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Old 7th May 2021, 12:36 pm   #1
andypilgrim
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Default RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder. (Actually a 600A)

Hi There, I'm pretty new to this forum. I am currently restoring a RCA TR-600 Quadruplex 2 inch video recorder built in 1973. It's been a mission, I managed to obtain some service information but by no means is it complete and I was also lucky enough to find a load of new old stock parts from a company in Germany.
What I am looking for is more service information, I have the manuals marked Volume 1 and Volume 2 but I am desperately seeking Volume 3 or any other service info, it was usually in red binders, also looking for 2" quad tapes with something recorded on them.

If anyone here is in to restoring old broadcast video recorders from the likes of Ampex or Sony I have done a ton of it and can always offer advice to anyone that needs it.
Thank You
Andy
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Old 7th May 2021, 4:28 pm   #2
red16v
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder

Are you sure you have a 600 and not the 600A? The plain vanilla 600 was not anywhere near as popular as the A version. I worked on these machines for many years, may I ask where you obtained your machine from as there were not so many in the UK. I can’t help with your missing manual I’m afraid although once I was very familiar with them.
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Old 11th May 2021, 8:20 am   #3
andypilgrim
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder

Hi There,
Yes it is a TR-600A. I bought it from a company that once had a post house in Soho, it had been wrapped up and put in to storage for the last 3 decades and is in really excellent condition. The hours meter shows 1760. I was lucky to find it, I went to purchase four Ampex machines, two VPR3's and two VPR6's and the RCA was there in the same storage container, we did a deal and I ended up leaving with that as well. It came with three heads which all look good and 3 service extender cards. I was lucky that I found an advert from a company in Germany for some service manuals and a box of new old stock spare parts for the machine which I bought, and then another bit of luck was finding a company in America called ZIN Vtr who had just refurbished a TR-70 for the Washington Library Of Congress and in that process had a number of pinch rollers manufactured for it. The 70 and 600 have the same pinch roller so I bought one of those from them to replace the only mechanical component that seemed to have aged. The air system needed overhauling, all the air fittings in the machine needed replacing, they used plastic fittings with brass inserts, almost all the plastic fittings had cracked, all easily obtainable and replaceable. The spool brakes needed re-lining as they had glued themselves to the hubs. Apart from that its been a pretty normal restore of old electronics, capacitors, quite a lot of semiconductors (RCA made their own and apparently at that time weren't the best at it, their chips now suffering from ionic migration) and most difficult was optical sensors on the deck but what I lack now is information on setup and alignment. I have all the schematics and board layouts etc. Its been an interesting, if expensive project so far. Hopefully I can find that elusive volume III of the manual set.
Cheers
Andy
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Old 11th May 2021, 11:43 am   #4
jhalphen
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder. (Actually a 600A)

Hi to all,
hi AndyPilgrim,

Worth a try :
Company Vectracom in Paris, France has been operating since 2001 to transfer archives on vintage VTR/VCR formats to newer media. A lot of the work involved 2" Quadruplex tape.
The company was founded by 3 ex-SFP engineers, the SFP was the production branch of the three state-owned French television channels (ORTF era).

The SFP was a RCA VTR stronghold going back to the TR-22 and TR-70 during the 1960s.
They also had some TR-600s.
When Vectracom was set up, the 3 founders recuperated the Quad machines from the SFP.

On the slideshow of the web site's home page you can see an Ampex AVR-2.
Try sending a message through the Contact page asking if they still have documentation on the TR-600, especially the volume you're missing.

You never know, they aren't the sort of people who throw things out.

http://www.vectracom.fr/en/

in this article about Vectracom, seems they have the machine you're looking for, see photo :
https://mediakwest.com/mk35_vectraco...du-patrimoine/

Good Luck &
Best Regards
jhalphen/Ex-Ampex

Last edited by jhalphen; 11th May 2021 at 11:53 am.
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Old 12th May 2021, 12:24 pm   #5
red16v
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder

