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08-16-2014, 07:37 PM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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Are there certain brands of VCRs which are not recommended to buy used given the paucity of parts available? I was looking at a used Minolta MV-160S (which I believe was manufactured by Hitachi) as well as a Cadillac JVC HR-s800u. Both decks seem quite old and I don't know how difficult it will be to repair them.
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  #2  
08-16-2014, 07:42 PM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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i would not recommend either
neither have TBC and are too old
you want late 90's early 2000's decks

stick with JVC Panasonic and Mitsubishi TBC equipped decks
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  #3  
08-16-2014, 09:56 PM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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Really? I know I need one with a TBC, but a good one without may be useful. Also, a parts site said that " In most cases, a VCR made since 2000 is considered disposable, because there are no parts available for most newer VCRs. There are also no parts available for ANY make or model DVD/VCR combo."
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  #4  
08-17-2014, 08:18 AM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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avoid combos
only real use for a non-tbc vcr is to rewind/ff/check what is on tapes
for that you can just use any $2 yard sale deck and throw it out if it breaks
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  #5  
08-17-2014, 02:50 PM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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It is not worth it to buy a cheap non-tbc SVHS VCR to play good tapes?
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  #6  
08-18-2014, 07:43 AM
Quasipal Quasipal is offline
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As I do some repair of VCR's I find that any of the Panasonic K deck VCR's (they were made from 1994-2000) to be very reliable and easy to repair. They only have a couple of weak points and thankfully they are easy to rectify (I am working on a guide to repairing these). As you say, its noce to have a VCR without all the features but that still gives good/excellent image quality for reviewing tapes. I use the Panasonic NV-HD660 for this - no TBC but excellent heads and build (1996-1998). I'm in the PAL region so models do differ region to region.

I also like the Philips 'TurboDrive' machines (1998-2002 - the Philips made ones) as although the mechanism uses much plastic and some parts do break they are easy to fix and align and parts are available.

I really have not had much luck with post 1990 JVC repairs. I struggle to get parts and the mechansim with the Dynamic Drum was 'parts not available' when I tried to get an order together. However old (1980's) JVC/Ferguson are easy to fix and keep going. A whole cassette carriage was only 5 and a new head was available off the shelf.
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  #7  
08-18-2014, 08:42 PM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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What Panasonic machines are you referring to? The KM-205 or KV-740? I did find a TurboDrive for sale--for the price of a Macbook! Does it even have a TBC?


Attached Images
File Type: jpg turbodrive ebay.jpg (41.1 KB, 10 downloads)

Last edited by Winsordawson; 08-18-2014 at 09:22 PM.
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  #8  
08-18-2014, 09:14 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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That TurboDrive Phillips was made by JVC like all of their late 90s decks. It doesn't have Digipure, just a video stabilizer and "Smart Picture" control. The latter looks like the same circuit found in JVC x600/x800/x900 units that runs the AUTO/DETAIL/NORM/SOFT filters. Oh, and it isn't worth $1500 either. Its functionally equivalent to a run of the mill HR-S5800U.
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  #9  
08-20-2014, 08:32 AM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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There must be a lot of VCR anoraks willing to pay those prices...I have seen a JVC SR-S365U and HR-S7500 for sale, which are both in the buying guide. The latter is over two-and-a-half times the price of the former model ($130 vs $50). Is that worth the cost and possible need for repair? There are also several cheap s3900U's, a model not listed in the guide.
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  #10  
08-20-2014, 08:35 AM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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3900's dont have TBC and are only good if you want to watch or record VHS
the 7500 has TBC and is a good deck
the 365 is so-so - has a good mech, but no TBC - i would not pay much for a 365
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  #11  
08-20-2014, 08:48 AM
Quasipal Quasipal is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Winsordawson View Post
What Panasonic machines are you referring to? The KM-205 or KV-740? I did find a TurboDrive for sale--for the price of a Macbook! Does it even have a TBC?
Any of the mid to late 90's Panasonic models should be using the rugged K mechanism but as I'm in the UK I cannot suggest an NTSC model as I won't have been able to try it. Any with jog and shuttle should be decent. The Turbo Drive Philips models were called the World Deck in other countries I have found out. The Philips in your eBay listing is 100% JVC mechanism and the one I had was an enthusiastic tape chewer. Shame that you are not in a PAL region - I could help you much more precisely.
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  #12  
08-20-2014, 10:33 PM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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Thanks, since most of my tapes are in horrendous shape and have to be professional converted $130 may be too much for a countertop. I was looking at several Mitsubishi Turbodrives that are popular among bidders but also lack a TBC. Are these better than some of the JVCs or am I missing something? I thought the TurboDrive is just a fast rewinder.
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  #13  
08-21-2014, 04:25 AM
Quasipal Quasipal is offline
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The reason I mention TurboDrive is for reasons of repairability - the 'proper' Philips TurboDrive machine has a mechansm drive motor that connects to the main drive gear via a long metal rod. I have had one of these mechanisms completely messed up and out of sync and after printing off the alignment chart (available free online) I had it working absolutely perfectly - and I had never seen one before. They are nice and easy - not a complete mess of small parts. Luckily most mid-upper range Philips machines have a great picture quality with adjustable sharpness.

