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  #1  
10-03-2018, 12:51 PM
HBB360 HBB360 is offline
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Hello everyone!
I've been looking at the forum for a while now and it's given me plenty of helpful tips in the past. This is my first time posting. I'm looking into getting a Philips VR20D D-VHS deck for really cheap compared to ebay prices (I'm getting it from a local listing website in my country so I don't think the low price has got anything to do with condition) for about 135GBP. The VCR is in great condition, barely any scuffs and scratches and it comes with the original remote control. The only thing I'm worried about is reliability, I've read in quite a few places that you should stay away from Philips decks with TurboDrive but no one ever specifies why. This is a copy of the JVC HM-DR10000 by the way with the only exterior difference being that a window has been added so that you can see the display with the front closed and obviously the TurboDrive mechanism which isn't present in the JVC.
Basically, I'm wondering if the claims that you should stay away from TurboDrive are justified or not, because I'm looking for a nice, feature packed workhorse VCR and this may be it. Also, I currently have a Philips VR969 with the same TurboDrive mechanism which has developped some odd noises in the past few months so that made me worried about the mechanism. On the other hand, I also have another TurboDrive Philips VR700 which works perfectly.
I'm hoping I'll receive a reply soon because I'm moving forward with the purchase in 2-3 days anyways since I really like this VCR and I'm ready to take a risk on it.
Thanks in advance
BTW here's a link to the listing (Bulgarian website, sorry) : https://bazar.bg/obiava-20167557/phi...video-recorder
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  #2  
10-03-2018, 02:24 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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If its a JVC clone, its going to have the same tape transport as the JVC deck.
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  #3  
10-03-2018, 03:36 PM
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I thought about that as well, but then why would Philips badge it as a TurboDrive which is not present on a JVC deck. Also, even if it has the same mechanism as the JVC, do you happen to know why people mostly recommend that you stay away from TurboDrive?
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  #4  
10-03-2018, 04:13 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Philips appears to have used the branding for many years. A reputation can follow a name. I am not familiar with Philips decks, but maybe the SuperDrive decks were sourced from JVC to begin with? It was very common to re-badge someone else's VCR in the later years of the format (like how every VCR-DVD combo made the last 10 years is just a re-badged Funai).
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  #5  
10-03-2018, 04:42 PM
Tester Tester is offline
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A word of caution: as has been well documented elsewhere...
Quote:
Philips made six mechanical versions (!), the first of which used a completely unadapted and dead-on-arrival Philips TurboDrive, the later ones oscillating between crappy Funai or crappy JVC.

Be careful when using the fast-forward function → always stop and rewind a little after a fast-forward cycle; otherwise, your precious D-tape is chewed.
I know this is all so true, being the owner of several of these machines (both Philips and JVC versions). Also, the mechas on these have a tendency to misalign (and even ultimately fail) for no apparent reason (mere gravity).

So, bear this in mind if "mechanical reliability" is your main concern.
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  #6  
10-03-2018, 04:49 PM
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My JVC HR-S7500U has the same tape chewing problem (its extra slack on the take up reel after a fast-forward), so I'm not particularly surprised.
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  #7  
10-04-2018, 12:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tester View Post
A word of caution: as has been well documented elsewhere...

I know this is all so true, being the owner of several of these machines (both Philips and JVC versions). Also, the mechas on these have a tendency to misalign (and even ultimately fail) for no apparent reason (mere gravity).

So, bear this in mind if "mechanical reliability" is your main concern.
Thanks for the reply. I was looking to buy this deck as a nice looking, reliable and feature packed VCR that I could use for many years so yes, I am looking for mechanical reliability. Bearing that in mind, would you recommend this deck for my use case and even if the answer is "no", do you know how common failures are and any early warnings that one might arise (I'm planning on going there and testing the deck before buying so I would like to know if there's things I should listen for).
Thanks
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  #8  
10-04-2018, 12:17 AM
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I don't have a favorable opinion of any D-VHS deck. Those should be a last choice on the recommended VCR lists. They've aged badly, and were attuned to SP usage (weak LP and SLP/EP playback). Also suffers same issues as S-VHS for VHS-C.

