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post #61 of 68 Old 06-08-2012, 09:04 PM
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I've actually had good luck with finding good working condition Beta decks over the past several years including 2 Sony SL-HFR70s and their HFP-100 or HFP-200 processors; a Sony SLHF-860D and my workhorse SL-2710 that I bought back in the day. It's hard to find techs that can fix them in this town but if I get to Toronto, there are still some who will work on Beta decks. As to VHS parts, those I can still find in town, including idler tires, belts of various sizes, etc. Techs that can fix VHS however are still pretty easy to find but as the old guard retires, it is going to get really hard unless you can acquire the skills to fix them yourself (and have the tools). I can't do tech work anymore. My eyesight is totally gone for working on small parts....mad.gif
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post #62 of 68 Old 06-08-2012, 10:23 PM
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The Sony Betas required regular maintenance back in the day, and they don't like being left sitting unused for years on end. They are not as easy service as VHS decks, so a lot of the remaining chop shops won't accept them for repair.

Early on I was disappointed by the mediocre recording quality of VHS, and added a BetaMax. I loved my Sony SL-5800, it remains my benchmark for luxurious feel in consumer electronics, but I sold it in 1985 to pay for the first BetaHifi model SL-5200. That monster broke down so often I finally got tired of repair costs and just left the screws out of the cover, because I had to pop the hood to nudge the gear train every time I needed to rewind or eject a tape. When VHS HiFi became affordable I shifted to VHS 100% and never looked back.

Until 2006, when I needed another BetaMax to dub my remaining Beta tapes to DVD. I picked up a nice clean SL-HF500 on eBay for $150 and used it to digitize a couple dozen tapes, then got distracted by my primary VHS project and forgot about the Betas. I recently went back to transferring the Betas, but after firing up the SL-HF500 it got thru only three tapes before the transport loading arm froze solid (I had to disassemble the thing to remove the tape). The SL-HF500 weighs a ton, and I really didn't want to drag it around or ship it for repairs. When I checked eBay, all the BetaMax listings were either "as-is," "cut AC cord" and other nonsense, or priced out of this world with no warranty. So I ended up paying WAY more than I wanted to spend for a SuperBetaHiFi sold by a retired Sony tech who has the entire suite of alignment and diagnostic tools in his basement. I figured it was worth the upfront $$$ hit to get a professionally overhauled Beta that would plow thru my 100 remaining Beta tapes without dying on me.

There are some good deals on used BetaMaxes, and its true you can probably get a better price on Craigs List than eBay. Just be aware the "affordable" Betas didn't quite make it to the modern bulletproof VCR era like VHS did: the very last truly-modern Betas were all ultra-luxe megabuck collector models that rarely pop up cheaply. The normal midrange consumer Betas that are commonly available typically date back to 1988 or earlier: they are a bit prehistoric in construction with many little things that can go bad. You can pay $79 for one that seems to work perfectly, and a week later it will lock up because of a blown capacitor in the loading circuit or capstan control board. Most of these have sat collecting dust for a decade or more, so a few days after power is re-applied the circuits start to blow from the stress and problems arise (it doesn't help that many of the most popular Betas run very hot).

If you need a BetaMax today, shop carefully, and consider buying an overhauled unit directly from a tech. Repairing a "bargain" that breaks can be difficult or costly. Unlike VHS, there are no Betas you can easily find for $15 mint at a thrift shop that will work flawlessly for the next ten years. Good used VHS vcrs are plentiful, durable, yet disposable and easily replaced. But Beta is an investment.
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post #63 of 68 Old 06-09-2012, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug O View Post

I've actually had good luck with finding good working condition Beta decks over the past several years including 2 Sony SL-HFR70s and their HFP-100 or HFP-200 processors…
I locally tracked down a SL-HFR70 with a HFP-100. Unfortunately the HFP-100 stopped working before I could transfer to DVDr and that sucks because I only collect concerts and betamax sounds pretty awful without the Hi Fi tracks. The guy I purchased it from had it packed and ready to sell on eBay and I think he packed the processor to tight on top of the deck and I think it might have damaged something on the deck rather then on the processor but I could be wrong.

