Quantcast Self-repair a VCR, TBC, SDI converter? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
05-31-2021, 01:58 PM
collegearchivist collegearchivist is offline
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So I posted my followup in my original thread, and probably was too wordy, so lets just jump to Option 1 suggested by reader.

What should be the expected budget if I want to buy and service used equipment to rip a bunch of videotapes straight to hard drive? I'm willing to learn how to do simple service - I used to play with electronics and soldering when I was younger, and i'm sure I could learn to service or replace video heads if it was too expensive to have someone else do and not too hard to learn...

I'm aware there are FAQ's here but what should the entire package cost used vs new, rules of thumb per item?

Like I see in the FAQ "video decks probably cost $150-400 used" but what does servicing cost for common things to keep them running, and how much service do they need how often?.

What do the TBC's cost or used value of the SDI converters and recorders? (or is there a reason to buy new if I expect from 1000-3000 hours of total encoding time since i've no clue how long each tape is in my other project)

- CA
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  #2  
06-01-2021, 07:11 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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The Marketplace forum can give you some idea of prices for known working gear.

ebay and other auction sites can give an idea of prices for gear of unknown condition and unknown remaining life - buying there is a high risk because there is no vetting of the sellers for technical competence and many if not most sellers do not have a clue about video gear beyond how NOT to set the clock .

There are industrial-oriented sites that offer old VHS gear, such as Southern Advantage Company. They offer warranties and sell at close to original list prices. They also claim to do repair work.

The best way to understand the maintenance recommendations for a given VCR is to get copy of the service manual. The attached PDF reflects the Panasonic recommendations for the AG-1980, a favored unit. Other units willhave similar recommendation.

Keep in mind that VCRs are electro-mechanical devices with parts that wear including heads, belts, idlers and parts that break such as plastic gears. They need cleaning and lubrication. Some makes/models are known to have components such as electrolytic capacitors that fail over time and need replacement. Servicing beyond simple cleaning can call for specialized gear such as oscilloscopes, alignment tapes, signal generators, and tension measuring equipment as well as technician knowledge and skill. Because many of the best machines went out of production 15+ years ago finding parts can be problematic.

Buying two machine and using one for parts is an approach, but be aware that units being sold for" parts" may already have the ones you need missing, or worn out.

I'm not saying don't do it, just be aware of what you are getting into.


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File Type: pdf AG-1980Maint.pdf (202.6 KB, 2 downloads)
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  #3  
06-02-2021, 11:24 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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The thread title makes no sense, so no idea what this is about yet...

Quote:
Originally Posted by collegearchivist View Post
What should be the expected budget if I want to buy and service used equipment to rip a bunch of videotapes straight to hard drive?
What does "and service" mean?
Are you expecting to buy gear that's not working, and then fix it? If so, it probably won't work well, you don't know what you don't know, and "I'll just watch Youtube videos to learn" isn't going to help much here, as lots of this info isn't on Youtube.

Quote:
I'm willing to learn how to do simple service - I used to play with electronics and soldering when I was younger,
Realistically, most people have trouble just properly cleaning heads (NO Q-TIPS! NO OPEN-CELL FOAM!), including knowing when NOT to clean (overclean!) heads.

Quote:
and i'm sure I could learn to service or replace video heads
I doubt it. It's extremely complex, and even I don't mess with it. In fact, most techs don't, and never did. In the old days, toss it, buy a new one. Now, get a donor deck (which is far more costly now compared to even a few years ago, due to diminishing supplies).

Quote:
if it was too expensive to have someone else do and not too hard to learn...
Define "expensive". Pit a number ($) on that
Even DIY will have costs.

Quote:
I'm aware there are FAQ's here but what should the entire package cost used vs new, rules of thumb per item?
There's no broad rule.
There's nothing new. Even "new" will degraded in the box after decades.

Right now, for certain items, refurbished, you can get 100-200% of MSRP. (Remember that MSRP was 15-25 years ago, so in actuality is less dollars in 2021 dollars. If you appreciate the 1995-2005 costs to 2021 dollars, that 200% isn't really 200%.) Other models are barely worth 50%. Quality video follow the photo rules, where gear in good condition is 50/66/75% of value, with some fetching 100%+ for varying reasons (rare, demand, refurbish, etc).

Pricing in the FAQs was from 2000s and early/mid 2010s. By late 2010s, now 2020s, those numbers are wrong now. I need to update when time available.

