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What went wrong with your VCR's?


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Old 24-06-2013, 11:24
Soundbox
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Sorry about another VCR question but I was speaking with a fellow engineer and we were chatting about what was the final straw that kills off a VCR. These faults consigned the VCR to the scrap.

The ones I have are:

Supermarket Orion cheapie: Mechanism damaged so no tape loading
Panasonic NV-FJ675: Worn heads
Ferguson FV-10b: guides fell off
Panasonic NV-F55: head bearing worn so picture slurs sideways
Philips VR-969: flexi leads to front panel snapped

What terminal faults did yours have?
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Old 24-06-2013, 11:56
Deacon1972
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Wasn't a fault of the VCR so much as new technology came along, used a VCR/DVD recorder for a short while until Sky + came along, hard disc recording killed off two formats in one go for us.

Still have fond memories of VHS, especially our first machine, this was when I first started to show an interest in home cinema. Owned a S-VHS but always wanted D-VHS, ahead of it's time if I remember correctly, HD recording and capable of DTS audio. Not sure if that's the response you were after, but hey, I'm an enthusiast.
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Old 24-06-2013, 12:08
webbie
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A friend of mine had a D-VHS machine but it was badly supported over here. He got all of his films imported from Canada as they weren't available over here.
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Old 24-06-2013, 12:12
pavier
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Over the years I've had 3 Pannies, an Akai, JVC, Sharp and another I can't remember the name of.
No fond memories here, they were rubbish. I would be lucky to get 15 months out of them. Usually tracking /worn heads or just chewing up tapes.
In contrast I bought a Pioneer HDD/DVD recorder around 9 years ago and after well over a thousand dvd burns it still works perfectly.
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Old 24-06-2013, 12:35
jjne
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The Multi-switch was what normally went on them in my experience. This was irrespective of manufacturer, price or specification.

Not terminal, but particularly in the latter machines was effectively so as the local repair shop would invariably clean the contacts on these, only for the problem to resurface a year down the line -- and they'd charge £50 for the trouble.

£50, on a machine that sold for less than £150 in the first place (and often considerably less than that come the early 2000s) was not a figure most people would pay.
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Old 24-06-2013, 14:54
mlayzell
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Over the years I've had 3 Pannies, an Akai, JVC, Sharp and another I can't remember the name of.
No fond memories here, they were rubbish. I would be lucky to get 15 months out of them. Usually tracking /worn heads or just chewing up tapes.
In contrast I bought a Pioneer HDD/DVD recorder around 9 years ago and after well over a thousand dvd burns it still works perfectly.
My Pioneer DVR-420H-S is still working well for archiving from my TiVo, ahead of it's time
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Old 24-06-2013, 16:07
fmradiotuner1
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One of mine broke some say it cannot be fixed and was also chucked out not be me last year.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T80GA9kh6gg
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Old 24-06-2013, 18:23
coachtrip_fan99
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We've still got our saisho one from the 80s. Still works the same as the day we bought it. No scart etc so not much use now so never used.

But it had its fair share of use back on the day
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Old 24-06-2013, 18:55
barbeler
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I don't think I ever had one that didn't make the film wobble at the bottom of the screen due to tracking errors that couldn't be corrected. If I ever put a video in an it provided even a half decent picture, it was a cause for celebration.

The trouble is that if you ever rented a film that had been played on a crappy player it would often be permanently damaged. Then if you took it back to complain, it was almost impossible to prove it wasn't your own machine at fault (although who knows? - it might have been). Good riddance to them.
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Old 24-06-2013, 19:12
loracan
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Kids posting god-knows-what into the slot - but I'd had enough of the bulkiness of the tapes anyway.
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Old 24-06-2013, 19:42
coachtrip_fan99
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Early 80s I posted a piece of buttered toast in the VCR when I was very young.

My parents had to buy a replacement... Which got put in a cabinet with a child lock on... The VCR still works today
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Old 24-06-2013, 19:45
Nigel Goodwin
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Early 80s I posted a piece of buttered toast in the VCR when I was very young.
I've removed lot's of toast from VCR's, it rarely (if ever) caused much damage - easy and cheap repairs.

Coins were even more common, which being metal could cause electrical damage as well.
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Old 24-06-2013, 19:59
coachtrip_fan99
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I've removed lot's of toast from VCR's, it rarely (if ever) caused much damage - easy and cheap repairs.

Coins were even more common, which being metal could cause electrical damage as well.
Maybe there was some jam or something on it that wrecked the machine!

Or my parents are just making it up to make me feel guilty!
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Old 24-06-2013, 20:06
Nigel Goodwin
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Maybe there was some jam or something on it that wrecked the machine!

Or my parents are just making it up to make me feel guilty!
Perhaps they just fancied a new machine, rather than paying to have it repaired?.
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Old 24-06-2013, 20:10
-GONZO-
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Ours used to eat the tapes.
You'd be watching a film then all of a sudden lines would appear at the bottom of the screen then you'd here a crumpling noise from the player.
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Old 24-06-2013, 22:05
Orbitalzone
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I suspect Scotch video tapes was a major reason for so many VHS deck failures

Proof that a good advertising campaign can sell (and convince) the public as what to buy
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Old 25-06-2013, 08:29
goldframedoor
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A friend of mine had a D-VHS machine but it was badly supported over here. He got all of his films imported from Canada as they weren't available over here.
How depressing!
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Old 25-06-2013, 08:50
Soundbox
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Thanks for the input - all interesting to an engineer (me).

