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  #1  
04-07-2016, 12:55 PM
snowpeck snowpeck is offline
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Is there still anybody around who services Panasonic AG-1980P? Video board could use new capacitors, but I'm not good enough with that sort of thing to do it myself. I know TGrantPhoto does, but their price is a little out of my league.
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  #2  
04-08-2016, 12:36 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Considering the bench time, skill set, parts, and tools required to do a AG-1980, their price is not at all out of line. There may be others offering the repairs; I have no one to recommend. Just be sure to research to determine whether or not they are on the up-and-up and well qualified to work on the machine.
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  #3  
04-09-2016, 06:50 AM
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Bad caps, right?

The cheapest that I ever got a AG-1980P repair done for is about $200, back in 2012, and it wasn't done correctly. You need about $50 in parts, and it takes 8-10 hours minimum to do. This is a specialized trade, requiring special tools, and you're paying somebody about $25 per hour to do it. It's not that different from taking your car to the mechanic. In fact, if I could escape the garage for $325, I'd consider myself lucky.

This VCR had an initial MSRP of about $2k in the 90s, and never sold for less than $860 + shipping from B&H about 13 years ago (and I have the B&H ads to prove this). When you get this unit repaired, it's essentially a refurb. Or at least it should be. So cost of initial unit was probably about $200, and another $325 makes is $525 total, so about 75% of original cost, aka a standard refurn price.

By comparison, a JVC is fairly easy to do, and only ran about $150 back in 2012. I think Jots still does JVC gear, in addition to TGrant.

I hate spending money, too, but sometimes there's no way to avoid it.

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  #4  
04-12-2016, 06:29 PM
snowpeck snowpeck is offline
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I'm assuming bad caps. There are faint lines of color in the picture (which tend to fade the longer the VCR is in use, but are still visible), the picture gets quite dark when the TBC is turned on, but looks sort of washed out with it off. The front display is also non-functional, but I'm not really concerned about that. I can use the machine without it.

I got a fairly low quote from Southern Advantage, but I've seen mixed reviews of their work. There are a couple of local shops that said they would be more than willing to look at it, but who knows if they would know what they're doing. I'm starting to wonder if I got in over my head. I only paid $75 for the unit itself, so at least there's that.
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04-12-2016, 07:11 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Just keep in mind the being "willing to look at it" is not the same as being able to do a competent job repairing it. Verify that they currently have people on staff that have successfully worked on the AG1980s. In general, it matters not if a company has worked on AG-1980 in the past - those people may be long gone now.

IMHO you should have the display panel (timer board) fixed too. It is just about the easiest board in there to remove/re-cap, and has a small relatively small number of caps on it. It would add less than 30 minutes to the overall job.

Quote:
I'm starting to wonder if I got in over my head.
$75 is not much if the machine is basically sound except for the cap problem. The main issue becomes how many tapes to you plan to capture and would it be more time and cost effective overall to hire it out.

FWIW: Last time I looked TGrant's Web page says he does not want to rehab or trade for machines that someone else has messed with.
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  #6  
04-12-2016, 07:19 PM
snowpeck snowpeck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
$75 is not much if the machine is basically sound except for the cap problem. The main issue becomes how many tapes to you plan to capture and would it be more time and cost effective overall to hire it out.

FWIW: Last time I looked TGrant's Web page says he does not want to rehab or trade for machines that someone else has messed with.
Mechanically it seems to run like a top so I'm grateful for that. I have somewhere around 800 tapes, almost all in EP/SLP mode, to deal with. Some don't need any TBC and look fine on the normal VCRs I already had. Others have various issues that seem to be almost completely ironed out when played back in the AG-1980P (minus the issues mentioned above).
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  #7  
04-12-2016, 07:31 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Quote:
800 tapes, almost all in EP/SLP mode
Repairing the machine at TGrant amounts to substantially less than $1 per tape - cheap compared to the other costs and time involved in the process.

FWIW, the nominal life on the AG-1980 was 1000 hours before upper cylinder replacement is called for in the maintenance schedule. At EP speed, 800 tapes could easily get you there (unless they are all VHS-C), even if the heads are essentially new.
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04-12-2016, 07:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
Repairing the machine at TGrant amounts to substantially less than $1 per tape - cheap compared to the other costs and time involved in the process.

FWIW, the nominal life on the AG-1980 was 1000 hours before upper cylinder replacement is called for in the maintenance schedule. At EP speed, 800 tapes could easily get you there (unless they are all VHS-C), even if the heads are essentially new.
I never intended on using it for all 800 tapes. Only the ones that have issues, which is substantially less than that.

At this point I'm giving myself such a headache over all of this I'm wondering if I should just figure out what the second best VCR for dealing with 6-hour mode tapes is that wouldn't require so much work. I simply don't have the $300+ needed to fix this right now. Southern Advantage's quote, on the other hand, is well within my budget right now, but I can't figure out if I should trust them.

