Quantcast AG-1980s with recording issues (snow, tracking, color lines): worn heads? - digitalFAQ Forum
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  #1  
03-04-2019, 08:33 PM
tapekeep tapekeep is offline
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First time posting, hello, hope the formatting is correct.

I've recently purchased two AG-1980s from MercadoLivre (the Brazilian eBay, pretty much the same expectations ), advertised as working, about $110 each with shipping. Both units are from 1997, screens are nice and bright, both are inserting, fast forwarding, rewinding and ejecting tapes without hesitation.

1980front.jpg
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While they do indeed play commercial tapes with little to no issue (after warming up for 30 minutes to iron out some uneven color lines), recording is a totally different matter. One of the machines doesn't accept S-Video input, the other doesn't like composite input (no video at all). One of the machines (A7TC00678) records SP just fine, while SLP is snowy; the other one (A7TC00686) records SLP nicely but SP is the worst offender of the four video examples attached. All examples were recorded on a brand new JVC S-VHS tape from a Panasonic DMR-ES10 source.

For some commercial tapes, manual tracking is required to get Hi-Fi audio working (the tapes tested work fine on other cheapo VCRs).

I don't know if the attached photos are good enough to determine if the heads are broken or worn, I could try snapping some better ones later. Seller says that both units got plenty of use, I'll believe him on that.

The questions: I'm still within the return period, should I return the VCRs? Are these decks within reasonable repair (as in not requiring new video heads or other hard to find parts)?

Worst comes to worst, at least I got three remotes as a consolation prize.

1980serial.jpg


Attached Images
File Type: jpg A7TC00678 h1.jpg (75.9 KB, 3 downloads)
File Type: jpg A7TC00678 h2.jpg (72.7 KB, 1 downloads)
File Type: jpg A7TC00678 h3.jpg (67.4 KB, 2 downloads)
File Type: jpg A7TC00678 h4.jpg (71.6 KB, 1 downloads)
File Type: jpg A7TC00678 top.jpg (83.9 KB, 3 downloads)
File Type: jpg A7TC00686 h1.jpg (67.1 KB, 1 downloads)
File Type: jpg A7TC00686 h2.jpg (65.8 KB, 1 downloads)
File Type: jpg A7TC00686 h3.jpg (82.6 KB, 1 downloads)
File Type: jpg A7TC00686 h4.jpg (82.5 KB, 1 downloads)
File Type: jpg A7TC00686 top.jpg (74.1 KB, 5 downloads)
Attached Files
File Type: avi A7TC00678 SVHS SLP.avi (64.80 MB, 4 downloads)
File Type: avi A7TC00678 SVHS SP.avi (92.16 MB, 5 downloads)
File Type: avi A7TC00686 SVHS SLP.avi (89.51 MB, 4 downloads)
File Type: avi A7TC00686 SVHS SP.avi (82.99 MB, 6 downloads)
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  #2  
03-15-2019, 02:59 PM
ofesad ofesad is offline
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Hello from Argentina, neighbor!

Is recording a priority for you with these decks? I assume yes.

First, have you done a proper cleaning of the heads with isopopanol (isoprophyl) alcohol?
Also the plate on top of the head (earth plate, or grounding plate) has small piece of metal that touches the center of the head. Should be cleaned too. This is known for causing "comets" in the image.

The connectors (svideo or composite) could have a pin disoldered or broken. I happens with old electronics. Do you have a multimeter and al soldering iron? Could be an easy fix. If not, could be bad caps too. These models are known for having to replace most (if not all) the electrolitic caps.

110usd each is a lot for us in latin america. I paid around 15usd for EACH of my AG4700. Sure, they need some work, but having three, now I have spares to build one.

I dont know how's the brazil market prizes, but a VCRs like that, in that condition, here should be no more than 50 o 60usd each.

I just checked MercadoLivre, there is a JVC Hr-S7200u for 50usd but it doesn't power on. Could be an easy fix for little money. I would bargain for it. Worst case I would have it for parts.
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  #3  
03-16-2019, 11:00 PM
tapekeep tapekeep is offline
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Originally Posted by ofesad View Post
Hello from Argentina, neighbor!

Is recording a priority for you with these decks? I assume yes.
Hello, thanks for the detailed answer!

I can't think of many reasons to use this as a recording deck other than just for the novelty of it, but I wanted to test everything before leaving feedback for the seller and waking up the next day with a nasty surprise. Turns out I didn't need to test it thoroughly, as the situation has just escalated and now one of the decks decided it doesn't want to turn on anymore.

