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Jeannie

WHAT CAUSES VCRS TO EAT TAPES + HOW CAN THAT BE PREVENTED?

What makes VCRs eat tapes and how do you prevent that from happening? Thanks.
tracking

I believe it happens when the take up spool is running slower than the other. This causes it to leave loose tape which tangles. I'm not sure how you prevent it though. Maybe someone else will know.

,Danny
TravisE

It is normal for the take-up spool of a tape to rotate slower than the supply spool as the tape nears the end, though the tape will be eaten if the take-up reel doesn't rotate fast enough to wind all of the tape that's being pulled out of the cassette by the capstan.

I've read in a lot of places that the majority of tape eating incidents in VCRs is caused by a defective or worn rubber idler tire. Theoretically, replacing it is cheap if you know where to get the part and how to install it, but most people will probably be best off just buying a new unit.

As far as I know, there's not much you can do to prevent it from happening in the first placeómany VCRs aren't exactly built to last nowadays.

I have no experience with VCR repair (all I know is just stuff I've read) so that's about as far as I can go.
Jeannie

Actually, I'm more concerned about protecting my videos from getting eaten, since a VCR on a combo unit is easier to replace than that. Thanks.
TravisE

Well, I guess the most sure-fire way for tapes you recorded yourself is to make extra copies of them (to another tape or a DVD). This can be tricky with pre-recorded movies since they're usually copy-protected. In that case you would either have to buy a second copy or find one of those devices sold online that allow you to bypass the copy protection.
Super-VHS

Also, keep the inside of your VCR as clean as possible, so the parts don't get gummed up with dust, which can eventually cause your machine to malfunction and eat tapes. Use a non-abrasive, wet VCR head cleaner every once in a while. When you're NOT playing a videotape, try gently and delicately wiping dust off the door area inside and out with your finger. Consider covering up the door of the VCR when it's not being used. If you see a large amount of dust on any videotape, carefully remove the dust from the outside parts of the cassette with one of your fingers. Do not touch any of the tape inside.  Make sure the inner portion of the boxes or plastic sleeves that you use to store your videotapes are free of dust.
Jeannie

Would once or twice a year suffice for a head cleaning? Thanks.
Super-VHS

Jeannie wrote:
Would once or twice a year suffice for a head cleaning? Thanks.
Yes, once or twice a year is fine.
JoeV

When recording or in playback, the tape transport pulls a portion of the tape out of the cassette and wraps them ~180 degrees around the rotating head drum using the entrance and exit side tape guides. When it's time to unload the tape and eject the cassette, the transport first has to retract the loose loop of tape back into the cassette. Two things have to happen simultaneously; first, the entrance and exit side tape guides retract down their curved tracks, while simultaneously the cassette itself has to be "rewound", to retract the loose tape loop onto the supply side (left) reel spool. If any tape is left hanging out of the cassette, when the cartridge is ejected the spring-loaded door on the front of the cassette snaps close and wrinkles the tape.

Anything that prevents the supply side reel spindle from rotating counterclockwise during this rewind mode will cause the loop of tape to remain hanging out of the cassette during eject.

Older machines, and many newer ones, use a series of synthetic rubber belts and/or idler wheels that drive the fast forward and rewind of the reel spindles from the capstan motor underneath the transport deck. When these rubber belts and/or idler wheels get hard, glazed over and dried out, they lose their grip, and can't spin the supply side tape spindle.

Other times this problem can caused by a piece of paper (like a tape label) becoming dislodged from the cassette and falling into the area between the two reel spindles, preventing the idler wheel from properly moving. This cause would be easy to fix, sometimes without taking off the lid, just reach in through the cassette input door and feel around for a lose piece of paper or other debris. More than likely, however, it's worn out rubber parts, which need to be replaced.

These parts wear out due to heat and dryness; head cleaning tapes won't prevent this from happening, it's just a function of time and climate on the rubber parts.

~Joe
Jeannie

Where can rubber belts be bought and/or made, please? Thanks.
JoeV

Jeannie wrote:
Where can rubber belts be bought and/or made, please? Thanks.


Check out the Projector Recorder Belt Company.

There's also mail order houses for electronics products that may also have idler wheels and belts. You'd have to do a search for some of those. I'm thinking of Digikey as one, and Andrew's Electronics in California as another.

~Joe

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