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  1. Member Deter's Avatar
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    Understand it is hard to find good working AG 1980 VCR's.

    Have been restoring these VCR's for about 10 years now.

    The method:
    All the boards are rebuilt and the video card as well.
    Than replace all the capacitors in the machine.
    (Than any other adjustments that needs to be done)

    Panasonic used a string of capacitors and resistors that do go bad over time. So it is almost impossible to find good working units. The few shops that repair these, well they don't fully rebuild the machine, so 6 months to a year you start seeing problems again.

    This service which is being provided to the community is rare.

    If you use Videohelp, Digitalfaq, or any video website and you are in to VHS capture you really need an AG 1980 as part of your collection.

    Base Repair rate per unit $500 + Shipping Rates

    Common Problems:
    Dim display
    Noise in the picture
    Random streaks of noise
    Blue noise in the picture
    Humming noise from the machine
    Color shifting and not able to hold a stable color
    Faulty TBC
    Power Supply Issues
    Issues in the Video Card
    Loading Problems
    Fade to Black & White

    Final notes:

    If you own an AG 1980 and you need it repaired you can PM my account. If you want to buy a machine on Ebay or Amazon and ship it direct to repair, I can do that.

    The AG-1980P produces a better picture than the standard AG-1980. If you are buying these online make sure you purchase the AG-1980P it makes a big difference. You can find the AG-1980P markings on the serial number.

    At this point in time can pretty much repair anything from Betamax to Broadcast decks to JVC's to AG-1970's.

    It takes 1 to 3 months to restore these units.

    All transactions are done via paypal and no payment is ever do until the machine is fixed.

    If for some reason I can't fix the VCR than you owe nothing.

    Thanks,
    Deter
    Last edited by Deter; 12th Sep 2020 at 13:29.
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    Good to hear you're repairing these valuable machines again! Thank You!!
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  3. Just have to ask, what makes this particular VCR so great?
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  4. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by sophisticles View Post
    Just have to ask, what makes this particular VCR so great?
    This has been discussed many times in the past.
    - TBC
    - DNR
    - EP/SLP
    - VHS-C

    It's not perfect, no VCR is. Artificial sharpness issues, colors can be off, luma can run hot. And bad caps. It's a solid deck, but re-breaks after some years, needs another costly repair. But hard time find better decks.

    JVC should be first tool in the VCR chest, but this Panasonic is next (for NTSC, it's the FS-NV200 for PAL).
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  5. Member Deter's Avatar
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    On the JVC stuff, personally will now only use the JVC 9900 or the 9911, they are the best JVC decks and the only issue you get with those machines is a plastic gear under the video drum that gets stuck or breaks. Than the machine will not work and goes in to auto mode.

    The audio on the AG-1980 is a lot better than the JVC stuff. The color issues comes from bad capacitors.

    The JVC 9900 produces a really nice bright color with the AG Unit you can't get that look unless you adjust them in an external color filter. SLP and LP tapes work so much better in the AG-1980 and you also have a sharpness slider bar to manually adjust.

    The AG1980P vs the AG1980 you get much better colors and a better overall picture.

    As far as these VCR's vs the other VCR's that we all owned back when we used VCR's, it is a night and day difference.
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  6. Originally Posted by Deter View Post
    The AG1980P vs the AG1980 you get much better colors and a better overall picture.
    Have you worked on its fraternal twin, the AG5710P?

    Would you rate the 5710P performance indistinguishable from the 1980P?

    I've got a pile of half-dead 1980P and 5710P, and one functioning 1980P: none of my 5710P worked correctly long enough for me to compare comprehensively.
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  7. Member Deter's Avatar
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    Have not tried AG5710P if it is a clone machine that is not a problem, the restoring concepts are the same. I've done AG-1970's which those units don't have a video card that is the only difference. Half dead units doesn't matter either. Worn out or bad video heads or broken plastic gears are the only things that matter cause then you need two machines to build one.

    For myself I rebuilt a Sony 2100 Betamax and that unit had no power.
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  8. Thanks for the quick reply: yes, the AG5710P is 90% identical to the 1980P. It came out a year or two later as an "upgrade" (more expensive) version of the 1980 optimized more for broadcast and post-production environments than consumer/prosumer.

