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Can this VCR be saved?

Posted by catherinet (My Page) on
Sun, Jan 13, 08 at 12:12

Hi all,
I know they are phasing out VCRs, but I still like them, and have tons of VHS tapes. I prefer them to the VCR/DVD combos, since those remotes tend to be so complicated.
I have an older panasonic VCR, which I have loved. Its probably about 15 years old?? It was one of the first ones out and they were built much better than the more recent ones.
It ate one of my tapes, and then wouldn't function properly. I live outside a smaller town and was happy to find a TV repair guy who also fixed VCRs. I took it in and he said it just needed cleaned up.
Well, when I went to use it, it made a very loud whistle and taped a horrible picture.
I took it back and he checked it out again. Unfortunately, the tapes he used to check it out all worked perfectly. He said it must be my old tapes. I kept telling him that I tried 3 different tapes, and one of them was brand new, and they all did the same thing.

He made a few adjustments on the tracking and said it was fine.
I just hooked it up and its still whistling and taping a horrible picture. I put in a movie I'd taped in the past, and it has a fairly decent picture.....not perfect, but okay.
I paid $30 for the cleaning. I don't really want to spend any more money on it, but it was such a great VCR.
Is it possible that he just doesn't know enough about them, and maybe someone else in a bigger city would?
Also....why did it work okay at his shop and not at home? The symptoms don't have anything to do with how its connected, does it?
I just have an antenna with a coaxial.
I think you're probably going to say to just buy a new one, and you're probably going to say to buy a combo, since they make the VCRs so poorly now. So.......what would you consider the least expensive, but a reasonable VCR/DVD combo? I would use the VCR much more than the DVD. I have a Sony recorder combo, but its in another room and I want to save it for transferring my VHS tapes to DVDs and don't want to wear it out just watching old movies and taping Soaps. Thanks for your help!


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Can this VCR be saved?

It is getting quite hard to find a new VCR today.

By law, all new TV's and TV recording gear that can record the standard over the air broadcasts must also have a digital broadcast tuner in them. Or they must be built without a tuner at all.

So all VCR's were discontinued and not replaced.

I would try your combo unit in the place of the VCR unit just to verify that the VCR unit is still bad.


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RE: Can this VCR be saved?

So all VCR's were discontinued and not replaced.

where in the heck did you hear that? i see TONS of VCRs on the shelves at all local electronics stores and dept stores. there is no law requiring they have a ATSC/QAM tuner. you can get them still with teh NTSC only tuners and put a convertor on them after the digital change over.

VCRs are less popular now because everyone uses DVD or DVR technology. just like 8 tracks phased out over time, not due to law but due to consumer demand.

to teh OP, check your cables. you may have a bad one. if the unit works fine everytime at his place, but never at yours, then i think you have a bad cable. has anything else changed on this setup? new TV or other device hooked to it? i ask because i have an old vcr/tv combo unit that ifyou plug a DVD or even sat rx to it on the RCA jacks it will do the exact same thing. it is the copy protection built into the vcr itself causing issues, it thinks you are trying to copy a protected media.

Wally world has VCRs for around what you paid to fix yours. i would have jsut gone and got a new one. i had a 500.00 JVC high end VCR that bit the dust a couple years ago. i paid 75.00 to get it fixed and it died again about a year later. it is now in the landfill. even though we have a bunch of VHS tapes, we never watch them so i did not replace it this time. i do have an el cheapo VCR in my son's room, so if i just need to watch a VHS i can grab it and hook it up in just a couple minutes.


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RE: Can this VCR be saved?

There IS a law requiring all TV's and recording equipment built in the US or imported into the US after February 28, 2007, that include an NTSC tuner, must also include an ATSC tuner.
If the TV or recording equipment has no tuner at all, than this doesn't apply.

Here is an edit from the official FCC document.

"By this action, the Commission is modifying its rules to advance the date on which new
television receivers with screen sizes 13-24" and certain other TV receiving devices such as VCRs and
digital video recorders must include the capability to receive broadcast digital television signals from the
current date of July 1, 2007 to March 1, 2007.

The Commission is also amending its rules to apply the
digital television reception capability requirement to new receivers with screen sizes smaller than 13" on
this same schedule. The DTV reception requirement, which also often is termed the "DTV tuner
requirement," is being implemented under an approach that applies it first to large screen receivers and
then progressively to smaller screen receivers and other devices over a period of several years.

1 The modifications made herein affect the final step of this phase-in plan.
2 With these changes, the scheduled
implementation plan will provide for all new TV receiver equipment to include digital reception capability as of March 1, 2007."

Here is a link that might be useful: Click here to the read whole FCC document.


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RE: Can this VCR be saved?

I would suggest you record on brand new VHS tapes. :)


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RE: Can this VCR be saved?

teh key there is that date, there are many still out there waiting to be sold that have only the NTSC tuners. heck, i saw about 50 different models in Sears and Wally world this past weekend.

true, anything i buy now i would want to have ATSC/QAM tuners, but not necessarily EVERYTHING you buy NOW will have them.

point is, you CAN still get a VCR at a cheap price.


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RE: Can this VCR be saved?

where do you live, Our Walmart sells out such things (anything electronic) the second they are in stock. I had to pop in each this week just to land a chepie 19" tv because the day they come in they are gone by days end. Old stock like that was depleted last year by me. If they have them in your area that cheap, it might be a good idea to stock up on a few...if you plan on keeping your tapes around a while. Of course for less than $100 you could buy a dvd burner and move your tapes to DVDs.


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RE: Can this VCR be saved?

in MS delta region. every store that sells electronics still sells VCRs. most don't have many in stock, but the big retailers always have a decent selection.


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RE: Can this VCR be saved?

you are lucky!


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RE: Can this VCR be saved?

Perhaps the repair person made adjustments that change the tension of the tape. Have you tried having the VCR fast-forward the tape all the way to the end, let it rewind to the beginning and then trying your test? Maybe the tape was wound tighter or looser than it currently operates, which could be causing the squeak. It's hard to tell if the squeak comes from your tapes or the VCR.

15 years old is certainly old for a VCR, but by no means is it from when they were first coming out. VCR's have been around since the late 70's / early 80's.

If you don't want to buy one of the current "Made in China", cheap, plastic piles of poo, you should check out eBay for an older model. If you look at eBay, it's still not too late to switch to Beta! Some of the things on eBay are sold 'known broken', some are refurbished, most of them will be used, but you can potentially find one that's in great shape despite its age. And you could probably find one for cheap that has all kinds of bells and whistles.

In fact, if you heavily use your machine and you plan to keep using it so much, you should check out a near pro-level machine. They're built to take such abuse, and you might find one with a timer and tuner.

Here is a link that might be useful: Sony VCR example on eBay


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