Notes on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Video Cassette Recorders


  22.32) VHS specifications

Tape width:        1/2 inch

Tape length:        240 meters, T120 - 120 minutes at SP speed, most common.
                Other lengths up to T160 and perhaps more.

Tape speed:        SP        1-5/16 ips        1.3125 ips        33.3375 mm/sec
                LP         21/32 ips         .6563 ips        16.6688 mm/sec
                EP          7/16 ips         .4375 ips        11.1125 mm/sec

Track pitch:        .058 mm         (SP)
                .039 mm         (LP)
                .019 mm         (EP)

Min wavelength:        1 micrometer

Writing speed:        4.83 m/sec.

Recording density:        (SP) 34 K transitions/sq. mm

Recording time:        SP        120 minutes        2 hours
(T120 cassette)        LP        240 minutes        4 hours
                EP        360 minutes        6 hours

Drum diameter:        2.45 inches (VHS VCRs).
                1.63 inches (VHS Camcorders).

Drum speed:        30 RPS                1800 RPM

Rotation:        Counter-clockwise viewed from above.

Tape movement:        Left-right viewed from front.

Heads (typ):        2 for normal recording/playback.
                1 to 3 optional for SP freeze frame/slow motion, etc.
                2 optional for HiFi audio.
                1 or 2 optional for flying erase.
End sensing:        Clear leader and trailer.

Brake torque:        Supply forward = 450 - 650 g-cm
                Supply reverse = 70 - 130 g-cm
                Takeup reverse = 450 - 650 g-cm
                Takeup forward = 70 - 130 g-cm

Back tension: 20 - 25 g.

Takeup torque:        Play - 80 - 160 g-cm
                FF - greater than 350 g-cm
                Rew - greater than 400 g-cm

Lum. Carrier:        3.4 Mhz

Color sbcrrier:        629 KHz

Azimith angles:        +/- 6 degrees

Frame length:        7.7 inches        196 mm

Field length:        3.85 inches        98 mm

Line length:        .0147 inches        .3723 mm

Skew:                SP - 1.5 H        (sync tips align)
                LP -  .75 H
                EP -  .5 H        (sync tips align)

Color Vector        A head is + 90 degree/H
     rotation:        B head is - 90 degree/H

Luminance Specifications for various VCR technologies:

 Type      Video Resolution     FM Deviation      Freq. Range       
 VHS         (240 lines)          1.0 Mhz         3.4-4.4 Mhz
 SVHS (*)    (400 lines)          1.6 Mhz         5.4-7.0 Mhz
 BETA1       (250 lines)          1.3 Mhz         3.5-4.8 Mhz
 BETA2/3     (240 lines)          1.2 Mhz         3.6-4.8 Mhz
 SuperBETA   (285 lines)          1.2 Mhz         4,4-5.6 Mhz
 ED BETA     (500 lines)          2.5 Mhz         6.8-9.3 Mhz

(*) The tape for SVHS must have a higher coercivity since the frequency is
    higher (information more dense) and the demagnetizing forces are greater.

Linear audio    .0384 inches     1 mm     (mono, along top of tape)
 track width:   .0138 inches     .35 mm   (L or R stereo, R at top of tape,
                                           .3 mm guard band between L and R)
Audio bias:        67 KHz

Control track:  .0288 inches     .75 mm   (along bottom of tape)

Guard bands:    .0059 inches     .15 mm   (linear audio track to video)
                .0059 inches     .15 mm   (video to control track)

  22.33) Video recording theory

The majority of maintenance and repair procedures on VCRs and camcorders
can be carried out without really understanding **how** the video magic
is performed.  However, if you want to really get into the nitty-gritty
or are simply curious, then the following book is for you.  However, you
probably want to find it at a library - the suggested retail price is $55!

* Video Recorders: Principles and Operation
  Z. Q. You and T. H. Edgar
  Prentice Hall International (UK), 1992
  ISBN 0-13-945890-5, TK6655.V5Y68.

