Problems with Panasonic AG-1980 SVHS vcr - AVS Forum
Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
post #1 of 22 Old 05-05-2012, 03:46 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ChrisSwanson72's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 68
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Hello, i`m having some problems with my
Panasonic AG-1980 SVHS vcr.
It takes about 45 minutes to 1 hour AFTER I turn the vcr on
BEFORE the front display is VISIBLE!
Also, the vcr ONLY plays back tapes in BLACK AND WHITE!
And YES, these ARE COLOR videos on the tapes.
What could be causing these problems?
And How Much is it going to cost to fix BOTH problems.
I bought this vcr off of Ebay, and I got it BROKEN!
Ebay seller, said it was in "great condition"!
Yeah, RIGHT?
I got $100 back from Paypal, seller was ONLY willing to
give me half back, and was NOT willing to return and give 100% refund!
So, I spent $200, got $100 back, now how much will these repairs cost?
ChrisSwanson72 is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 22 Old 05-05-2012, 04:03 PM
AVS Special Member
 
CitiBear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,047
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked: 50
The dim or dead display panel is the number 1 with a bullet most common complaint about second-hand AG1970s and AG1980s. In most cases its due to worn out or defective capacitors in either the main power supply or the sub-circuit that powers the display. Many of these VCRs work perfectly even if the display is completely dark: you don't really have to repair these and can get by using one of the wired remotes with built-in tape counters. But your 1980 sounds like the entire power path is shot: once you start having video problems or the machine defaults to black & white output, it needs a total overhaul. This will cost $200 or so at a repair shop, much less if you do it yourself (but its very tedious involving a LOT of soldering of a LOT of replacement caps). You might want to double check the tiny switch under the tape slot, on the far left, to make sure its set to "Color" and not "B&W" - the switch is easily knocked out of position and will force the video output to B&W for all tapes (when set to "Color" it auto-selects like any other VCR, when set to "B&W" it kills the color subcarrier to reduce hue artifacts in some B&W videos).

Go back to eBay and escalate your complaint in the dispute console- as long as the seller has $200 remaining in his PayPal, they should have seized it immediately pending investigation and refund. I'm surprised you were only able to get half your money back: in its misguided zeal to unseat Amazon, eBay pulled a total 180 shift in their policies a couple years ago, to where its now completely buyer-centric and sellers get screwed more often than not. I buy and sell quite a bit on eBay, and unless the seller is a total fly-by-night scam artist that slips out of eBay's grasp (by draining their PayPal and leaving eBay), they will crucify any seller that does not give you all your money back.

I can't tell you how many times I've been screwed over by "Buyers Remorse" idiots who purchased pristine high-end items from me, changed their minds, clicked "not as described" in the eBay dispute console, and got an automatic refund whether I agreed or not, whether they lied or not. eBay will do what the buyer wants in nearly every case without even questioning the seller. Sellers have no recourse at all: if we disagree or argue, eBay/PayPal simply freeze our accounts (and ALL accrued PayPal $$$) indefinitely. Any seller with the slightest intention of remaining on eBay has to bow and scrape to each and every buyer now: "as-is" and "no refunds" listing disclaimers mean absolutely nothing and eBay will disregard them if the buyer complains. Push hard, and tell them you want ALL your money back from this seller.

Good luck!
CitiBear is offline  
post #3 of 22 Old 05-05-2012, 05:35 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ChrisSwanson72's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 68
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Okay, the B&W WAS on Color the whole time.
Second, I bought this off of ebay back in 2010.
Third, I paid $200 total, I got $100 back,
therefore I have $100 into this so far.
The seller refused the total refund, and return!
I had no choice back then.
SO, after spending $100, do I throw it away?
OR, do I spend the $200 (like you said) on it and fix it?
I do see a couple of these units on ebay right now selling for
$200-$250, so, I need to know.
WHAT`S MY BEST OPTION AND ECONOMICAL WAY TO GO?
I had a repair shop fix my OTHER Panasonic AG-1980 SVHS vcr,
and so far that seems to be holding up, that`s why I held off getting this
one fixed, because I knew it would cost alot more to fix, than the
other 1980 unit that I have.
I have the Proper remote 1711, I think, and the manual, and
the AG-A96 editor. BUT I need a round about figure for the
repairs so, I know what i`m looking at repair price wise.
The local repair shop charges $40 to LOOK at the unit,
and then, that $40 gets taken off the bill, IF they work on it.
See the picture.
LL
ChrisSwanson72 is offline  
post #4 of 22 Old 05-05-2012, 06:56 PM
Senior Member
 
Cyclone82's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Does the AG-1980 play PAL tapes? if not what is the PAL equivalent panasonic? Also what year was the 1980 produced? Thanks
Cyclone82 is offline  
post #5 of 22 Old 05-06-2012, 08:14 PM
AVS Special Member
 
CitiBear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,047
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked: 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by ChrisSwanson72 View Post

I bought this off of ebay back in 2010.

