Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Video Cassette Recorders


Chapter 15) General System Problems

  15.1) Multiple system problems

Most VCR problems will be limited to a specific subsystem - video, audio,
tuner, servo, control.  When multiple seemingly unrelated problems occur
at the same time, suspect a power supply problem since multiple systems
may be fed from common power supply outputs.

There are always several different voltages used within a VCR - if one
of these dies, some subsystems will work but will not receive the proper
signals from the dead parts.  So, nearly any kind of behavior is possible.

Therefore, the first test is to determine, if possible, that the
power supply outputs voltages are correct - both with power off and
power on.

  15.2) Power supply problems - unit totally dead/major system problems in all modes

Power supply problems can range from intermittent behavior due to slightly
out of tolerance voltages, hum, or noise to a totally dead VCR.  Multiple
system failures can result if one or more of the half dozen or so voltages
used within the VCR are incorrect or missing.

Some power supply problems are caused by power surges.  These may result
in a totally dead VCR or in overstress and subsequent failure of various
components.  A power strip with a circuit breaker, even with surge protector
is not a reliable protection against power surges especially during lightning
storms.  The only sure protection is unplugging electronic equipment during
storms - but then, what would your insurance agent have to do?

  15.3) Fuses and IC protectors in VCRs

A variety of protective devices are used in VCRs.

Of course, where the VCR is stone dead, check for a blown line or secondary
fuse in the power supply.  Occasionally, a fuse will blow due to a power surge
or for no good reason and a new fuse is all that is needed.  However, this is
usually not the case and a new fuse will blow immediately.  There is a chance
that additional damage may result - proceed cautiously.  If the fuse element
is vaporized - black or silver coating on the glass, a short in the power
supply is likely.  However, a violent surge on the power line can also result
in such a symptom.

Various subsystems of the VCR may be protected by individual fuses as well.
Sometimes, one of these will blow resulting in a variety of multiple systems
problems but not a totally dead VCR.  Look for fuses on the mainboard as well
as the power supply.

IC Protectors (ICPs) may be present on a single chip or small subsection of
a circuit.  Most common types are miniature fast acting fuses.  Typically,
they come in a black TO92 or rectangular .1"x.3" plastic case with two leads.
Test these like a fuse - an IC protector should be a short if good.

In some cases you may find a PTC (Positive Temperature Coefficient resistor -
resistance increase dramatically due to excessive current heating the element)
type of fuse or IC protector - these are self resetting once the overload has
been removed.  However, this also means that testing with power off will show
low resistance even if a fault still exists (unless you test immediately).
Measuring voltage across such a device with power on is one way of identifying
a problem.  One common form of this device appears as a little metal metal
sandwich - the two plates are separated by the active material.

  15.4) VCR power supplies

Reread Safety info before tackling any power supply problem in a VCR!

VCRs typically use one of four types of power supplies (There are
no doubt others):

1. Power transformer with linear regulator using 78/79XX parts or discrete
   components.  The power transformer will be large and very near the
   AC line cord.

2. Power transformer with hybrid regulator like STK5481 or any of its
   cousins - multioutput with some outputs switched by power on.  If it
   has one of these, check ECG, SK, or NTE, or post to sci.electronics.repair
   and someone can probably provide the pinout.  Again, the power transformer
   will be large and very near the AC line cord.

3. Small switching power supply.  Most common problems: shorted semiconductors,
   bad capacitors, open fusable resistors.  In this case there is usually
   no large power transformer near the line input but a smaller transformer
   in a more central location.

4. Combo of the previous - these are less common.  An input power transformer
   may supply low voltage to a switcher.

5. Camcorders and portable video camera-VCR combos include a battery charger
   and run all normal VCR (and camera) functions off of the battery.  The
   required voltages are derived using DC-DC inverters.

