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  • EEVblog #289-1 – VCR Teardown & Handifax Followup

    Posted on June 7th, 2012 EEVblog 34 comments


    An impromptu VCR teardown when Dave has to open it up anyway to extract the scrunched Handifax 1000 video tape!

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    34 responses to “EEVblog #289-1 – VCR Teardown & Handifax Followup” RSS icon

    • Maybe you need to insert that CR2032 to get it working?

    • [..YouTube..] *Put’s hand in air* I was one of those kids =P

    • [..YouTube..] Did you also inserted the CR2032 battery?This might be a reason for not working.

    • [..YouTube..] Wow they simplified the VCRs so much since then…. They used to have alot more complicated mechanics and PCBs all over the place, sometimes even 4 of them facing towards each other forming a cube!

    • [..YouTube..] Very cool. That looks like a play-only VCR – On record ones, there’s also an erase head that’s separate from the audio / video heads. And the likelyhood is the helical head only has 4 heads (if not two!), the others are audio. Completely agree that older ones were far more complex both in electronics and mechanics – Partially, this is because motors and control circuitry is now cheaper than cogs and gears. Great to see a “new” one – Thanks!

    • [..YouTube..] This NEC video casette recorder is far more simple than those from the “DX xx00″ series, for example the DX-5000U and the DX-1600B, they had digital video memory, go figure!

    • [..YouTube..] The erase head is the green one on the left of the video drum by the looks…

    • [..YouTube..] I took apart an old VCR and I saw that there was a phototransistor circuit to detect the tape

    • I remember sliding a sandwich into my parents VCR when I was a kid, it was a top loader and the sandwich was a grilled cheese :>

      My earliest electronic related memory in fact, is my father sitting there for HOURS cleaning the thing out LOL

      My folks STILL will not let me forget the event :)

    • [..YouTube..] Episode 289 already?! Seems like yesterday you were just hitting 200. Any plans for an episode 300 special?

    • [..YouTube..] Oh, memories. This video reminds me when I was 5 years old. I remeber that one time I fed a CD player with some cookies and some pork slices. I thought it was alive and it needed to eat something. LOL

    • [..YouTube..] Yeah they definitely used to have LOADS of mechanics in! I had one old JVC (think it was a 3V22, not sure tho, the neurons have been recycled), which had a solenoid in it to latch the mechanics in place. Thing never worked when it was cold due to old congealed grease, I could have either (a) regreased it, or (b), what I actually did, hook a wirewound resistor across the permanent 12v line in the machine, under the solenoid as a heater to warm the grease!Stop laughing, it lasted another 7 years

    • [..YouTube..] The blue bit sticking up under the tape there is an InfraRed ‘lighthouse’ that is used to detect that the tape’s seated properly. You could often get the machine to thread up as if it had a tape (to check the mechanics) by dropping a ballpoint pen cap over it :-)

    • [..YouTube..] Handifax operating instructions – 1) Open bin. 2) Insert device. 3) Buy a Psion ;-)

    • [..YouTube..] Just saw your first video Dave!”One small step into video blogging, a large leap for learners to learn”

    • [..YouTube..] Did you check the screen contrast knob on the left side of the device? If it’s in the other end, you won’t see a thing on the screen.

    • [..YouTube..] Wow, I picked up a Ferguson Videostar fv32l the other day for £5, wasn’t working but turned out it just needed it’s heads cleaning. That thing looks so empty compaired to this one, mine is a huge beast, stuffed with lovely electronics, the inside is seen in my latest video :o) Right, clothespegs on the eyelids, I’m going to watch that video!! ;o)Yes, I have a few tapes and wanted to watch them so I decided to go with a much better built late 80s one than a ‘later’ one :o)

    • [..YouTube..] All the hours I spent watching vhs tapes I was never aware that’s how they worked. Thanks!

    • [..YouTube..] i used to service Beta and VHS machines all the time. Quite complex they were, the helical scanning head is so fast that its magnetic output is actually in the RF range.

    • Boy, that one brought back memories of repairing VCRs back in the 80s. My first paying electronics job was as a bench tech at a TV shop in the mid-80s, when the VCR was king.

      The audio head on the right side of the mechanism is often called the “ACE” head, for Audio/Control/Erase.