Sorry to have bothered you all.
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  #9  
04-12-2016, 10:09 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Its not a bother! No need to be sorry.
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  #10  
04-12-2016, 10:12 PM
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Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
Its not a bother! No need to be sorry.
Thanks. Maybe I'll just roll the dice on Southern Advantage and see what they can do. (They quoted me $145 for recapping the TBC board.)
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  #11  
04-13-2016, 07:53 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Let us know how Southern Advantage works out.
The price sounds low if it is based on you sending the machine to them rather than just the Y/C board due to the time to disassemble and reassemble but then NC is generally a lower labor cost part of the world. (Maybe their staff even includes some retired techs doing a bit of part time work to keep busy.)

On the plus side they appear to have a good BBB rating: http://www.bbb.org/charlotte/busines...ille-nc-102695
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  #12  
04-13-2016, 11:32 AM
snowpeck snowpeck is offline
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At first I thought they just wanted the board, but then they said to send the whole VCR. How do the individual boards come out anyway? I've pulled mine apart enough to get to the main board and the other boards underneath, but that's as far as I got.
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  #13  
04-13-2016, 12:15 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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The connectors from the daughter cards to the main board have sort of plastic "hooks" to prevent slipping out of the sockets. It takes a bit of effort to free them. A thin blade may help unhook them. They do not come out easily the first time. At least on my early production model AG-1980 there were a lot of wires and cables connecting parts. Note that later production used a slightly different Y/C board (there are photos in another thread on the AG-1980) with apparently fewer separate wires.
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  #14  
04-14-2016, 01:59 PM
snowpeck snowpeck is offline
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Thanks... was actually pretty easy to get out. Southern Advantage originally just wanted the TBC board, then I expressed concern that I didn't know how to get it out, so they said I could send the whole thing in (but were going to charge a big shipping fee.) Now I don't have to do that. I'll report back on how good of a job they do.

Also of note, JOTS no longer does service on AG-1980s. I know there was some discussion that they didn't for a while, then they started again, but they told me they have now stopped again. Their VCR tech completely retired a couple weeks ago.
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  #15  
04-24-2016, 11:45 PM
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I believe that caps affect most boards in the deck, and to get a proper value on the newly-capped boards (aka video contrast, IRE, etc), then you'll need the whole VCR for sure.

I'm dubious, but god luck, let us know how it goes.

SA has a good BBB rating, but a not-favorable reputation in the video community.

And you're never a bother. Thanks for sharing. And please keep sharing!

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  #16  
04-25-2016, 12:46 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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A recapped Y/C board only will likely improve performance significantly, but not optimally because other boards may still be bad or weak, and the new caps may results inY/C levels that are somewhat differenty from the original alignment settings. Thus best results are obtained when the full machine is available electrical and mechanical alignment. That said, your results may be "good enough" for your purposes. Bad caps on some boards and circuits might not be an issue at all; e.g., the RF boards, while others could present issues. Mine had some issues with controls as well that caused randomshut downs at times when controlls were pressed.
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  #17  
04-25-2016, 01:26 AM
snowpeck snowpeck is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
I believe that caps affect most boards in the deck, and to get a proper value on the newly-capped boards (aka video contrast, IRE, etc), then you'll need the whole VCR for sure.

I'm dubious, but god luck, let us know how it goes.

SA has a good BBB rating, but a not-favorable reputation in the video community.

And you're never a bother. Thanks for sharing. And please keep sharing!
Thanks for understanding. What other boards might need new caps given the problems I've described? I don't want to blow the rest of my limited budget at SA if it's not going to fix everything. Even if I had sent them the whole VCR, they would have only recapped the Y/C board for the price they quoted me.

I was hoping to make headway on my tape archive project this summer and because of a bunch of other things that came up including a nasty car repair bill, I only have a limited budget to work with. Most of my tapes recorded in the last 10-15 years are fine and I actually still have a couple of the VCRs that they were recorded with. It's the ones older than that, of which there are quite a few, that need line TBC and increased tracking control. And some of the really old ones (late 80s and early 90s) are beginning to show their age, so I want to get those digitized before I lose them.

I only spent $75 on the AG-1980 (knowing it wasn't in perfect condition, but hoping it was good enough) and chose it because of its reputation with SLP tapes, nearly all of which mine are. Maybe I should have gone with something less problematic like a JVC.

Update 5/7:

I got my boards back, and the front display works at least, but I accidentally ruined a flat cable and it won't load tapes. Is there a good place to get replacement flat cables?

I should point out it's the flat cable running from the main board to the board labeled "Mechanism Connection CBA" in the service manual. Some of the pins on one end became bent and weren't lining up properly in the slot. They then broke off as I was trying to unbend them.

At least mechanically, the machine worked beautifully previously.
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  #18  
05-08-2016, 05:42 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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You could try Panasonic Parts, but given the age of the machines it may no longer be available.

Alternatively you may be able to buy a "parts" machine and get lucky, or perhaps someone with a parts machine would be willing to "part-it-out"
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  #19  
05-08-2016, 02:14 PM
snowpeck snowpeck is offline
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I found an electronics parts store in town I'm going to try tomorrow. It's just a flat ribbon cable, the type used in all sorts of different electronics. Nothing specific to this model.
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  #20  
05-09-2016, 03:16 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Hope they can help you. Sometimes the connectors are a bit unusual and hard to find (not your average Radio Shack part) so one can repair or make a replacement cable.
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The following users thank dpalomaki for this useful post: lordsmurf (08-25-2016)
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