Here are some general comments for each type:

1. Troubleshooting is quite straightforward as the components are readily
   identified and it is easy to trace through from the power transformer,
   bridge or centertapped full wave rectifiers, regulators, caps, etc.
   The circuitry is not usually complex and the most common failures tend
   to be quite obvious.  It should be possible to determine the correct
   output voltages from basic circuit principles.

2. Failures of one or more of the outputs of these hybrid regulator blocks
   are very common.  Use ECG/STK/NTE cross reference to identify the correct
   output voltages.  Test with power switch in both positions.  Any significant
   discrepancy indicates a likely problem.  While an excessive load dragging
   down a voltage is possible, the regulator is the first suspect.  See:
   "VCR Power Supply Regulators" for pinouts of some of the common ones.
   The correct output voltages will be specified by on the regulator pinout.
   Replacement cost is usually under $10.

3. Switching supply problems are tougher to diagnose but it is usually
   possible without service literature by tracing the circuit and checking
   for bad semiconductors with an ohmmeter.  Common problems - dried up
   capacitors, shorted semiconductors, and bad solder joints.  In a supply
   that is dead - has blown the main fuse - check **all** semiconductors,
   capacitors, and resistors as a failure in one may damage others and just
   replacing the first one you find that is bad may result in it just blowing
   immediately.  Fusable (flameproof) resistors (blue or brown body or boxy
   ceramic power type) may open up if there was a shorted switching transistor.
   Power resistors supplying current for the startup circuit may open from
   age.  See the document: "Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Small
   Switchmode Power Supplies" for more detailed information.  Correct output
   voltages can be determined with some work - tracing the circuit.  However,
   it is usually safe to assume that there should be at least one around 5 to
   6 V for the logic and one or more others at 12 V or higher for the motors
   and other electronics.

4. Problems in either the power transformer/rectifier/filter capacitor
   section (usually no regulator) or switching supply are possible.
   However, they can pretty much be dealt with independently.  Note:
   the switching supplies used in these usually run off of a lower voltage
   input than the more common off-line non-isolated type making them somewhat
   less hazardous to your health to work on.

5. Problems can occur in either the battery charger or power supply section.
   Short running time on battery alone is usually caused by a bad battery.
   If possible, try a known good battery or battery eliminator first to
   determine which it is.  The older style portable units were quite reliable
   and easy to service.  However, modern camcorders are so jam packed with
   microminiature surface mount unmarked circuitry that troubleshooting and
   repair is definitely not fun.  Not to mention the joys of just getting
   inside with only a finite use of expletives.

Don't overlook the possibility of bad solder connections as well.

  15.5) Internal fuse blew during lightning storm (or elephant hit power pole)

Power surges or nearby lightning strikes can destroy electronic equipment.
However, most of the time, damage is minimal or at least easily repaired.
With a direct hit, you may not recognize what is left of it!

Ideally, electronic equipment should be unplugged (both AC line and phone
line!) during electrical storms if possible.  Modern TVs, VCRs, microwave
ovens, and even stereo equipment is particularly susceptible to lightning and
surge damage because some parts of the circuitry are always alive and therefore
have a connection to the AC line.  Telephones, modems, and faxes are directly
connected to the phone lines.  Better designs include filtering and surge
suppression components built in.  With a near-miss, the only thing that may
happen is for the internal fuse to blow or for the microcontroller to go
bonkers and just require power cycling.  There is no possible protection
against a direct strike.

Most VCRs have their own internal surge protection devices like MOVs (Metal
Oxide Varistors) after the fuse.  So it is possible that all that is wrong is
that the line fuse has blown.  Remove the case (Unplug it first!) and start at
the line cord.  If you find a blown fuse, remove it and measure across
the in-board side of fuse holder and the other (should be the neutral) side
of the line.  With the power switch off, this reading should be very high.
With the switch on, it may be quite low if the VCR uses a large power
transformer - a typical primary resistance is 15 to 30 ohms.