Ah, OK- sorry for misunderstanding you- from your complaint about the seller it seemed as if you had recently bought the VCR.

Quote:


I paid $200 total, I got $100 back, therefore I have $100 into this so far.

WHAT`S MY BEST OPTION AND ECONOMICAL WAY TO GO?

Hard to say. If you get a rock solid guarantee from the seller of another AG1980 on eBay in the $300 range, they offer a return option upfront in the listing, feedback shows they sell other electronics, and they answer your questions about display legibility and video performance intelligently, you could go with another 1980 and sell your junker "as-is" for maybe $50.

OTOH, as these VCRs age I tend to lean more toward buying one in overall nice condition cheaply and then putting most of the money into having it overhauled locally by someone I trust. This ensures you get a complete rebuild from the moment you start to use it, and once rebuilt a 1980 should last many years under normal consumer use patterns. If your "broken" 1980 is in good shape cosmetically, you have no problems with load/eject, and Playback/FF/REW seem to work smoothly aside from the BW video issue, I would probably put the money into repairing it rather than replacing it.

The $40 repair estimate fee you were quoted was standard 20 years ago, so would be considered quite reasonable today. I cannot guess what cost they will quote after examining your 1980, but assuming there is no problem with the video heads I doubt the total would be more than $200. In the unlikely event your video heads are shot, I would eat the $40 fee and move on to a replacement 1980 (heads alone will run $150 without labor). You could negotiate with the tech to see if he'll waive the $40 if you let him keep your dead 1980, or ask them to give you a credit toward a future overhaul of your next 1980.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

Does the AG-1980 play PAL tapes? if not what is the PAL equivalent panasonic? Also what year was the 1980 produced? Thanks

The Panasonic AG-1980 is for NTSC use only: it will not play PAL tapes at all. It was sold throughout the 1990s. There is no exact PAL equivalent, because Panasonic used completely different transport mechanics and electronic chassis for their PAL units, but it is generally agreed among VHS enthusiasts that the PAL model NV-SF200 is the closest approximation to an AG1980 (similar TBC and DNR performance, but PAL format VCR). The NV-FS200 was primarily sold in UK, Germany, etc: I have not heard it mentioned directly by any Australian posters, but it was probably the same model for Aus and UK.
CitiBear is offline  
post #6 of 22 Old 05-07-2012, 02:24 AM
Senior Member
 
Cyclone82's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Ok thanks Citibear. I am in the market for some good VCR's to do transfering. The AG1980 looks like an 80's model but i knew it wasn't as it had advanced features and s-video.

I so regret not picking up a few good VCR's when you could get them new.
Cyclone82 is offline  
post #7 of 22 Old 05-07-2012, 08:31 AM
AVS Special Member
 
CitiBear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,047
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked: 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

I am in the market for some good VCR's to do transfering.

If you can find and/or afford one, look for these PAL decks, similar to Panasonic AG1980:

JVC SR-S388E / SR-388EK
JVC HR-S7965EK
JVC HR-S8965EK

Panasonic NV-FS 200 (i.e. AG-1980)
Panasonic NV-FS 100 (i.e. AG1970)
Panasonic NV-HS 950
Panasonic NV-HS 860
Panasonic NV-HS 930
Panasonic NV-HS 960
Panasonic NV-SV 121

The JVCs give different results from the Panasonics: not better or worse, but different. Many of us with huge VHS collections (1000+ tapes) own both brands because each plays some tapes better than others. I don't know if the recent DVHS models made by JVC and Mitsubishi were sold in Australia in PAL versions, these were even better but very expensive when new.

Quote:
The AG1980 looks like an 80's model but i knew it wasn't as it had advanced features and s-video.

The AG1980 looked a little dated because it continued with the same exact cabinet and front panel as the previous AG1970, which did begin selling in the late '80s as you surmise. They are impossible to tell apart unless you put your nose an inch away to read the model number on the front door. The older AG1970 was actually better built inside, with stronger mechanics and better power supply components, but its TBC and DNR were primitive and not nearly as effective as the later AG1980. The older 1970 makes a fine VCR and can be found very inexpensively today, its video output is more detailed and realistic but it cannot remove color noise and the TBC is only helpful with a limited group of tape defects. Closest equivalent PAL model was NV-SF100.

Quote:
I so regret not picking up a few good VCR's when you could get them new.

Don't be too hard on yourself: very few people could see how useful they'd be in future, their prices were sky-high when new ($1399 for AG1980 in 1995), distribution was limited, and by 1997 there only a couple models left on the market that were not promoted or visible through most dealers. I had an extremely hard time replacing my midrange 4HD/HiFi/Flying Erase vcrs when they both broke down in 1996: such models were plentiful at $400 in 1991 but by 1996 affordable consumer editing decks had vanished from the market, leaving only $129 cheapies, $699 SVHS and $1399 "high-end" models.
CitiBear is offline  
post #8 of 22 Old 05-07-2012, 08:18 PM
Senior Member
 
Cyclone82's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Theres not many good VCRs in Aus. I will probably have to get the fancier TBC/DNR versions from europe but as i have a lot of NTSC to do i might get a dedicated NTSC player from US and then get a down converter to 120v.
Theres just so many JVC 7000-9000 series out there with TBC/DNR, that is hard to know which are best to get.
Cyclone82 is offline  
post #9 of 22 Old 05-07-2012, 09:59 PM
AVS Special Member
 
CitiBear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,047
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked: 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

Theres just so many JVC 7000-9000 series out there with TBC/DNR, that is hard to know which are best to get.