    AFAIK the video board, PSU and other key internals are the same, but Panasonic significantly modified the 5710 to differentiate it from the 1980. The 5710 has no tuner, no wireless IR remote capability, no front panel AV connections, and no nine-pin socket for the budget A96 edit controller. In exchange, it has a large multipin RS-232C port with DIP switches to interface with "pro" edit controllers and PC-driven systems of the era. The rear panel also adds a connector for a simple throwback wired remote, and a couple odd option switches for repeat play, sensor recording, and a kill switch that prevents HiFi audio recording (linear track only).

    Just checked the rear serial number plate of my three dead 5710s: all three have the "P" suffix, suggesting they have the 1980P improvements you mentioned above, so perhaps that answers my question. One of my 5710P is still semi-functional, aside from balky loading and a tendency to add white snow to any dark scenes in recordings made from Time Warner Cable (oddly, this added noise does not manifest in any other off air or dub recordings with night scenes). If I can get the damned thing to actually load a reference tape again, I might be able to directly compare it to my one functional 1980P. Probably academic, since it makes more sense to have the better known and far more popular 1980P rebuilt than a 5710P that might be harder to resell/recoup later on.
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  9. Member Deter's Avatar
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    PM my account I will fix the three 5710P dead units. If it is a part problem I would have at least 3 units to build two. These things are going to mint you are going to be shocked.
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  10. Member Deter's Avatar
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    I am getting in to the busy season on repairs, right now have extra slots that I can complete the work in a timely manor. A few years ago had a 6 month waiting list. It takes time to fully rebuild these units.

    It is funny but I saw a TV commercial with Cameron from Ferris Bueller, I was like I think I have that movie on VHS. So took my AG-1980 and hooked it up to my family room TV and watched the movie. Had not watched anything on the AG-1980 in a while and I called my mother up to come and watch the movie and she couldn't believe she was watching a VHS tape. The picture quality was absolutely brilliant and it was nice to watch analog again instead of digital if you know what I mean.

    If you have an AG-1980p unit and want it in tip top perfect shape with amazing picture quality and no electronic faults pm my account and send me your units to restore. Every person I've done this work for and it has been a lot have been amazed by the results.

    Since I been doing this for about 9 years, my methods have gotten better and the repairs last, well I've have not needed to go back in an fix anything in the last 5 years. Every unit you buy on Ebay, Amazon or a private seller will always have some kind of fault in the electronics so that is why now I rebuild everything for scratch and this method seems to be the best for results and long lasting repairs. That is why the costs of repair are $500 per unit.

    No payment is ever do until the machine is fully fixed, If I can't fix it, you than pay nothing.

    Many times my customers buy broken down units on ebay and they ship them to me direct and that saves on shipping.
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    Nice to hear from you! And even better that you're hard at work on refurbing!

    Could you please answer a question. Do you refurb the units sold at TGrant or just the ones you sell yourself? I've often seen your name and TGrant together and thought you worked for TGrant.
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  12. Member Deter's Avatar
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    Personally have no idea who TGrant is. People do lie, I have had people say they have refurbished units that I did and it was not true.

    Right now I am not selling any AG-1980's and have not in a few years.

    I just tell people to buy broken units themselves on ebay and I will look over the ad. Than once I get the machine will inspect it. So if the machine has bad heads or parts missing we get a refund and send it back. If it has extra damage usually get the client a discount on the order. So when the ad says the unit has a lot of problems that is a good one to buy. The cheaper the better. We don't want broken jog dials or missing buttons and ect. I repair anything so powers up and black and white only or wavy lines and dim display are the same repairs as the unit purchased $1,000 that says mint almost new in the box.
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    Thank you for the clarification. TGrant is tgrantphoto.com and they have a good reputation for sales of refurbed AG-1980's. I don't believe they work on customer's units, so they're a compliment to your service, so we have both bases covered.
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  14. Funny: I've been meaning to PM Deter myself to ask the same question re TGrant affiliation, so thanks to lingyi for getting that point cleared up definitively here on a public thread.

    For those unaware, there are some forum posts on a couple other AV sites from normally-trustworthy individuals, specifically (but it seems erroneously) stating that Deter is the person actually doing the AG1980 repairs at TGrant. Prior to these anomalous posts, it was pretty clear Deter and TGrant are separate entities. Recent Google searches for info on AG1980 repairs sometimes pull up these inaccurate posts, which could cause confusion or inconvenience. Both of these repair specialists are excellent, the choice of one or the other simply depends on your personal requirements re turnaround time, shipping distance from your home, etc.