Some VCRs may be outside this range but if the reading is extremely low, the
power transformer could have a partially or totally shorted primary.  If
it is very high (greater than 1 K ohms), then the primary of the power
transformer may be open or there may be blown thermal fuse under the
insulation wrappings of the transformer windings.

If the VCR has a switching power supply, see the document: "Notes on the
Troubleshooting and Repair of Small Switchmode Power Supplies".

If the resistance checks out, replace the fuse and try powering the unit.
There will be 3 possibilities:
1. It will work fine, problem solved.

2. It will immediately blow the fuse.  This means there is at least one
   component shorted - possibilities include an MOV, line filter capacitor,
   transformer primary.

3. It will not work properly or still appear dead.  This could mean there are
   blown fuses or fusable resistors or other defective parts in the power
   supply or other circuitry.  In this case further testing will be needed
   and at some point you may require the schematic.

  15.6) Use of surge suppressors and line filters

Should you always use a surge suppressor outlet strip or line circuit?
Sure, it shouldn't hurt.  Just don't depend on these to provide protection
under all circumstances.  Some are better than others and the marketing
blurb is at best of little help in making an informed selection.  Product
literature - unless it is backed up by testing from a reputable lab - is
usually pretty useless and often confusing.

Line filters can also be useful if power in you area is noisy or prone
to spikes or dips.

However, keep in mind that most well designed electronic equipment
already includes both surge suppressors like MOVs as well as L-C
line filters.  More is not necessarily better but may move the point
of failure to a readily accessible outlet strip rather than the innards
of your equipment if damage occurs.

It is still best to unplug everything if the air raid sirens go off or
you see an elephant wearing thick glasses running through the neighborhood
(or an impending lightning storm).  Generally, the backup battery or
supercap will retain the clock and programming information long enough
to ride out a typical storm.

  15.7) Dim or dead display

The front panel clock, counter, and function indicators on most VCRs use
something called Vacuum Fluorescent Display (VFD) technology.  The VFD uses a
vacuum tube which includes a heated filament and multiple phosphor coated
anodes in the shapes of the letters, words, and symbols.  A positive voltage
on selected anodes cause electrons to stream from the filament causing them to

* The filament is in the form of a few fine wires running across the entire
  face of the display.  Typical voltage is 4 to 6 V AC or DC depending on
  design.  It may be possible to see a faint glow from the filament in a
  darkened room but the front panel will probably need to be removed to do
  this since its plastic filter is likely to block much of the the orange
  light from the filament.

* The voltage for an 'on' anode is generally between 20 and 30 V positive with
  respect to the filament.

Problems with a dim or dead display can be due to a lack or fault with one of
these power sources, the drive logic (system controller), or bad connections.
With some VCRs, a special DC-DC converter is used to drive ONLY the display
and this a common failure item.  See the section: "Dead clock in Hitachi manufactured VCR".

Where the display works but is dim, there can be several causes:

* Some VCRs have a 'night mode' which dims the display after, say, 10:00 PM.
  Check that you don't have the clock AM and PM set incorrectly.  There is
  usually a way to disable this 'feature'.

* If the VCR has been used in a location where there are heavy smokers,
  whatever tar and nicotine somehow avoided getting trapped in their lungs
  may have been deposited on the front and rear surfaces of the plastic
  display window and on the front of the display tube.  Remove the front
  panel and use alcohol and a soft cloth to thoroughly clean all these

* The VCR may have seen a long active life.  Like CRTs and other vacuum tubes,
  cathode emission and/or phosphor brightness can degrade over time.  There is
  nothing much that can be easily done to remedy this.

* The filament or anode voltage may be low or faulty due to a bad connection,
  dried up electrolytic capacitor, or other power supply problem.

Chapter 16) Miscellaneous Problems

  16.1) VCR poops out after a couple of hours

What could be the cause of the video dying on a VCR after it is
playing for a couple of hour?  Here are some questions:

Do all modes 'go out' or just PLAY?