You've already made it clear you're aware of the weird electronics situation in Aus: no used VCRs to choose from, but new DVD/HDD and BD/HDD recorders are available (total reverse of the American experience).

Here's what I can tell you about the current VCR scene:

JVCs have a cult following of people with money to burn. Used JVCs with SVHS and TBC/DNR are overpriced due to a half-dozen self-appointed web experts chanting "JVC with TBC/DNR is the most important human invention since antibiotics" non-stop on forums for the past ten years. What they neglect to mention is that most of those JVCs had atrocious build quality, went defective ten minutes after first being plugged in, and are almost impossible to get properly recalibrated back to original spec as they age. They were always tricky to service, and now its next to impossible to find a competent experienced JVC vcr technician in USA/Canada. That goes double for Europe, and in Australia you may as well not bother: your odds of finding a good JVC tech in Aus are about as bad as finding a nice clean JVC SVHS in the first place.

The story with Panasonic is similar. In North America, they only ever really had one TBC/DNR model comparable to the (many) JVCs, which was the AG1980. The AG1980 when purchased new was about 20x more reliable than any JVC, but most AG1980s were bought for professional use and those pros banged on their AG1980s to the point very few truly "mint" examples survived. The AG1980 was not without design flaws, one of them being the weak capacitor/PSU issue that inspired the OP to start this thread. Servicing a beat-up AG1980 with worn out caps is not much easier today than servicing a dysfunctional JVC. So you could say all these "legendary" VCRs are a crapshoot now: good luck finding one, and pray you can locate a retired tech with the tools and the savvy to restore it.

The selection of used TBC/DNR models in PAL countries is obviously going to be much smaller than the supply in NTSC countries, so you may have to take what you can get and hope for the best. For your PAL tapes I'd recommend the Panasonic NV-FS200 and/or any of the PAL JVCs I listed above. For your NTSC tapes, I'd say much depends on your patience and your budget. If you can afford $300-500 (US), the best bet in an NTSC vcr is a recent JVC DVHS (many models) or the Mitsubishi HS-HD2000U. These have the latest TBC/DNR and high-spec mechanics, and almost all were bought by rich dilettantes who didn't use them very much, so they tend to be in great condition.

If your budget can't stretch for a DVHS, consider the AG1980 or its twin the AG5710, but these are hard to find in pristine condition so you'll need to budget for an overhaul. The best price/reliability/performance value in used NTSC JVCs are the SR-V10U and SR-V101U. They are newer than the common 9911, which was very flimsy.

Note that having the TBC/DNR feature is no guarantee of anything: just because some forum pundit says "you can't get a good digital transfer of VHS without a TBC/DNR vcr" doesn't necessarily mean you will agree when you try one. The TBC/DNR feature is unpredictable and never works quite the same with any two tapes. They soften the image, sometimes dramatically, and cause temporal motion distortion that can be very unpleasant. They don't work well with LP/EP/SLP recordings (the circuit is optimized for SP tapes). Tapes originally recorded on misaligned VCRs will exaggerate these issues.

I'm in the process of transferring more tapes than any sane person should own, and my personal take on this is I wish I'd never heard of TBC/DNR. It is nice to have, but expensive and a tremendous time sink because you end up running test after test to determine which settings work best for each tape. It slows your workflow down enormously and causes a lot of stress that you never deal with if you stick to a nice plain ordinary cheap VHS vcr. After awhile, I decided TBC/DNR was usually not worth the trouble and shifted most transfers to nice ordinary Panasonic and Mitsubishi 4 head hifi VCRs. They're cheap and available second hand, many are near-mint condition, and you'd be shocked how much more consistent and reliable the build quality/performance is compared to the top-of-the-line TBC/DNR models. TBC/DNR can work miracles on perhaps 25% of the typical VHS tape collection, but most of the others won't see a benefit that justifies the price and aggravation of a "high end" vcr.
CitiBear is offline  
post #10 of 22 Old 05-07-2012, 10:58 PM
Advanced Member
 
Super Eye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 950
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Cyclone,
If you just need a non TBC/DNR SVHS NTSC deck there is a guy from Texas selling what seems to be hundreds of JVC decks for $15 plus shipping. I don’t know were he got them but in the past month it seems he sold dozens of HR-S5902U decks alone. This is the exact same deck as my HR-S5912U deck which works perfectly 12 is silver 02 is black – only difference. He also has lots of the HR-S5901U for $14 a pop – this is the same deck one year older. I can vouch for these decks – both my decks work perfectly – one has a million+ miles on her. I am vouching for the JVC model – not the guy in Texas.

