The RTI Tapechek is not as effective as they want you to think. It works well with reasonable cleaned tapes. If mold has eaten into the emulsion you're pretty much done with it and you're only losing your time. Then, there's the stickiness problem... most of the time you will find yourself with a situation where the VCR isn't able to drag the tape in which case you should take care of this first before attempting to clean it.
It's not worth your time most of the time.
Originally Posted by bigkazzyry
I'm in the planning phases of creating a DIY VHS tape cleaner/polisher for some severely moldy tapes I will be converting in the months ahead. The RTI Tapechek systems are way out of my budget and I haven't seen any systems available for anything south of $1200. I have seen you can rent the systems but I will be getting an ongoing stream of VHS tapes from family so renting it for a week or so will not work. I have been successful with using an old vcr with microfiber and 91+% Alcohol in removing the mold successfully but a couple of my tapes have even more issues with the surface of the film which I'm hoping to polish out. I have already captured a lossless file with the current tape in case my system damages it further.
My Question: What type of metal and finish (They appear to mostly be polished) are the tape guides and rollers in the VCR's and VHS tapes? (Aluminum, steel, stainless steel, etc..)
I've been looking at using some metal dowel pins to route the cleaning system similar to the one pictured in the attachment but I want to be sure I'm not running the tapes across a metal that will damage the film. I was initially looking at Stainless Steel Dowel Pins but I read that those can be partially magnetized and I wasn't sure if that would end up causing issues with the tape. Thanks for any feedback.