This book includes basic aspects of helical scan video recording; various
formats including VHS, Beta, U-matic, and 8mm; as well as advanced principles
of video encoding (with equations) relating to the chrominance and luminance
recording and playback channels.

  22.34) Smoke damaged cassettes

(From: xcuseus9@mail.idt.net)

It is characteristic of a house fire to generate 'fire debris', often
referred to as 'soot'.  Fire debris, thanks to the plastic content of
a house and it's furnishings, is an airborne particulate, as small as
1 micron (um, 1/100th the diameter of an 'average' human hair) that
has a high petroleum content.

Internal air currents created by a house fire are often high enough that the
minutely sized particulate fire debris will find its way into the interior of
most consumer electronic equipment.  Cabinets, covers, jackets, and the like
(unless they are totally airtight), are ineffective in preventing such

Fire debris is abrasive.  While little or no damage is done to the
video tape that is wound tight on the reel(s), the exposed tape could
be contaminated, effectively making it as rough as a piece of fine
sandpaper.  Cleaning videotapes after a fire prevents damage to the
video heads when the tape is later played.  

  22.35) Sour grapes?

The following appeared as a reply to a sincere request for help on the USENET
newsgroup sci.electronics.repair.  The company is unknown and I have deleted
the email address - this sort of comment is usually not constructive.  However,
I include it to provide all points of view :-) :-(.  It isn't that the comments
are without validity - just the way they are presented.

(From: National Service Manager).

"Why do people insist that they have the knowledge to repair something as
 complicated as an electronic circuit, When they can't even program a VCR??.
 If you are not familiar with switch mode power supplies, don't attempt to
 repair it...if you are attempting to repair it and know of the consequences
 and are prepared to pay more for the extra damage you cause, or if your
 prepared to purchase a new VCR then go for it.  But just don't do it to try
 to save a few bucks........  Good luck in whatever you decide to do."

Chapter 23) Service Information

  23.1) Advanced VCR troubleshooting

If the solutions to your problems have not been covered in this document,
you still have some options other than surrendering your VCR to the
local service center or the dumpster.  Fortunately, VCRs are among the
most popular of consumer appliances to be addressed by literature that
is readily available - at all levels of sophistication.

If you are tackling an electronic fault, a service manual with schematics
will prove essential.  Some manufacturers will happily supply this for
a modest cost - $20-50 typical.  However, some manufacturers are not
providing schematics - only mechanical and alignment info.  Confirm
that a schematic (not just a block diagram) is included before purchasing
if possible.

Howard Sams publishes Sams Photofacts service data for almost every model TV
that has ever been sold but their selection of VCRfacts is limited and the
newer ones tend to have strictly mechanical information.  However, they
are worth a shot, especially if your local large public library subscribes
to the Sams series as many do.  Some of the older VCRfacts are quite
detailed and complete.

  23.2) Web resources

Tandy (Radio Shack) has a nice web resource and fax-back service.  This is
mostly for their equipment but some of it applies to other brands and there
are diagrams which may be useful for other manufacturers' VCRs, TVs, CD
players, camcorders, remote controls, and other devices.

 http://support.tandy.com/                          (Tandy homepage) http://support.tandy.com/video.html                (Video products) http://support.tandy.com/support_video/15788.htm   (VCRs) http://support.tandy.com/support_video/15786.htm   (Camcorders)

In addition to Tandy products, there is at least one Sony model.  Furthermore,
since Tandy does not manufacture its own VCRs or camcorders - they are other
brands with Realistic, Optimus, or other Radio Shack logos - your model may
actually be covered.  It may just take a little searching to find it.

  23.3) Popular books on VCR maintenance and repair

There are a variety of books dealing with all aspects of VCR maintenance and
repair.  All will cover the basic cleaning and rubber replacement.  Some of
these only address mechanical problems (but, hey, this covers most failures)
while other are heavy into the basic recording theory and electronic
troubleshooting.  Your local public library probably has some of these in the
electronics section - around 621.38 if your library is numbered that way.
Technical bookstores, electronics distributors, and the mail order parts
sources listed in this document carry a variety of these texts.

