This is on a Panasonic AG-1980P. The video is dark, almost black (no chroma) and there is no vertical hold. I have another working unit and I swapped the entire K-Mechanism and head amp as well as the power supply with no change. Thus with the head, head amp, and power supply eliminated, the problem is in the main board somewhere. Is anyone familiar with this problem?
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It could have a timer record present that needs to be cleared. Otherwise it could be the mode switch playing up. But that too can be caused by physical damage inside the unit, thus setting the mechanism in the wrong position. In other words it thinks it is in record mode when it's not!
It sounds like the video heads are dirty, or the tracking is off. I would first try adjusting the tracking to see if it can be corrected. If that does not work then I would clean the video heads using a video head cleaner (Radio Shack) You could also try a different tape to see if it that could be the reason. Also double check you video connections to your monitor to make sure they are good. If all of this fails than it may have to be checked out at an authorized Panasonic repair facility!
AG-DS555s are plagued by capacitor failure problems on all the video boards in the deck. Replacement of all surface mount electrolytic capacitors is the solution, but before you try that, give the heads a good cleaning. It's amazing what a miniscule amount of dirt on the heads will do.
you may have a slightly damaged power supply...although swapping the main supply chassis may solve, I have seen front panels that have an additional supply section. look on the front panel board for any TP's and probe with an O-scope. if you see a TP that may also show (+ xx V), where xx is a numerical value-may be one x only, the scope must show a straight horizontal line that is shifted vertically away from its normal (ground) position. that confirms a DC value present. then determine the DC value of the shift. Another possibility, since you invested, is to search ebay for a second unit for part swapping. look for as-is units.