Quote:
Originally Posted by andypilgrim View Post
Hi There,
Yes it is a TR-600A. I bought it from a company that once had a post house in Soho, it had been wrapped up and put in to storage for the last 3 decades and is in really excellent condition. The hours meter shows 1760. I was lucky to find it, I went to purchase four Ampex machines, two VPR3's and two VPR6's and the RCA was there in the same storage container, we did a deal and I ended up leaving with that as well. It came with three heads which all look good and 3 service extender cards. I was lucky that I found an advert from a company in Germany for some service manuals and a box of new old stock spare parts for the machine which I bought, and then another bit of luck was finding a company in America called ZIN Vtr who had just refurbished a TR-70 for the Washington Library Of Congress and in that process had a number of pinch rollers manufactured for it. The 70 and 600 have the same pinch roller so I bought one of those from them to replace the only mechanical component that seemed to have aged. The air system needed overhauling, all the air fittings in the machine needed replacing, they used plastic fittings with brass inserts, almost all the plastic fittings had cracked, all easily obtainable and replaceable. The spool brakes needed re-lining as they had glued themselves to the hubs. Apart from that its been a pretty normal restore of old electronics, capacitors, quite a lot of semiconductors (RCA made their own and apparently at that time weren't the best at it, their chips now suffering from ionic migration) and most difficult was optical sensors on the deck but what I lack now is information on setup and alignment. I have all the schematics and board layouts etc. Its been an interesting, if expensive project so far. Hopefully I can find that elusive volume III of the manual set.
Cheers
Andy
I wonder which facility house had it? Not many had RCA kit - Im going to guess TVI or Rank. A photo would be much appreciated. I think the 600 is an updated version of the last 70C and whilst looking very different is, I believe, very similar. From memory if the 600 was de-powered both reel tension arms dropped down and brakes came off the reel decks and tape would spool off so Im surprised the brakes on your machine appear locked on rather than off. Im wondering if your machine came supplied with Recortec reel servos rather than the more usual reel servos with the tape tension arms? Recortec reel servo machines had small roller guides at the entry and exit points of the tape path into the headwheel cover panel etc. (Not always a 100% reliable system). Does your machine have the integrated AE600 timecode editor - if so thats another manual you will need! Does it have the RCA after market headwheel sound deadening kit? - this is a set of shaped sponges that fitted above and below the actual headwheel panel to absorb the somewhat piercing noise! The same kit would also include a rubber/foam strip glued along underneath of the top cover to close off the narrow tape guide a try and keep noise in the machine. The machine was developed to include the ability to load a tape up with one hand! If you look under the lower hinged panel in the area of the rotating heads you will note a small bent piece of metal designed to direct the tape into the female tape guide. This was a problem RCA fixed with a small piece of bent metal that Ampex sorted by designing a whole new headwheel assembly with a retracting female guide! When you are ready to go you will need a small spanner to centre up the headwheel female guide with the Auto guide in off mode, also a cranked hex driver to centre up the same guide in manual mode. But first you need some tapes!

I will ask around about manuals, but I dont hold out much hope after all these years.
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Old 12th May 2021, 1:41 pm   #6
atsampson
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder. (Actually a 600A)

I wonder if it might be worth asking about this on the Early TV Museum conference call next month? Perhaps one of the US collectors or broadcasting museums might have the documentation you're after.
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Old 12th May 2021, 1:55 pm   #7
andypilgrim
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder. (Actually a 600A)

Hi There,
I don't know what the facilities house was called, but the couple that had the machines I guess were retired and had containers full of equipment, I didn't ask too much but they did say they owned and ran a independent post operation in Soho, they certainly had a lot of equipment in storage and were extremely knowledgeable about it all and its history.

The brakes on this are released by air pressure and spring return to apply, so when the air / power is removed the brakes are locked on. You are correct that the tension arms drop away without power or air.
I think this has the standard servo's, there is an entry guide, about an inch in diameter with no sensing on it and an exit guide that runs the tape timer with optical sensors on it. It does have the little bit of bent metal as you say to make tape loading easier, but it doesn't have the sound deadening thankfully, it would have disintegrated everywhere by now if it had it, both my VPR3's have that on their head covers, it had turned to sticky gunge !!