Does it happen suddenly or just gradually worsens until it is total snow?
Or, do you get the 'blue screen' if it has this function rather than snow?

Does the tuner still work?

Conversely, does PLAY work but not the tuner?

Do other functions like FF and REW always work?

How is the time it sits turned off related to how much on time you get?

Have you verified that the TV is fine?

Is it possible that the VCR is covered up/closed in/installed with inadequate

It could be a loose connection or bad component.  The usual way to narrow
down the possibilities is to use what is called 'cold spray' or 'circuit
chiller' on the appropriate sections of the circuit board until you locate
the component that is failing with when it gets hot.  I once had a VCR that
needed a little fan blowing on it to keep it happy - much easier solution
than actually hunting down the fault.

If play or record just stopped and the tape unloaded, it could also
be a mechanical problem like a marginal idler tire, idler clutch, or
worn belt.

  16.2) VCR blows fuse once in a blue moon

These are the kinds of problems that put gray hairs on parts of your
body you didn't think could grow hair (hey, maybe that is good).

First confirm that the correct fuse type and value was used for this
particular model and revision number.

Of course, measurements of the supply current on the bench show a wide
safety margin (i.e., 2:1).

I don't suppose there was any mention of what was being done when it
stopped working?

While monitoring the current, try really exercising the FF and REW,
switching between editing/tape movement modes, performing FF and REW
to the end of tape stops, etc.  These are where I would expect to see
current spikes.  It may be some peculiar combination of actions that
results in a momentary jam or conflict.

Unless of course it is just some cosmic connection that takes place every
3 months!

  16.3) VCR was dropped

So your cat decided it was time to practice the long-jump and didn't
quite pick a stable destination.  Your VCR is on the floor, Tabby
is in the basement, and what to do?

Overall, VCRs are quite tough.  However, falling in just the wrong way
can do substantial and possibly not immediately visible damage.

If you take it in for service, the estimate you get may make the national
debt look like pocket change in comparison.  Attempting to repair a VCR
that has been dropped is a very uncertain challenge - and since time is
money for a professional, spending an unknown amount of time on a single
repair is very risky.  There is no harm is getting an estimate (though
many shops charge for just agreeing that what you are holding is a VCR!)

This doesn't mean you should not tackle it yourself.  There may be
nothing wrong or very minor problems that can easily be remedied.

First, unplug the VCR even if it looks fine.  Until you do a thorough
internal inspection, there is no telling what may have been knocked
out of whack or broken.  Electrical parts may be shorting due to a broken
circuit board or one that has just popped free.  Don't be tempted
to power the VCR even if there are no obvious signs of damage - turning
it on may blow something due to a shorting circuit board.

Then, inspect the exterior for cracking, chipping, or dents.  In addition
to identifying cosmetic problems, this will help to locate possible areas to
check for internal damage once the covers are removed.

Next, remove the top and bottom covers and front panel.  Check for
mechanical problems like a bent or deformed cassette basket, broken or
cracked plastic parts, and anything that may have shifted position or
jumped from its mountings.

Carefully straighten any bent metal parts.  Replace parts that were
knocked loose, glue and possibly reinforce cracked or broken plastic.
Plastics, in particular, are troublesome because most glues - even plastic
cement - do not work very well.  Using a splint (medical term) or sistering
(construction term) to reinforce a broken plastic part is often a good
idea.  Use multiple layers of Duco Cement or clear windshield sealer
and screws (sheetmetal or machine screws may be best depending on the
thickness and type of plastic).  Wood glue and Epoxy do not work well
on plastic.  Some brands of superglue, PVC pipe cement, or plastic hobby
cement may work depending on the type of plastic.

Cycle the cassette loading and tape loading mechanism manually by turning the
appropriate motor shaft, if possible.  Check for free movement of the
various parts of the tape transport.

Inspect for any broken electronic components - these will need to be replaced.
If the fluorescent panel is broken, you can run the VCR without it but
of course will not be able to see any front panel displays.  Check for
blown fuses - the initial impact may have shorted something which then blew
a fuse.

