Originally Posted by DigitalfreakNYC I live in NYC
Bingo! Any chance you live in Brooklyn or Queens? Because I had the same problem, and the causes/cures can be weirder than you'd think: the VCR itself may not be at fault.
Years ago we moved into an old house on the border between Bklyn/Qns, where the electricity quality coming from Con Ed is sketchy at best. Throw in the previous owner being a delusional Mr. FixIt who rewired the entire house with Christmas tree tinsel, and I had the most crap-quality AC power of anyone I knew.
This crummy power quality turned out to be the culprit in my case. Every new VCR I brought into that house would develop your greenish-blue shadow bar running down the side of the recording, with a fainter echo down the middle. It drove me crazy, because once a new VCR got contaminated with it there was no getting rid of it. I suffered with it a few years until I got *very* lucky, and some tech wrote an article about it in "Video" magazine. He claimed the green bar was caused by power irregularities (esp sags) messing up a sensitive circuit, particularly in Panasonic VCRs of the day. The recommended cure was to clean the incoming AC with an active power conditioner, and connect the VCR to the filtered outlet of that box. It sounded ridiculous, but I was desperate and "Video" was the VCR bible of the time, so I went out and spent $270 on a TrippLite 1200-watt power conditioner. To my surprise, it worked: new VCRs powered by this box never developed the green shadow bars, and some of the old ones even got a little better.
That TrippLite box ran continuously for 25 years, until it finally died on me, so I got my money's worth. I tried looking for a new one, but apparently they aren't in production anymore: they were supplanted by the UPS battery units. Kinda bummed me out, because the UPS boxes don't perform the same active conditioning function and the battery creates some other issues. Luckily I don't rely on VCRs anywhere near as much: my DVD/HDD recorders seem content running off simple surge protectors.
Re not having any decent VCR repair techs in NYC: isn't that a headscratcher? Nada, zip, bupkis: might as well be in the wilderness. Hard to believe there are still pro techs in small town Texas, but nothing in NYC. Thats why I won't spend big bucks on second-hand fancy TBC/DNR-equipped VCRs anymore: they all need major overhauls, and there's no one around to do it.