Take a look at this VHS clip I uploaded https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S89o9phVh5A on a Philips deck - they are good.

I'm sorry I have never tried a Mitsubishi so can't compare to JVC but then again I personally avoid later JVC VCR's as they are the only machines I have used that brazenly chewed up a tape just because 'it didn't like it'. I love the 80's JVC's though - so rugged and great PQ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nq6aqkiB3fE (JVC rebadged as Ferguson).

With really old and flaky recordings I have found TBC or filters can worsen the image because the signal from the tape is not to the quality that the VCR needs to operate those functions reliably. In these instances a sturdy 1980's JVC VCR with brass impedance roller (to stabilise the tape incoming to the video head) and metal chassis does the best.

If in doubt post a few links here to models that catch your eye and we will give our opinions.
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  #14  
08-21-2014, 09:12 PM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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Thanks, I have read about how some JVCs eat tapes, but they do play well when working. I saw that clip--if you didn't tell me it was from VHS I would not doubt it came straight from DVD! I had a Mitsubishi--it wasn't bad but not fantastic either. I don't need a top-of-the-line VCR like a Panny 1980 because my worse tapes are going to be converted professionally (aka LordSmurf). But I don't mind getting an average and mid-line SVHS VCR. The only Phillips I found was a VR-960 for $30. I could not find too many old SVHS VCRs from the '80s. Are any of these worth buying? The JVC HR-S5902U is cheap enough as a backup in any case.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/221512878204...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll...:B:WNA:US:3160
http://www.ebay.com/itm/161400250786...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
http://www.ebay.com/itm/161400360329...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
http://www.ebay.com/itm/261564839374...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
http://www.ebay.com/itm/121414714660...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
http://www.ebay.com/itm/161399337472...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
http://www.ebay.com/itm/111425573698...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT
http://www.ebay.com/itm/311053046926...%3AMEBIDX%3AIT

I apologize if there are too many--these seem to be the better ones currently around.
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  #15  
08-22-2014, 03:30 AM
Quasipal Quasipal is offline
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If it were me I'd take a punt on the Philips 960. The remote should not be hard to track down.

That first clip I referenced was from a similar Philips VR969 S-VHS deck playing a 1990's plain VHS home recording. I really can't vouch for the JVC models but DON'T buy the Panasonic 1980 you linked to - it needs a full rebuild.

If you do get the Philips, take time to clean up the full tape path - every bit of it. Check carefully that the pinch roller is not hardened. If it is you'll need a new one (they go hard because oil migrates past the capstan oil seal and reacts with the roller).
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  #16  
08-22-2014, 04:05 AM
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Instead of "most repairable" I'm more interesting in VCRs that need repairing the least!

The JVC needs the least repairs.
The Panasonic needs more, but is so far proving to be very repairable. It's just a simple capacitor issue.

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  #17  
08-22-2014, 08:30 AM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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For the price the Phillips could not hurt. Regarding the JVCs, which of the following is the best: the HR-S4800U, HR-S3600U, or HR-S3800U? I read that the Smurflord had a 3800. And is there a big difference compared with the HR-S5902U?
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  #18  
08-24-2014, 07:45 AM
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The HR-S3800 decks were mostly good for recording S-VHS-ET, or for purposely misaligning for playing problem tapes.

The 3600, 4600, 3800 and 4800 are really the same. The fklying erase head on the 4600/4800 was the only difference.

The 5902 is not the same lineage, from what I remember. I actually have one in the closet that I never use. It was given to me as part of a trade. It's really lightweight, almost all plastic. I have consumer VCRs that are heavier.

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  #19  
08-24-2014, 11:53 AM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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Thanks, it looks like that lineage is the best for a small price!
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