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  #1  
04-29-2013, 02:15 AM
phase52013 phase52013 is offline
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Hello; (my 1st post);
I'm not hugely technically but I get by. So if anyone can help I'd be most grateful.
I have a SONY SL-HF950/950E/950ES from 1985 that hasn't been used for the last 10 years.
It's been instorage but I'd now like to try and transfer my Betamax tapes to DVD.

I've tried a few tapes which all playback with the same problem. It looks like this:


Thats how it looks when the 950s tracking control is in it's centred "locked" position.
(The little tracking wheel control has a centred position that "clicks").

If I adjust the tracking the image looks like this:


Can anyone suggest what the problem is from the information in the first image?

Many thanks in advance for your help.
robert.


Attached Images
File Type: jpg Tracking2_zps51f8eedd.jpg (70.6 KB, 3 downloads)
File Type: jpg Tracking1_zpsd7ed45cc.jpg (143.7 KB, 2 downloads)
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  #2  
04-29-2013, 06:35 AM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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The machine may need to be aligned. Do all of your tapes show the same artifacts? Is playback speed stable and consistent? Listen to the audio, if its wavering up and down, it would point to a capstan/pinch roller problem.
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  #3  
04-29-2013, 09:22 AM
tomswift tomswift is offline
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Considering that your machine and tapes have been in storage for a decade, have you cleaned the heads? And with the tapes, you should fast-forward and rewind them before playing so ha you can repack the tapes and eliminate any loose particles that may be clogging your heads.
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04-29-2013, 07:37 PM
phase52013 phase52013 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
The machine may need to be aligned. Do all of your tapes show the same artifacts? Is playback speed stable and consistent? Listen to the audio, if its wavering up and down, it would point to a capstan/pinch roller problem.
Could you explain "aligned"? is this something that I could do?

Each tape I tried shows exactly the artifacts. Playback speed is stable, no speeding up or slowing down.
The linear audio sounds fine. I'm having some trouble getting the hi-fi audio to playback.
I'll try and check that again later today and report back.

Quote:
Originally Posted by tomswift View Post
Considering that your machine and tapes have been in storage for a decade, have you cleaned the heads? And with the tapes, you should fast-forward and rewind them before playing so ha you can repack the tapes and eliminate any loose particles that may be clogging your heads.
Oh yes, I learnt many years ago to FF and FR all tapes if they haven't been played for a while; and I have done that with each tape I've tried.

I have attepted to manually clean the heads with professional swabs etc. Acess to the heads, pinch roller etc is difficult because of the design of the HF950. The tape loading mechanism consists of a tray that sides out of the front of the machine and "pops up". It's not completely enclosed but it's close. I'll have to see if I can remove parts of the top of the tray to access the heads etc. and try cleaning all the parts again.

Thanks for your feedback NJRoadfan and Tomswift, it's appreciated.
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  #5  
04-30-2013, 07:20 AM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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would be a good idea to send it to Mr.Betamax for a tune up.
Betas (and just about all Sony decks/cams for that matter) are overcomplicated, finicky cuckoo-clocks.
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  #6  
04-30-2013, 08:18 PM
tomswift tomswift is offline
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Mr. Betamax would be a good place to send it, since if you've tried cleaning it, then it might be worn video heads or something else that is out of alignment or worn out that needs replacing, and not all electronic repair people are up to date on Betamax repairs.
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  #7  
04-30-2013, 08:58 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Seeing that the OP is in Australia, it might be wise to seek out a possible local repair source first. The VCR is pretty heavy and shipping to/from the USA is going to cost a small fortune. I'd suggest contacting Mr. Betamax and seeing he has a local referral for you first.

Sony touted their "C" shaped threading system as a Betamax benefit because it put less stress on the tape during playback. A side effect is Sony Betamax decks are pretty picky about tape tension when threaded. Repair centers have special tension and torque adjustment dummy tapes to properly service the deck as a result (http://www.mrbetamax.com/TorqueTapes.htm). Your problem is similar to what I experience with my SL-HF860D, although not nearly as bad. Sanyo decks, which use a completely different transport and threading setup don't seem to suffer from the same problems.
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  #8  
05-01-2013, 04:29 PM
tomswift tomswift is offline
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I just checked on the Pal Beta site and they have a listing for a place in Australia. It's called Beta Heaven. Don't know how good they are, but for the OP it's in Rowville, Victoria Australia. The website is www.betaheaven.com.
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  #9  
05-01-2013, 06:19 PM
phase52013 phase52013 is offline
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First - a big thank you to everyone who has responded, it is very much appreciated.

Second - I found the service manual for the HF950 on this site. (Thank you Juhok). This enabled me to remove the various bits and pieces that covered the video heads and tape path etc. so I was able to clean the heads, pinch roller, tape path etc.

Before cleaning:


After cleaning:






I'm going to try cleaning the unit again when I get a few moments free, just to see if it makes any difference.
It probably won't, but you never know. If it doesn't we'll move onto seeing about how to adjust tape tension. (Thanks NJRoadfan).

And thanks tomswift for the link to BetaHeaven in Victoria. I'll send them an email.
It might just be easier to buy a refurbished machine, if and when I can get some cash together.

Thanks everyone. Robert.

BTW: the tape i'm using for the above photos is 31 years old. it's held up pretty well.
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  #10  
05-01-2013, 08:29 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Physically check the tape and make sure it isn't scratched. The line looks like possible tape damage/defect.
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  #11  
05-02-2013, 12:56 AM
phase52013 phase52013 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NJRoadfan View Post
Physically check the tape and make sure it isn't scratched. The line looks like possible tape damage/defect.
Hi NJRoadfan;
I've checked all the tapes I've been using to test the HF950.
All are of different quality, being purchased over a period of years.
(The original L-750, L-750UHG, L-750Dynamicron etc.).
All appear free from any OBVIOUS damage.
No creases or scratches that I can see.

I'll keep working on the problem and post a resolution, one way or the other.
Thanks for your help.
Robert.

PS: You know I'd forgotten how long it takes a tape to FF and rewind .....
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