I agree with CitiBear that eBay is probably your best bet for a good BetaMax deck. They seem to be very rare on Craigslist and most are used to death. Although I have a working SL-HF300, a non-working SL-HF400 and my working SL-HFR-70 minus the processor - one day I might break down and purchase a refurbished deck from one of the well-known Beta techs on eBay. I may even trade in my three decks + cash for a nice SuperBeta HF, maybe a SL-HF600.
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post #64 of 68 Old 06-11-2012, 11:35 AM
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Originally Posted by Super Eye View Post

I locally tracked down a SL-HFR70 with a HFP-100. Unfortunately the HFP-100 stopped working before I could transfer to DVDr and that sucks because I only collect concerts and betamax sounds pretty awful without the Hi Fi tracks. The guy I purchased it from had it packed and ready to sell on eBay and I think he packed the processor to tight on top of the deck and I think it might have damaged something on the deck rather then on the processor but I could be wrong.
I agree with CitiBear that eBay is probably your best bet for a good BetaMax deck. They seem to be very rare on Craigslist and most are used to death. Although I have a working SL-HF300, a non-working SL-HF400 and my working SL-HFR-70 minus the processor - one day I might break down and purchase a refurbished deck from one of the well-known Beta techs on eBay. I may even trade in my three decks + cash for a nice SuperBeta HF, maybe a SL-HF600.

Watch out for the cracked wheel syndrome on the 70s. I have another dead unit here with a cracked loading gear. Those can't be fixed unless you can find a new gear someplace. The models that came after replaced that gear so Sony knew about the problem at the time. Where do you live? If in Canada, shipping on a HFP-100 can't be too bad. I have no need for 2 processors. I'll have to dig out the other 70 and check on the processor to see if it is still functional.
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post #65 of 68 Old 06-11-2012, 12:57 PM
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My eyesight is totally gone for working on small parts....mad.gif
Mine too, but I find one of these does the trick:
500

Be seeing you!
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post #66 of 68 Old 06-13-2012, 10:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Doug O View Post

Watch out for the cracked wheel syndrome on the 70s. I have another dead unit here with a cracked loading gear. Those can't be fixed unless you can find a new gear someplace. The models that came after replaced that gear so Sony knew about the problem at the time.
Thanks for the tip.
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Where do you live? If in Canada, shipping on a HFP-100 can't be too bad. I have no need for 2 processors. I'll have to dig out the other 70 and check on the processor to see if it is still functional.
I live on the west coast in Canada. I’m not sure if the fault is with the HFP-100 or with my SLHFR-70. I believe that shipping from Ontario to BC costs a lot of $. Are any lights on the HFP-100 supposed to light up without plugging it into the 70?
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post #67 of 68 Old 06-14-2012, 08:34 PM
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Thanks for the tip.
I live on the west coast in Canada. I’m not sure if the fault is with the HFP-100 or with my SLHFR-70. I believe that shipping from Ontario to BC costs a lot of $. Are any lights on the HFP-100 supposed to light up without plugging it into the 70?

Just checking with the 200 and the lights don't come on unless you turn on the 70, so I have to assume it's the same with the 100. Plug it into the 70 and turn the power on to the 70 and the lights should come on the 100. If not, it could be a blown fuse or other problem.

Also tried the processor by itself and no lights come on when it's plugged into the wall socket so it appears to need the 70 for it to work at all.

Hope that helps.

Doug
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post #68 of 68 Old 06-15-2012, 06:10 PM
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Long ago I checked the fuse and the multi-pin connectors and that seemed good. I suspect that something on the 70 is not good due to the way the previous owner packed the processor on top of the deck too tight as the processor stopped working shortly after I purchased it. Or maybe a cap went shortly after I purchased it.
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Just checking with the 200 and the lights don't come on unless you turn on the 70, so I have to assume it's the same with the 100. Plug it into the 70 and turn the power on to the 70 and the lights should come on the 100. If not, it could be a blown fuse or other problem.
Also tried the processor by itself and no lights come on when it's plugged into the wall socket so it appears to need the 70 for it to work at all.
Hope that helps.
Doug

Thanks for checking to see if the processor lights up. No lights unless the processor is plugged into the deck and the deck is on - just as I remembered and now you confirmed it for me. I really think that the problem is with my SL-HFR70 but I can’t be sure unless I try another processor. Appreciate your time.
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