Question about VCRs

1 Answer

Tape stuck in RCA VR501

We had a videotape that automatically rewound and in the process, it got stuck & at some point chewed. I'm not worried about the tape anymore. My problem is that the tape is half in/half out of the VCR. I can't pull or push it back in, and the eject button isn't working. I took the top off and could not get the loading tray to move in one direction (preferably completely ejected) or the other. What can I do?

Posted by on

1 Answer

  • Level 2:

    An expert who has achieved level 2 by getting 100 points


    An expert that got 5 achievements.


    An expert who has written 50 answers of more than 400 characters.


    An expert who has answered 200 questions.

  • Expert
  • 254 Answers
Re: tape stuck in RCA VR501

This could require a tech savvy person to help you, but maybe... You might be able to remove the tape carriage assembly (this is the assembly which loads and unloads the tape). There will be 2 or 4 screws which hold this assembly in place. It is possible however, these screws are "covered up" by the tape being there. These mechanisms are often gear or gear-like driven. If you see these gears, you might be able to turn them (or the motor which runs them) by hand, and get the tape fully unloaded. Use care- modern VCRs (since the early '90s) are easily broken, or the thin metal bent. Also, the gears must be exactly in time- that is, exactly positioned with each other. Being off by just one tooth will result in a non-working mechanism.

Posted on Sep 04, 2007

Add Your Answer

0 characters

Uploading: 0%


Complete. Click "Add" to insert your video. Add


3 Points

Related Questions:

1 Answer

Stuck tape -- Zenith model VR4176

Remove the top cover to see the tape and get at it. Remove it there using plastic tools, not metal.

Dec 15, 2013 | Zenith VCRs

3 Answers

Videotape dubbing deck dead


1. Check to see if a tape is jammed inside (see 284 Extract a Jammed Videotape).
2. Try changing the video input and/or output source. Many VCRs have two ways to receive and send a video signal (coaxial and video direct). If that works, try changing the cable for the other method to see whether you need a new cable.
3. Clean tape heads (see How to Clean VCR Heads).
4. Open VCR and inspect any belts that are accessible (see 284 Extract a Jammed Videotape). A drive belt may be broken or loose.

If tapes are getting stuck / enmeshed inside the machine, itis 90% probability) a mechanical problem. Change the Belts, clean all rollers, idlers, and braking pads.
I would suggest that you also replace the Capstan Pinch Roller.