    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    TGrant is tgrantphoto.com and they have a good reputation for sales of refurbed AG-1980's. I don't believe they work on customer's units, so they're a compliment to your service, so we have both bases covered.
    TGrant Photo does overhaul AG1980s sent in to them, it is their primary 1980 business (as with Deter). The examples TGrant sell as "turnkey" pre-overhauled VCRs are vastly more expensive than getting your own 1980 repaired: something like $1599 (ouch). Fine if you're in a hurry and can afford it, but most people in need of a good AG1980 could spend almost 50% less by purchasing their own dysfunctional VCR and sending it straight to Deter or TGrant for restoration.
    Last edited by orsetto; 27th Oct 2020 at 15:48.
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    Funny: I've been meaning to PM Deter myself to ask the same question re TGrant affiliation, so thanks to lingyi for getting that point cleared up definitively here on a public thread.

    For those unaware, there are some forum posts on a couple other AV sites from normally-trustworthy individuals, specifically (but it seems erroneously) stating that Deter is the person actually doing the AG1980 repairs at TGrant. Prior to these anomalous posts, it was pretty clear Deter and TGrant are separate entities. Recent Google searches for info on AG1980 repairs sometimes pull up these inaccurate posts, which could cause confusion or inconvenience. Both of these repair specialists are excellent, the choice of one or the other simply depends on your personal requirements re turnaround time, shipping distance from your home, etc.
    *Raises hand*

    I'm one of those who talked about TGrant and Deter in the same post, thinking there were connected. At one point a while back, when Deter announced he would slow down on or stop doing refurbs, TGrant also didn't have any units available, so I put 2+2 together and got 3!

    The irony is that I don't own or even need a VCR, much less an AG-1980, as I stopped doing captures on a limited scale years ago! I just like pointing posters in the right direction and fighting ignorance!
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  16. Member Deter's Avatar
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    I think it is funny and sad in a way. It is funny that I somehow have a name for myself that people some how know who I am. It is sad and pathetic that someone is using my name to sell refurbished units were I had nothing to do with them. It is a pack of lies. I only do a handful of machines each year. This year I did 3 for a guy in Florida who was a great guy and than I am doing two more units right now for a photographer and did another unit for one of the members at Digital FAQ. That is what 6 machines, in 2020. My market is very small.

    I only started this up because nobody could fix these and every single AG-1980 machine that I got had all these problems. It took about two years to learn how to fix these units. My own personal unit had to go under the knife three times and at that point I changed my methods with the AG units were I replace every resistor and capacitor, rebuilt the video cards and power supply and a do a few other tweaks as well.

    I went to his website, let us look at some of this.

    "While viewing the video head envelope on our waveform monitor, the tape path is electronically aligned. We then use a special "multi-burst" test tape that allows us to test the resolution of the playback image on a waveform analyzer. The linear audio track is also tweaked for best alignment. Video output level and Y/C levels are set to Panasonic's specifications."

    That is bull shit

    "Final Testing - We spend 3 hours of intensive testing. Tom uses twelve different tapes that were recorded on several different VCRs. These tapes were recorded between 1979 to 1997. This final compatibilty test ensures that you'll have great playback quality over a wide range of tapes.

    We finalize our testing by simultaneously viewing the AG-1980's video output on a waveform monitor, pulse-cross monitor and color video monitor. With this equipment we can confirm correct operation of the time base corrector, color output and overall picture quality. We also compare the AG1980's video waveform to industry standards for resolution and stability of the image.

    The completely aligned AG1980 is in top shape, ready to transfer all your tapes to digital "


    That is all lies, nobody test all these tapes, how can you adjust the machine for specific tapes? You mess around with the alignment you are going to screw up the tracking.

    The tracking on all AG units is very uniform. Once in a great while you may find an odd unit out of alignment. Playing around with this, you will screw it up. trust me I know. It is all guess work.

    "The Mechanism - The VCR's mechanism is removed and disassembled to allow inspection and lubrication of the gears and mechanical parts. During this part of the rebuild, the synchronization of the mechanism is checked, and the mechanism is manually advanced through all of it's stages before it's re-inserted into the main chassis. The capstan and flywheel assembly is disassembled, cleaned, and the bearings are lubricated. The video head drum is disassembled, cleaned, and the bearings lubricated."

    Why would anyone do this? this is crazy. Disassembled the video head and drum?

