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#138976 - 10/08/03 04:43 PM VCR Tapes?
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Hi there all,
I've got a problem with some old music Video tapes that I have had since the late 80's.
The problem is, due to over use, I can no longer play them and the last time I tried this, the heads on my video had to be cleaned.
Is there any way that I can salvage these tapes so that I can play them just once more to copy them on to some new tapes?.
When played, the TV screen is just covered with large amounts of snow and there is no sound at all.
No amount of Tracking adjustment seems to make a difference, either.
Could someone please help?.
{Paul, sorry if this is wildly off-topic, just wondered if there was anything I could do to salvage these tapes. }

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 10-09-2003).]
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#138977 - 10/09/03 08:08 AM Re: VCR Tapes?
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Magnetic tapes become unreadable after some time. The magnetic layer is simply destroyed by time and separates from the tape. It is difficult to salvage them, but it can be done by drying them if I recall correctly. Don't ask me how, I don't know but I know there is equipment and methods to do that.

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#138978 - 10/09/03 11:18 AM Re: VCR Tapes?
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
I recall reading that some formulations of video tape around in the 1980s actually have quite a problem with the binder, resulting in the oxide coating wearing away from the backing. Contrary to what most people would think, tapes from the 1970s have often fared much better.

There may be a fancy (and very expensive!) process to provide a temporary fix, but it's probably only something that would be done by the big pro outfits to salvage very important material.

One dodge I've heard of people using is to "wipe" the tape. It involves getting inside the VCR and winding the tape end-to-end a few times while gently holding cotton buds against the tape to remove the loose coating. There's the problem that if the oxide comes away that parts of the tape may become unwatchable, or at least display a larger number of "specklies," but it might clean it up enough to allow a single pass to re-record.

It might still be necessary to stop the dubbing at convenient points and clean the heads and guides before continuing. The result won't be perfect and is not guaranteed to work, but if the tape is unwatchable now anyway, it's worth a try.

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#138979 - 10/10/03 03:25 PM Re: VCR Tapes?
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
C-H, Paul,
Thanks for your help guys!.
I realise that it may be far too late to do anything with these tapes.
Should have copied them years ago, but I have never been in a situation where I have had 2 VCR's, until now.
I repaired a fault in a VCR(cassette drive train motor was burned out) for a customer a while back and he didn't want to pay the $120 repair fee, so I kept the video, goes fine too!.
Paul, what is the average life of a video cassette tape, as in how many record-playback cycles, should you expect from a good quality tape?, provided the heads are kept clean?.
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#138980 - 10/11/03 02:18 PM Re: VCR Tapes?
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
Hmmm... How long is a piece of string?

I think this is one of those questions to which you'll get as many different answers as the number of people you ask.

It depends very much on the quality of tape, the conditions under which it's stored, how often it's used, how well adjusted the machine is, and so on.

It's the same with any sort of tape: Old reel-to-reel audio tapes on acetate backing deteriorate and break easily, but I have polyester-backed audio tape dating back 40 years which are still fine.

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