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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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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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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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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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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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Old 06-13-2012, 10:56 PM
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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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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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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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Old 07-04-2015, 02:40 AM
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VCR, Long/Short play

Hi, My VCR won't play short cassettes only long ones, It skips jumps does a blue screen for a moment Sp and lP come up as well like it's confused on the length it should be playing etc, Any ideas? worse still it's seems to be catching as my other VCR is doing the same thing.
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Old 07-04-2015, 05:43 AM
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It sounds as though whats supposed to advance your tape is starting to wear, either a belt or idler pulley. They are made of rubber and tend to get old and not grip as well. Replacing would be the best but I've also had luck with products like Regrip that is applied to rubber to eat off the top dead layer and then wipe it off after a minute or so. Note DON'T put regrip on the pinch roller(the black rubber thing that pinches the tape to the capstan) you don't want regrip or similar products to ever come in contact with the actual tape, to clean the pinch roller just use Iso alcohol or a similar zero residue cleaner.
You could also try FF'ing and REW'ing your short tapes several times to loosen them up. Shorter tapes tend to get bound, making them hard to advance, FF and REW a few times sometimes loosens them up enough to play.
The reason this happens is to play a tape where the take up spool is small requires less power than when it's large(each spin of the spool when small moves less but has more power) compare this to when the take up reel is large and each spin of the spool must move the tape much further. It's basic gearing, think of a small take up spool as 1st gear on a car while a large take up spool is like trying to move in 4th gear, the engine(take up spool motor) needs to work harder in a higher gear.

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Old 07-06-2015, 12:14 PM
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It sounds as though whats supposed to advance your tape is starting to wear, either a belt or idler pulley. They are made of rubber and tend to get old and not grip as well. Replacing would be the best but I've also had luck with products like Regrip that is applied to rubber to eat off the top dead layer and then wipe it off after a minute or so. Note DON'T put regrip on the pinch roller(the black rubber thing that pinches the tape to the capstan) you don't want regrip or similar products to ever come in contact with the actual tape, to clean the pinch roller just use Iso alcohol or a similar zero residue cleaner.
You could also try FF'ing and REW'ing your short tapes several times to loosen them up. Shorter tapes tend to get bound, making them hard to advance, FF and REW a few times sometimes loosens them up enough to play.
The reason this happens is to play a tape where the take up spool is small requires less power than when it's large(each spin of the spool when small moves less but has more power) compare this to when the take up reel is large and each spin of the spool must move the tape much further. It's basic gearing, think of a small take up spool as 1st gear on a car while a large take up spool is like trying to move in 4th gear, the engine(take up spool motor) needs to work harder in a higher gear.
Actually, laquer thinner or acetone does pretty good on rubber parts - better than alcohol. Just don't get it on plastic. After cleaning, check that the tape is pulled evenly past the capstan/pinch roller. If it wavers up and down or has horizontal ridges or crinkling, it's a good bet that either the pinch roller needs to be replaced or the takeup tension is too high.

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Old 07-06-2015, 01:08 PM
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Actually, laquer thinner or acetone does pretty good on rubber parts - better than alcohol. Just don't get it on plastic. After cleaning, check that the tape is pulled evenly past the capstan/pinch roller. If it wavers up and down or has horizontal ridges or crinkling, it's a good bet that either the pinch roller needs to be replaced or the takeup tension is too high.
I'd be a little worried about using acetone on a idler pulley as idler pulleys generally have a plastic center, doesn't acetone melt plastic? lacquer thinner is almost residue free but I've never used it to clean rubber, it may work just fine. What I really like to clean things like a capstan is something I'm not sure is readily available anymore, freon. I have a spray can of freon and it works wonders. Not sure what kind of freon it is and it was sold before people started talking about things like the ozone layer. I don't personally use alcohol but it's generally what people have available and does an "OK" job.
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Old 07-06-2015, 01:13 PM
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Did you guys see these?