Feb 17, 2008 | Rio Go Video DDV9556 Dual Deck VCR


How a VCR and Videotape Work and the Most Common Problems

A common complaint about videotape is that over time, playback becomes unstable and often deteriorates to the point that the tape becomes unplayable or that the tape works on one VCR, but not another. All of these problems can be traced to tape path alignment in the VCR and damage to the tape itself. I will address each issue separately.
First you need to understand a little about the tape media. When you record on VHS videotape, the recorder lays down three (four for stereo sound) magnetic tracks on the ½ inch wide tape. Analog audio is recorded along the top edge as a thin horizontal stripe (or parallel stripes for stereo) for the entire length of the recording. In the center of the tape, video is recorded as diagonal parallel stripes by two or four heads that rotate on a drum at 360 RPM. On the bottom edge (the most vulnerable place for damage to occur) there is another horizontal track that is critical to playback. It is the sync track and it's purpose is provide the VCR with the feedback it requires to maintain the tape speed within extremely tight parameters. If the tape does not move at a precise speed, the picture and sound can become unstable to the point that it will be unusable.
As you record, a fixed frequency sine wave is recorded on the sync track. If during recording, the tape speed increases or decreases, it will be reflected on the sync track. During playback, the VCR's circuitry senses the small millisecond-to-millisecond speed fluctuations of the tape movement over the heads and adjusts the speed so the tape speed always matches the speed at which it was recorded. If the sync track is ever damaged, your tape can become useless.
Unfortunately, videotape is a very delicate media. It is easily damaged and once damaged, it usually cannot be repaired. The most common failure is due to tape stretch. Videotape is not very elastic. Anything more then slight tension during use can stretch the tape to the point that it cannot rebound. If the sync track is stretched, the recorded frequency will change and the VCR will react accordingly by making incorrect speed corrections resulting in picture and sound disruptions. Your recorder has tensioning arms that control tape tension as it moves through the system. If the tension in the tape path is incorrectly adjusted, the tape will be damaged as it is recorded or played.
Improper storage is the other common cause of edge damage. If you lay your cassettes flat for prolonged periods, the weight of the tape above will press against the sync track and can damage it. Always store your tapes vertically. Extremes in temperature and humidity can cause stretch. Store tapes in a cool dry place. Also, periodically restack your tapes. To restack a tape, put it in your recorder and fast-forward it to the end and back to the beginning. That will redistribute the tension on the tape. After playing a tape, always restack it once or twice. I have a large collection; over 1,000 tapes. I cannot restack them all on a regular basis. But when I play them, I take that as an opportunity to restack them.
Now that you understand some basics about the media, I will now turn you attention to your VCR. As I hope you are starting to understand, proper playback requires precise alignment of many moving elements. The two broad categories are tape path alignment and head alignment. None of this is a do it yourself job. In addition to specialized electronic test equipment, VCR alignment requires specialized tools along with expensive custom made for the brand and model alignment jigs along with (again expensive) alignment tapes. The alignment tape is important beyond the obvious. In order for a tape recorded on one machine to play properly on another, the two machines must have matching alignment. VCR manufacturers record their own alignment tapes using precisely and frequently aligned recorders. The tapes are used to align a specified number of VCRs and then discarded because each time a tape is used it wares. Since there is a uniform standard for these tapes, a tape recorded on one brand of VCR should play on another. That is the theory.
Now for the real world; the consistent interchangeability we all wish for is hard to maintain. Consider this. The tolerances that must be maintained at every point in all of the processes relative to VCRs and tapes are very close to what is possible; little room for slight variations. Since the tolerance for one part of the process may accumulate with another part of the process either mathematically positively or negatively, it is often the case that each individual part of the chain is within tolerance, but the sum total is out of tolerance.
What in plane language does this all mean? Two alignment tapes made on the same machine will be different. Tapes from different manufactures will be different. The tape you local technician or factory service center uses will have inconsistencies. The net effect is that two seemingly properly aligned machines may not be able to properly play each other's tapes.
I do not mean to suggest that you should not have your VCR properly aligned and maintained by a professional. My point is that videotape is an old technology with flaws that could not fully be overcome in the time frame that it would have been profitable for manufacturers to do so. That is why we have moved on to digital technologies. My advice is to enjoy your videotapes while you can. They will not last forever. If you have important tapes, transfer them to digital media to protect your memories as soon as possible.

on Jul 03, 2015 | VCRs

1 Answer

VCR won't record, just ejects tape

You have not mentioned the make and model number of the vcr. Any way the problem is due to end sensor or related circuit. End sensors are photo diods which you can check the shorting with a multy meter.

Jan 13, 2013 | Emerson VCRs

1 Answer

VCR stops automaticly after it starts playing

Does this happen with all cassettes or just the few you want to watch?If the answer is all, then there may be a problem with the tape tension sensor.If the answer is not all, then the cassettes you want to watch may need to be fast forwarded and rewound to lower their drag.

Mar 02, 2012 | Panasonic VCRs

1 Answer

Using a Sylvania DVR90VF, how can I record from a VHS tape to a DVD?

OK here's what the user manual has to say on it!
PS If you need the user manual I will E-Mail on request.

