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Vintage Television and Video Vintage television and video equipment, programmes, VCRs etc.

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Old 16th Dec 2006, 12:42 pm   #1
Gordon
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Default VCR Tracking

Iíve just moved house and on reconnecting my Panasonic VCR I find that it has symptoms of bad tracking or worn heads. The only way of altering the tracking manually is with the remote control, which has long died. If I remove the case of the VCR, is there an obvious manual tracking adjustment?

(The VCR was transported with a video tape in it.)

Gordon.
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Old 16th Dec 2006, 1:03 pm   #2
Steve_P
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

Probably not if it's modern-ish. Look underneath the flaps etc for a small knob or two buttons. They may even work as something else until play is activated - have a play.

Anyway, try it with several tapes and see what happens. It would be unlucky though for the heads to fail in transit, or the tracking to change, unless there was a control on the outside that got knocked.

Anyway, quick way of setting tracking if it has been knocked....

Get a tape tape you know is good.
Put it in, and press play.
Press one of the two guides down - the ones that turn with a pair of pliers.
(That's the bodger in me out!)
When you press one of them - usually the right one! - the picture will clear!
Tighten this one by half a turn.
Repeat this till it's right!

Cheers,

Steve P
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Old 16th Dec 2006, 1:07 pm   #3
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

more than likely it is just dirty heads, especially if the tape has been in contact with the drum and was stuck there when the M/C was powered off

see www.repairfaq.org (vcr troubleshooting section) for some methods before going tinkering! don't diddle with the alignments yet, as sudden change is very rare. open the ujnit and check the tape path is spotless.
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Old 16th Dec 2006, 9:49 pm   #4
flyingtech55
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

Gordon

Which Panasonic is it?

TimR

Last edited by flyingtech55; 16th Dec 2006 at 9:50 pm. Reason: Thread starters name missed
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Old 17th Dec 2006, 12:55 am   #5
Zelandeth
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

Not sure about Panasonic machines, but both my Grundig VCR and my old Goodmans one operate the tracking adjustment via the channel up and down buttons when a tape's playing.

My money would be on it just needing a good clean though. Run a good quality cleaning tape through it, then give it another shot.

Make sure to wait five minutes or so as it usually states on the instructions of the cleaning tape though if it's of the wet type before trying to play anything though.
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Old 17th Dec 2006, 3:21 am   #6
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

Mm, I agree, tracking doesn't often change, especially on the Panasonic machines which are mechanically superior (but easily upset out of sync, I admit). Certain JVC's tape guides could work loose or the allen screws could loosen and allow the guides to adjust themselves over a long period of time. Dont get pliers on the guides whatever you do!! Guides should be adjusted with an oscilloscope and alignment tape or else you could end up chasing your tail.

And if it's an autotracking machine with manual override, you may need the service manual to get the tracking back once you disturb it as it will try to compensate electronically and introduce more errors..

I agree with the suggestion of being dirty heads or possibly muck on the CTL-Audio head, condensation with fetch the coating off a tape onto the heads as well as the additional dust kicked up in the hectic atmosphere of a move.

The other possibility is that the loading arms are slightly out of sync, meaning one guide is not fully located in the guide V blocks...possibly after a bump to the machine. Re-synching a panasonic is a service manual job if you're not used to it.

And it could also be a capacitor somewhere (there's load of them!), it might have been ok when warm but once it's been turned off and cooled down, it's lost capacity.

The correct way to trace this is with a scope again, look at the head envelope and it should tell you where the signal's being lost...either mechanically or electrically.
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Old 17th Dec 2006, 8:23 am   #7
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

Dirty audio/control head (not video head) and worn pinchroller are by far the most common reasons for poor tracking. It can also be caused by a faulty capstan motor or slipping reel belt. There is unlikely to be a manual pot for adjusting tracking in modern machines (but you posted this in the vintage forum). Without the model number we are really working in the dark.

Dave
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Old 17th Dec 2006, 2:40 pm   #8
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

Thank you everyone for your advice, it's a Panasonic NV-SD25B by the way.
Still surrounded by unopened boxes after moving from France to Bournemouth. Also trying to stress-out after a tricky move involving Euro transfers and French notaires. Will try the VCR this afternoon.
Thanks again,
Gordon.
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Old 17th Dec 2006, 10:41 pm   #9
plumbweiss
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

Quote:
worn pinchroller are by far the most common reasons for poor tracking. It can also be caused by a faulty capstan motor or slipping reel belt.
But this was ok before he moved house..so looking for something drastic
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Old 17th Dec 2006, 11:13 pm   #10
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordon View Post
Thank you everyone for your advice, it's a Panasonic NV-SD25B by the way.
Still surrounded by unopened boxes after moving from France to Bournemouth. snip) Gordon.

is this a secam L machine?!
just thought i'd ask....
Ben
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Old 18th Dec 2006, 12:06 am   #11
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

Quote:
Originally Posted by plumbweiss View Post
And it could also be a capacitor somewhere (there's load of them!), it might have been ok when warm but once it's been turned off and cooled down, it's lost capacity.
I would tend to agree with what has been said above; if the tracking worked OK before the machine was unplugged there is a high possibility of the fault being caused by a dried up electrolytic; I seem to recall that this was a stock fault with some JVC machines (the capacitor in this case was situated on the lower head drum PCB) but am not sure regarding Panasonic models.

Andrew
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Old 18th Dec 2006, 12:22 am   #12
molochkartovski
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

Another possiblity is that something has got into the machine, like a bit of fluff or something and is stopping the tape guides from sitting correctly. The move would have disturbed it. I had this with one of my videos many years ago.

Richard
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Old 18th Dec 2006, 12:38 pm   #13
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

Try getting hold of a universal remote and see if there's a code for your machine. Also, you could try holding down Play whilst in Play mode, as this sometimes causes the machine to go into tracking mode.

Andy
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Old 18th Dec 2006, 8:50 pm   #14
Gordon
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Default Re: VCR Tracking

The problem has been solved by using a tape cleaning cassette, which I was advised would do more damage than it cures. Thanks again for all your advice.
Gordon.
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