Since I have a total of zero experience with repairing electronics, both machines are with the only technician that accepts to service these in the vicinity. I don't mind sending the VCRs on a road trip if that means two properly refurbished 1980s, though.

Playback is largely unaffected, I just have to leave it playing for 30 minutes to get a crystal clear image. The heads were cleaned with folded printer paper, a dash of isopropyl and gentle pressure while rotating the cylinder counterclockwise (same procedure that I use for the other VCRs). Had no idea about that plate, will test it if/when I get them back.

The S-Video issue was probably an error on my part, there's a switch for the input. First time using a professional deck!

Apart from a faulty AG-1980 going for about the same price, I didn't find any other listings. As far as other suitable S-VHS decks, I got a JVC HR-S8007UM in 2014 which has also been through the ringer prior to landing in my hands. It's quite limited, has a video stabilizer but nothing that calls itself a TBC in the menus.

The real, real problem is that most of my tape collection is comprised of TV recordings, which introduces a whole new challenge in the form of PAL-M. Only consumer VCRs support this standard as far as I know. I got these S-VHS decks knowing that the scope would be limited to NTSC material (mostly commercial tapes), but it's a bummer nonetheless.
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03-16-2019, 11:51 PM
ofesad ofesad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapekeep View Post

The real, real problem is that most of my tape collection is comprised of TV recordings, which introduces a whole new challenge in the form of PAL-M. Only consumer VCRs support this standard as far as I know. I got these S-VHS decks knowing that the scope would be limited to NTSC material (mostly commercial tapes), but it's a bummer nonetheless.
Yeah, I have the same issue here with PAL-N, the one we use in Argentina.
You should know that a PAL deck (a european PAL, for example) would play PAL-M and PAL-N tapes.
The only "issue" it's that it will output a PAL-B (or PAL-D) signal instead of PAL-N/M.

For example, I have three Panasonic AG4700. These are european PAL-B decks (and SECAM, too). But if I insert a PAL-N tape it plays it with no problem.
Panasonic AG4700 is the "professional" version of the Panasonic HS1000.

If I connect it directly to an old tv, that's where the issues appears! haha!
Some modern tv's would have issues too. The other day I couldnt watch a movie on a Sony LCD because it was bought in Chile and it only supported NTSC signals in the RCA video inputs.

But if you want to see it in a modern LCD screen, you can use an upscaller to HDMI and that would solve the problem.

If I connect my AG4700 to mi Pinnacle USB capture card or my ATI AIW X800 (USA Version) it would capture in color perfectly if you select PAL-B in the tuner option.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tapekeep View Post
Apart from a faulty AG-1980 going for about the same price, I didn't find any other listings. As far as other suitable S-VHS decks, I got a JVC HR-S8007UM in 2014 which has also been through the ringer prior to landing in my hands. It's quite limited, has a video stabilizer but nothing that calls itself a TBC in the menus.
Remember: It's better to have a external TBC. They are hard to find but it's worth it. Most people here will tell you the same.
I am in the hunt for one but I am cheap, so I can't affort it right now.

Quote:
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Since I have a total of zero experience with repairing electronics, both machines are with the only technician that accepts to service these in the vicinity. I don't mind sending the VCRs on a road trip if that means two properly refurbished 1980s, though.
Sadly AG1980 are known to have problems with Surface Mounted Electrolitics capacitors.

About the issue you have now, it doesn't turn on at all? completly dead? no power, no stand by? nothing?
That could be the power section, could be an easy fix.

Most AG1980's if not all, came for 120v. Did you use a stepdown/stepup transformer for connecting it to the AC outlet, right?
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  #5  
03-17-2019, 01:29 AM
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The electrical system here is 127 volts, I just plugged both units straight into a UPS. The faulty machine turns on, the VU meter and the standby light go on and then everything turns off. It did accept a tape and properly threaded it while in this "fault mode", but no luck pressing the eject button.

For an external TBC and proc amp, local Internet listings aren't much help. I'm using the ES10 as a passthrough for both TBC and PAL-M transcoding for my not ideal temporary recording solution (Digital 8 camcorder as DV passthrough). That last part will hopefully be rectified with a Kona LHi (not the only reason I got it for; I'm done with AVerMedia and the never-ending headache that is the Live Gamer HD).

