I disassembled an AG-1980 some months ago (a deck I've had for years, has never worked, already partially disassembled), took quite a few photos so you and I could discuss privately. The darker TBC image issue has always bothered me. But time keeps getting away from me. That was also the first time I'd taken apart an AG-1980 in about 10 years. I didn't remember it being so frustrating, with everything inside being such a delicate flower. A lot of the rubber, plastic, and wiring has aged badly in these.
TGrant was more interested in hiding deck repair info than sharing it -- including BS about super secret methods, blah blah blah, replace the damned caps and done, as you correctly stated. I think he knows how to correctly adjust the levels for the TBC, but will only do it for you, not tell you, and for the huge fee that is nothing more than bandaid on a gaping wound (ie, only fixing then-bad caps, not future guaranteed bad caps). I'm just so extremely disappointed by his work, and out thousands of dollars for new repairs that should have never been required, at least not within a few years, with minimal deck use.I personally don't want to deal with tgrant machines anymore. Granted he puts stickers all over the place and really cleans the insides and the capacitor work seems to be fine but so much of the other stuff on the machines that I reworked was absolutely screwed up and a nightmare to try to figure out the problems.
I hate these decks now. Money pits. But a necessary evil for quality, for more stubborn tapes. If you don't truly need an AG-1980, and get one anyway, seek help, you're into self-punishment. With few exceptions, such as deter's total rebuilds.
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It is impossible for me to calibrate an internal TBC on these Panasonic units. I fix the Y/C card and re do the boards that is it so it produces the effects it was designed to do. If one is really compulsively obsessed with this, you can swap out the Y/C card from a similar AG unit and it works fine. I did a bunch of AG-1970's years ago and they don't have the video card and I was pretty impressed with the picture.
Last year, I don't know the model number but this guy sent me a high end Panasonic from Japan. It looked like the JVC's from the appearance and the unit even had a DNR filter. It also had a TBC built in. Not only that it produced really good color levels so I had a few problem tapes that didn't work that well on my units. So I used that guys VCR to record my tapes I was like OMG this is great cause I will never get this chance again. I will be honest it was pretty hard working through the menus and stuff cause everything was in Japanese but by testing things you figure it out.
One last things, this guy wanted me to give him step by step instructions on like skype to rebuild a machine. Are you kidding me? That is insane. First thing you need to learn is how to build or fix the loading mechanism and tape transport. Than it is like playing lego's you have to be able to pull the entire unit apart and put it back together. With interchangeable parts you can use other parts from the same type of unit. Than you got to know how to fix the boards and not wreck them. Two years ago for work I needed another I-Phone, I don't know anything about I-Phones. I purchased $20 worth of parts and built myself an I-Phone for $20. What I can tell you is this, those screws are tinny. If you understand the basics and what part goes here and how to plug in the camera using the ports it really was not that hard. Once you do it once the next time you get a bit quicker. No I am not doing phone repair or anything like that.....
So you do all this work and ship the unit back and the shipping company breaks the machine than you file an insurance claim and they never pay. Had two spare units but used these parts on other machines. This is really not that hard to fix but with no extra parts it is impossible. FedEx did this twice last year on these front panels, the 1st one was worse than this but I had the parts.
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Last year, I don't know the model number but this guy sent me a high end Panasonic from Japan. It looked like the JVC's
Fedex for both?
Part of the problem is packaging. You have to package decks understanding that hamfisted goons handle boxes. Those Lowe's heavy duty moving boxes are pretty good. You can also double box, and the larger heavy duty boxes from Sam's Club outside the Lowe's box. I've had to do this several times, especially shipping USA>Canada, where the contents are both larger and heavier.
TBC on/off level is never going to look 100% exact, as whatever is receiving the video output may react slightly different to the raw video sync pulses from the tape, and the much sharper ones that will be present if the TBC is active and is replacing them, even if the levels look to be at the same place on scope output. May be extra complicated on the 1980P due to the use of digital processing for much more than 99% of other vcrs.
You know what's a far superior solution? Buying an actual TBC unit from eBay and forgetting the circuit in the AG1980. They are doorstops, as far as the buying public is concerned, and can be had for very little money. I bought a NOS Prime Image FreezeII for $65 a couple years back. It is a double unit in a single rack space, for processing two different streams. It's great.
