Question about RCA VR552 VHS VCR

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No picture I put in a tape and it started to play but needed the tracking fixed. I did that manually but instead of a clearer picture now the entire screen had horizontal streaks. I used a head cleaner and tried again. Same thing. I tried another tape. Nothing but streaks. Unplugged it and tried again. Streaks. I have a DVD player also connected along with the VCR and cable box. The VCR was working fine a few hours before this happened. Alos I lost the remote a while back.

Posted by Luz Contreras on


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This type of problem may be caused by a dirty video head, people some time try to adjust tracking to take care of this problem this is a mistake. Now to clear up this issue first you put the tracking control mid way in its setting, then you clean the heads of the VCR you can use a head cleaning tape (follow the instructions on the cleaning tape box)for this or if you have experience you use a chamois swab type cleaner (follow the instructions on the package of swabs and liquid cleaner). one the heads are cleaned you acn then try to adjust track to obtain the best picture. If you can not you may have video head problems or a problem in the drum motor (servo) mechanism. In which case I advise taking the unit to a TV repair shop.

Posted on Sep 15, 2007


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I play a tape in my Sony SL-5200 Betamax VCR. It plays normally for about 5-10 minutes and then the picture starts fluttering which lets out this loud buzz on the Hi-Fi audio track and cuts it out to mono....

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.

Jul 28, 2011 | Sony Televison & Video

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DVD works fine. VCR tapes shake at top of picture. Works ok on 2 other VCR's. Have cleaned heads several times. used new tape to record program. Any Ideas. Gene

If this is the only VCR you have which is displaying this tape problem, and the tapes are new, it sounds to me like the entry guide (also known as a base incline unit) might need to be either re-aligned or replaced (this is located on the left-hand side of the head drum) it could also be the back-tension band which may have come loose or broken - if it's broken, this should also be replaced. Back-tension is also on the left side of the video deck. Check the tape guide tracks (both left and right) for any foreign objects such as fragments of plastic, and perhaps consider replacing the pinch roller and cleaning the entire tape path before using anymore new tapes in it. Clean the heads as well to complete the job.

I have found in the past with videos like these, that the top of the tape playback picture begins to 'tear' and noise is audible in the Hi-Fi track. The entry guide has always been the culprit, adjustment has not always been a viable option. If you do replace this part, you may need to align it to the VCR mechanism for optimum SP/LP performance. There are a few simple cheap ways to do this; the easiest is to record a tape in SP and LP in a GOOD machine (which has no problems) then play that tape in this one - to check alignment. try adjusting the guide carefully with a precision/jeweller's screwdriver first before ordering any replacement parts. Because this guide is threaded, you should carefully turn it anti-clockwise with minimal pressure - this backs off the over-track or tearing at the top.

Good news, if as you say the DVD part is fine, no problems, and the machine powers up, etc., just the tape issue with VCR, this should be a simple fix if you know how it is put together. You shouldn't need service manuals for this, and you save a fortune in workshop labour charges!

I hope this suggestion helps a tad. If you're careful, you won't have any further problems with it. And the left guide is easier to replace than the right.

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do the heads need cleaning? sounds like the heads are seriously out of alignment? take off the vcr cover get a philip scrdrv. put tape in. and play. theres an AC head just to the right of the drumhead. jiggle it around gently. u may have to adjust those 3 screws (precison) to put it back in proper adjustmant. also take the tapes u used in that vcr. open the top flap and inspect. are there marks? is there a line going the bottom portion of the tape. if so , it definitely is out of alignment.

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All new VCR's are auto tracking however, you should be able to manually track it using your remote, or there are a few reasons that the auto track can fail, the tape may have worn or ragged edges which means that the control head cannot get a clean reading, the control head may itself need cleaning or the tape path requires adjustments, adjusting the guides really needs to be done by a technician as a reference tape is used, or that the heads are low and a good video signal cannot be obtained to gain a reference point....Phil

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Hope Ya Fix It!

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