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  1. Member
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    Does anybody out there happen to know where I can find a replacement video head assembly for a JVC Super VHS ET HR-S4800U VCR? I have a service manual for said VCR (in PDF format).

    Thanks in advance.
    Last edited by mnrwest; 9th Feb 2021 at 23:42.
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  2. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    From another non working VCR obviously.
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    From another non working VCR obviously.
    That DOESN'T answer my question. And yes, my VCR still works, it just has a lot of streaks showing up in the video display, and this even after I cleaned the head (and no,I didn't use cotton swabs to clean it).
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  4. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    But that's the answer: a donor deck.
    There's no supply of shiny new heads at a VCR repair shop anymore.

    Streaks are NOT necessarily the heads, FYI. "Clean the heads" is treated like a fix-all for whatever ails a VCR, and it's ridiculous. More VCR heads actually get harmed that way. And cotton swabs are not the only way to badly clean and damage.

    So ... more info needed.
    - sample clip
    - precise info on how it was cleaned, and with what
    - did issue change before/after cleaning
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    Attached is a video clip of the VCR's output,

    The information on how I cleaned itis found here, And the result was the same as before.
    Image Attached Files
    Last edited by mnrwest; 11th Feb 2021 at 11:23.
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    And this attachment Will give better idea of the issue that I'm having with my vcr (the audio static that you hear has more to do with he videotape than the vcr).
    Image Attached Files
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  7. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    You can buy the vcr on ebay for cheaper than looking for a new head or other part.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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  8. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by johns0 View Post
    You can buy the vcr on ebay for cheaper than looking for a new head or other part.
    Yep, Not to mention that aligning the head after replacement is not for everyone, It can be done with just a good pre-recorded tape for an ok playback but ideally it requires an oscilloscope, a factory alignment tape and know how. So buying another working VCR is a much better and a cheaper choice.
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  9. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by mnrwest View Post
    Attached is a video clip of the VCR's output,

    The information on how I cleaned itis found here, And the result was the same as before.
    No, that's not the video heads, It's either the tape, or some bad capacitors, A good known recorded tape is a must for taking a sample not those crusty tapes. Since you have the service manual start checking the capacitors and voltages.
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    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    Originally Posted by mnrwest View Post
    Attached is a video clip of the VCR's output,

    The information on how I cleaned itis found here, And the result was the same as before.
    No, that's not the video heads, It's either the tape, or some bad capacitors, A good known recorded tape is a must for taking a sample not those crusty tapes. Since you have the service manual start checking the capacitors and voltages.
    The attaches sample WAS from a good known recorded tape, But another possibility has crossed my mind: Could said video output somehow have something to do with how the tension arm is adjusted?
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  11. I bought this VCR model brand new- twice (yeah, I'm a masochist). Each one developed a playback problem similar to this within days of the warranty expiring. Each one began subtly damaging tapes, "imprinting" a variation of this distortion permanently into them so that they began playing nearly as bad on other VCRs.

    My gut instinct would be write it off and start over with another JVC. The great big honking "gotcha" with JVCs is certain random examples will crap out on you in utterly stupefying ways that defy repair, and/or ruin tapes in a cumulative, subtle manner that may not be immediately apparent. This has been my experience across numerous JVC models bought new and used since 1986: when they start weirding out with this type of distorted playback, they're essentially dumpster fires unless you really want to spend weeks or months trying every imaginable troubleshooting avenue, at the end of which you'll never be entirely sure they aren't screwing your tapes up despite "normal" playback seeming to be restored. This is a pattern very specific to JVC: most of them work great or can be serviced to work great, but a significant minority of 'em are spawned from hell and best left on the steps of a cathedral once they act up in this manner. Common mistracking, loading issues or static/dropouts is one thing, but this kind of playback distortion in a JVC is usually a red flag screaming "cut your losses and run". This defect almost never develops in a Panasonic, Mitsubishi or Sharp (they have their own unique breakdowns, but rarely this one: its a JVC specialty).

    The 3800/4800 are not exceptionally great/scarce JVCs with TBC/DNR, so not really worth knocking yourself out with DIY, or emptying your wallet for a good technician (esp if you're seeing such distortion). Models like this that can be had in good working condition for under two bills are better replaced than serviced. Of course, if tinkering with VCRs is your hobby and you have a good set of tools, 'scope, etc, its a different story. As others have said, new replacement parts are scarce so donor VCRs are the usual source for head drums. Given the 4800 is the editing version with flying erase heads, a new head drum (if available) would cost about the same as a donor VCR. You might be able to substitute the simpler, much cheaper head drum of its non-editing sister 3800 but its still an effort/expense thats of dubious value (since this playback defect is unlikely to be remedied by a head swap).
    Last edited by orsetto; 29th Mar 2021 at 15:11.
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    Originally Posted by orsetto View Post
    I bought this VCR model brand new- twice (yeah, I'm a masochist). Each one developed a playback problem similar to this within days of the warranty expiring. Each one began subtly damaging tapes, "imprinting" a variation of this distortion permanently into them so that they began playing nearly as bad on other VCRs.

    My gut instinct would be write it off and start over with another JVC. The great big honking "gotcha" with JVCs is certain random examples will crap out on you in utterly stupefying ways that defy repair, and/or ruin tapes in a cumulative, subtle manner that may not be immediately apparent. This has been my experience across numerous JVC models bought new and used since 1986: when they start weirding out with this type of distorted playback, they're essentially dumpster fires unless you really want to spend weeks or months trying every imaginable troubleshooting avenue, at the end of which you'll never be entirely sure they aren't screwing your tapes up despite "normal" playback seeming to be restored. This is a pattern very specific to JVC: most of them work great or can be serviced to work great, but a significant minority of 'em are spawned from hell and best left on the steps of a cathedral once they act up in this manner. Common mistracking, loading issues or static/dropouts is one thing, but this kind of playback distortion in a JVC is usually a red flag screaming "cut your losses and run". This defect almost never develops in a Panasonic, Mitsubishi or Sharp (they have their own unique breakdowns, but rarely this one: its a JVC specialty).