Check his feedback just from the last two weeks. Only one neg and about a hundred pos feedback for the decks.
http://feedback.ebay.ca/ws/eBayISAPI...al=0&items=200

IMO the trick is NOT to get a sought after TBC deck as they ALL have a million miles and been passed around the continent a million times. IMO the trick is to get a lightly used regular deck. I don’t know the history of this guy’s decks but since he has so many I suspect they came off a cruise line or something. If so – they must be barely used – who would be stupid enough to sit in their cabin and watch videos all day on a cruise??? Again I am only guessing but the guy is selling tons of ‘em for $15 and the feedback coming back is positive.

Super Eye is offline  
post #11 of 22 Old 05-08-2012, 01:08 AM
Senior Member
 
Cyclone82's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Hi, thanks for your informative reply

Most of my tapes probably 99% of the ones I have a urge to transfer are SP and new or watched once or in quite good used condition. The bulk of my tapes are not dodgy home records/copies or stuff off TV. I do have a heap of TV recorded stuff I may get to transfer, more for the fact or just being curious at what I actually recorded back then.

Most VCR’s I have seen in PAL regions are NTSC capable too. They will play native NTSC and also do the 4.43 conversion too, but I am just not sure if I should go to the trouble of getting a dedicated NTSC player from USA yet. I am willing to take my time on this and buy a few VCR’s. Just the thought of getting a bad JVC with TBC/DNR though scares me. I was looking at a 9911 on US ebay a few weeks back. Said it was very low use but i did not have the $300+ the guy was asking for it at the time.

I am not sure about the D-VHS either. I did a bit of reading about the 3000 and 4000 D-VHS from JVC and one had a lot of bad reports and the general feeling I got was that these were not good for normal VHS tapes. They are a bit of an unknown to me and I am not sure I want to risk paying $400US for a used one. To put it straight I don’t trust ebay many sellers, particularly ones selling used electronics like VCR’s, even more so ones with a cult following, that they themselves have bought on ebay, found it to be defective and worn out and then chucked it back on ebay again and hope for a sucker/newbie to buy it.

Thanks for the Texas link. I will check it out looks very interesting

Is there much difference between the 5901 and 5902?

I have a heap of brand new sealed SP commercial NTSC tapes (and still currently buying more) so this may be good one to have? What year are they from? I notice they are 4 head too. Can these still be good as a normal 6 head? Hang on , the listing says 4 head but JVC website says 6? i normally think of 6 head as 4 video and 2 audio. Mhy old JVC is called a 6 head and has 4 vid/2 audio.
Cyclone82 is offline  
post #12 of 22 Old 05-08-2012, 04:49 AM
Advanced Member
 
Super Eye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 950
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

I notice they are 4 head too. Can these still be good as a normal 6 head? Hang on , the listing says 4 head but JVC website says 6? i normally think of 6 head as 4 video and 2 audio. Mhy old JVC is called a 6 head and has 4 vid/2 audio.

The NTSC JVC HR-S5901U and HR-S5902U have the following heads
Video:
SP (2)
EP (2)
Flying Erase (1)
Audio:
Hi Fi (2)
Stationary Audio / Control Track (1)
Stationary A/V Erase (1)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

Is there much difference between the 5901 and 5902?

Not much at all.
As far as I can tell appearance wise the 5901 has a wider plastic face plate.
Mechanically I can't tell any difference but I suspect JVC wanted to change something internally thus the newer model. I have a 3911 and a 5912

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

What year are they from?

The 01/11 series came out in 2002.
The 02/12 series came out in 2003 and was the last 59 model. In the USA it was sold until 2006 in Canada it survived production until 2008.

There was a lower end newest SVHS deck in Canada a 2004 to 2008 model the HR-S2913U. Very rare as the 5912/5902 was a higher end unit and cost only a few more dollars and most retailers chose to stock the 59 series only.

You know for your project you may be best off just using one of your PAL/NTSC decks and forget about a dedicated NTSC unit. Here in America NTSC/PAL VHS decks are very uncommon, I would say 99 percent of consumer decks were NTSC only.

If you really want a dedicated NTSC deck - I would say for your small project the HR-S5902U would be perfect. Personally my 3911 and 5912 play anything I throw at them. But I only have a few hundred tapes 99 percent in SP. I have a X-rental from 1979, a used commercially recorded 1986 EP tape. Commercially recorded and home made tapes from various recorders thru out the 80s and 90s. All play great. I have local friend with similar experience. A nice feature is you can use 2 separate remote codes built into the decks and the remotes. Another nice feature is the auto calibration/bios of the heads to tape. One more feature (I only need for about 3 tapes) is the stabilizer. Not a TBC but just to help rebuilt the CT pulses and help with jitter. This should be left off unless needed. Like I said, I only need this for 3 or so tapes.

The bad. These decks have limited front panel displays. Should not be stacked. Should not be used for commercial purposes. Should be handled gently with care.