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Originally Posted by Tester View Post
A word of caution: as has been well documented elsewhere...
Full text, in case that page disappears:

Quote:
Philips VR-20D
(1999 - 2002)

Announced in 1994 in prevision of the future HD cable broadcasts, D-VHS was meant as a Bistream (the D stands for DATA) system of recording allowing for simultaneous recordings of different channels. It didn't really convince, especially since a unified European HD standard was then a matter of distant science-fiction - it still is...

When all plans for HD broadcasts were postponed due to the limited success of cable TV (the excellent analog D2-Mac standard in France) and the effects of an enduring economical crisis, D-VHS was forgotten almost at the same time it was announced.

The decks finally hit the streets in 1997/98, much too late as DVD was already only one year away... Too expensive they were, too,, especially for a format that seemed rather unsure - even for us lads who were spending a heck of a lot on imported US Laserdiscs to have quality video replay. And, from the moment DVD was announced, all tape-based formats seemed truly old-fashioned.

Now that DVD recorders are common and HD-DVD just around the corner, who'd care to fiddle with tapes I ask you? Image quality-wise, HD-DVD recorders will be the answer to non-compromising quality... whenever the giants will settle on a standard. D-VHS had it but it was an old standard

Anyway - a truly bad marketing campaign didn't help and one of the three decks presented (Philips VR-20D) was a rebadge of the initial JVC (HM-DR10000).

Said Philips made six mechanical versions (!), the first of which used a completely unadapted and dead-on-arrival Philips TurboDrive, the later ones oscillating between crappy Funai or crappy JVC.

Be careful when using the fast-forward function : always stop and rewind a little after a fast-forward cycle otherwise your precious D-tape is chewed.

Philips being a hugely important manufacturer in Europe, all this sounded quite fishy to many of us. To bury the format even more, the specific D-VHS tapes were almost unavailable, horribly expensive and the DV plug was INput only - that was the main blow.

As a result, very few decks were sold and most of the stocks wound up being heavily discounted. Philips quickly became totally mute regarding their "own" deck. Too bad - D-VHS is a great format and far superior to any DVD recorders indeed - with a data-rate in excess of 14Mb/s it isn't difficult !

Just as for the high-def' version of Laserdisc (MUSE), Japan saw quite a few D-VHS recorders and the market there was more "alive" or less dead if you like.

But given the lack of support, the virtual absence of a library of pre-recorded titles and the utter unobtainium of D-VHS tapes, the very dubious quality of the transport mechanism used in the Philips, the long-term reliability of the D tapes is in very serious doubt.

Given the absence of any European HD format, not even D-VHS' D-Theater high-definition version will ever save this excellent format from oblivion. Bye Bye.

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  #9  
10-04-2018, 12:51 AM
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lordsmurf,
Thanks for the reply. Even I have been here long rnough to see your stance against D-VHS and I fully agree with you. The problem is that I'm looking for a high-end S-VHS deck (I wasn't going to be using the digital part on the Philips) but those are rare to come buy without having to get them shipped from a few countries away which worries me considering their mechanical nature. If you're able to make an assessement, I did also see a Panasonic NV-HS880 S-VHS deck (looks extremely flashy) and my only problem with that is the lack of S-VIDEO on the back because I would like for all cables to be hidden.

edit: Holy cow that reply looks messed up. Sorry, I'm writing from my phone.
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  #10  
10-04-2018, 12:59 AM
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Yes, sometimes importing can be difficult. I understand. Either bad local post offices, or unwilling/xenophobic shippers. (And that last one is a main reason that I've always been open to shipping gear worldwide. And why I pack it so well, to withstand the trip. The first reason can also sometimes be avoided by using 3rd-party couriers, but it comes at a price.)