If you want to get an idea of what is out there, search for the keywords 'VCR'
and 'repair' at http://www.amazon.com/.  Several dozen titles are listed.
(I have no affiliation with amazon.com nor am I suggesting that you purchase
from them, but the search engine is convenient.)

Here are a couple of typical titles which I have used (there are many others
and I am not necessarily recommending these above the others):

* VCR Troubleshooting and Repair
  Robert C Brenner and Gregory R. Capelco
  SAMS, a division of MacMillan Computer Publishing
  11711 North College,Carmel, Indiana 46032

* Home VCR Repair Illustrated
  Richard C. Wilkins and Cheryl A. Hubbard
  TAB Books, a division of McGraw-Hill, Inc.
  Blue Ridge Summit, Pennsylvania 17294

The following is a recent publication:

* In-Home VCR Mechanical Repair and Cleaning Guide
  PROMPT Publications (Howard W. Sams), (800) 428-7267.
  ISBN #0-7906-1076-0. $19.95. 

From the advertising blurb for this book:

"PROMPT Publications, an imprint of Howard W. Sams & Company, has
 released the In-Home VCR Mechanical Repair and Cleaning Guide, a
 comprehensive guide that anyone can use to fix their own VCRs at home
 (even start a VCR repair business).  Full of illustrations, diagrams,
 and helpful, step-by-step instructions.  ISBN #0-7906-1076-0. $19.95.
 222 pages. Call 800-428-7267 to order or for more info."

(From: Neil Preston (npreston@cctr.umkc.edu, npreston@CCTR.UMKC.EDU))

If you teach consumer electronics repair, I've run across a text that you
should check out:

* Practical VCR Repair
  David T. Ronan 
  Delmar/ITP publishers
  ISBN # 0-8273-6583-7

I've looked at several VCR repair books in the past, and almost all of them are
very weak on the explanation of the mechanical problems in VCRs, which account
for 90% of the problems.  This text does an excellent job of explaining exactly
how the tape transport system works in VCRs and what each part does.  It has
lots of photos with parts clearly identified.  It assumes NO prior experience.
I believe I could take a beginner student and let him walk his way through it.

The table of contents pretty well describes it:

  1. VCR Operations & Controls
  2. Removing covers & getting started
  3. Understanding the videotape path (Also with a detailed appendix describing
      operation of tape load shuttles, video heads & drum, capstan & pinch
  4. Video Cassette examination & repair
  5. Troubleshooting loader and Transport Malfunctions (Includes timing!)
  6. How to perform VCR Maintenance and common repairs
  7. How to align tape path and make adjustments
  8. Understanding basic electronics
  9. How to use a multimeter
 10. Electronic components
 11. How to solder
 12. VCR Power supplies
 13. Checking motors, optical sensors & remotes
 14. VCR Microprocessors & servos
 15. How a TV picture is made
 16. Recording on videotape
 17. Beyond standard VHS
 18. Using manufacturer's Service manuals
 19. Common audio and video problems
 20. Service considerations: The business side of VCR repairs

This is by far the best book I've seen on the subject.

(Please note: I have no connection with the publisher nor anything to gain by
bringing this to your attention.)

For basic mechanical problems, I could not have said the following any better.

(From: scott.holderman@mogur.com (Scott Holderman)).

One of the best I have seen is called:

* How To Keep Your VCR Alive (VCR Repairs Anyone Can Do)
  Steve Thomas
  Retail Book Sales, Worthington Publishing Co.,
  P.O. Box 16691-B, 6907-202B Halifax River Drive, Tampa FL  33687-6691.
  (Tel: 813/988-5751)

This book describes in a step-by-step fashion how to repair a VCR without
expensive test equipment or special tools.  Fixes are described for
different machines by brand & model #, and there is also a list of parts

I'm not affiliated with these people in any way - just impressed with the book.

