Advice for tape drive repair / maintenance

Tony Duell ard at
Tue Dec 19 17:09:36 CST 2006

> Tony Duell wrote:
> > I can either spend $10 on a set of rubber parts and take an afternoon 
> > putting them in (at which point, said VCR will be good for another 2 
> > years)
> Only two years? I'd be surprised if typical use wouldn't let it last for a lot 
> longer than that, say five at least.

According to most VCR service manuals (which most users never read...) 
you're supposed to do a clean & inspection every year (of normal use). I 
find it's worth replacing at least the pinch roller every couple of years.

> Absolutely. I need to sort my player out actually, as it's started not 
> rewinding the tapes all the way back in before ejecting them, but I'd much 

How old is it? If it's old enough to use a reel-drive idler, that would 
be the first thing I'd look at...

As an aside, am I the only person who likes the Philips V2000 machines? 
Only one rubber part (the pinch roller), 5 motors (direct drive to the 
capstan, head drump, each reel, and a loading motor to pull the tape 
round the head drum). No back tension band either -- back tension is 
provided by passing a suitable current trhough the rewind motor.

Oh yes, heads on piexo-actuators with a servo system to actually follow 
the tracks on the tape. So no tracking problems, and noise-free 
freeze-fram (without a digital framestore).

ObCC. The machine I have is controlled by an 8048 microcontroller. 
According to the manual there was a diagnostic tool which consisted of an 
EPROM (cotnents, alas, unknown) and address latch that you clipped onto 
the 8048. It pulled the EA pin high, disabling the intenral ROM (wich 
cotnained the normal firmware to run the thing) and got the processor to 
run the code from the external EPROM. Neat!

> rather figure out how to service it myself and get the parts than I would get 
> a completely new one.

I doubt I'll have a manual, but what is the make and model?

> Time is not free - but the choices tend to boil down to:

My time is free, or at least nobody will pay me for it. So I might as 
well use it for something.
> 1) Take older well-built product which does exactly what I need, and spend a 
> small sum in parts and maybe four hours of time to make it good for another 
> five years.
> 2) Spend a larger sum and eight hours of time shopping around for a 
> replacement (which probably *doesn't* do exactly what I need), then throwing 
> it out and repeating the exercise ad-nauseum every couple of years because 
> it's virtually impossible to service the modern version.
> That's without the environmental issues; the amount of good-quality repairable 
> stuff which just gets thrown into a hole in the ground really p*sses me off - 
> but that's another story :)

I agree with you 100% on all points.


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