As to eBay I agree with you, I would not use it to get a common VHS deck unless the deal was right. I just thought that it might be hard for you to get a NTSC deck locally down under.

As to DVHS:
I heard from many AVS members who own DVHS decks that these are the best decks they ever used for VHS / SVHS / SVHE-ET tapes. A couple years back jjeff put a link here from the AVS HD recorder forum about B&H selling new in box DVHS decks for under $200. I thought about getting one one day too long - all gone. Any way I saved what these members told me and maybe will try to dig it up later
Super Eye is offline  
post #13 of 22 Old 05-08-2012, 05:26 AM
Senior Member
 
Cyclone82's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
I read all the positive amazon reviews on the 5902. i think one mentioned it was an all plastic case. If they are from 02/03 thats the same year as my JVC- HR-J695 which works but is heavily used and has an eject issue i still have not got fixed. That had a metal case though. That cost me around $280AUD in dec 02 (found the reciept the otherday) and that was a low end JVC made in indonesia and still its going so those NTSC 59 series may be the same build quality. The only deck with s-video out that i have is the Panasonic EZ48.

So with that list of the heads, is that is whats called a 6 head?

I would not stack things on top of one though and i am in the process of making a shelf system to avoid this. I guess thats what you mean by 'limited front pannel'?

I asked the seller where he has got all these VCR's from. Maybe he will say maybe he wont.

At that cheap price though i might still get one and i might get TBC/DNR NTSC too a bit later. i dont want to leave this too long though or else i will be thinking why did i not pick up one of those $15 JVCs on ebay.

All this stuff is so confusing when everyone has differing opinions on whats bad/good. I have spent months reading forums and sites and when i think i have it all worked out someone else has a differing opinion.
Cyclone82 is offline  
post #14 of 22 Old 05-08-2012, 10:51 AM
AVS Special Member
 
CitiBear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,047
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked: 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

All this stuff is so confusing when everyone has differing opinions on whats bad/good. I have spent months reading forums and sites and when i think i have it all worked out someone else has a differing opinion.

Thats the point I was trying to make about the TBC/DNR thing. The one aspect of this that forum posters fail to factor is the relentless passage of time: aside from the DVHS models, these "high end" VCRs are all old, well-used, and getting older by the minute. Old stereo audio amplifiers were better than new models, and are relatively easy to repair/restore. Old VCRs just get worse with time, and every year that passes they get much worse. Parts get scarcer, repair people with the dedicated tools vanish, pretty soon a TBC/DNR SVHS made in 1990 will be nothing but a doorstop.

Ten-twelve years ago when digital transfer first became affordable to consumers, the long-obscure TBC/DNR vcrs were rediscovered. Many were still in decent condition, and the early capture cards and DVD recorders were so unstable and twitchy they all but required the TBC/DNR feature. These VCRs, which had been languishing in basements, garages and pawn shops for years, suddenly became the hottest thing on eBay. The Panasonic AG1980, virtually unknown outside of post-production houses and event videography studios, was being discussed by masses of people who had no use for it six months earlier. Used worn-out AG1980s that had been fetching no more than $100-200 skyrocketed overnight to asking prices of $$600-$1000 and remained there during the early-mid 2000s. The same pattern occurred with used JVCs, except the prices didn't shoot quite so high because JVC had been pimping TBC/DNR on a dozen different models for many more years than the AG1980. JVCs were far more plentiful.

So, the TBC/DNR models finally came into their own on a mass scale, after being completely ignored during their original marketing lifetime. They had their moment, but that moment has now passed: if you didn't buy one before the stampede of 2003, you missed the boat and should consider passing on the idea. SuperEye and I both agree on this point, and we usually debate everything (having both worked in professional video but with divergent approaches and experiences). We agree for two reasons: by 2012 the old machines have been worn down to a nub so the pickings are poor, and the absolute necessity of using one has actually dropped off dramatically. In 2002 you could not transfer a VHS to digital without a TBC/DNR model: the result would be ripples and waves and jaggies and tearing and instability in the transfer (because the early consumer encoders basically sucked and were not optimized for tape dubbing).

Beginning in 2005-2006, mfrs wised up and vastly improved the tape encoding capabilities of most DVD recorders. A Pioneer 520 of 2004 was practically useless for tape dubbing without a TBC/DNR vcr and external black boxes, while a Pioneer 530 of 2005 could dub a defective VHS running inside out and backwards using nothing more than a $20 vcr bought at a garage sale. HUGE paradigm shift, happened with all recorders by 2006. The add-on video encoder boards for PCs dragged their feet quite a bit longer, and even today some are still ridiculously twitchy, but if you shop carefully many PC boards are now nearly as stable with VHS input as most DVD recorders.

