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Tape running at high speed

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.

Any suggestions would be welcomed.

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  • Noexpert Aug 19, 2008

    Cleaning the drive capstan idler has made no difference. I
    suspect the problem may be electronic rather than mechanical as it
    developed overnight and gave no prior indication of slippage. The
    ratcheting noise developed at the same time as the overspeed problem.



    You are absolutely right that repair is not fiscally sensible.
    SONY has two options on this unit: the first is an exchange
    program with an identical or equivalent unit for $280+ -- you can
    get a good DVD/VHS combo with digital tuner for that! the second
    is a repair at a fixed rate of $80 -- this would buy a simple
    DVD/VHS combo without tuner or possibly a couple of older VHS
    units! I guess this one is headed for recycling - I've had
    a good fifteen years out of it!



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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.

Posted on Aug 18, 2008

  • Steve Allison
    Steve Allison Aug 19, 2008

    One last comment; although repairing old equipment even if not exactly obsolete may seem futile, the later stuff is far less durable and the replacements I have bought in the last years have failed often with 2-3 years.



    A friend of mine who exclusively repaired TVs and VCRs warned me against disposing of the older units as the newer ones were far less reliable and much more difficult to service and keep running.



    Changes in manufacturing and origins (Japan > China) has brought a crop of inferior stuff which although cheap, isn't worth even the lower price we pay.



    If you can find someone retired that likes to keep their hand in, you might want to have your current unit repaired (if it is not a component no longer available) and wrap it carefully to stash and then use when the new one fails.



    Many of these problems are caused by the decay of certain very common and inexpensive components dependent on chemicals in the power supply of units.

    Any competent tech with a few necessary instruments can locate these and replace them at minimal cost.



    I would suggest that if you buy a new one, and don't currently know someone who might look at it for you, I would pack it up and keep it in case you do eventually find someone.

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