I've had this unit for about 3 years and have use the VCR side sparingly. When I went to use it recently, it preceded to not play and eat up my tapes in the process. I had to use a thin, long letter opener to slip the tape out over internal sections of the vcr. Thanks for your help.
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Re: VCR Eats the tapes
Often the "Pinch Roller" type Tape Drive can "Dry Out" and it slips. this causes the tape to get all screwed up.. It could also be a belt that turns the capstan.. Or even a thing called the "Mode Switch" In any event Ya probably be best to take it in for repair as it's not really a "Homer" I suggest ya get a quote and an explanation, and see if it is economically worthwhile?
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Sorry I know very little about the dvd side but my experience with several VCRs is they need cleaning sometimes just like audio tape recorders and players need cleaning. Early in my days of VCR ownership the engineer I used was sick of seeing me and taught me how to clean the heads, guides and rollers myself to restore performance and help prevent tapes being chewed. Head cleaning tapes simply did not reach the parts needing cleaning though the the wet type sometimes helped.
A VCR might work normally for several months and then suddenly it would happen again. Sometimes I needed to do a clean several times in a month. I did have a Sharp VCR once and that had something called an idler reel that would "suddenly" need replacing (several times) due to chewed tapes but other than that manual cleaning did the job every time.
Later VCRs were fitted with a self cleaner that worked well and meant there was no trouble for a long time but when the self cleaner became loaded with filth they actually made matters worse.
Matter of interest, I use clean newspaper and methylated spirit for cleaning.
If this unit is 4-7 years old then TOSS it. As time goes by the rubber gets soft and the units timing gets whacked. Repair will be more than what it's worth , unless your emotionally attached to it ...
When a VCR eats a tape, it can be cause by a couple things.
1. There is a rubber wheel called a "pincher wheel" that compresses the tape against the "capstan". The capstan is a shiny metal spindle connected to a motor. The pincher wheel can become worn and/or dirty (slick) from the oxide coating off of the tape. You can try cleaning the pincher wheel and capstan with alcohol or try using a re-grip solution on the pincher wheel. Last thing to do is replace the pincher wheel. Look to see that the pincher wheel is doing its job by pulling the tape through.
2. There is a small tire wheel called an idler tire. This tire pivots between the sending and pickup reels of the player. Its also used during fast forward & rewind as well as play. If the tire is worn, the tape won't be wound up as fast on the take-up reel as the sending reel during play. This means more tape is coming out of the cassette than can be wound up on the takeup reel. You can try using a re-grip solution on the idler tire or replace it.
Let me know if you need more information as to where to purchase these parts.
I think what you are referring to is the pinch roller. This roller sits at the right side of the mechanism, and in play mode, presses the tape up against the capstan shaft. These pull the tape through the machine at a precise regulated speed. If the roller isn't being engaged or the capstan isn't turning, then these conditions need to be corrected. Does the capstan turn freely? How about the noted roller? Perhaps lubricant has dried/hardened/gotten sticky...
There is electronic circuitry for the capstan motor (a direct drive type motor integrated on the underneath side. Something could be awry with this circuitry.
There is a drive clutch mechanism which could also be defective. This drive clutch assembly sits in between & swivels between the supply and takeup spindle, depending on whether VCR is in Play/FFWD or REW. In the Play/FFWD, it is engaging the right spindle (takeup) and in REW the left spindle (supply). If this is what you are describing, perhaps this clutch unit needs replacement or the grease at its pivot is hardened/sticky.
Most VCRs of the last 10+ years don't use a rubber tired drive (very common on late '80s VCRs), rather a gear toothed drive.
Beyond a simple mechanical problem, repair might not be economical feasible. Most VCRs of the last 10+ years are poor quality, disposable, unlike the machines of the '80s and early '90s, which were built like tanks comparitively speaking.
Tape heads should be cleaned first and gears lubricated. This job can be done at home if you purchase lithium grease and are very careful not to get it on the heads or spools. Greasing should only be done if you are confident in opening it up. Otherwise, seek a cheap professional.