    The 3800/4800 are not exceptionally great/scarce JVCs with TBC/DNR, so not really worth knocking yourself out with DIY, or emptying your wallet for a good technician (esp if you're seeing such distortion). Models like this that can be had in good working condition for under two bills are better replaced than serviced. Of course, if tinkering with VCRs is your hobby and you have a good set of tools, 'scope, etc, its a different story. As others have said, new replacement parts are scarce so donor VCRs are the usual source for head drums. Given the 4800 is the editing version with flying erase heads, a new head drum (if available) would cost about the same as a donor VCR. You might be able to substitute the simpler, much cheaper head drum of its non-editing sister 3800 but its still an effort/expense thats of dubious value (since this playback defect is unlikely to be remedied by a head swap).
    What does that have to do with the tension arm?
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  13. Member dellsam34's Avatar
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    It probably means get another VCR and move on.
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  14. Originally Posted by mnrwest View Post
    What does that have to do with the tension arm?
    Originally Posted by dellsam34 View Post
    It probably means get another VCR and move on.
    Exactly.

    Some VCRs are worth knocking yourself out to fix, others are dubious propositions and possibly a great risk to your tapes. Replying to "what about the tension arm?" with "don't bother" based on hard-won personal experience is a legit secondary answer. I didn't expect you to like that answer, as you're obviously someone who prefers to poke around broken things until you fix them or drop dead trying (I'm the same way with old cameras, we each choose our own DIY poison).

    Others may jump in to advise you on the tension arm, I'm posting a general warning to less-ambitious owners to be extra-leery of JVCs that manifest this type of playback distortion issue. These VCR threads are accessed by many people over the course of many years, long after the OP has ceased caring. So answers that may not be directly relevant to you still provide data points others with the same VCR may want to consider. JVC had a hierarchy of models, with some worth the aggravation and expense to fix, vs funky designs with known bugs that aren't easily repaired once they bite. The 3800/4800 fall in the latter camp: they look high-end, but aren't, and the specific distorted playback example you gave signals a potentially destructive JVC horror show some of us have suffered first hand.

    Could you "fix" it by adjusting the tension arm, replacing the head drum, hosing it down with Holy Water? Maybe, maybe not: with this model series (including earlier lookalikes with TBC/DNR) and this playback distortion symptom, "fixing it" is relative. It may appear to be fixed, but turn out to be the VCR pulling a long con. This particular playback distortion is indicative of a systemic failure after which the JVC vcr is never the same again: it can't be trusted not to slowly imprint some distortion permanently into your otherwise-good tapes. You will not see this damage as you play the tapes in the "fixed" vcr a couple times, only later in another VCR when its too late.

    This happened to me with with five or six similar JVCs even after they were serviced post-warranty by JVC's own factory service centers: after awhile, the techs will advise you off-the-record to junk the VCR the minute it shows this symptom. Own enough VCRs across enough decades, befriend enough techs, and you'll get the skinny on what symptoms are manageable by normal repair and which are red flags of a lost cause. Panasonic and Mitsubishi have also had some nasty model runs with "disaster-in-waiting symptoms" that crop up: I wouldn't invest in fixing those either. But to each their own: if you've got the service manual, the tools, and the experience to intuit at least a temporary fix, have at it if you've got time to kill while waiting out the mess we're all stuck in- I certainly wish you success.
    Last edited by orsetto; 3rd Apr 2021 at 11:15.
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  15. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    The 4800 was nice, but was just the 3800 with flying erase head. I bought multiple 3800 for recording, when the model was new. Workhorse decks, I pushed them hard, and only have 1 left. I never erased, so didn't need the erase head. To this day, it's still one of my favorite non-TBC JVCs. Playback was so-so, and ES10/15 required for any capture use.

    But note that I said "1 left". The others failed in various fashion, and were deemed not worth costs and time. Because, again, no TBC. I did keep those for parts, and that's the reason I still have a functional 3800 -- donor decks. Between them all, I could probably cobble together two working 3800s, but no TBC, why? Lots of effort for something I'd just stick back in the closet. My 3800s are mostly kept for nostalgia, and other "abusive" uses like misalignment. (Even then, I mostly use SR models with TBCs, for my abusive uses.)

    Hosing down a VCR. With a pressure washer. Hmmm.... (insert grinning devil horn smiley here)
    It can be quite cathartic to throw a VCR off the 2nd floor onto the driveway (check), throwing into a brick wall (check), etc. Not anything good for parts, just a POS plain VHS VCR. Certain brands like Emerson truly sucked in every way imaginable.
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    I forgot to mention earlier that the reason that I bought the VCR model that I tit was because it has an S-video pouput connection (which as I understand it, produces s clearer picture than a composite connection).
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    Based on the various responses that I have thus far received concerning the VCR head, as well as the tension arm, I have just one more question, then I'll keep my mouth shut (so to speak): Would it be worth my while to try demagnetizing the VCR head?
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    That's the craziest idea I've ever heard of. No, don't do that, Video heads work in the MHz range they don't suffer from self erasure phenomenon that audio heads do, because they don't record a signal directly to the tape like audio, it's modulated with a frequency carrier.
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