    You don't pull out the loading mechanism, that makes no sense. I have redone tons of JVC loading mechanisms and never pulled one out of the machine. Normally don't have to fix the loading mechanism on AG-Units.

    "The Electronics - Any bad capacitors are replaced, plus all new SMD capacitors in the Y-C Color video board and new caps in the front display panel."]

    Really the front display has capacitors?

    The boards inside the unit controls the dim display on the front panel, a leaked, dried out, bulged, dead or damaged capacitor will not send the correct charge or voltage to light up the panel. Remember a capacitor and resistor, holds a charge than releases that charge.

    You will usually hear humming from inside the unit as well.

    "Any bad capacitors are replaced,"

    This is why I personally replace every single capacitors and resistor in the unit. The good cap today could be a bad cap tomorrow and it only takes 3 or 4 bad ones not holding a charge to screw up everything else.
    Last edited by Deter; 27th Oct 2020 at 20:07.
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    I apologize for putting you and TGrant together, especially now that I hear your comments on their service.

    You've always been kind of mysterious figure here and at digitalfaq.com, rarely posting and disappearing for a while. I'm glad this is coming out. Hopefully, it will end well for all.
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  18. Member Deter's Avatar
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    lingyi, This site and digitalfaq has been really good to me, when I first joined, really knew nothing about video. Lord Smurf took me under his wing and trained me.

    Know from doing video restoration work it took a long time for me to get a final product and my eye was always on detail and finding the errors in the picture. These AG-1980 units are great but as stated, the electronics in all of them are faulty.

    I have my methods on recording, editing, mixing, audio restoration, getting a final mpeg2 video, using certain bit rates and different tricks. It took years to come up and figure out what works best for me.

    I don't want people to waste hundreds of hours and have to record stuff over and over because now they got a better picture from the start or found a better VCR. I want them to have the best. If they are going to mess around with old video tapes they should have a fully working AG-1980. As stated for me the AG-1980's and the JVC 9900 series are the best. Yeah I used a $7,000 Broadcast deck in the past that only plays SP tapes and that unit was better than anything.

    Like you said I am not very active in these forums anymore but get emails all the time for AG-1980 repairs and I don't even know were the old posts are. A lot of people don't want to pay $500 so they never contact me again. That is fine, no problem, I understand. So I wanted put this thread out and offer the service if people want it done.

    The customers have never complained so I must be doing something right. If I screw something up I'll fix it.

    What is more amazing cause I've been doing this for 7 to 10 years only on video help and digitalfaq have had zero people contact me saying my AG-1980 is now screwed up or I am getting all these errors can you fix it again. For me that has been really good.

    The prices on ebay vary per unit and sometimes you need two machines to make a good unit so that guy charging $1,600 is way too much. By his writings on his website he is full of it and really has no idea what he is talking about so my guess is he found a repair guy that can fix them. I have never seen one of his units so I can't comment weather they are good or not I just know if I can't fully fix the machine the customer pays nothing.
    Last edited by Deter; 27th Oct 2020 at 22:18.
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  19. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Deter View Post
    "Final Testing - We spend 3 hours of intensive testing. Tom uses twelve different tapes that were recorded on several different VCRs. These tapes were recorded between 1979 to 1997. This final compatibilty test ensures that you'll have great playback quality over a wide range of tapes.
    That is all lies, nobody test all these tapes, how can you adjust the machine for specific tapes? You mess around with the alignment you are going to screw up the tracking.
    I don't agree with that comment. I do something very similar with my JVC refurbs. You must also remember that tools/computers are sometimes (often?) stupid, and can lie. So I'm not anal about scopes/graphs, if my eyes show me otherwise. Hence the need for test tapes to verify the tool/scope. And sometimes tweaks are needed, scope be damned.

    These AG-1980 units are great but as stated, the electronics in all of them are faulty.
    The most obnoxious (and expensive!) part of owning an AG-1980 is knowing it will be re-faulty again.
    All but 1 of my decks are showing problems again. <sigh>

    The customers have never complained so I must be doing something right. If I screw something up I'll fix it.
    Yep!
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 28th Oct 2020 at 08:04.
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  20. While this thread is still active, I may as well follow up with some new info I've discovered relating to the differences between the AG1980 and its scarcer, "studio optimized" twin sister the AG5710 that I mentioned in earlier posts. Over the past few weeks, I got bogged down in a time-sensitive part of my transfer project that could not be interrupted by a long-term VCR repair. This particular cache of tapes will only play tolerably thru the AG1980 video circuits, they look terrible thru any other VCR.