(From: sam).

* All Thumbs Guide to VCRs
  Gene B. Williams
  TAB Books, Inc., 1992
  Blue Ridge Summit, PA 17294-0214
  ISBN 0-8306-4181-5 (paperback)

  This one is even more basic but does cover the most common problems and has
  illustrated instructions for video hookup, cleaning, rubber parts, cassette
  repair, etc.

(From: cx163@FreeNet.Carleton.CA (Morton Lee Cohen))

Some of the books that you can find in your local library about the repair of
VCRS are listed below. One of the good books is HOME VCR Repair Illustrated.
These are all in the EE section: 621.38.

         Author              Date             Title
  1 Ronan, David T.          1995     Practical VCR repair 
  2 Wayne, Victor A.         1992     Operating your VCR.
  3 Capelo, Gregory R.       1991     VCR troubleshooting & repair.
  4 Wilkins, Richard C.      1991     Home VCR repair illustrated.
  5 Thomas, Steve.           1990     How to keep your VCR alive.
  6 Brenner, Robert C.       1987     VCR troubleshooting & repair guide.
  7 Goodman, Robert L.       1996     Maintaining & repairing VCRs
  8 Williams, Gene B.        1993     All thumbs guide to VCR's.
  9 Goodman, Robert L.       1993     Maintaining and repairing VCRs.
 10 McComb, Gordon           1991     Troubleshooting and repairing VCRs.
 11 Williams, Gene B.        1990     Guide to VCRs, camcorders, & home video.

  23.4) FCC ID Numbers of VCRs

Only a few manufacturers actually produce the vast majority of VCRs.  For
example, Radio Shack, Magnavox, and Emerson do not make their own VCRs (I
can tell you are not really surprised!).  Or, how about a brand of 'Pulsar'
sold through a store chain with the name of Canadian Tire?  Rubber companies
really do not design VCRs (even if there is something inside a VCR called an
idler tire :-).

How do you determine the actual manufacturer?  For most types of consumer
electronics equipment, there is something called an 'FCC ID' or 'FCC number'.
Any type of equipment that may produce RF interference or be affected by
this is required to be registered with the FCC.  This number can be used
to identify the actual manufacturer of the equipment.

A cross reference and other links can be found at:


The chart below probably has your VCR so you probably do not need to
use the Web resource.

(From: William Miller, ASEET, eagle@trader.com)

This is a chart used to find the original manufacturer of a VCR.  Find the
FCC-Listed or UL-Listed code (first few digits), then you'll see who REALLY
made it!
         MANUFACTURER   CODE(s)        CODE(s)
         Akai            186Z            ASH
         Daewoo          41K4            C5F
         Fisher/Sanyo    403Y            AFA
         Funai           333Z, 51K8      ADT, EOZ, BFY
         Goldstar        86BO            BEJ
         Hitachi         238Z            ABL, AHA
         JVC             439F            ASI
         Matsushita (1)  679F            ACJ, AIX, AJU
         Mitsubishi      536Y            BGB
         NEC             781Y            A3D, E74
         Orion-Emerson   44L6, 722       A7R
         Philips (2)     645Y            BOU
         Samsung         16M4, 414K      A3L
         Sharp           504F            ATA, APY
         Sony            570F            AK8
         Toshiba         174Y, 84X7      AGI, G95

(1) Matsushita is the parent company of Panasonic, Quasar, and Technics
(2) (North American) Philips is the parent company of Magnavox and Philco

Sears model series to original manufacturer:

         564.  -  Sanyo/Fisher
         565.  -  Sanyo/Fisher
         934.  -  Hitachi
         580.  -  Goldstar
         274.  -  RCA
         626.  -  Phillips (Mag)

  23.5) Determining belt, tire, and pinch roller specifications

Belts are normally specified by their cross section - square, flat, round,
and their inside circumference (IC).  The IC is used since it is virtually
impossible to accurately measure the diameter of a belt.