This means a TBC/DNR vcr shifts from the "must have" category of gear to the "optional, depends on your preference" category. It isn't strictly necessary to make a watchable, decent digital transfer anymore. For many tapes, using the VCR built into your EZ48 would work nicely, as would any common good-quality second hand VCR. The benefits bestowed by TBC/DNR are now largely cosmetic: if color noise really bothers you, or you have very wavy verticals in old tapes, TBC/DNR totally cleans that up and provides a noticeable improvement. But as the saying goes, "all magic comes with a price ," in this case dealing with worn out expensive old VCRs and side effects including plastic-y faces and weird motion artifacts. If you can live with what your tapes have always looked like anyway, and be comfortable with not trying like crazy to "improve" them, any halfway-decent 4 head hifi VCR that still tracks well can be used successfully.

In your particular case, making these choices becomes even easier: you have less variables to deal with than some others working on transfer projects. Your most important tapes seem to be in PAL, and PAL (in some respects) looks better to start with, giving you an edge. This is one of the reasons people in Europe didn't go quite as nuts for TBC/DNR a few years ago as North Americans did. Most of your tapes appear to be pre-recorded as well, which again narrows the variables considerably. Pre-recorded automatically means first generation SP, you aren't dealing with dupe tapes or unstable off-air and satellite recordings. Color and luma noise should already be minimal on these, the kind of tapes that benefit least from vcr TBC/DNR circuits.

Another variable most of your tapes will share is copy protection: most pre-rec tapes have this, and it requires dedicated external TBCs or filter boxes to get rid of in order to make a good digital transfer. The built-in TBC/DNR in "high end" VCRs operates on different principles that often conflict (badly) with these external boxes. Meaning you have to turn off the VCR circuits, meaning you paid extra for a feature you can't use, and an older more decrepit VCR than you needed to risk.

As for your TV recordings, which you seem to view as a lower priority, consider this: every year TV mfrs are removing custom functions from new TV displays. Five years ago every flat TV let you customize frame cropping in 5% increments, so when you played old VHS tapes (or digital transfers of them) you could mask all the "junk" artifacts on the sides and bottom of the frame that were normally hidden on CRT televisions. Today? Cut-throat competition and lower prices means the majority of flat screens are optimized strictly for digital broadcast and HDMI sources. They offer no compensation for older analog sources, ruthlessly revealing every flaw.

This has become an increasingly frustrating problem for me, as I discover my older broadcast transfers made with a JVC TBC/DNR vcr display horrible distracting artifacts at the frame edges when played on newer large-screen TVs. If I go back and re-do the transfer without TBC/DNR, the video looks a bit worse overall but the frame edge issues disappear. Adding yet another difficult decision every time I transfer a tape: clean the color, or optimize the frame edges? Ugh. (Yes, I know I can crop the edges on the PC, but its an added step and I prefer to use standalone DVD recorders for their more-robust encoders). And of course, since my goal is to get rid of the tape clutter, I've discarded most of the tapes and can no longer redo the transfers. Once again, TBC/DNR becomes more a problem than a solution.

My experience with JVC has often been the polar opposite of SuperEye's, which is our primary point of contention (I've never used one I didn't severely regret, he's never used one he didn't love). Nevertheless, I agree with his advice that a clean 5902 or 5912 at $15 is a good deal. The midpriced 5000 series was much more consistent in build quality control than the high-end SVHS JVCs, which were all over the place and seemed made on a production line staffed by drunken Keebler elves. The 5000 series also have better playback than the higher end models when their TBC/DNR is turned off: some of those, like the nasty 9911, have piss-poor playback without their TBC active. When Super Eye mentioned the 5902 having a "poor front panel," I think he was referring to the uninformative display: most VCRs made after 1997 rely on on-screen info overlays, so they have tiny useless front panel LEDs that show the time and not much else.

SuperEye and I also agree on the JVC DVHS models: they are uniformly better designed internally than the old SVHS models. The conflicting reviews you see for the 30000 and 40000 are based on two issues: they get very hot, and some of them omit a switch for the TBC/DNR (so it is always on when playing analog tapes). The heat issue is provoked by using the internal A/D converter, this is bypassed during playback for transfers. The lack of a switch for the TBC/DNR is more tricky- it may be problematic for you since you have many tapes that will need an external conflicting filter box. You should probably download the instruction books from JVC's support page for any DVHS you're considering, to see if that unit has switchable TBC. Some do, some don't. Here again, personal context is everything: since most of your tapes are pre-rec, you don't necessarily want TBC/DNR anyway, which means you don't want DVHS.

I'd snap up a couple cheap JVC 5902s if I were you, and for PAL keep an eye out for the mid-range industrial series Panasonic NV-HD640 or NV-HD675: very underrated, sturdy, unknown VCRs (PAL equivalent to the equally nice AG2560 and AG2570 NTSC models).
CitiBear is offline  
post #15 of 22 Old 05-08-2012, 07:07 PM
Advanced Member
 
Super Eye's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Posts: 950
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 11 Post(s)
Liked: 18
Here is my advice:

Since you live down-under thousands of miles from North America, I would pass on getting a deck from the US. Although the prices can be reasonable and there are plenty of decks, the shipping rates would be a deal breaker for me. Sure you may get a little better quality playing your NTSC tapes on a dedicated NTSC deck but for the little benefit you may gain I can't justify the shipping costs. I would cruise your local craiglist for a local PAL/NTSC deck, lightly used for a few dollars. The only exception is if you get a screaming deal on a new or almost new DVHS deck (only a model with the TBC feature being able to manually turn off/on thought)

If you really want a dedicated North American NTSC deck here are your choices.