Prepare for the recording on the DVDRW/ R disc or the videotape. Make sure:• Insert a recordable disc and a videotape with a record tab.
Note for recording to a disc:
• Make sure that the disc is recordable.
Hit [SETUP].
Easy Setting Menu or Advanced Setting Menu will appear. If Advanced Setting Menu is displayed,
proceed to step 3.
Using [
K / L], select “Advanced Setting Menu”.
Hit [ENTER].
Advanced Setting Menu will appear.
Using [
K / L], select “Recording”. Hit [ENTER].
Recording menu will appear.
Using [
K / L], select “Dubbing Mode”. Hit
Option window will appear.
Auto Chapter 10 minutes
Timer Programming
DVD-RW Recording Format Video mode
Auto Finalize
Dubbing Mode VCR DVD
Auto Chapter 10 minutes
Timer Programming
DVD-RW Recording Format Video mode
Auto Finalize
Dubbing Mode VCR DVD
For VCR to DVD duplication:
• After starting VCR to DVD duplication, the picture may be distorted because of the auto tracking function. This is not a malfunction.
Using [
K / L], select “VCR DVD”. Hit [ENTER].
Hit [SETUP] to exit.
Make sure to select a recording speed using [REC SPEED].
B].Then hit [PAUSE F] at the point you
wish to start recording.
• Since it takes about a few seconds before the actual dubbing begins, please allow extra 5 seconds
when selecting the starting point.
VCR to DVD duplication will start.
C] to stop the
When you turn off the unit after setting the Dubbing Mode to DVD VCR, the setting will be set to VCR DVD automatically.
• Dubbing Mode is available only if the videotape or disc is not copy protected.
• You cannot change the output mode during VCR to DVD or DVD to VCR duplication.

For VCR to DVD duplication:
• The playback sound mode is followed by the setting of VCR playback sound mode on page 77. Set the playback sound mode to which you wish to record to the DVD.

May 12, 2010 | VCRs

1 Answer

I have a VCR tape stuck in an old machine is there a trick to getting it out? It doesn't release it from the internal mechanisms! want the movie back!

I've had this happen to me a few times. The only way I could get the tape out was to take the VCR apart and carefully pull the tape out of the mechanism and all the tape that had pulled out of the cassette into the machine had to be carefully rewound back into the cassette. The tape itself is usually folded into many folds - so the movie needs to be copied as soon as possible onto a new cassette; as it won't play too many times with all the folds before getting stuck again into the VCR.

There is a little button near the door on the side of cassette itself that will allow you to open the door and rewind the tape easier.

Sep 21, 2009 | VCRs

1 Answer

VHS backups on DVD

Your VCR will NOT copy any commercialy published tapes to DVD disks. There is a protection built in to every sync line of the video on the VCR tapes. This is known as MacroVision protection.

The machine that you bought has been designed to block anything with MacroVision, and anything with any other industry standard copy protections. The codes for this are permanently burned in to the main uPC of the machine.

The publishers of the tapes do not know who is copying for what purpose, and how many are being copied. Under copyright laws they have the right to to take whatever action necessary to protect all their publications.

Jerry G.

Jun 11, 2008 | VCRs

2 Answers

Commercial Advance feature shuts off vcr.

You need to clean the video tape path my freind, or the machine needs an alighnment. you can try to clean it with a head cleaner, and it might work, but most of the time you need to have it professionall cleaned. If you want open this, and it is about the same proceedture with a camcorder to clean a VCR, just take off the top cover of the VCR. Good Luck Please do not forget to rate this thread.

Nov 27, 2006 | RCA VR555 VCR

2 Answers

VCR eats the tape

you have a bad take-up reel clutch or a belt on the bottom of the player mechanism that is causing this trouble.

Apr 12, 2006 | Philips VR630 VHS VCR

Not finding what you are looking for?
VCRs Logo

Related Topics:

717 people viewed this question

Ask a Question

Usually answered in minutes!

Top VCRs Experts


Level 3 Expert

4518 Answers

alexander woolfolk
alexander woolfolk

Level 2 Expert

276 Answers

Donald DCruz
Donald DCruz

Level 3 Expert

17129 Answers

Are you a VCR Expert? Answer questions, earn points and help others

Answer questions

Manuals & User Guides