After (painfully) learning that the AG1980 isn't linear stereo, after all, I will happily be saying goodbye to mine as soon as I get my JVC repaired.
The internal TBC on the Panasonic AG-1980 is field, essentially multi-line.
Line and frame do completely different tasks, interframe and intraframe.
and forgetting the circuit in the AG1980. They are doorstops, as far as the buying public is concerned,
and can be had for very little money.
I bought a NOS Prime Image FreezeII for $65 a couple years back. It is a double unit in a single rack space, for processing two different streams. It's great.
After (painfully) learning that the AG1980 isn't linear stereo, after all, I will happily be saying goodbye to mine as soon as I get my JVC repaired.
Actually, I was suggesting that external TBCs are doorstops, as far as the buying public is concerned.
A frame sync TBC such as my suggestion is often needed, in my experience, to go between a source and a capture card (i.e. the AJA systems). The line sync method of the AG1980 isn't sufficient. So I'm seeing less and less reason to need to use Panasonic's TBC.
Curious as to know what the known issues are with the Prime Image FreezeII. I've got two externals – forgetting the maker of the other one at present, and it's at my studio – and have consistently had more pleasing results with the Prime Image.
A frame sync TBC such as my suggestion is often needed, ...The line sync method of the AG1980 isn't sufficient.
So I'm seeing less and less reason to need to use Panasonic's TBC.
Curious as to know what the known issues are with the Prime Image FreezeII. I've got two externals – forgetting the maker of the other one at present, and it's at my studio – and have consistently had more pleasing results with the Prime Image
Just a few updates:
Please don't send units that are nuts and bolts aka machines that have been heavily tampered with, unless you want to donate them for parts.
As all of you noticed the costs have skyrocketed for everything, however the AG-1980 repair costs are staying the same a flat $500 only do when the unit is fixed. If we can't fix the machine, you pay nothing. Pricing on other VCR's do vary on the unit and work that needs to be done.
FedEx on my end is out as a delivery option however now have an account with UPS and get a slight discount on shipping. Emailing return labels is the preferred return shipping method.
Each return unit is now professionally packaged by a shipping supply store at no cost to the customer. That way all units are bubble wrapped the best they can be.
Replaceable parts is the key to rebuilding these units. If the boards are cracked, the front panel smashed, the loading bay missing parts or broken gears, damage to the power supply, Y/C card tampered with beyond repair and ect. Just like fixing a car with a bad timing belt or blown gasket the only way to fix the problem is to replace the part.
My spare parts are getting low and if the unit needs new boards or a new loading mechanism and I don't have it the customer has to supply a spare machine. If people in this community want to donate spare units you can PM my account and I will pay for the shipping and handling. This is just to help reduce costs for the members on the overall repair. I am seeing junk machines selling for $400 on ebay.
Adding in a one year warranty on all work done and any future problems that may arise with the units. That goes for past customers as well. Never have turned down anyone on a return and always fixed the issues for free the customer just has to pay for shipping both ways.
This is with in reason, you drop the unit off a 5 story building well that is out.
Right now getting in to the busy season for repairs so get your units in ASAP so they can get shipped back on a pretty good turn around. In the past had to turn down repairs because the back log was too great with machines sitting on the bench.
Last edited by Deter; 20th Sep 2022 at 03:16.
Is there a place to post working units for sale on the forums??
I would rather avoid places like EBay if I can.
I picked up a good working unit last year and have used it 8-10 times to capture off video from tapes. I can confirm that it plays the tapes through the BNC out and RCA out (never tested any of the other connections). Everything I tested on the front panel seems to work. Display seems to work as well. It also has a good working original remote.
I am moving soon and I don't want to have to worry about trying to pack this one up.
I've recommended a few times opening a marketplace subforum on here and it was always shot down. I say post it at dFAQ.
Here is the deal, what is this now 14 years of dealing with AG-1980 or AG-1970 units?
Have looked at over 250 machines, only one unit in that span was in perfect working order, even on that machine the heads needed to be completely cleaned. The unit that worked perfect someone went in and fixed the Y/C card and did a good job on capacitor replacement and a few other things. In other words every AG unit goes bad over time.