Quote:
but what does servicing cost for common things to keep them running, and how much service do they need how often?.
I expect from 1000-3000 hours of total ... time
There's no one answer here. It depends on model, and problems. An AG-1980, for example, can cost thousands to fix if needed (qualified tech time + parts from equally pricey donor decks).

For a few thousand hours, you run risk on a deck failing mid-project. So it becomes imperative to get a good refurbished deck in advance. It's only when you have a handful of tapes, that you can roll the dice, and hope it lasts long enough to do what's needed.
.
Quote:
What do the TBC's cost or
There's a lot of bad models of TBC on eBay (example: "black" 1T-TBC), or bad copies of good models (bad-cap "working/tested" TBC-1000s), for the low price of under $1k. You'd piss away lots of money for something that doesn't work. I have confirmed working units in the marketplace, almost always refurbished, and fairly priced.

Quote:
used value of the SDI converters and recorders?
Most people don't want SDI, so value reflects that. SDI works for some folks, but it has limitations, different usage scenarios, etc.

Quote:
(or is there a reason to buy new
There is no new.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dpalomaki View Post
The Marketplace forum can give you some idea of prices for known working gear.
ebay and other auction sites can give an idea of prices for gear of unknown condition and unknown remaining life - buying there is a high risk because there is no vetting of the sellers for technical competence and many if not most sellers do not have a clue
^ This.

Quote:
Buying two machine and using one for parts is an approach, but be aware that units being sold for" parts" may already have the ones you need missing, or worn out.
^ This.

Quote:
I'm not saying don't do it, just be aware of what you are getting into.
I remember when Deter came here about a decade ago, with some minor VCR knowldge. He's now an extremely talented VCR tech, and can even take on repair projects I cannot. So I'd never discourage that. This community needs more competent VCR folks. But he's just one of the many people who have been on this forum (or VH) over the years, or contacted me directly. Most of them had the wrong expectations, most never be seen or heard from again.

Learning to refurb gear is daunting, and have costs. Your first DIY VCR project will cost more than $1k, between parts and tools (lots of special screwdrivers and things needed, not in your normal toolbox), to say nothing of time.

- Did my advice help you? Then become a Premium Member and support this site.
- For sale in the marketplace: TBCs, workflows, capture cards, VCRs
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  #4  
06-02-2021, 02:55 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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A few more thoughts: These are some more issues to resolve in your own mind as you proceed.

The Service Manuals usually identify the needed unique servicing equipment, materials, and supplies as well as parts numbers. In some cases the more common equipment may be inferred from the servicing instructions; things like a VOM. o'scope, etc. Factory alignment tapes are hard to find.

SDI is mainly an interface for professional/industrial applications and gear. SDI converters often expect a "legal" signal - issues such as levels, timing, phase, and stability. These are conditions many consumer VCRs and home video will not meet. And current SDI gear tends to focus on current signal standards such as HD and FHD. The converters may have difficulty with super whites (over 100 IRE) and super blacks (below 7.5 IRE for USA NTSC). On the plus side SDI is well supported by Win10 systems.

A VCR sold as new in an unopened box probably has pristine heads, but you can count on lubrication, rubber and plastic parts to have aged according to time and the storage conditions. Some electrical components like electrolytic capacitors may have deteriorated as well, and any internal batteries will likely be problematic.
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  #5  
06-02-2021, 03:08 PM
latreche34 latreche34 is offline
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What do you replace the VCR heads for? There is no new heads and if you get a donor deck with good heads may as well use it and swap whatever is not working in that donor deck from the one you have, Swapping a power supply or a PCB is a lot easier than replacing the head.

Also learning VCR repair takes practice and a lot of learning, Technicians who did this for a leaving spent years learning before they can say I can fix that VCR, and guess what sometimes they can't.
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  #6  
06-02-2021, 07:06 PM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Good point. Makes sense to do the easy swaps. In some cases it might even make sense to swap the mechanism rather than boards, heads, or cylinders.

The issue becomes which parts are interchangeable among the various models. FWIW: removing many of the boards in an AG-1980 is a bitch of a job.

Moden devices use so many large scale integrated circuits there is not much that can be repaired/replaced. Power supplies, I/O jacks, and maybe some electrolytic caps is about it. But the cost of paid-for bench time is prohibitive. In the early-ish days of color TV a 18 inch screen model sold for maybe $500 tp $1000. A technician billed out at around $10 per hour. Today a 42" HD set sells for the same $500-$1000, but the technician bills out at $150 per hour. No wonder it is a throwaway economy.
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