    But I only had access to them for a short time, and my single functional AG1980 was not enough to plow thru the project within the allotted window. Out of desperation, I dove into my long-derelict pile of malfunctioning or dead AG1980s and AG5710s in hopes if I somehow mixed and matched the parts I might manage to resurrect one or two more reasonably functional VCRs from the pile of nine carcasses. Amazingly, I did, and was able to finish the transfer before losing access to those tapes. In the process, I learned a few more things about the the AG1980 vs AG5710 vs their progenitor, the older AG1970.

    The most crucial thing I learned was, DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME. Seriously, there is a reason talented skilled techs like Deter are vital for the AG1980: true, long-lasting repairs that get these VCRs up to their full performance potential require fully servicing and replacing a boatload of surface-mount caps and resistors. That alone is beyond the skills of most DIY enthusiasts (its certainly way out of my wheelhouse: I'm lucky if I can solder an old Heathkit without setting fire to my workbench). Also, while the AG1980 is of "modular" construction, that doesn't mean the "modules" just pop out like Lego bricks. Even with two service manuals (one for the overall VCR, one for the K transport mechanism), taking multiple AG1980s apart was a nightmare I hope never to repeat.

    The AG1980 is built like a Tandberg 3001A tuner or Contarex Super SLR: densely interlocked, with bitchy multipin connectors that will tear your fingernails off and sharp edges everywhere. While I did manage to cobble together two fully operational 1980s from a pile of nine corpses, I have no faith these two Frankenstein'd VCRs will last any length of time before needing a full electronic restoration by an expert like Deter. I accomplished a stopgap to get me thru a bind, nothing more. With those warnings out of the way, here is what I noted about internal differences between similar-looking models:

    The 1970 has no parts whatsoever in common with the 1980 and 5710: the only piece they share is the metal top cover. Everything inside the 1970, from electronics to display board to transport to PSU to button panel, is incompatible in some way. Some internal boards look identical but have different connectors with different control pathways. The 1970 is its own thing with its own charms, but cannot be used as a cheap parts donor for the later 1980 or 5710.

    The AG1980 and AG5710 are far closer, but not nearly as similar as I'd assumed: they're fraternal twins, distinctly different, instead of identical twins. Video tracking, DNR and TBC performance is the same but (rather surprisingly) several key parts are not. The (now-irrelevant) feature differences between the two models go more than skin deep: the AG5710 addition of RS-232C serial port, plus removal of the tuner circuit and wireless IR remote sensor, results in significant alterations in several circuit boards that seem indistinguishable on the surface.

    The only parts that seamlessly interchange between the 1980 and 5710 are the power supply module, the K transport mechanism, the TBC board, and the external covers. The back panel video connection / edit controller boards seem incompatible: different layout, different connectors, different switching logic. The front display board is incompatible but interchangeable in a pinch: if you put the 5710 display panel board in a 1980, you'll lose the wireless remote feature and ability to choose channels/inputs, if you put the 1980 display in the 5710, you lose clock setting ability, SP/EP record mode selection and other functions.

    Which is related to the drop down control panels also being somewhat incompatible: the 1980 and 5710 have different button assignments and different signalling keys to the display and motherboards. What Deter says about the display boards is quite true: they grow dim from the "phosphors" wearing out, not from the few caps on that board going bad. One can either swap the entire dim display board for one that is still bright, or "rejuvenate" the dim display itself (very tricky, very difficult to DIY, alone worth paying Deter or TGrant their standard service fee).

    My point in posting this info here is to advise the relatively few owners of the AG5710 that it may be slightly more difficult or time-consuming to get repaired properly than the far more common AG1980. Some of the crucial AG5710 boards are bespoke modifications, not fully interchangeable with similar AG1980 boards. While catastrophic board failure is rare, and the 5710 boards can be rebuilt (by experts like Deter) in the same manner as 1980 boards, a couple of parts that were extensively modified for the 5710 (rear connection panel/output board, front display/control board, drop-down button panel) may require a donor 5710 carcass to fully replace if irreparably broken.
    Last edited by orsetto; 28th Oct 2020 at 11:25.
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  21. Member Deter's Avatar
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    Lordsmurf I sold like 40 JVC machines on your website and refurbished most of them because the whole seller I purchased them had all broken down units that he could not get rid of. Even sold two of them to the producer of the 1st Disney Star Wars film, sending the units to Hollywood California was a bit weird and I was like why is this guy buying VCR's.

