When I try to stop or rewind a tape using the VTR Controls the camera continues to play the tape. It's seems like this is random and not related to any one action. I've had the camera for a few years and it has many hours of operation. Also, it tends to zoom in on it's own every once in a while. All related to the hinged lid. Also, it has stopped auto focussing on two occasions. Could it be that the contacts for the switches are dirty or temporarily shorted ?
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make sure the camera internal battery is charged. using the ac charger plug the camera in for 24 hours. if the internal battery is dead then you will need to turn it in and have it replaced. that is why is says reinsert the tape
I would take a look at the loading machanism to see if it is properly loading the tape, usually on these type of machines if the tape is not being loaded properly the tape will not play. The rewind working indicates that the motor is still working so what you may also have is a gear problem, in which you will have to look at the gear system as the tape is loading and trying to go into play mode. This looks more like a mechanical problem then an electronics issue. However I would not rule out have to take voltage measurements to confirm that the electronics are ok (you will need a schematic for this, and a multimeter).
I wonder if this is a MacroVision problem. Try this; take a VCR tape that you have recorded from the tv, try to record a commercial and then play this tape through your setup, I bet you it works. (Now take what I say next in the sense that it is given and that is as advice)When you are trying to push signal that you get from an analog source from the VCR by law that signal has to be encoded with macrovision to ensure that the signal can not be copied. Now the funny thing is you can transfer tapes which have not been encoded this is normal, what you need is a piece of equipment that removes Macrovision, here is a link that might help:
http://www.regioncodefreedvd.com/copyeliminator.html also look up the company SIMA
a sony cleaning cassette may clear the gunk from
your friend ' s possibly ? bad tapes ( do not
rewind it - or the gunk will be redeposited ) ;
if still no video , get an estimate to have your
heads and guides cleaned . . . professionally ;