Old u-matic videotapes fail to fast-forward, rewind or play. Some tapes wind very slowly and then stop the machine, and I have to eject to get it started again.
However, some tapes work just fine, so it isn't the tape deck. How do I loosent the mechanism to get it to move more freely?
IFYI, the video is still good on these 25 year-old tapes. I only need them to work once to copy them to current digital format.
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if the take up side gets stuck it could feed excess tape and stop the mechanism. Look to see if both reels are turning when you push play. Remove cassette door for a better view if possible.
Make sure your tapes have NO slack in them. Fast forward and rewind one cassette all the way, then try again looking to see if both sides are turning. If not, you may have a belt that is old, stretched and slipping or it's split apart or just fallen off
tapes themselves sometimes get tight. also...a weak belt could cause this. I have sometimes taken tapes apart and rewound them by hand, but tapping the tape fast and gently can loosen them but you'll have to open the tape protective cover or the reels wont turn
The photo sensor that senses the tape end has blown or dry soldered.It is on the right side of the mechanical deck and senses the transparent end of the tape through the square hole in the video cassette.
I work at the History Channel and have a VHS that had the same troubles. I need it desperately for the show I am working on. I tapped it on a table fast forwarded it and presto! Tape fixed, crisis averted. Thank you, Thank you, thank you.
The idler wheel (that only drives the tape in play or scan modes) is
slipping too much (very common problem). Try verify this by
putting the tape in play then immediately press the fast fwd or rewind
buttons to scan the tape. On older machines, the idlers used
rubber friction tires - on newer ones, a clutch. Either replace
the tire or increase the spring tension on the clutch.
Hope Ya Fix It.
Does the machine play tapes well? Clear steady picture and all? No tracking bars? wavering sound?
Tape chewing is generally a problem with a bad Capstan Pinch Roller, Associated symptoms are as above.
Please do recheck or confirm if any of the above problems are also present.