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Re: vcr powers offf.
This is a sign that one of your tape sensors is not functioning, See if you can get a schematic and use a multimeter to measure the voltages on the sensors to determine if they are working properly. contact me after you have done this and we can begin the troubleshooting process.
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There should be a DVD/VCR button on the remote control which will toggle the machine from one playback source to another. If she has pressed the VCR button then the machine will only playback tapes & not show DVD's. Press this button & the DVD's should play. If you look closely at the front window of the machine it will show what mode it is in ie VCR or DVD, set this for the DVD to get it to play.
It sounds like the tapes may be physically damaged, wrinkled or creased. This may have been done when they were played in whatever machine you used 5 years ago. Tapes can also be damaged in storage by heat or humidity. Tapes should also be stored on end in their boxes, not flat. If these tapes were stored flat, the bottom edge might have gotten wrinkled. This can damage the control track and cause playback issues.
The machines playabilty setting has gone off. take to nearest repair shop and they will probably reset or change guide posts.
These components normally will allow a tape recorded in one machine to play on another. Had many of those esp from camcorder to vcr
As with any VCR, there are rubber parts inside that have become slick. This is a simple repair for any shop. The mechanisms are Samsung ones if I remember correctly. Expect a parts cost between $20-$40. Add in the local labor rate for the total cost. This is worth the repair cost as any replacement would not last anywhere near as long. This is also a normal occurrance as rubber parts harden with age. I have repaired many of these over the years.