There is always a slight risk that the initial impact has already fried
electronic parts as a result of a momentary short or from broken circuit
traces and there will still be problems even after repairing the visible
damage and/or replacing the broken components.

Examine the circuit boards for any visible breaks or cracks.  These will
be especially likely at the corners where the stress may have been greatest.
If you find **any** cracks, no matter how small in the circuit board, you
will need to carefully inspect to determine if any circuit traces run
across these cracks.  If they do, then there are certainly breaks in
the circuitry which will need to be repaired.  Circuit boards in VCRs
are never more than two layers so repair is possible but if any substantial
number of traces are broken, it will take a great deal of painstaking
work to jumper across these traces with fine wire - you cannot just run
over them with solder as this will not last.  Use a fine tipped low wattage
soldering iron under a magnifying lens and run #28-30 gauge insulated wires
between convenient endpoints - these don't need to be directly on either
side of the break.  Double check each connection after soldering for correct
wiring and that there are no shorts before proceeding to the next.

If the circuit board is beyond hope or you do not feel you would be able
to repair it in finite time, replacements may be available but their cost
is likely to be more than the VCR is worth.  Locating a junk VCR of the
same model to cannibalize for parts may be a more realistic option.

Once all visible damage has been repaired and broken parts have been replaced,
power the VCR up and see what happens.  Be prepared to pull the plug if there
are serious problems (billowing smoke would qualify).  Determine if it
appears to initialize correctly - without shutting down.  Play a garbage
tape to determine if there are any problems that might damage the tape.
Watch and listen carefully for any evidence of poor tracking, video noise,
tape speed instability, or weak or muddy audio that might indicate that
tape path alignment requires further attention.  Listen as well for any
unexpected mechanical sounds that were not there before.

Very likely, the VCR will be fine, you can replace the covers, and now find
a more secure spot for it to prevent this sort of event in the future.  Use
your own judgment with respect to the cat.

  16.4) VCR or camcorder went to the beach (sand and/or surf)

Someone took your camcorder to the beach this summer and now it has sand
or perhaps salt inside.  Or, that cup of tea on top of the VCR wasn't as
stable as you thought.  Now, it behaves, well, strangely.  Can this
possibly be fixed?  Will it be worth the effort or expense?

Unless this is a really sophisticated (i.e., costly) unit, I doubt whether it
will pay you to take it anywhere for repair.  Even if it is successfully
repaired, its reliability may be questionable.  Furthermore, as with equipment
that has been dropped or physically abused, few repair shops will be inclined
to touch the job.  They really don't like challenges of this sort.

That leaves you!

If anything got wet with saltwater and it has been just sitting, you can
probably forget it.  Without immediate attention (and I mean immediate, not
later, not tomorrow, NOW!), saltwater corrosion can set in very quickly and
attacks electronic components, circuit board traces, cable wiring, and
mechanical parts.  The only thing worse might be a peanut-butter-and-jelly
sandwich 'played' in your VCR.  On second thought, that probably would not
be all that bad.

Although it is probably too late, the first thing to do when electronic
equipment gets wet is to remove the power source - pull the plug or
remove the batteries.  Don't be tempted to apply power until you have 
determined that everything is completely dried out inside and out.

DO NOT use strong solvents anywhere!  These may attack various plastic
parts or cause internal damage to electronic components.

The following was written assuming sand, salt, and liquid contamination
everywhere!  Modify based on your specific situation.

Mechanical intensive care:

1. Disassemble as much as possible - sand and surf (or other liquids)
   find their way into the tiniest nooks and crannies.  You need to get
   it all.

