" its read of the frames/fields on the tape with the proper timing.
When the control track is damaged, you get what you have now, a picture that comes and goes, but visible during FF/RW.
If you're careful, you could open the unit and carefully clean the top/bottom of the stationary head. (near the pinch roller)
with a Q tip and isopropyl alcohol (video head cleaner). It may / may not help.
** Do not attempt to clean the rotating drum, especially with a Q tip, that is not the source of the problem **
Last edited by davexnet; 28th May 2020 at 23:22.
Thank you so much for your help davexnet! After doing some more reading, a damaged control track seems like it is the culprit. At least now I have an answer vs. the "demagnetization" I was told before so thanks for that!
Here is another thread discussing the issue: https://forum.videohelp.com/threads/391381-VHS-Tape-Curly-Edge-Syndrome-Any-Fix. There, the person with the issue seems to be much more experienced than I am and, in the end, there does not seem to be a good solution besides maybe trying another VCR. However, his video is much better than mine and there is audio which makes me think that this damage is likely beyond repair.
I will try your suggestion of cleaning the stationary head. I may eventually try sending it out to a repair service, but it is probably not worth the time/effort/money to fix at this point. I will give an update if I somehow fix the issue, but it sounds like chances are slim.