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Re: SLV 940 HF
Is it having trouble either loading or ejecting the tape? If so, then something is probably awry in that mechanism. Take the top cover off and watch a load or eject operation. If tape isn't fully loaded, and tape threaded, then an error condition will result, as will be the case if it won't eject.
Causes include a broken piece of the load mechanism (also called cassette carriage or carriage mechanism), broken or cracked gear. If the mechanism is gear driven, timing is critical, just being out of time one tooth will foul things up. There are often marks on the gears which must line up exactly in a particular mode as specified in manufacturer service literature.
Most VCRs since the early '90s are disposeable, very prone to breakage, in contrast to early units which were made like tanks, costing $400 plus.
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Unplug the VCR. Take the cover off by taking out the small screws on the sides and on the back that hold the cover on. With the cover off you should be able to gently move the tape back out. Things could be damaged......after the tape is out, you should try it first with a tape that could possibly be damaged during testing and do not touch anything inside while plugged in to power during testing with the cover off! Now......if it is not a working VCR anymore......you are in luck. There are garage sales every weekend...and almost every one has a VCR for almost nothing....some like new.....and boxes and boxes of tapes/movies for very little money too.