Tape plays at high speed(approx 2x-5x), both video and audio with auto
tracking not locking in and manual tracking ineffective. In
addition, there is a ratcheting noise due to a toothed cam under the
casette carriage not meshing correctly with its mating toothed wheel
but not due to damaged teeth on either component. The cam appears
to be pushed towards the wheel but is lightly spring loaded against it
and basically bounce out of mesh from time to time. This occurs
on both reccord and playback modes.
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Re: Tape running at high speed
The tape speed is controlled by a pinchroller arrangement; one rubber covered idler, and a metal drive roller with the tape between them.
There is tension of the take-up reel that will pull the tape faster than it would normally travel if the described rollers are doing what they should.
You might try removing the rubber idler (normally one small Phillips) and stripping the surface with something fairly aggressive such as lighter fluid or alcohol and an old rag.
If you get a good bit of black deposits, that may be enough to restore some tackiness to it and therefore function.
If you are handy and curious, you can take a cartridge with problems, remove the tape from the reels, cut out most of the closed side of the cassette, put a rubber band between the two empty reels and make a test cartridge that might let you see what function the various gears perform.
I still have one so prepared in a box of other homemade fixtures I used years ago.
A box I didn't bother to unpack since the repair of these is no longer fiscally sensible.
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It could be some kind of tracking problem. The cause could be dirt on the tape head, or perhaps something worn such as a drive belt etc. Check to see if it gets worse or better with the cassette nearly at the end of the tape or at the start of it. Indicating a tape tension problem, on the reels or drive.
Usually VCRs do not offer specifically labelled tracking buttons as such, however they may incorporate tracking into their channel UP/DOWN buttons, both on the front of the main unit and/or remote. Some brands also offer V-LOCK (vertical lock or still image adjustment) (in pause mode during playback) to stabilise the image, reducing vertical jitter, which again can be adjusted as required using the same buttons as used for tracking. In most cases, pressing both CH UP and CH DOWN together while the tape is playing should centre track (revert back to auto tracking) the unit.
I am sure if your VCR has channel buttons on it, try pressing either one while a tape is playing. See if it affects the tracking at all. If it does, press both buttons together for 5 seconds or so, then release - auto/centre tracking takes over.
It costs nothing to try this, and it won't hurt your machine or your tapes.
a common problem is rental videos that have been damaged in the first few feet of the tape by some other vcr's defective drive mechanism that "eats"the tape..What happens is the particles of the damaged tape clog the video heads in your machine,which have gaps in the millionths of an inch.Put a brand new tape in the machine and let it play for a half hour or so and it will usually clear itself.If that does not do it,insert a head clening tape and a couple drops of cleaning fluid and run it through.The newer machines will show a blue screen if there is no video information present.However,if you put it on forward search,it overrides that feature and you will see a snowy picture from a good tape,if one video head is clogged and the other is working.There are 2 video heads on a rotating head.it spins at 1800rpm and that is the whirring sound you hear when play is pressed.If both heads are clogged,you will see a snowy screen and no picture at all.A 4 head machine has 2 heads for slp or 2 hour speed and the other 2 heads are used for lp and slp.A hifi vcr has 2 more heads,which are used for the hifi audio,a total of 6 heads.The stationary playback head has a control signal for tape speed,and regular audio,mono or stereo.
normally this would be a tracking error, if you can manually adjust the tracking, this should fix the prob...if there is no way to manually adj the tracking, use a video head cleaner to see if cleaning the heads will help the auto track to function better.
A couple of possibilities: 1. One of the machines had a audio & tracking head alignment problem. If memory serves, tracking pulses are recorded on the bottom edge of the tape, and if one machine's head is slightly off, then these pulses aren't being picked up.
2. Do both machines have 3 play/record speeds? Many machines had SP, EP, & LP. Some didn't have EP, and if your older tapes were recorded in EP, perhaps this would cause your problem.
Both of these possibilities might be way out in left field.
Perhaps you could have a friend try your old tapes in their machine- in short, narrow down the defect. Is it the older VCR and it's recordings, or is it some goofy problem on the new one.
Lastly, you might check the audio/tracking head- see if it needs cleaning. This head is just to the right of the rotating video drum assembly.
One possibility is the tracking/audio head is dirty. Remove top cover of VCR, this head sits just to the right of the rotating video head. Use a cotton swab moistened with rubbing alcohol, or other video head cleaner and clean this head, especially the lower edge, as the tracking info is recorded along the lower edge of the tape (if memory serves).
Another possibility is a problem with tape travel past this head. If the tape is lifting or moving up or down, even slightly as it passes this head, tracking will be lost, hence your blue screen & bad audio. This could be observed by playing a tape with the VCR cover off.
Does it do so on all tapes?
It sounds like you are experiencing a tracking or tape path problem. You might try taking the top cover off, then cleaning the video head. Info is available on the 'net on how to do this. If problem remains, play a tape and see it is wandering up/down across video head. See if any of the tape guides are broken or bent, causing tape wandering.
you may also have a problem in the electronics, perhaps in the servo circuitry, which has to do with careful control of tape speed, video head rotational speed, and certain other parameters. If electronics are bad, then VCR is likely a tosser, unless it is a high $ rig. Most electronics are disposable these days, unfortunately.
The "crackling" sound you describe sounds suspiciously like mis-tracking. That is: The result of the Hi-Fi heads (which are on the rotating video headwheel or drum) not exactly following the recorded tracks. Have you tried adjusting the tracking slightly? The reason this happens is that the Hi-Fi tracks are MUCH narrower than the thinnest video track (used for 6 hours per T120 tape). Tape stretches and shrinks as it ages. Video recorders wear with normal use in such a way that the tracking changes.
The problem is often worse with tapes recorded at the SLP (6 hour) speed because the servo cannot correct errors as fast when the tape is moving slowly (on some machines only). Tape quality also counts...and manufacturers change their formulations without public notice. All these things can lead to "archived" tapes being lost. Solution: Use the best quality tape you can afford, not the cheapest; record at the highest possible speed. Store the tape carefully. Never use a cheap "rewinder" because they can over-tighten the tape causing wrinkles, stretches, and
other kinds of damage.