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Old 07-06-2015, 01:57 PM
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I'd be a little worried about using acetone on a idler pulley as idler pulleys generally have a plastic center, doesn't acetone melt plastic? lacquer thinner is almost residue free but I've never used it to clean rubber, it may work just fine. What I really like to clean things like a capstan is something I'm not sure is readily available anymore, freon. I have a spray can of freon and it works wonders. Not sure what kind of freon it is and it was sold before people started talking about things like the ozone layer. I don't personally use alcohol but it's generally what people have available and does an "OK" job.
Actually, many idler pulleys and even the roller part of tape guides were made of nylon, not plastic like ABS or polystyrene. Acetone / lacquer thinner doesn't melt nylon. I owned a business repairing VCRs and camcorders, among other things, for nearly 15 years, from 1980 to 1995, when they got so cheap many customers would balk at paying a reasonable fee for repairs, saying "I'll just buy a new one". Eventually, I gave up and closed the business after I got into my current field, as described in my user name (cctv tech).

I found that acetone/lacquer thinner was the best and one of the cheapest cleaners for rubber and many other parts. It dissolves dirt better than alcohol and even strips the hardened outer layer off of idlers and pinch rollers. I used it for almost every part, including video and audio tape heads, guides, belts and idlers. I did use alcohol - either Isopropyl or denatured, for some things but more acetone than anything else. One caveat about alcohol - most people buy rubbing alcohol (Isopropyl) from their local pharmacy. The stuff most places carry is only 70% alcohol; the other 30% is water, and some even contains scented oils. It takes a relatively long time to dry and can leak down into bearings if you're not careful with it. You can find 90(+) percent Isopropyl Alcohol but it's relatively rare.

The freon used in cleaners was typically Freon TF, although I also had a bottle of Freon TMC (nasty stuff). It is not sold anymore since it depletes the ozone layer. Most electronic cleaners today are based on alcohol and/or petroleum distillates.

Heck, I even used Windex to clean VCRs on occasion. That's about the only thing that worked when someone put a tape with soda or food on it into a VCR.

Be seeing you!

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Old 07-06-2015, 01:59 PM
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I have to ask: WTF is a "VCR Player"? VCR stands for Video Cassette Recorder. Recorders almost always also play.

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Old 07-07-2015, 02:37 PM
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The second video neglected a bit called an index mark, which, if one had multiple recording sessions (even if back-to-back), would leave a signal (or lack of signal?) on the tape so one could skip one show and go to the next just by pressing "Index" "FF". I made liberal use of that. It wouldn't help on pre-recorded cassettes since the rare show with multiple episodes I managed to rent didn't have the index marks.

As for Video Cassette Players, I recall renting one briefly a very long time ago while my VCR (had only one then) was being repaired. I recall even seeing them on a store shelf. The VCP was less expensive than a VCR since it was a playback-only device and had nothing that was needed only for the recording functions: no NTSC tuner, no daytime clock, no erase head, no "events" scheduler for scheduling recordings, no circuitry for writing onto the tape, no input F-connector for coax source, no input A/V connectors. The one I rented had coax F-connector output, but I don't recall if it also had A/V output, and the remote was a whole lot simpler (e.g., no channel numbers). Also, the one I rented just two video heads for standard play, whereas the VCRs I purchased usually had 4 video heads (two for Standard Play, two thinner heads for Extended Play).

The clerk where I saw the VCP on the shelf told me that the VCP sells very slowly, that those who buy VCRs just for playing movies want a fully functional VCR, even if they have no plans of ever recording anything, and the store was not going to order more once current inventory ran out. However, an occasional video rental store would have a couple of VCPs to rent out for the occasional customer who would otherwise have nothing to play the VHS cassette on.

I used to do a lot of time shifting with a VCR, then two VCRs, and I peaked at 4 (three for recording, one for playback) but I settled on 3 (two for recording & 1 for playback). Now I am renting a DVR from the cable company and I wonder why I ever put up with all the inconveniences of VCRs
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Old 02-16-2016, 02:00 PM
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Is it possible that there is a need for a dedicated forum to be added to the forum list?
 
