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When the mechanism is damaged the VCR will attempt to play and then shut itself down to prevent any further damage. If you remove the top cover and look around inside you will probably find the cause of the failure.
This probably indicates some kind of mechanism damage. Also the Mode Switch could be faulty or out place, again that can be caused by damage to the mechanical parts. The mode switch tells the electronics what position or playing mode the mechanism is in. Any incorrect movement results in stopping the actions and could result in system shutdown to prevent even more damage.
Well I think that the the machines mechanical piece that allows you to record is broken then and needs to be fixed so we perfer DVD players and dvd disc;s instead they are better at recording and have less problems too.
Your VCR has input to record video-audio signal. Here is 2 options to record program in vcr.
1= You need to hook up video-audio cable at Monitor Out in TV and video-audio in at VCR. select Line-1 or Line-2 (where you hook up cable) in vcr and insert cassette with Record Tab intact, VCR is ready to record TV program. select desired channel on tv and hit record button of vcr, recording will start.
2= Plug RF antenna / cable wire in RF In of vcr and tune desired channel in vcr (get help of vcr's user manual for that) and push record button to start record directly in vcr.
Have further query, let me know please.