    The JVC units are very uniform in play back they don't vary that much from unit to unit. These tests I have no idea why you are doing them than again you over technical guys I don't really understand. I know how these machines work and operate so I don't need to spent hours testing my VHS collection on them. The way I tested the last AG unit I repaired I put in the Three Amigos tape and was like OMG this movie is terrible and ended up watching the entire film. I know the colors and how the picture is suppose to look. These repair fix it guys even car repair guys are not super tech geeks they get the job done and don't waste 3 hours testing every VHS tape they own.

    I am the one who sent you my tape I recorded in college on a Blockbuster rent a VCR and you sent the tape back to me saying it would not work or track on any of your VCR's. Back 10 years ago you had a lot of different VCR's. That is how I know this entire alignment stuff is nonsense. This was when I first started repairing these AG units because I had to manually adjust the alignment to get the tape to work and had one strange AG unit out of the four that I purchased from a whole seller warehouse in Baltimore Maryland that tracked tapes a little different but when I tested the machine at his location it only played in black and white. All the units he had were messed up and I talked him down to $50 a machine cause they were all broken. That is how this all started.

    It took me hours to get that tape to work with perfect tracking. The tape was about 6 hours long and it took me about 5 days to record it to digital. But I did it, got the impossible tape to track.

    I fixed one of your AG-1980 units and than you sold it to one of the members of your site and he emailed me cause he put in an old tape that had oxide shedding which made the picture turn to snow. He was trying to claim it was a faulty machine so I explained how to scrub the heads to get the picture back and never to use a tape with oxide shedding in a Panasonic unit. Than I explain to him how to tape bake.

    About 3 or 4 years ago, I changed methods, the way I am now rebuilding these AG units they are not going to be faulty again that is why my repair price has gone up.

    Why? My actual costs have doubled in to what it costs me to do these units.
    Last edited by Deter; 28th Oct 2020 at 11:08.
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  22. Member Deter's Avatar
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    Orsetto, you are going back to my origins with all this. Lord Smurf told me the JVC DVD recorders were the best, so I purchased two of them. Both would go in to auto loading mode. I called a repair guy out of the yellow pages and met him in a coffee shop, he repaired the unit in the shop. I gave him $40. We had no TV and could not test the machine. I went home and the DVD recorder didn't work and he told me to swap the boards from the MV5 and another JVC recorder and this started an electrical fire destroying the boards. That was my last time dealing with him. But that and the college tape was what started this all.

    Repaired 3 or 4 AG 1970's, I kind of liked the units, the picture was pretty good they just don't have a video card that helps with processing the picture. The repair methods are the same.

    I have never tried the 5710 and that is why I was hoping you would send me one to repair. It is pretty simple once you figure out a method, cause I have done Betamax machines as well as broadcast decks. In truth it is all the same general concept. On the Broadcast machines it was replacing 300 capacitors. The Betamax machines were a little more work cause they didn't even power up.

    Don't get me wrong I screwed up a lot of electronics when I first started ended up trashing like 12 JVC Broadcast VCR's.

    You don't really need to create frankenstein VCR's, we are not Eddie Van Halen building Fender Stratocasters in to Gibsons.

    I tried this with video heads from a SV1 and a SV100 or was it a 7800, I can't remember and it didn't work.

    So that Three Amigos VCR in that last post that I talked about was like this. I had all the boards done and the video heads were worn out and someone wanted to get an AG-1980 machine from me. So I told him just buy the cheapest most broken down AG-1980 on Ebay. So we did. I swapped out the boards and the machine worked great. That is your frankenstein VCR but you need to use the same machine.
    Last edited by Deter; 28th Oct 2020 at 12:10.
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    Let me try to explain my methods per say cause my mind doesn't work like a normal person. For example I just built an I-Phone for $28.00 and I am not doing cell phone repairs if any one is asking. I wanted to get a shed and the ones at Lowes are too small and they don't come with shingles if you want to install it yourself and the ones at Home Depot are very expensive like $5,000 and the sales people have no idea about anything. So I said I am going to build the shed myself. How do we do this knowing nothing about wood working.