That would be K-RAD!!

I would post on that base LIKE CRAZY!! (I love VHS (Analog))
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Old 03-06-2016, 08:53 AM
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Combined VCR forum, both beta and vhs.

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Old 03-08-2016, 06:30 AM
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Yea that would be awesome also!!
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Old 04-02-2016, 04:57 PM
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Combined VCR forum, both beta and vhs.
That will be awesome!

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Old 05-15-2016, 11:52 AM
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Yes it would be........
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Old 08-04-2016, 07:09 PM
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Hey all,

Just discovered this forum and need some VCR help.

I have a Sony SLV-R5UC S-VHS VCR. The VCR works and runs well, but all tapes I put in tend to have a tracking line across the screen about 1 inch wide and it happesn about 2/3 of the way up the screen and it goes across the whole screen. The rest of the video looks fine but bounces a little and the counter / time that show on the screen also bounces around.

I cleaned the head and the other posts with no change.

Anything else I can try / do to fix this? Could the gears be out of sync on the underpart? I had to replace one of the gears as it had broken, but I lined the gears up exactly as they were before.
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Old 08-04-2016, 08:31 PM
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The Sony SLV-R5UC is one of those rarefied high-performance VCRs with a love-hate cult following. When it works, its quite something, but the model is plagued with convoluted design faults that cause frequent breakdowns. It is notoriously tricky to diagnose and repair.

A surprising number of issues trace back to the power supply module. Has yours ever been completely rebuilt? If not, one of the high-strung components inside it may be failing, triggering interference with the tracking or video circuits. This unit also has bizarrely temperamental capstans and pinch rollers which can cause many audio-video issues as they drift out of alignment, harden, develop a coating, or go out of perfect round. Often one of the video ICs develops a short between pins.

I'm rather stunned that yours is still working at this late date: most hard core fans gave up on them years ago, the SLV-R5 upkeep rivals the Panasonic AG1980 (King of the nightmare premium VCRs). Since you've been so lucky so far, perhaps you just have a simple mechanical problem akin to what any random ordinary VCR might manifest. But one can never assume anything with this model: it isn't really DIY friendly.

If you can't find a semi-retired VCR technician locally, you could try looking up old forum threads that discuss the SLV-R5UC. There also used to be a couple Yahoo and Google groups devoted to it, where owners contributed repair and maintenance tips. But I'd strongly recommend having it looked at by a pro if at all possible.

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Old 08-04-2016, 10:51 PM
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Unhappy No more new VCRs. :(

Funai Corporation. of Japan, stopped making them.
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Old 08-05-2016, 05:59 AM
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Thanks for the information CitiBear. I wasnt aware of the issues with this model. I actually have two and one runs perfectly fine. This one had a busted gear in the mechanism that runs the P Guides. I replaced the Gear and re-aligned the gears to where they were before, but possibly I was off a little.

I also noticed that since the fix, sometimes when you load a tape, it pulls it up, PGuides pull the tape up and line it up and then seconds later, return it back to the tape.

I am gonna check my alignment of the gears underneath as well as the make sure all the connections to the circuit board on the bottom of the player are connected fully when re-assembled and give it another shot.

After that, i will take it to someone to look at as you advised..

Appreciate your help!
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Old 08-06-2016, 10:27 AM
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Welcome to avsforum

Have you tried to adjust tracking??
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Old 08-07-2016, 11:12 AM
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It does sound like a tracking problem. I would remove the top case and insert a tape you can afford to damage. Check that the guides get fully locked into their end stops in play/record and that nothing is blocking them. Also look at the tape as it passes the audio/control head and capstan/pinch roller system. Check for curling on the tape edges and see if the tape is running smoothly past all guides. If the tape edges are curling, there's something amiss.

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