VCR eats videos

Old 03-12-01, 09:23 PM
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My VCR eats videos when I hit the fast forward button. The brand is fairly old and called 'National', but as I live in New Zealand you might not have it over there. Does it sound like the heads need cleaning, if so, is this something I can do myself- I want to avoid paying a hefty bill if possible.
Any information would be greatly appreciated!
Old 03-13-01, 05:06 AM
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Good evening Catherine, (I beleive its evening in New Zealand)

There is a number of things that can cause the tape to be eaten including,

dirty guilds or capstan/pinch rollers, failed sensors /idler arm . If you remove the cover to the vcr, play a tape (one that is not inportant) with the cover off you should be able to see where the tape is going astray or being twisted. If the tape appears to be slack or not being taken up by the tapes take up spool fast enough , then the problem is most likely either a sensor or the indler arm roller.

If the tape appears to be sticking /twisting or jerky in nature but is being taken up at the take up spool of the tape casing , then cleaning may help. Sometimes the guides or capstan/pinch roller can become sticky. Clean with alhocal and a lint free cloth, any head or guide the tape comes in contact with -clean, clean the capstan metal roller and the rubber roller beside it, the tape goes between these and the rubber roller squeezes against the metal roller to keep the tape travelling at a precise speed. any sensors that the tape travels near -clean.

If that doesn't solve it, and considering the age it might be cheaper just to repalce it. Idler arms can be changed as they are a cause for problems but they are very tricky to do, and sometimes other things have to be disassembled just to gain excess to it. I am not sure of the costs of a cheap one in New Zealand, but vcr's are becoming more these days of a disposable item, considering the labor costs of repair , it often doesn't make sense to spend money on a machine that not much more money would replace it.

When it comes to vcr's I personally always buy cheap, and just replace it when it breaks.
Old 03-15-01, 03:24 PM
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Good evening, Catherine:

99 times out of a hundred, you will find that the rubber pinch roller has acquired a layer of oxide from the tapes you have ran previously. Not cleaning the unit religiously, the oxide becomes "sticky" and grabs the tape as it passes through the tape path.

If you are a "doityourself" type person, you can remove the top of the tape machine, access the innards, and note the various components in the tape path. A simple Q-Tip (an American product which is a stick with a cotton tip) can be used to clean the pinch roller(s) of your unit. Use denatured alcohol. DO NOT USE RUBBING ALCOHOL!

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO CLEAN THE HEAD CAPSTAN AREA. That is the shiny cylinder at the end of the tape path. You can clean it but be careful not to touch the tape heads that are protruding through the shiny casing. You can see the heads.
There is a slot in the casing and the heads rotate in this slot.

This cleaning of the tape path will usually restore the unit to normal operating conditions. And, no, we do not know the "National" brand in America.

If this solves your problem, the next time that you hear "Waltzing Matilda", lift a glass for us at

G'day Catherine.


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