    Went and measured a unit, than I reverse engineered what was done. I saw the wood and each beam is 9 1/2 inches apart and about 7 1/2 feet high than you have a wooden beam on the bottom that runs across the entire floor board and one at the top. To angle the roof we cut the wood at a 45 degree angle than nail in the nails on an angle to get in to the main support. Want two air vents in my shed so I measured them as well will cut the plywood to make it fit. Than I want a window they are about $100 so I copied again the frame support on how this was done. The doors I am not really sure on yet. Again it is all measurements. Than going to do insulation between my inter wall and the outside walls. And for the flooring going to do a hardwood floor on top of the plywood.

    So I planned this all out but it is knowing how to build the foundation.

    Dealing with electronics is much the same but it is knowing what causes what and which circuit runs to the next. How the machine is powered. The only way you do this is pulling the dang thing apart.

    So if the tape is getting stuck inside the machine I am going to look and figure out what the problem is. If a plastic gear is broken I will see it. With rebuilding the boards it is a little bit different I just rebuild the entire thing.

    Back to my shed if my window is broken not going to try to fix the broken glass I am just going to replace the glass. If my wooden beam is withered, broken or falling apart I am going to have to take apart the shed and replace that beam or my shed may fall apart.

    I hope this helps some of you.
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  24. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Deter View Post
    Even sold two of them to the producer of the 1st Disney Star Wars film, sending the units to Hollywood California was a bit weird and I was like why is this guy buying VCR's.
    Neat!

    The JVC units are very uniform in play back they don't vary that much from unit to unit.
    When it comes to EP/SLP mode, often even LP, there is a wide variance.

    I am the one who sent you my tape I recorded in college on a Blockbuster rent a VCR and you sent the tape back to me saying it would not work or track on any of your VCR's. Back 10 years ago you had a lot of different VCR's. ... It took me hours to get that tape to work with perfect tracking. The tape was about 6 hours long and it took me about 5 days to record it to digital. But I did it, got the impossible tape to track.
    Uh ... huh? Bad tapes usually need different alignments for playback. Back then, I didn't really have as many decks that I could "break" for alignment like I do now.

    I fixed one of your AG-1980 units and than you sold it to one of the members of your site
    I don't remember ever doing that. (Maybe somebody sold me a deck, purportedly repaired by you, and I just passed it along after inspection?)

    About 3 or 4 years ago, I changed methods, the way I am now rebuilding these AG units they are not going to be faulty again that is why my repair price has gone up.
    I look forward to seeing that sometime.
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  25. Member Deter's Avatar
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    Lord Smurf,

    Here is the original message I got on your website.

    Private Message: Panasonic AG-1980 I purchased from LordSmurf.

    01-14-2019, 10:31 PM

    Deter,

    I have an Panasonic AG-1980 I purchased from LordSmurf. I would guess that you are the one that refurbished it has this number written on the bottom in felt marker: P 1EPE2 138 706.

    It was working fine. However, now it will not display video from either the composite video or S-video. I am getting audio. I tried changing cables, tapes, and monitors. No luck. My uneducated guess for this machine - clogged video head.

    Any suggestions?

    Flying Horse.

    The final email reply

    Originally Posted by deter
    That has happened to me before. Used a maxell head cleaner both forwards and than ran it backwards through the machine. did it about 10 times.

    Why didn't you say that you messed up the heads with oxide video tapes to start with?

    Yep, it was a clogged video head. I fixed it this morning when I ran one of those tapes in an inexpensive VCR and had the same problem. The AG-1980 is now back up and running.

    I had "baked" the tapes and they were much improved - but apparently - not enough. Have you had any luck with "baking" tapes? I'm using a food dehydrator.
    At this point, I will be informing customers, I won't transfer the tapes unless they run from start to finish in an inexpensive machine after baking.
    I haven't tried baking the tapes by removing them from the cases to see it that helps. Do you have any experience with this?
    thanks for your help.

    Flying Horse.
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    I hope everyone doesn't mind my jumping back in.

    Most of the past few posts go over my head, but it's a fascinating and valuable resource for why the AG-1980 and some other VCRs are worth the time and expense to buy and refurb. Especially for those who cry about how much it costs to buy or refurb. Quality product + quality workmanship + high quality knowledge = a necessary premium price. Hopefully it gets you, Deter a few more customers and TGrant a few more customers for those willing to pay a premium. Maybe even lordsmurf if he has some for sale.