I will add that the I had a couple of S-VHS machines that were worn out with using only S-VHS tapes. They were more abrasive and the static audio and video heads were almost burnt away - all those were scrapped as no-one will touch those decks due to alignment.

The Panasonic Z-mech decks seem to last well and the mechanism is hardy but just a small plastic bit snapping sends them to the scrap (like a double cog).
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Old 25-06-2013, 08:52
Nigel Goodwin
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I suspect Scotch video tapes was a major reason for so many VHS deck failures

Proof that a good advertising campaign can sell (and convince) the public as what to buy
Yes, Scotch tapes were abysmally poor, and VERY prone to dirtying heads in VCR's.

But main reasons were cheap construction (in later years) and incorrect maintenance in the earlier years. People generally waiting until their VCR failed and then got it repaired, rather than following the manufacturers servicing schedule.

However, I can see the reason for that - it would have been a LOT more expensive for servicing than repairs.

The majority of VCR faults were mechanical, belts, pulleys, clutches, switches and of course head wear.
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Old 25-06-2013, 08:58
gds1972
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I've removed lot's of toast from VCR's, it rarely (if ever) caused much damage - easy and cheap repairs.

Coins were even more common, which being metal could cause electrical damage as well.
I remember someone telling me WD40 is not very good for VCR's.
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:04
jjne
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Perhaps they just fancied a new machine, rather than paying to have it repaired?.
In the early 1980s? They clearly had more money than our family in that case!

But main reasons were cheap construction (in later years) and incorrect maintenance in the earlier years. People generally waiting until their VCR failed and then got it repaired, rather than following the manufacturers servicing schedule.

However, I can see the reason for that - it would have been a LOT more expensive for servicing than repairs.
We actually asked a number of repair shops for a quote for a VCR service, and were told not to bother -- the cost of servicing would outweigh any benefits.

So it wasn't just people not maintaining their VCRs, it was repair companies not wanting to do the work (presumably, in reality, because they didn't want people coming back three months after a service with a broken machine and expecting a free repair).

Having said that, these were the same guys who refused to even look at an Akura VCR with a minor fault on the grounds that it was a "voodoo brand" -- despite it being British-built, and based on a mechanism that was incorporated into many other machines! Oh, and dismissing my (correct) claim that an Osaki portable TV was, in fact, a badged Philips unit.

Repair shops brought about their own demise in most cases.
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:17
Nigel Goodwin
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I remember someone telling me WD40 is not very good for VCR's.
Depends what you do with it

Carefully applied small drops in the correct place is excellent for VCR's - and a VERY, VERY common method of unseizing seized up levers etc.

Blindly squirting WD40 inside many things destroys them, and is a total disaster inside a VCR or cassette player, both ow which rely on friction to work
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:25
Nigel Goodwin
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[quote=jjne;66634065]
We actually asked a number of repair shops for a quote for a VCR service, and were told not to bother -- the cost of servicing would outweigh any benefits.

[/quite]

Like I said, it's more cost effective to simply repair them.


So it wasn't just people not maintaining their VCRs, it was repair companies not wanting to do the work (presumably, in reality, because they didn't want people coming back three months after a service with a broken machine and expecting a free repair).
Not at all, the cost of proper servicing would absorb the tiny number of come backs, and would prevent almost all of them anyway.

It's just seriously expensive to service as the manufacturer specifies.


Having said that, these were the same guys who refused to even look at an Akura VCR with a minor fault on the grounds that it was a "voodoo brand" -- despite it being British-built, and based on a mechanism that was incorporated into many other machines!
The Akura's I've seen were just the cheapest foreign junk, and any claims of 'British built' were laughable - perhaps the tops were screwed on in the UK?


Oh, and dismissing my (correct) claim that an Osaki portable TV was, in fact, a badged Philips unit.
Osaki could have been anything, it was just another badge - but a LOT of portable TV's (and particularly TVR's) were made by Philips. So depending on the particular model I would VERY probably agree that it may well have been a Philips.

I've certainly repaired various Osaki units in the past, but can't for the life of me remember what they might have been inside?.
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Old 25-06-2013, 09:28
SkipTracer
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I suspect Scotch video tapes was a major reason for so many VHS deck failures

Proof that a good advertising campaign can sell (and convince) the public as what to buy
Ah those “last a lifetime tapes” that reminds me of an old Les Dawson joke about a bloke who brought a watch with a life time guarantee and a week after buy it the main spring broke and slit his wrist.
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Old 25-06-2013, 11:12
goldframedoor
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I forgot to add as well, my grandparents used to have a VCR which was made by a company called "Goldstar" or something similar, and eventually, they had that VCR replaced, because even though it played VHS tapes OK, it refused to record onto VHS tapes of any brand! The ended up buying a newer VCR, (can't remember the exact brand name), but they don't even have that any longer. My grandad has two old VHS VCRs in his shed, but the electricity plugs on them appear to be a bit unsafe due to being loose! (The VCRs were from the days when the consumer had to fit the plug onto electrical items themselves).
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