Assuming you cannot locate an actual part number, determine the type of
belt; square, flat, or round.  If you do not have the old belt, this is
usually obvious from the pulleys.  Most small belts (as opposed to  V-belts
on 1 HP shop motors!) used in consumer electronic equipment are of square
cross section though flat types are sometimes found in the main drives of
VCRs, cassette/tape decks, and turntables (remember those?).  Measure or
estimate the thickness.

The IC is always specified with the belt fully relaxed.  This can be
measured by hooking the old belt on one end of a ruler and pulling it
just tight enough so that it more or less flattens out.  Read off the
length, then double it for the IC.  Get a new belt that is 5% or so smaller
to account for the old one be somewhat stretched out.  Of course, if the
belt broke, measurement is real easy.  Or, if you do not care about
the old belt, just cut it and measure the total length.

If the old belt decomposed into a slimy glob of jellatinous black goop or is
missing, you will need to use a string or fine wire around the appropriate
pulleys to determine the IC.  Reduce this by 10-25% for the replacement.
Very often the match does not need to be exact in either thickness or
length - particularly for long thin belts.  A common rubber band may in
fact work just as well for something like a tape counter!

However, there are cases where an exact match is critical - some
VCRs and belt driven turntables or tape decks do require an exact
replacement for certain drive belts but this is rare.

Some parts suppliers make determining replacement belts very easy with
the PRB system in which the part number fully codes the shape, size,
and thickness.

Idler tires are specified by their inside diameter, outside diameter,
and thickness.  Some parts catalogs provide actual size drawings so that
all you need to do is match up your old tire to the picture.  Since
tires do not generally decompose or stretch significantly and hold their
shape, measurement is usually quite easy, 

Pinch rollers are specified by diameter and height along with bearing
inside diameter.  The match must be exact so using the original
manufacturer's part number is best but generic replacements are available.

Parts suppliers generally provide quite complete cross references to their
replacement rubber parts and complete belt kits are available for most
model VCRs.

  23.6) About decayed tan or brown glue on circuit boards and leaking capacitors

Larger components like electrolytic capacitors are often secured to the
circuit board with some sort of adhesive.  Originally, it is white and
inert.  However, with heat and age, some types decay to a brown, conductive
and/or corrosive material which can cause all sorts of problems including
the creation of high leakage paths or dead shorts and eating away at nearby
wiring traces.

The bottom line: Most of the time, this stuff serves no essential purpose
anyhow and should be removed.  A non-corrosive RTV or hot-melt glue can be
used in its place if structural support is needed.

One comment: make sure you scrape and clean off all the old glue.  I have
heard and seen cases where this stuff turns conductive with obvious bad

Note: do not mistake the hot melt glue or silicone sealer often used to anchor
capacitors or other large components to the circuit board for leakage.  One
tip-off is that leaking chemicals will not tend to climb up the side of a
component!  However, if it is on the circuit board and decomposed, various
erratic symptoms or other failures are possible.

(From: Gillraker (eternity@mail.cybertron.com)).

Extremely common in older Mitsubishi's!!!!  Take it off of all your circuit
boards, some of that old glue is caustic, it eats into the traces and becomes
conductive as previously mentioned...sure way to tell is look at it and see if
it is rust colored around the edges....and there doesn't have to be much rust
either...that glue still puzzles me at times....even had to replace leads that
have been eaten totally away....

(From: Alan Hurst (alan@sastro.demon.co.uk)).

I had a dead display on my Sony SLV-777 (similar to 715 and 747 models) which
turned out to be caused by a leaking capacitor in the power supply. The leakage
had eaten through two tracks which supply power to the display.

The problem with leaking capacitors on the PS secondary is apparently very
common to the extent there is a service kit available from Sony to replace all
the capacitors on the secondary side of the power supply and has caused a wide
range of strange faults in this range of models.

