Panasonic AG-1980 will not fast rewind - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 10-18-2012, 01:22 PM - Thread Starter
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I have an AG-1980 that I bought new around 1996 and used it once a week for about 3 years. I used it to record weekly City Council meetings and hardly ever edited anything. It has fairly low "miles" on it. I noticed when I last used it in 1999 that when trying to rewind a tape, it would start rewinding slowly (normal) and then would not transition to a fast rewind. Has anyone solved this problem before?
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post #2 of 7 Old 10-18-2012, 06:39 PM
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The AG1980 was designed primarily for semi-pro videography businesses (weddings, events) and other environments where it was understood the owner would have the unit overhauled once a year or so. It was not designed to sit on a shelf, be used sparingly, and otherwise left to rot quietly. (Not criticizing your use of it, just explaining that "low miles" is not a good thing when it comes to this particular VCR.)

Most likely you have an idler wheel thats dried out and lost its friction, so it can't spin the tape reels effectively. Or, the transfer gearing mechanics that engage FF/REW have become sticky from dried-up grease. These are fairly simple repairs, but getting access to the guts of an AG1980 is not for the amateur repair person. You can't get to the bottom of the mechanical assembly without removing the entire tape transport from the chassis. Unless you're very familiar with taking apart this type of Panasonic, and can understand the service manual, your best bet is to bring it to a repair shop for service. The AG1980 was on the market forever, so most any big-city electronics tech will know how to get it up and running for you. But you'd need to decide whether its worth paying $100 or so to repair it: do you use it, or intend to use it soon for a project? If not, hold off on repairing it until you really need it to work: otherwise, it can go bad from just sitting again and you might need to repair it twice. These VCRs also have a ton of electrolytic capacitors in them that are notorious for drying out and causing problems with everything from the front panel display to the video output to tape motion control.

When freshly serviced, an AG1980 is arguably the best VHS player you can get for reasonable cost, but it needs periodic servicing and regular usage patterns to keep it in good shape. If you very rarely need to use a VCR, sell your AG1980 on eBay to someone willing to fix it, and replace it with a Panasonic model more suited to long periods of sitting idle (like the excellent, inexpensive AG2560).
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post #3 of 7 Old 10-19-2012, 11:21 AM
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I'd agree with Citibear, more than likely you have a dried out idler pulley. I haven't worked on your exact machine but have had fairly good luck using a product like Regrip to bring life back to dead rubber parts. Basically you rub it on with something like a Q-tip, let it sit for a minute and then wipe off the dead rubber. It sounds like in your case the hardest part would be disassembling the machine to get at the parts. VCRs I've worked on allow access to the lower pulleys from the bottom. Remove the bottom, then the circuit board screws and then whole main circuit board hinges downward.
Note using regrip won't make a old idler like new but it should give you a year or so more life out of the rubber product at which point you can reapply regrip to get another year or so. Companies like MCM Electroincs should(or at least use to) carry replacement idlers and pulleys.
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post #4 of 7 Old 10-19-2012, 12:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jjeff View Post

Remove the bottom, then the circuit board screws and then whole main circuit board hinges downward.

I couldn't think how to explain it earlier, but you just gave me the key, jjeff: what makes it hard to get at the mechanism is that the AG1980 does not follow this traditional design layout. All the circuit boards are on top and modular, accessed by simply removing the top cover. With the top off, you have access to clean the tape heads and some other parts of the transport. But the parts underneath can't be reached: removing the bottom cover of the unit allows only emergency access to the loading motor wormgear, to remove a jammed tape. Otherwise the entire bottom of the transport is blocked by the plastic subchassis its attached to: you need to remove the screws holding it from the top, and remove the transport bodily to actually get at the belts, motors, idler and gears. This is true of some other VCRs as well, but they have smaller transports that are more easily removed: in the AG1980 there are a lot of circuit boards and the PSU cluttering the area.

