I am not a video repairer by trade. Everything I have
learnt has been through my own trial and error. I am trying to share
what I have learnt in this article. . I have tried to fix 3
videos and had complete success with each of them.
It is possible that your video could be damaged as you take it apart
to look at it. It would be worth first trying it out on a video you
don’t care much for, before you try to fix your wedding video. There
are companies that will repair videos and re-spool them. The costs are
high so weigh up if this is right for you. I can’t see what the pros
would do differently.
Video tapes are a fairly basic design which lets the repair be
fairly primitive and basic also. The main reason for this article is to
show you how to get the tape back into one piece.
Pulling apart a video is fairly easy. Putting it back together is
the tricky bit. In fact, fixing the tape itself is easy too. I am
hopeful that the dissection pictures will help you put it back together
to its original state.
Looking at a video tape from the outside, there is not much to it.
There is a flap which can be opened by pushing the button near it. This
will expose the tape. The only other thing that we can do with the
casing is cover or uncover the read write tab. More on this later.
may want to remove the label from the spine before you begin because it
is likely to be torn in half. There are 5 screws on the underside of
the tape, but that’s just the beginning. You need to take caution here
as the casing will come apart, but so will all the little pieces which
are a pain to return to their original location. Ensure you keep the
underside on a flat surface to keep the pieces in place. Pay attention
to where the pieces came from as your reference for later.
As you can see, there is nothing too complicated about a VHS tape. Lets take a closer look.
left guide has two rollers in it, which the tape travels between.
Normally, one will be plastic and the other metal. It is important to
ensure these guides are in the right places. These rollers will often
fall out as you open up a tape.
The right guide has only one roller which is fairly self explanatory.
The flap spring is a little trickier to attach. It slides onto the
plastic pole and the short bent wire wraps around the clip. The longer
end sits in the groove of the flap.
The most complicated part of the tape is the lock mechanism in the
middle of the tape. This is often the culprit of a jammed tape.
It is hard to figure out how all these little pieces work together.
You should end up being able to move the trigger backwards and forwards
and have all these parts move simultaneously.
Both of the springs wrap around poles and the left and right side
mirror each other. There are various designs that are used for this,
but the theory is the same. You want to be able to move the centre
piece and the other two will spring it back into place.
Repairing a broken tape:
There is nothing glamorous about repairing a snapped tape. We see
videos of directors splicing tape and sticking it back together in the
movies. The theory is the same, only we are going to use bog standard
It is best to use the finest tape you can find. The video is
unlikely to play where the tape is, but it should make its way through
the player to the next readable section of tape.
Make sure you place sticky tape on on both sides of the tape rather
than wrapping it around, as this will cause friction. If it is broken
at the start or end of the tape, you have the luxury to be a bit more
generous with the tape. You may need to fold some of the sticky tape to
hold it onto the spool. This is fine as the normal pressure from the
VCR will keep it taut.
Put the casing back together and put in the screws and see how you went.