  23.7) Where did all the adjustment go?

Like TVs and monitors, newer VCRs have much more of their adjustments done
digitally inside complex integrated circuits.  What this means is that there
may be no easy way to tweak some of the common parameters without either
a special remote control or a computer interface and software.  Good for the
manufacturer; bad for the DIYer and even professional repair person.

For example:

"Does anyone know which variable resistor adjusts the head switching point in
 a Sony CCD-F401 camcorder, where it is?"

(From: Paul Weber (webpa@aol.com)).

There is a very good chance that there is no "variable resistor" for adjusting
the head switching point or anything else in your machine.  Most recent Sonys
use are setup entirely with an EEPROM  which is programmed with a special wired
remote control (RM-95).  Even if there is, you are going to need the shop
manual, or you run a high chance of breaking something important just taking
the thing apart.

  23.8) Interchangeability of components

The question often arises: If I cannot obtain an exact replacement or
if I have a VCR, tape deck, or other equipment carcass gathering dust, can I
substitute a part that is not a precise match?  Sometimes, this is simply
desired to confirm a diagnosis and avoid the risk of ordering an expensive
replacement and/or having to wait until it arrives.

For safety related items, the answer is generally NO - an exact replacement
part is needed to maintain the specifications within acceptable limits with
respect to line isolation, X-ray protection and to minimize fire hazards.
However, these components are not very common in a VCR except for the
power supply.

For other components, whether a not quite identical substitute will work
reliably or at all depends on many factors.  Some deflection circuits are
so carefully matched to a specific horizontal output transistor that no
substitute will be reliable.

Here are some guidelines:

1.  Fuses - exact same current rating and at least equal voltage rating.
    I have often soldered a normal 3AG size fuse onto a smaller blown 20 mm
    long fuse as a substitute.

2.  Resistors, capacitors, inductors, diodes, switches, potentiometers,
    LEDs, and other common parts - except for those specifically marked as
    safety-critical - substitution as long as the replacement part fits
    and specifications should be fine.  It is best to use the same type - metal
    film resistor, for example.  But for testing, even this is not a hard
    and fast rule and a carbon resistor should work just fine.

3.  Rectifiers - many are of these are high efficiency and/or fast recovery
    types.  Replacements should have at equal or better  PRV, Imax, and Tr
    specifications.  For line rectifiers, 1N400x types can usually be used.

3.  Transistors (except power supply choppers) - substitutes will generally
    work as long as their specifications meet or exceed those of the original.
    For testing, it is usually ok to use types that do not quite meet all
    of these as long as the BVceo and Ic specifications are not exceeded.
    However, performance may not be quite as good.  For power types, make
    sure to use a heatsink.

4.  Switching power supply transistors - exact replacement is generally
    best but switchmode transistors that have specifications that are at
    least as good will work in many cases.  See the documents: "Notes on
    the Troubleshooting and Repair of Television Sets", "Notes on the
    Troubleshooting and Repair of Computer and Video Monitors", and "Notes
    on the Troubleshooting and Repair of Small Switchmode Power Supplies"
    for more info.

5.  Video heads (and lower cylinders) - generally not possible unless it is a
    very similar model as even the mounting is usually unique to a particular
    manufacturer and it may change from model to model.  However, since,
    multiple brands may be manufactured by the same company, substitution may
    sometimes be possible - check a cross reference (e.g., your parts
    supplier's catalog) for compatibility.

6.  A/C and full erase heads - may be possible if the mountings are reasonably
    compatible.  However, there could be other unknowns like coil impedance
    drive requirements.  The connectors are not likely to be similar.