2. Make a drawing of the belt routing, remove the belt(s), wash and dry
   them, label and set them aside.

3. Use a soft brush (like a paintbrush) to dust out as much sand as possible.
   Hopefully, you can get it all this way.  A vacuum cleaner with a wand
   attachment may prove handy to suck out sand.  Sand will tend to collect on
   lubrication, especially grease, which will need to be completely cleaned
   out and replaced.  Don't use high pressure compressed air, you will just
   spread it around.  Any grease or oil on which sand has collected will need
   to be totally removed and replace with fresh lubrication.

4. If there is evidence of salt (remember, I said forget it...but), you
   will need to wash it off.  Yes, wash it.  Keep water out of the
   motors.  Use low pressure compressed air (a blow dryer on low heat
   should be fine) to dry so that it does not rust.  Ditto if it is still wet
   with contaminated liquid (we won't say where this came from), wash with
   fresh water to remove all traces of it as quickly as possible.  Then dry
   completely.   Depending on the situation, a final rinse with 91% or pure
   isopropyl alcohol may be desirable to decrease drying time.  This should
   be safe for most mechanical assemblies.  Degreaser may be used if it is
   safe for plastic and rubber parts.

   Lubricate all bearing points with a drop of light machine oil - electric
   motor oil, sewing machine oil, etc. (Never never never WD40).  Lubricate
   gears, cams, and sliding parts with a light plastic safe grease such as

   Parts like the idler clutch may need to be disassembled to get at
   the friction felt.  Other mechanical parts like cam gears may need
   to be removed to be properly cleaned.  Don't mess up the timing
   relationships when you do this!

5. Reinstall the belts and reassemble in reverse order.

Electronic intensive care:

1. Remove the circuit boards and label the connectors if there is any
   possibility of getting them mixed up.  If the circuit board(s) are
   soldered to the rest of the equipment, then you will have to improvise
   and work in-place.

2. Wash with water and dry thoroughly.  This does work.  I use it routinely
   for degunking remote controls and rubber membrane keypads, for example.
   I have heard of people cleaning contaminated computer keyboards in their
   dishwasher!  The important objective should be to get corrosive liquids
   off the components and circuit traces as quickly and completely as
   possible.  A final rinse with 91% or pure isopropyl alcohol will decrease
   drying time.  However, there is a slight risk of damage to sensitive
   electronic components should some be trapped inside.  Pat dry, then use
   warm air from a hair dryer (or heat gun on low) to completely dry
   everything.  Moisture will be trapped in controls, coils, selector
   switches, relays, transformer cores, connectors, and under large
   components like ICs.  DO NOT operate until everything inside and out
   is thoroughly dry.

3. Use spray contact cleaner on the switches and control cleaner on the
   control and adjustment pots.  DON'T turn the internal adjustments
   without precisely marking the original position - else realignment will
   then be needed.  However, exercise the user controls to help the
   cleaning process.

Note: drying time may be quite long.  For parts with inaccessible areas
like membrane keypads, you may need to wait a week before normal operation
is restored.  Be patient!

Once everything is completely dry as a bone and reassembled, power it up but
be prepared to pull the plug or pop the batteries if there are serious problems
See if the display comes alive and the transport appears to initialize.
Attempt to play a garbage tape to determine if there are any mechanical
problems that might damage the tape.  Look and listen for any abnormalities
which may require additional attention.  Then address specific problem areas.
Also see the section: "VCR was dropped" for additional info.

Obviously, this description is very simplistic.  The important thing is
to get every last grain of sand, salt, and other contaminants off of the
mechanisms and circuit boards quickly.

As noted above, moisture may collect inside certain electronic parts and
it is essential that these be dried completely before attempting to apply
power to the unit.  If you do not, at best it will not work properly and
you may do additional serious damage due to short circuits.

For the mechanics, the same applies though this is trickier since certain
parts need to be lubricated and these may not be readily accessible or
obvious.  Don't be tempted to overdo the lubrication - too much is worse
than too little.

For camcorders, some parts of the optics or enclosed DC-DC converters
may be impossible to access and clean of scum.