The bigger issue for the HS880 is lack of TBC. That alone disqualifies it for me.

I'd only pick of the D-VHS if cheap. But I'd rather simply keep looking for a better deck.

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  #11  
10-04-2018, 01:10 AM
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I hadn't really dug up any details about the Panasonic, if I knew about the lack of TBC I wouldn't even have bothered to mention it here. Anyways, thanks for the reply, I'll be on the lookout for better decks locally and I'll update you here if I have more questions .If I don't end up finding anything, I might consider shipping from other countries in Europe.
Thanks for the help everyone!

Also as a "senior" on this forum, if you have any recommendations for S-VHS decks that are easy to find online, I would appreciate them. If you've already talked about it on another thread I'd also appreciate a link.

edit: Thanks to whoever is compressing all of my posts into one, just noticed the "Edit" button on the bottom.
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  #12  
10-04-2018, 01:19 AM
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What's your budget?

Locating some in UK and Germany on eBay (especially Germany), tends to be easier than even the USA for good S-VHS decks. And PAL, of course. Most are not trashed (unlike USA eBay), and are often well maintained. But the main problem is most eBay sellers are either lazy or xenophobes. I'm often shocked by the number of "local pickup only" auctions in those countries. It's like they don't really want to sell them!

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  #13  
10-04-2018, 01:23 AM
HBB360 HBB360 is offline
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I would say that at most, my budget would be 150gbp. I have also noticed the local pickup only or the "No shipping outside of the UK" labels on some of these ads and it's quite annoying.
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10-04-2018, 01:27 AM
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You can ask if they'll ship to your location. But just know that some of the UK eBay sellers are downright rude. The German ones just ignore you. Thankfully, I have friends to proxy for me.

That said, 150 GBP ($195 USD) is somewhat low, hard to get a reliable deck for that price.

Good luck, keep hunting.

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  #15  
10-04-2018, 01:31 AM
HBB360 HBB360 is offline
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Shipping shouldn't be an issue as I'm using a third party company which is based in the UK and ships to my location. Thanks for the reply, I'll update you if I find anything interesting

-- merged --

Ignore the last post, the final deck I have to show you for today (promise ) is the Panasonic NV-HS950. What do you think about that one?
(Not adding this to my latest post because I'm not sure if you have a way of getting updated when I do edits. This way you'll hopefully notice the number of replies has gone up and see this quicker. Sorry if that's against some rule )
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  #16  
10-04-2018, 03:40 AM
Quasipal Quasipal is offline
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Philips VR969 making odd noises is usually a split drive shaft. It sits on the right hand side of the deck and shifts the modes but its nylon on a metal spindle and the nylon cracks so the shaft slips inside and the cracked cog going around plus the slipping makes some horrible noises. The gear is quite expensive so what I do is to take the cog off the end, wrap tightly with fine wire and then glue. Better than new!

Panasonic HS950 is very good. Probably my favourite Panny but K deck can start slipping (needs drive coupler) plus some have seen heavy use timeshifting so lower and upper drum worn plus dim display.

HS880 is Z deck. Avoid that. Its just too cheap inside with picture quality behind the older decks. All components are on one PCB - including the PSU which is a sure sign of cheap and nasty. Older decks used a separate and shielded PSU - keep it away from the sensitive picture process areas.
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10-04-2018, 06:23 AM
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Panasonic HS950 is very good. Probably my favourite Panny but K deck can start slipping (needs drive coupler) plus some have seen heavy use timeshifting so lower and upper drum worn plus dim display.
Thanks for the reply Quasipal,
I saw one of your older threads and your repair tutorial for K decks. If mine has such problems will I be able to follow this tutorial because mine will be a PAL one and in the old thread you said PAL and NTSC mechanisms are different.