Blelow are pics of the impeded access from the bottom cover, and the full mechanism once removed from the chassis. Note what appears to be a large rubber-rimmed idler is not soft rubber: it is solid to the point of feeling metallic (like a flywheel). Most of the mechanism is operated by geared timing belts.



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post #5 of 7 Old 10-19-2012, 07:23 PM
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If I understand your post correctly, your 1980 still rewinds in it's low speed but it won't shift up to it's high speed rewind speed? I think there must be some kind of rpm sensor on the normal "feed" spindle? If I remember right on my 1980 and two 1960's, it depends on just how much tape has moved from the feed reel to the take-up reel which determines if it ever speeds up to the high speed. If most of the video tape has moved over to the take up reel, it goes into high speed rewind right away. If only a few minutes of tape have moved, it will never do a HS rewind?

If it were mine, I wouldn't try to fix it. I would just let it stay in low speed rewinds. My other suggestion is to use a different VCR to do your rewinds or use a cheap VHS tape rewinder to do your rewinds. I have several of these just to save wear and tear on my VCR's. Maybe they don't sell them anymore? I would think you could find one on ebay, garage sale or pawn shop for a buck or two?

I sure wouldn't be spending big money on my 1980 just because it rewinds tape in the low speed.

Dave
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post #6 of 7 Old 10-19-2012, 09:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Dave - You're correct that it would not normally do a fast rewind if the feed reel was essentially full (or the take-up reel was essentially empty), I believe there's a sensor to detect those conditions. My 1980 would not fast rewind after watching an entire tape where practically all the tape is now on the take-up reel. The initial slow rewind is extremely quiet for about 3 seconds or so and then you would hear the mechanism gradually ramp up to a normal fast rewind. Mine just remained in the extremely quiet and very slow rewind. Its like the motor is never commanded to a fast speed. My 1980 is still locked away in my mobile rack that I used to record the City Council meetings on site. I used a Canon XL1 camera thru a Videonics titler and an 8-mic Shure mixer to record the meetings and then took the S-VHS tape to the local cable company for later transmission on the Public Access channel against the will of the City. Gotta love those open access laws for public meetings.
Since it has been locked away in the rack since 1999, there's now probably more things that have degraded with time. I've been an avionics electronic technician for the past 39 years so I'm not too intimidated to take a peek inside. I was just wanting to get a general idea and maybe hear of a definite cause for this symptom. I do have service manual for the 1980.
Thank to each of you for responding.
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post #7 of 7 Old 10-20-2012, 08:09 PM
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Since you have the service manual you have a fighting chance at finding the problem. It might just be some lint or dust on the sensor? I have never seen a service manual so I am just guessing about how it works. I have never had the covers off of my 1960's or 1980. The only problem I have had is on one of the 1960's the front audio jacks became intermittent but that wasn't a problem because it also had rear audio jacks.

We have similar experiences except mine was with Church services I put on the Public Access channel for several years until I burned out. My cable office had an Apple computer for doing titles which did a nice job. When I got tired of trying to schedule time on their editing equipment I bought my own which included the Videonics Titlemaker 2000. It didn't do titles nearly as nice as the Apple but it was good enough to read. I doubt that anyone tried to read those titles. On 2nd thought, maybe they had an Amiga computer? It's been almost 20 years and my memory is fading fast.

I used my Canon L1 and later L2 feeding my Panasonic VCR's. I didn't use the Canon Hi8 recorder because the cable company had SVHS Panasonic VCR's. But the long lens on the L1 and L2 was great from the balcony where the audio booth was. I would have loved to have a XL1 but it was just too much money. Even the L1 and L2 was too much money but I did it. The L1 developed a hot pixel so that forced me to buy the L2 for my nieces wedding.

Good Luck on fixing the "Fast Rewind" problem. Like I said before, I would just let it rewind on the slow speed while I packed up my gear and picked up the mic cords and did a little visiting. Even on the slow rewind speed it takes about the same amount of time to rewind as most other VCR's. Probably around a couple of minutes? I move slow so that wouldn't be much of a problem for me.

Dave
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