  16.5) Dead or missing remote controls or lost codes for universal remotes

See the document: "Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of IR Remote
Controls" for extensive information as well as links to the web sites of
manufacturers of universal remote controls - these include setup info.

  16.6) Recovering damaged or broken tapes

So you just pulled your favorite tape from the VCR and there are two
tape ends dangling from it.  Or, perhaps, your VCR has just munched on that
tape and a section is now seriously crinkled.  Maybe you haven't been
following the recommendations on preventive maintenance; maybe your VCR was
just hungry. In any case, what to do?  The recording is, of course,

Despite this, I recommend you chuck it.  An imperfect splice or seriously
crinkled section of tape can shatter your video heads - the most expensive
single part in a VCR.  If it is something you really treasure, than what
I would do is the following:

Note: If you have never seen the inside of a video cassette, try the following
on a couple you really don't care about first so that if you screw up, there
is no great loss.  Too bad AOL doesn't send out Internet software on video
cassettes, huh?

CAUTION: The video tape itself is really really thin and easily crinkled.
Be very gentle when handling it and avoid touching the oxide (dull side)
if at all possible.

1. Locate a garbage cassette and disassemble it.  Throw away the tape but
   save everything else including the reels.  See the section: "Disassembling a VHS cassette".

2. Construct two cassettes from the combined collection of parts you
   now have. Cut out any sections of tape that got mangled.

   Cassette 1 has the first section of tape (before the break) and uses
   one empty reel from the garbage cassette for the supply reel.  Rewind
   this to the beginning.

   Cassette 2 has the second section of tape (after the break) and uses
   the other empty reel from the garbage cassette for the takeup reel.

   Use the little plastic plugs that came from the garbage tape reels or
   some adhesive tape to connect the tape to the reels.

3. If the break is at one end, you can just reconnect the bulk of the tape
   to the reel and dispose of the original leader.  Just don't rewind or fast
   forward all the way to the end as the automatic end sensor will not work
   (for the particular end that has been repaired).  What will happen is that
   instead of the sensor stopping REW or FF (as appropriate), the tape will
   run to the end and the VCR will then shut down when it discovers that the
   tape isn't moving.  This can put additional stress on mechanical parts
   and/or rip the tape from the reel.  Serious damage to the VCR isn't really
   that likely.

4. Copy to a good cassette.

5. Dispose of the original(s) or clearly mark 'DO NOT USE' with a detailed

   Filip (I'll buy a vowel) Gieszczykiewicz (filipg@repairfaq.org) is a
   little more definitive about this: "I find the destruction of it more
   fulfilling :-) ... put it in a paper bag and smash the life out of it
   with a big, heavy hammer - or a small ball hammer for an even higher
   satistfaction ratio :-) "

The idea is to never have a splice in a VHS cassette.  (Even a seriously
crinkled tape such as might result from a tape eating incident can damage
the heads.)  It is possible to splice safely but as noted, it can be quite
costly if you don't get it quite right.

  16.7) Disassembling a VHS cassette

These instructions should enable you to get inside a cassette for the purpose
of reattaching a leader that pulled off of one of the reels or to enable you
to transfer its contents or a portion thereof to another shell or vice-versa.

1. Peel off the label on the side or carefully slice down its center line with
   a knife or razor blade.  This is necessary to allow the cassette halves to
   be separated.

2. Place the cassette upside-down and remove the five (5) phillips head screws
   and set aside.

3. While holding the cassette together, place it label side up on a clean

4. Gently remove the top (along with the hinged door) to reveal the interior.

At this point, you should see something that looks like VHS Cassette - Inside Top View.

When you reassemble the cassette, take care to avoid crunching the tape under
the hinged door - depress the unlock button on the side and lift it clear if

Go to [Next] segment
Go to [Previous] segment

Go to [Table 'O Contents]

Written by Samuel M. Goldwasser. | [mailto]. The most recent version is available on the WWW server http://www.repairfaq.org/ [Copyright] [Disclaimer]