Edit: NVM just got to the part where you explain that it's a PAL deck. Also I understand certain types of grease are to be avoided. You talk about it in the video but could you maybe put some links to grease online just as samples because I'm still unsure which ones to get. It would be very helpful as I plan to do a round of maintenance before I start using the unit.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quasipal View Post
Philips VR969 making odd noises is usually a split drive shaft. It sits on the right hand side of the deck and shifts the modes but its nylon on a metal spindle and the nylon cracks so the shaft slips inside and the cracked cog going around plus the slipping makes some horrible noises. The gear is quite expensive so what I do is to take the cog off the end, wrap tightly with fine wire and then glue. Better than new!
Thanks for the tip, I will try and look into the 969 problems as well, I want to get the HS950 running as smooth as possible when I get it first though and then I'll tackle the Philips.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quasipal View Post
plus some have seen heavy use timeshifting so lower and upper drum worn plus dim display.
In case I need to replace the drum, is it as simple as taking the old one off and putting the new one on or is there complicated realignment to be done. I'm seeing in the SM that the cylinder is a VEG1404 but I'm unable to find one anywhere, only a VEG1405 comes up but I don't think that's right. And when I google just Panasonic VEG1404 some random Japanese websites and useless stuff comes up.
Do you know where I could find a drum. And just to be clear, I don't have the unit yet, I haven't even paid for it but I'm getting obsessed with making it perfect once it arrives so all of these faults may not even be present in mine.
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  #18  
10-04-2018, 08:05 AM
Quasipal Quasipal is offline
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Upper and lower drum are long discontinued. I tried to get spares in 2007 but out of stock even then, plus the price was over 200 + VAT. No chance now, just make sure to buy a low use example because as heads wear you get less self-cleaning, more visible dropouts etc, even if the actual picture 'looks' the same on screen. I'm a stickler for 'as new' heads on these expensive decks. Older standard VHS like F65 and J35 have common heads, available quite easily for 20 or less.

Grease originally used is Molybdenum for drive gears and pinch roller slide and any soft synthetic grease for other areas. No too much - just a smear. More important is to get all the old grease out.

http://rover.ebay.co.uk/rover/1/711-...t/332755444272

http://rover.ebay.co.uk/rover/1/711-...t/121416162971

Edit to say a good way of determining use / wear is to ask questions about how and where it was used and to look at the two raised 'tape guides' on the tape flap. If a machine has been used quite a bit you see the bottom end of this weara to black plastic. Takes a seasoned eye but it shows at least that it has done many load/unload cycles.
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10-04-2018, 08:10 AM
HBB360 HBB360 is offline
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Thanks for the links, even though they are discontinued, do you not think I could find some new old stock or used ones somewhere (either ebay or sites like cdlens). Also I'm still curious about whether you need to do realignment of some sort when swapping drums?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Quasipal View Post
Edit to say a good way of determining use / wear is to ask questions about how and where it was used and to look at the two raised 'tape guides' on the tape flap. If a machine has been used quite a bit you see the bottom end of this weara to black plastic. Takes a seasoned eye but it shows at least that it has done many load/unload cycles.
I'm not sure I understand where to look and what to look for ("you see the bottom end of this weara to black plastic"), can you clarify what I should look for and do you have any photos that show where those guides are?
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  #20  
10-04-2018, 08:53 AM
Quasipal Quasipal is offline
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CD lens, Donberg, Charles Hyde, eBay, SeMe, East London Electrical - I tried them all and no stock at all. But there may be one or two out there but as they were so expensive it is unlikely that a shop has one kicking about, but if you find one well done! May be somewhere like a duplicating centre that used HS950's have some. Remember its 20 years since they discontinued the deck - and many places have closed or re-located in that time with throw outs each move.

Heads are 'plug and play' you just remove the anti-static brush and pull up on the head. The whole upper drum comes off and new head drops onto the spindle. Simplicity itself. The HD660 uses the same head design (not the same head) an no alignment needed. Super fast, no soldering and ready to go.

Please see photo showing HS950 loading wear (arrowed)


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