When I started, someone told me the AG-1980's are the best machines, so I got one, took the VCR to several repair shops, after 6 months the unit I got back was never fixed and than soon after other things would go bad. This guy was an expert and could never fully fix this machine and the other guy couldn't fix it at all.
Doing video work and capturing recordings takes a lot of time than you get your recording complete and than later find some crazy error in the picture like it is too dark or random noise lines or some strange problem you didn't pick up.
For me my goal, these recordings were important and wanted the best possible capture quality or even just playing the machine normal and just watching old tapes. So when I got the AG-1980 finally running the way it was supposed to, would have to re-do those captures with the machine errors again.
With this service I take all that out of the equation. Every machine because of the design of these Panasonic's they need to have the boards rebuilt and the Y/C card or else they will never work in the manor they are suppose to.
Yes some repair guys can get these units working really good but others absolutely screw up the machines.
This system I got running at Deter's repair shop took years to develop and now it is running really good. Was able to do things that I didn't think was possible like rebuilding smashed front panels or completely messed up loading mechanisms. The best was fixing a unit that had a nest of cockroaches.
Not all AG-1980's play the same. Some units do produce a better overall picture than others. Until the unit is fully rebuilt you don't know which ones are the real treasures. If someone sends two units, If one is just amazing aka a treasure, I'll tell them before shipping back. The last unit I did for a member of this site was off the charts good, I should PM him and see if he will write a review on it.
Overall at the end of the day on the electronics side is to get the electrical current working on the correct levels to each and every circuit on the board holding and releasing the charge so than the machine functions properly.
I'm just going to chime in on Deter's repair service, I bought an AG-1980 off Ebay 5 years ago or so. At first It played fine but after a short amount of time, maybe a year the picture would be dark and all messed up unless I left the unit on for a while then it would play ok.
Trying to do captures I also noticed that the audio would clip to the point where it was unbearable unless Hi-Fi was turned off then it played fine.
After another year or so it got to the point where even leaving the unit on would not fix the picture issue and so the VCR was no longer usable.
I contacted Deter and he told me that his schedule was booked and try back after a couple months, I tried again and again his schedule was full.
A few months later I tried again and finally he said he could take my machine, Having read thru the stories of damage in shipping I personally made styrofoam inserts to make sure the unit survived the trip.
He got it undamaged and it took just under a month before it was finished. He had it shipped back in a matter of a few days after he had it finished.
Before he shipped it back he asked for my phone number and sent me some videos of my machine running to ensure me that the audio issue was fixed during his repair.
I got the machine back and it works as good as I hoped it would the audio issue is gone, the picture looks beautiful and I can't say for sure because I never paid it much attention but I swear the front display is brighter than it ever was.
So, Yeah I recommend his service!
Deter, do you know what causes each unit to not produce the same exact picture quality? Does that refer to things like color output.
For example, if I replace the Y/C board on an AG-1980 with a known good working one, it will fix distortion issues but the colors will be a bit off. I'm wondering if only the original board is aligned and adjusted to output the correct colors.
alitek12, Every machine is just a tad different the JVC VCR's are more uniform. It is not like one Y/C card is better than the other. I've seen AG-1970's produce really good pictures as well and they don't have a Y/C card. You have the video heads, alignment and other factors. Even the sharpness slider bar. Honesty I have no idea what causes one unit to be better than others. The older models for sure have a lower quality picture from my experience. The overall picture tends to be brighter on these units,
For example I did the unit for Quest and it was like an 11 or 12 at the same time did a unit for a guy in Canada and it was an older model and that one was about an 8.
The rating system I am basing this on is that all the electronics are fixed and working properly. From dealing with hundreds of units when you test one out and when it is off the charts good, you do get the wow factor.
When I was doing video work full time over the winter months I used 4 AG-1980 Units and would test and see which unit played the tape the best.
PS I personally have the best LCD for playing analog material it is only a 720p unit and on some of the newer TV's the VCR stuff is going to look like crap. When I was doing VHS work went through every single TV at Circuit City and found one that was backwards compatible. That was back in 2007 I think.
Last edited by Deter; 26th Sep 2022 at 14:38.