7.  RF modulators - there is a certain amount of standardization.  Therefore,
    if you have one that fits (or you can make it fit), this is worth an

8.  Motors - small PM motors may be substituted if they fit physically.
    Capstan motors - especially the direct drive type - are probably not

9.  Sensors - many are sufficiently similar to permit substitution.

10. Power transformers - in some cases, these may be sufficiently similar
    that a substitute will work.  However, make sure you test for compatible
    output voltages to avoid damage to the regulator(s) and rest of the

11. Belts, tires, and pinch rollers - a close match may be good enough at
    least to confirm a problem or to use until the replacements arrives.

12. Mechanical parts like screws, flat and split washers, C- and E-clips,
    and springs - these can often be salvaged from another unit.

The following are usually custom parts and substitution of something from
your junk box is unlikely to be successful even for testing: SMPS (power
supply) transformers, interstage coils or transformers, microcontrollers,
other custom programmed chips, display modules, and entire power supplies
unless identical.

  23.9) Suggested Parts Suppliers

For general electronic components like resistors and capacitors, most
electronics distributors will have a sufficient variety at reasonable
cost.  Even Radio Shack can be considered in a pinch.

However, for consumer electronics equipment repairs, places like Digikey,
Allied, and Newark do not have the a variety of Japanese semiconductors
like ICs and transistors, or VCR specific components like RF modulators,
idler assemblies, belts, tires, pinch rollers, video heads, etc.

The following are good sources for consumer electronics replacement parts,
especially for VCRs, TVs, and other audio and video equipment:

* MCM Electronics                 (VCR parts, Japanese semiconductors,
  U.S. Voice: 1-800-543-4330.           tools, test equipment, audio, consumer
  U.S. Fax: 1-513-434-6959.           electronics including microwave oven parts
                                   and electric range elements, etc.)
  Web: http://www.mcmelectronics.com/

* Dalbani                         (Excellent Japanese semiconductor source,
  U.S. Voice: 1-800-325-2264.           VCR parts, other consumer electronics,
  U.S. Fax: 1-305-594-6588.           car stereo, CATV).
  Int. Voice: 1-305-716-0947.
  Int. Fax: 1-305-716-9719.
  Web: http://www.dalbani.com/

* Premium Parts                          (Very complete VCR parts, some tools,
  U.S. Voice: 1-800-558-9572.           adapter cables, other replacement parts.)
  U.S. Fax: 1-800-887-2727.

* Studio Sound Service            (Rebuild kits for many popular VCR switchmode
                                   power supplies, VCR parts, some components.
  U.S. Fax: 1-812-949-7743         They will be happy to identify specific VCR
  Email:                           part numbers as well based on model and
    studio.sound@datcom.iglou.com  description as well - see below.)

Also see the documents: "Troubleshooting of Consumer Electronic Equipment" and
"Electronics Mail Order List" for additional parts sources.

  23.10) VCR service parts and assistance for the do-it-yourselfer

(From: Frank Fendley (frank.fendley@datacom.iglou.com)).

If you work on VCRs occasionally, for yourself or friends, you know that
most VCR problems are mechanical in nature, and usually require a replacement 
idler, belt kit, or other small mechanical part.  Most of these parts are
inexpensive, but you run into a problem when you try to order from 
electronics distributors -- most require a $20 or $25 minimum order.

Studio Sound stocks a large selection of VCR parts, including belts, idlers, 
gears, mode switches, semiconductors, etc, and will ship direct to you
with no minimum order!  Our prices are competitive with electronics
distributors such as MCM and others, but you can order as little as one
belt, and we'll ship it.  Just the cost of the part, plus $5.00 shipping
is all you pay.  Many distributors charge $6.00 or $6.50 shipping, in
addition to the $20 or $25 minimum order!

We'll even help you determine which part you need, if you don't have the
part number - at no extra charge. 

Need a part for a VCR?  Fax or E-Mail the information to us, and we'll
respond with a price quote before you order.  We accept check, money
order, Visa or MasterCard - sorry, no CODs.  Send all of the information
you have (make, model, part description, part number if you have it), plus a
return e-mail address or fax number, and we will be glad to give you a quote
on your part.  Don't wind up paying $25.00 plus shipping to get a $3.00 part!
Let us help.