A:
Your best bet on lightly used and top-end deck is a DVHS. As CB mentioned, usually well-off people purchased these and probably used them very moderately and took care of em. Although by now there is a small cult using these decks. See the AVS DVHS threads.

B:
Your best bet on a most robust deck with best chances of someone actually repairing the deck is a Panasonic AG1980. I don't have personal experience with this deck but as CB mentioned - they are well built robust machines meant for semi-heavy workloads. But also as CB mentioned, these decks were really sought after and most are used to death so be prepared to spend $$$ to have it restored. These decks are so heavy that the shipping to Australia will be a killer. Chances are that only North American techs will be able to fix it and again shipping costs will burn you.

C:
If you don't need the TBC/DNR and sounds like you don't. Get a lightly used very cheap common deck like the HR-S5902U but again how much better will a dedicated NTSC deck then a NTSC/PAL deck be? Will it be worth the huge shipping costs? Not in my opinion.

Bottom line I myself if living in Australia would either look for a new in box American DVHS (with manual TBC override) for cheap - or just use an Australian PAL/NTSC deck that you can probably pick on craiglist for $25 barely used. Or if you need the TBC get one of those better PAL decks that CB mentioned - if barely used and a good price.

Now if anyone lives in Texas, I would buy three of those HR-S5902U, yes three for $45!
The problem living in western Canada - the shipping is too much even to ship it here.
Super Eye is offline  
post #16 of 22 Old 05-09-2012, 01:08 AM
Senior Member
 
Cyclone82's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
Well I get tonnes of stuff from the US. The price that seller wants or sending a VCR here is quite good/average. I have no problems with that.I often get much larger and heavier items sent here. I asked the seller if they came off a cruise which also sounded plausible to me but he just said they came from a 'business'. My other thought is they were yanked from motel rooms. Who else would of had a stack or low/mid range VCR's? They were not a 'pro' deck or type that would have been used in studios.

I want to avoid PC caputure for now, at least till I get a more powerful computer where I know I will get good processing and not drop any frames. Its too complicated, I don't have a good enough computer currently and theres too many possibilities for things going wrong that even I may not realise. I could not even get a $10 'Easy cap' to work right on my computer. I am not capable of fault finding a computer and finding out if one aspect of it is not good enough and causing me problems etc so for now my focus is DVDR capturing.

Over night, I did realise I do have about a dozen home recorded VHS that I need to transfer. Many have been watched many, many times and I know a couple do have issues so they are not all pristine and new like I said earlier.

I think I would have an equal amount of PAL/NTSC important' tapes.

So much information above to take in, thankyou for taking the time and sorry for the slight thread high jack

I still would not mind 1 good NTSC SVHS deck though and the answers to my 'black level' thread posted earlier will probably be a deciding factor. I do like this sort of AV gear stuff, i have always wanted to get into it but never knew really how to start, what i needed/wanted, i kept putting it off and putting it off thinking 'VCR's will be around for ever' 'DVDR's will be around for ever' 'TV's with S-video input will be around for ever' 'i have plenty of time' and the longer i left it the more i got behind the times. People will probably laugh at me for buying composite/s-vid dist amps and selectors/splitters when half the word has got rid of all their composite/s-vid gear and now run HDMI for everything. Although I may not definitely need a TBC/DNR VCR I really would like a couple of nice high end VCR's to experience all the extra good features. I do like the look of the AG1980. I have found a couple of specialist VCR dealers in Europe who have many used 6000-9000 series JVC and upper end Panasonics too. I really would like one, but its just a matter of deciding on what ones were the most reliable and least flimsy'
I have seen a few of those Pansonics N V-FS200's in Europe from private sellers too. At some point if I want one of these high end decks I may just have to bite the bullet and hope I don't get a totally worn out one. What else can you do.

If I was going to get a D-VHS I would want it to be a PAL or PAL/NTSC. I don't think I would want one enough if it was only NTSC which I am sure they are. I don't even think Australia got D-VHS?
Cyclone82 is offline  
post #17 of 22 Old 05-09-2012, 03:21 PM - Thread Starter
Member
 
ChrisSwanson72's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 68
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 11
Okay, i`ll take it to the shop, as soon as I gather
up some extra cash, and see what they say.
ChrisSwanson72 is offline  
post #18 of 22 Old 05-10-2012, 03:08 AM
Senior Member
 
Cyclone82's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2012
Location: Australia
Posts: 460
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Liked: 14
I spoke to someone yesterday about the AG1980 and apparantly the only thing that goes bad are the capacitors. He replaces all the caps with new modern 'good ones' I am surprised though for a 90's Japanese device that this needs doing unless they were built using a bad batch of caps. i know they dont last for ever so it must be that or extreme use, but if its the latter wouldn.t the rest of the machine be knackered too?
Cyclone82 is offline  
post #19 of 22 Old 05-10-2012, 09:09 AM
AVS Special Member
 
CitiBear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,047
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked: 50
Cyclone82, most consumer VCRs made in the last 15 years use a main circuit board the size of your palm with few discrete components like transistors or caps. The design of the AG1980, by contrast, involves a main board the size of a shoebox lid which lifts up to reveal several other boards. All of these are filled with caps: an unbelievable number of caps.