I'd love to test a PAL S-VHS machine (assuming it does 60Hz). The NTSC decks get a picture with PAL-M material, but there's the unfortunate side effect of green people (dubbed in local Internet culture as the "Xuxa verde" effect) and magenta skies.
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03-17-2019, 02:24 AM
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Recording on a VCR in 2019? Why?

If the playback is good, then I'd keep them. But a "warm up period" makes it sounds as if caps are going bad. Though $110 USD is an extremely fair price for a caps-repair deck. Of course, with no repair experience, you'll have to locate somebody that can replace the caps.

The deck failed? And plugged in a UPS ... strange.

FYI: The "green" 1T Cypress external frame TBC that I have in the marketplace subforum right now has PAL, PAL-M, PAL-N, NTSC, and NTSC4. So it will probably be extremely useful. I may also have one with internal hardware format conversion, though native capture is always better. I need to test it with my own PAL and NTSC workflows.

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03-17-2019, 02:44 AM
ofesad ofesad is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tapekeep View Post
The electrical system here is 127 volts, I just plugged both units straight into a UPS. The faulty machine turns on, the VU meter and the standby light go on and then everything turns off. It did accept a tape and properly threaded it while in this "fault mode", but no luck pressing the eject button.
Ufff, it's has been such a long time since I went to Brazil that I forgot.


Do you get an error number?
F03 and F04 refer to a problem in the loading system.
Probably the worm gear on the loading motor, which eventually begins to slip on the shaft after many years. That's a common problem on K decks (AG1980 and AG4700 have the same deck mechanism, called K).

Two of my AG4700 have the same problem. It's the coupler that goes in the shaft of the motor and connects the wormwheel. It's a cheap piece of plastic... that you would have to order to Europe or USA, cause probably won't find it in any repair shop.
Oh and watch over the sliders (picture and headphones). Those are even rarer!

I am actually awaiting parts for mine and was considering ordering a large amount of the most common breaking parts, like the coupler.

If you are interested and you don't have an urge for repair it, I could ship it to you as I get'em.

--UPDATE--

I just remembered I had a similar issue with one of my AG4700, most probably it's the coupler.
Could be some misalignment in the loading mechanism. It tookme several days to find out what was wrong.




Quote:
Originally Posted by tapekeep View Post

I'd love to test a PAL S-VHS machine (assuming it does 60Hz). The NTSC decks get a picture with PAL-M material, but there's the unfortunate side effect of green people (dubbed in local Internet culture as the "Xuxa verde" effect) and magenta skies.


Yes it does support 50/60hz!


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Last edited by ofesad; 03-17-2019 at 02:59 AM.
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  #8  
03-17-2019, 03:48 PM
tapekeep tapekeep is offline
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Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
Recording on a VCR in 2019? Why?
Other than novelty reasons and skipping a much needed After Effects course, I can't come up with reasonable explanations. I'll probably hold on to those as playback units if the local technician gets them up to speed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
The deck failed? And plugged in a UPS ... strange.
Left it unplugged most of the time, the fault arised after about a day or two of leaving it off.

Quote:
Originally Posted by lordsmurf View Post
FYI: The "green" 1T Cypress external frame TBC that I have in the marketplace subforum right now has PAL, PAL-M, PAL-N, NTSC, and NTSC4. So it will probably be extremely useful. I may also have one with internal hardware format conversion, though native capture is always better. I need to test it with my own PAL and NTSC workflows.
It might be the only choice, the ES10 does a good enough job of setting the picture straight, but it jumps up and down just enough to be noticeable on occasion (I don't know if the Digital 8 [DCR-TRV120] camcorder's TBC works in passthrough mode, doesn't fix the jumping, but the highest quality capture format out of that is NTSC DV). I could test one of the worst offenders, a TV recording from 2008 in SLP using a worn tape that has no stable sync at all but otherwise clear signal. I'll do that as soon as I find it, as I didn't think to label those back then.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ofesad View Post
Do you get an error number?
F03 and F04 refer to a problem in the loading system.
No errors, just turns off unannounced.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ofesad View Post
I am actually awaiting parts for mine and was considering ordering a large amount of the most common breaking parts, like the coupler.

If you are interested and you don't have an urge for repair it, I could ship it to you as I get'em.
Absolutely no hurry, all of the tapes are donations and I have no intention of ever throwing them away. Local university libraries with VHS collections that I plan on converting also hold on to them with great care. I've also converted the vast majority of my collection already, just not with an ideal setup (consumer VCRs straight to an EasyCAP). Don't knock it, it's semi-watchable!
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