We also stock a large selection of Panasonic switch mode power supply rebuild 
kits, and have just added Samsung power supply rebuild kits to our line.

* Studio Sound Service              (VCR repair parts with personal service).
  Fax: 812-949-7743
  Email: studio.sound@datacom.iglou.com
  Web: http://www.iglou.com/studiosound

The following site (under construction) looks like a promising resource to
provide help and new/used VCR parts for the DIY'er.  They have a collection
of VCRs with salvageable parts as well as general repair info (and links back
to this site!).

* Dale Harper's VCR Parts and Help for the Do-It-Yourself Technician
  Web: http://www.cei.net/~dharper
  Email: dharper@cei.net

  23.11) Video head source

* Gury Enterprises                  (Video heads for many VCRs).
  Email: gury@shadow.net
  Web: http://www.shadow.net/~gury/vh1.html

On-line video head cross reference info (as well as a link back to the section
of this FAQ on video head problems!).  I have not ordered anything so I cannot
vouch for their quality or service.

  23.12) Used VCR parts

Perhaps they would get more respect if they were called 'previously owned'
or 'broken-in' VCR parts :-).

The following companies are sources for inexpensive used VCR parts:

* Allbrand Audio & Video Parts     (Huge quantities of used and rebuilt VCR
  368 Ball Hollow Road              parts.  A lower drum for a two-head
  Pulaski, Tennessee  38479         machine usually goes for around $15.
  U.S. Voice: (615) 427-6262        Major parts come with a 30 day warranty.
                                    Well, it beats no warranty, I guess!.)

* Browning Electronics.            (Used VCR parts, refurbs, repair, computer
  3813-2 Wards Road                 sales).
  Lynchburg, Va 24502
  U.S. Voice: 804-237-9131         Email: browning@hillcity-mall.com
  U.S. Fax: 804-237-2682 http://www.be-online.net/

These are even better than junk yards as they do the searching and pulling
for you.  For major subassemblies in older VCRs, this may be the only realistic
economical option even if the original part is available from the manufacturer.

  23.13) Other Sources

(This section from: ac557@detroit.freenet.org (Ted C. Gondert)).
Look in the Thomson (a.k.a. RCA and GE)  "VCR/Camcorder Sourcebook"
TCE publication # 1J9780 available from your local Thomson distributor.
Publish date October 1994 (maybe newer version is out now)
This book lists the most common parts for many brands and models of VCR
and tells which Thomson or SK parts fit. Also has some solid state parts 
listed crossed to Thomson part #. RCA VR470 uses belt #192179 or SKBK0516 
and pinch roller #202113. Similar to VR450 through VR475, made by Hitachi. 
Service manuals for RCA/GE/Thomson are available from Thomson Consumer
Electronics publications, P.O. Box 1976  Indianapolis IN (317)-267-5799. 
Or maybe their at 10003 Bunsen Way, Loisville, KY 40299.
Microfiche for VCR is about $10. Older model series are available by the 
year for good prices. I bought 1985 to 1990 for $50 or so. I have the 
microfiche for RCA VR470. Also looked through my file cabinet and found
a printed service manual for VR470 in excellent condition, only used once.
Have extra microfiche set for 1985 vcr including models VLT250 to VLT470,
VLT600HF to VLT700HF, VLP800 to VLP970HF.  I'll sell those service manuals
for a good price maybe $15 or so? (will pay for shipping). Or I'll check 
with local high school electronics class if they want them. Don't know if 
they are still fixing vcr or not, last time I talked to instructor he said 
it was too many problems and they were getting away from repair. 
Tandy (Radio Shack) can order PRB belts and have a CD ROM to look up model #
belt guide.  For just one set of belts, Radio Shack is much more accessible
to people then mail order with $20 minimum orders and shipping/handling. 

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