I have some new old stock blank tapes which I have been able to run through the machine during the process of getting it basically up and running, the tapes were still factory sealed and are in A1 condition, I have got someone kindly recording me some tape on a VR2000 which whilst not exactly reference will get me much further down the road. I also bought a recorded tape from the US, which of course is NTSC but it at least enabled me to verify the audio playback and the control pulses.

This machine is not fitted with the AE600 although annoyingly I have the manual for that !!

Thank you JHalphen for the suggestion of Vectracom in France, I have sent them an email so hopefully they will come back to me.

I've attached a few pics of the machine. The close up of the tape path has some bits missing, I was replacing the tape timer optical sensors, every optical sensor in the machine had failed, I managed to buy something workable to replace them from RS components after a bit of experimenting !!
Cheers
Andy
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Old 12th May 2021, 2:23 pm   #8
andypilgrim
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder. (Actually a 600A)

Hi There,
That is a god idea, though I don't know anything about that, how would I go about getting involved ?
Cheers
Andy
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Old 13th May 2021, 10:46 am   #9
red16v
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder. (Actually a 600A)

Thanks for those pictures, it really takes me back to happy memories.

Definitely non-Recortec reel servos. A typical headwheel panel would be good for around 800-900 hours before being returned to RCA in the Channel Islands for refurbishment. If you had managed to get 1000 hours out of a panel RCA sent you a certificate as it was quite unusual! We had a few that got past 900+ but never actually got to that limit. Certainly a nice clean example you have there. I have a series of pictures of our last machine being de-commissioned, it was being used for the last knockings of archiving before being trundled out of the building at LWT. I believe the machine was donated to the BFI archiving facility. It’s possible a set of manuals went with it so it might be worth you contacting their facility for a chat - not too far from you, Berkamstead I think?

Do, please, keep the thread updated as you progress.
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Old 14th May 2021, 1:59 pm   #10
andypilgrim
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder. (Actually a 600A)

Hi There,
It is a nice clean machine and fortunately I now have 4 head panels for it, hopefully one or more are useable. There is a company in America that refurbish these still so it may be worth having one done when it is finally completed. The whole project has cost big (ish) bucks so far so a bit more may be warranted.

I did contact the BFI but they told me they don't have any RCA manuals, only Ampex. They may well not be interested in sharing that kind of material, which I can fully understand.

I have a recorded tape coming shortly so the next stage of the restoration will begin. I will keep this updated. When I get the recorded tape I will make a short youtube video of the first run with it and share the link
Cheers
Andy
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Old 14th May 2021, 4:42 pm   #11
PaulM
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder. (Actually a 600A)

Hello Andy,

Don't think we have any TR-600A manuals here, but I'll have a look.
We're into working TR70B and also have a lot of Ampex machines waiting their turn!
There's a lot of brand new TR70B spares to hand too.

It does indeed look like a very clean machine - so much ex-broadcast kit is so filthy!

I'll have a look through the RCA documentation.

Best regards,

Paul Marshall
Chairman
Broadcast Engineering Conservation Group
www.becg.tv
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Old 14th May 2021, 4:51 pm   #12
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder. (Actually a 600A)

Hi Andy, I've been following this thread this week as I knew I had put away a large red RCA 600 service manual a few years ago and couldn't remember which volume it was and it was only today that I could get to it. I'm sorry to say that it is volume 2 which you already have. I just thought I'd let you know anyway just for the record.
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Old 14th May 2021, 6:57 pm   #13
red16v
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder. (Actually a 600A)

I have sent you a PM.
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Old Yesterday, 7:35 pm   #14
andypilgrim
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Default Re: RCA TR-600 Quadruplex Video Recorder. (Actually a 600A)

Just a little update for anyone following this thread, the project is moving on massively. I'm now at the point where I get a semblance of unlocked picture in playback, to do this I have to force the guide air solenoid on and put the guide to manual at which point I can adjust the guide to get some reasonable RF, I say reasonable as the head wheel has neither velocity or phase lock, hence the guide solenoid not being triggered as theres no velocity lock. Getting deep in to the head wheel servo now, which is scary as I have already discovered it is very easy to blow the head wheel power amplifier boards up delving in to the servo. Fortunately after the last catastrophic failure I bought a large quantity of the various semiconductors involved !!
As get a bit closer I will put a video up of the machine running
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