      The 2 audio tracks are recorded along one edge of the tape, and a 30HZ pulse signal (control track) is recorded along the other edge, which is used as a master sync reference, controlling the speed of both the tape and the rotating video heads.

      There is another head on the left side of trhe mechanism which is the full erase (FE) head, used to completely erase the entire width of the tape before new video/audio/control info is recorded onto it.

    • Here’s a video on how video recorders work. Also an intro to the wonderful offbeat show “The Secret Life of Machines.” – check out all of them, the fax machines one is great.

      Anyone who loves “don’t turn it on, take it apart” should love The Secret Life of Machines. These guys take EVERYTHING apart.

    • [..YouTube..] Vintage VCR’s are much better made, My panasonic DVD? VCR Combo won’t play DVD’s anymore, bloody modern junk!!, VCR in it still works real well though.

    • [..YouTube..] I had a top loading VCR when I was a kid, I liked to put in audio cassette tapes in it to ‘see what the sound looks like’ I also put peanut butter sadwiches in it too ;)

    • [..YouTube..] i needed to break open a car cd changer it broke down and needed to rip it apart to get my cd,s back

    • [..YouTube..] lol i got the same VCR. or a on wery simalar, mine is a cheap noname lumatron but it looks exatly like that NEC… it even got the same “super slim” sticker. i think i got mine in 2007 or 2006. as your other video shows the video quality is pretty sharp, especially for a cheap “moden” VCR

    • [..YouTube..] 2:51 is the back-tension band which applies tension to the take up spool to give some tension/dampening to the tape. 9:29 is the combined mono audio and servo head, which picks up the servo pulses on the tape to synchronise the playback head and capstan motors. I did my electronics repair apprenticeship repairing junk like this! The later VCR’s became extremely refined mechanically compared with the old top loaders. Ahh, the old days when consumer electronics were repairable….

    • [..YouTube..] The cell battery? XD

    • [..YouTube..] The head is canted to get a helical pattern. The data is stored in vertical strips on the tape to maximize the data storage and prevent having to have the tape move a several feet per second to get the same amount of bandwidth.

    • How do you pronounce Hauppauge?

      Hauppauge is a town in NY on Long Island. Hauppauge is pronounced HOP-HOG.

      [from http://www.hauppauge.com/html/faq.htm#HOPHOG

    • Old handifax user

      Please insert the backup battery too. Then the handyfax will start up

    • [..YouTube..] Most of organizer from that era didn’t wanna turn on if the backup battery is not installed. Have you tried adding a lithium battery along with the AA batteries?

    • [..YouTube..] Ah your right, I have a velo under the bed that used to chew up a back up buttoncell within minutes after replacing the normal aa cells. The aa cell batt pack was some lunatic price with some kind of id electronics so you couldn’t even make your own battery pack. I’m glad companys are getting a little more minded to universal parts now, well most of them anyhows.

    • [..YouTube..] I have to say Dave, I thought you would have exuded knowledge on these given your age and all ;). VCR’s where pretty darned good tech, electronics wise and mechanical. I remeber when I where a young lad you could buy a interface for your computer to use VHS tape recorders as a backup, they held loads of data.

    • Christian Berger

      Well VHS recorders in general were fairly reliable, particularly the japaneese ones. You should try a German Video 2000 made by Grundig. They actually had ultra-cheap contacts which, when they loose contact, set the device into “self destruct mode”.

      As for motors in that cheap VHS machine, it probably only has one motor for the 2 spools. They use a piece of felt to pull the tape with a constant force. The really good ones have strong motors there, though the precision is required in the capstan and the headdrum servos. On larger VTRs those are really large.

      http://lionlamb.us/quad/tour.html

      Here are some Czechs playing a tape on a 2 inch Quadruplex machine:
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nnXVlcILj6Y
      Notice how the rotational axis of the headdrum is parallel to the tape motion.

      Here’s a Czech replacing a video head on an 1980s VTR, see how it only takes minimal adjustment.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HDTxR1NyLvE
      Also see how that particularly VTR manages to play back the tape at just about any speed. That’s a popular feature of high end Type C machines. Today those are insanely cheap, you can get one for less than a new car!

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