    As a layman with no stake in the game. I'll step aside as to who does what, good, better, best. But with all the posters permission, continue to refer, this time correctly them to all three of you and let them decide whom they choose. For those wonder why I, with no interest anymore, often posts here, at digitalfaq and other forums about the AG-1980 and other VCRs, I do so to jump in before the "VHS is low quality, ANY VCR will do" and "I paid $20 for my Broksonic VCR and it's GREAT" posters and the OP leaves with that info and only returns with "Why is my capture so bad and how do it fix it in software?"

    I'm a member at The Straight Dope, where their motto is: "Fighting ignorance since 1973. (It’s taking longer than we thought.)"

    An analogy may be the AG-1980 is the Ferrari of VHS VCRs. Anyone can work on them, but only a knowledgable mechanic with the right tools can correctly fine tune it for max performance.
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  27. Member Deter's Avatar
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    lingyi, I think one of the biggest things I learned from Lord Smurf was the quality of the machine on play back makes all the difference in the world. This short video is from my own collection. You will not find a better audio nor picture from a home recorded tape from 20 years ago. I have no filters or software edits just recorded it to my MV5 and ran it through a digital tuner. Honestly if I never met Lord Smurf never would have been able to achieve this. Now I have a perfect copy of the 2001 Masters forever.
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  28. Member Deter's Avatar
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    Here is a longer sample of that 2001 Masters tape from my private collection.

    This in my opinion is the entire goal of doing all this video work and restoration. When you have a really good VCR and you don't have to do anything but record it.
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    @Deter

    I agree 100% with your appreciation of lordsmurf's knowledge.

    I've talked about this before, but in my early days here, which is very near your join date, I used to wonder about and I believe sometimes even dispute what he was saying. Then, the more I learned, the more I've come to realize, I was wrong and he was right! I probably have more fingers than necessary on one hand to count the number of times he's been proven definitively wrong.

    *SHHHHH* Don't tell lordsmurf! I like HIM to think I think he's still an old grouch!

    The most sage words I've ever heard "You think he knows a lot, because of what you don't know." Something I've learned to be so true over the years.
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  30. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Especially for those who cry about how much it costs to buy or refurb.
    I may not cry, but...
    When it comes to AG-1980 decks, when the unit suddenly ceases to work properly:
    At first I'll cuss.
    Then sit and stare in utter defeat.
    And sigh.
    Then gulp.
    Then pull out the credit card.
    Some more aggravated muttering while I pack it up to send off for refurb.
    That's my relationship with an AG-1980 in the past decade.

    But in the end, I smile.

    ... for a few years, at least. Rinse, repeat.

    Deter's new methods will hopefully make that a thing of the past, and I'll be sending some units his way soon. But I'll be going down that checklist. We're already past the cuss/defeat stage.

    If Deter is unable to fix any of those, we'll enter the next phase. That ones involves hammers and teaching VCR how to fly.

    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    Maybe even lordsmurf if he has some for sale.
    JVCs yes, Panasonics no. (If I did sell a Panasonic, it'd most assuredly be one of my personal extra units that I was surrendering at a loss. And I'm not ready to give up any of my Panasonic decks just yet.)

    Originally Posted by Deter View Post
    This short video is from my own collection. ... I have no filters or software edits just recorded it to my MV5 and ran it through a digital tuner.
    That's a really nice sample clip, so many things going on there. I wish I had that tape in my test bed.

    It also showcases both AG-1980 TBC + JVC LSI encoding (+ chroma NR). The MPEG encoding is really good, rarely reveals itself as mere DVD-Video bitrates.

    Is there are external TBC in that chain? Because I saw layman jitter, perhaps a dropped frame or two.

    Panasonic oversharpens by default, 0/unity setting is still false. So some of the halo I observed may come from it. But it's not bad, and at that level can be subjective. So I won't refer to it as a "problem" here, just an observation.

    Originally Posted by lingyi View Post
    The most sage words I've ever heard "You think he knows a lot, because of what you don't know." Something I've learned to be so true over the years.
    Some more sage advice: If you don't know something, say so. Don't pretend, don't bluster, don't hide it. Admit it to yourself, admit it to others. Odds are others can help guide you, or just point you in the right direction to learn more. Acknowledge where your knowledge runs out, and from there build out to learn more. Some people see that as a weakness, but it's a strength.

    I know video. But there's many more things I don't know.

    When I met Deter, his knowledge on VCRs was sparse. Now he probably knows more than I do about the AG-1980 decks. It's humbling. It's awesome. Now he's an asset to our community.
    Last edited by lordsmurf; 31st Oct 2020 at 12:53.
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