There is a design flaw in the way the front panel display is powered from a particular set of caps, those caps age and degrade much quicker than expected leading to dim or dead front panel. Roughly 60% of all second hand AG1970 and AG1980 have dim or dead front displays: in many cases, they work fine otherwise. Professional owners just left them in their VCR racks, because these models were usually connected to a wired editing remote which had its own LCD counter display. Fixing the front panel display issue requires a teardown thats too expensive to bother with until something else significant needs repair, like ChrisSwanson's problem of color videos playing as B&W. At that point, you basically rip out every cap in the VCR and replace them. Tedious, and can be expensive if you pay someone else to do it. Thats why the value equation for high-end VCRs drops more and more as they age: you gotta budget a good $200 for overhaul, making that bargain $99 AG1980 not such a bargain after all.

This is why I recommend opting for a newer DVHS instead of the old classic SVHS, you pay $300-400 upfront but it doesn't need repair when you get it.
CitiBear is offline  
post #20 of 22 Old 05-10-2012, 09:17 AM
AVS Special Member
 
Church AV Guy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: High Desert, California
Posts: 4,610
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 46 Post(s)
Liked: 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

I spoke to someone yesterday about the AG1980 and apparantly the only thing that goes bad are the capacitors. He replaces all the caps with new modern 'good ones' I am surprised though for a 90's Japanese device that this needs doing unless they were built using a bad batch of caps. i know they dont last for ever so it must be that or extreme use, but if its the latter wouldn.t the rest of the machine be knackered too?

While it's true that Panasonic makes some of the best capacitors in the world, ruggedized military grade, guaranteed to last forever, even in harsh environments, they don't put THOSE in THEIR electronics. They use much cheaper ones, which are prone to failure over time.

Luke

Evil is charming and beautiful. It makes you doubt yourself. It asks for one small compromise after another until it whittles you down, and it functions best when no one believes in it.-JOA
Church AV Guy is offline  
post #21 of 22 Old 05-10-2012, 10:50 AM
AVS Special Member
 
jjeff's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2007
Location: Minneapolis MN
Posts: 9,871
Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 142 Post(s)
Liked: 90
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cyclone82 View Post

I spoke to someone yesterday about the AG1980 and apparantly the only thing that goes bad are the capacitors. He replaces all the caps with new modern 'good ones' I am surprised though for a 90's Japanese device that this needs doing unless they were built using a bad batch of caps. i know they dont last for ever so it must be that or extreme use, but if its the latter wouldn.t the rest of the machine be knackered too?

Failure so soon is totally unacceptable IMO, caps should last for the life of the product or at least 30 years anyway. The problem is their was a epidemic a few years back that effected a large number of capacitors, most all made in China.
Although I believe the AG1980 spoke of is older then when the official plague started it's still possible cost cutting measures were going on as far back as the AG1980.
Years ago I use to work on antique radios of the 20s-50's and capacitor failure was the #1 failure(even more than vacuum tube failure). Of course the equipment I was working on was 30-60 years old at the time so I can't really complain, again the failures we are seeing with modern equipment is totally unacceptable.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor_plague
jjeff is online now  
post #22 of 22 Old 05-10-2012, 11:27 AM
AVS Special Member
 
CitiBear's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,047
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 25 Post(s)
Liked: 50
Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Failure so soon is totally unacceptable IMO, caps should last for the life of the product or at least 30 years anyway. The problem is their was a epidemic a few years back that effected a large number of capacitors, most all made in China.

The AG1980 predates the disgusting Chinese counterfeiting scandal by a very comfortable margin, although some of the very last AG1980s to leave the factory might have been affected (not sure how far into the 2000s the AG1980 was still being made, if at all). The problem with some of the caps in the AG1980 is they are under-spec'd for the power they need to control, and/or conflict with other elements of the circuit, causing premature failure. Its a design mistake, not inherent to the caps themselves.

"Modern" electrolytic caps are really unpredictable depending on the overall design of what they're installed inside. I have Harmon Kardon stereo receivers made in 1976 that still sound sweeter than any modern amplifier I've compared them to, and they're still on their original bottom-feeder caps (tons of them: no ICs in 1976). Yet I have direct drive turntables less than twelve years old with speed drift due to aged caps, and had amps/tuners/cd players die from aged caps. You just never know. Makes me wish I sponsored some kid to go learn the electronics repair trade years ago, so I could tap him for favors now.
CitiBear is offline  
Reply DVD Recorders (Standard Def)

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off