Question about Zenith VCS442 VHS VCR

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VCR tape stuck

Hi. I was fast forwarding the tape in a VCR-DVD combo. When I noticed that it went beyond the point where I needed it to be, I then without stopping the tape just pressed the rewind button. Now the tape is stuck in the VCR. Do you know if this is a mechanical problem and what I can do? Thanks

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Re: VCR tape stuck

Yes, it is a mechanical problem. While the tape is in fast forward the gears are engaged and locked to provide drive to the spindel on the right, however when you press the rewind button without hitting stop, the gears try to engage the spindel on the left without stoping and reversing (changing rotational positioning), this causes the motor to stop (this emulates a tape jam)the tope is left in and the unload mechanism never spools the tape back in because the motor has stopped. To free the tape, what I do is open up the unit and find the main motor check to see if the belt has slipped, if it has not try to manually spin the motor to engage the unload mechanism and eject the tape.

Posted on Sep 16, 2007

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Tape Problem

When a VCR eats a tape, it can be cause by a couple things.

1. There is a rubber wheel called a "pincher wheel" that compresses the tape against the "capstan". The capstan is a shiny metal spindle connected to a motor. The pincher wheel can become worn and/or dirty (slick) from the oxide coating off of the tape. You can try cleaning the pincher wheel and capstan with alcohol or try using a re-grip solution on the pincher wheel. Last thing to do is replace the pincher wheel. Look to see that the pincher wheel is doing its job by pulling the tape through. The pincher wheel & capstan are not used during a fast forward or fast rewind, so if your tape is getting caught during the FF or RW and not Play, it's probably not related to capstan & pincher wheel.

2. There is a small tire wheel called an idler tire. This tire pivots between the sending and pickup reels of the player. Its also used during fast forward & rewind as well as play. If the tire is worn, the tape won't be wound up as fast on the take-up reel as the sending reel during play. This means more tape is coming out of the cassette than can be wound up on the takeup reel. You can try using a re-grip solution on the idler tire or replace it.

3. There's also a brake pad that is designed to grab and stop the tape wheels from spinning when you hit stop. If those pads are worn, the wheels will not stop fast enough and the tape will continue to feed (spool) out of the cassette and not be taken up by the other wheel.

So when when you hit eject, the excess tape that should have been wound up tight in the cassette before the eject sequence, is getting caught inside the player.

Let me know if I can be of further assistance to you.

Good luck!
- Jim

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and if your unit won't reset, you can take it to your local
electronic repair shop. I had error 3 on my Phillips,
and he went to the PM webpage,researched it, and fixed it perfectly for $39.00 total. STILL WORKING!
He said it was some little thing to replace that took him 15 minutes.
If you don't want to buy one of the REALLY cheaply made vcrs or DVD/vcr combos that are out now, it worth a little phone time to find
an electronics repair shop. Or the new DVD recorders with vcr combos are very good, but sturdy ones are expensive.

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It may need to be cleaned. Mechanical problems are one of the big problems with VCRs they use alot of mechanical moving parts and play for so long they fail. Plastic parts dont help much either. The pinch roller takes up the slack and is usualy the part that fails first because it constantly runs along the tape and builds a coating on the rubber so it doesnt grip the tape and pull it back into the cassette. If its not pulling the tape back in then it hangs up inside and you cant get the tape out. Fastforward uses the reels to pull the tape not so much the roller. Try and stop 2 times then fast forward then eject the tape. Try and eject the tape while its fastforwarding so it doesnt do anything else. Sometimes machines will unload after its been in fastforwad a while then it will eject. You will hear a change in the sound when it unloads, you can hear the mechanical arms move the tape in and out of the cassette. Thats when you eject it. You cant really clean it till you get the tape out. YOu can clean the pinch roller with fingernail polish or paint remover. It is a wheel inside it looks like a black tire. It pinches the tape against the capstan arm this is why it developes a film or a shine on the rubber making it slip.

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