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

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Old 20th May 2018, 2:40 am   #1
ct92404
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Default Sony Betamax SL-5600 vcr

Hi all,

Well I just bought my first "vintage" VCR a couple of days ago.

It's a Sony Betamax SL-5600. I think it was made in 1980.

I actually have no experience with Betamax at all. I'm honestly not sure exactly why I got it, but I could tell it's very old and a pretty early VCR. It caught my attention and I thought it would be interesting to play around with. I always thought top-loading VCRs were cool. I can faintly remember when Betamax tapes were still in video stores when I was a little kid in the mid-1980's. But it seemed like VHS took over and Betamax disappeared from consumer use pretty fast. At least where I live in the US.
My family never had a Betamax VCR when I was a kid. Our first was a VHS.

This one I found is in fairly good condition, with just a small ding on the trim in one corner. It was just filthy! I started cleaning it and trying to figure out if it works. The clock works when I turn on the vcr, and the channel indicator lights come on when I press the channel buttons. But there are some strange problems. The power light doesn't come on when I switch on the VCR, even though it seems to respond like it has power. I guess the light could just be burned out. When I press the eject button, a noisy motor runs. Since the cassette loads from the top with a simple spring door and isn't motorized like tray loading VCRs, I have no idea why a motor would be running with the eject button. My only guess would be that it's part of the mechanism that actually pulls the tape itself up to the heads? (I don't know much about how VCRs work mechanically). So is there maybe something jammed and the vcr thinks there is still a tape inside?

Also, none of the buttons work. If I try to press play, fast forward, or rewind, nothing happens. I saw a couple of belts that were broken and need to be replaced, but I would think that I should still hear a motor running if I press the buttons, even if the spools don't actually turn. The only thing that seemed to respond is if I press the play button and pause, a "pause/freeze" indicator light comes on.

I've attached some pictures of the VCR. Does anyone have any suggestions on what could be wrong and where I should start to fix it?

- Chris
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Old 20th May 2018, 11:46 am   #2
dj_fivos_sak
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Default Re: Sony Betamax SL-5600 vcr

Hi Chris. Really nice-looking machine. The loading motor shouldn't be running when you press eject without a tape inside and the loading ring appears to be in the "home" position, where it should be. The European model SL-C7 has the same mechanism but uses soft-touch buttons, including the eject function. Does the cassette carriage open up when you press eject with the power off?

Regards,

Fivos
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Old 20th May 2018, 12:40 pm   #3
HamishBoxer
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Default Re: Sony Betamax SL-5600 vcr

Motors running can be caused by a slipping possibly loading belt.
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Old 20th May 2018, 4:41 pm   #4
ct92404
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Default Re: Sony Betamax SL-5600 vcr

The carriage does open with the power off.

I don't have any Betamax cassettes to test the VCR with an actual tape inside. (I'm going to have to look online for some!)
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Old 22nd May 2018, 9:43 pm   #5
ct92404
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Default Re: Sony Betamax SL-5600 vcr

Does anyone have any idea where I might be able to find a repair guide? Or even an owner's manual? I've been looking online and I'm not having any luck so far
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Old 22nd May 2018, 10:50 pm   #6
dj_fivos_sak
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Default Re: Sony Betamax SL-5600 vcr

I only found the 5400 manual from eBay Germany:
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Sony-SL-540...UAAOSwa39Uwgny
I have the pdf service manual of the SL-C7 and T7 European models. They use the same chassis. Let me know if you want them.

Fivos
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Old 22nd May 2018, 11:42 pm   #7
ct92404
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Default Re: Sony Betamax SL-5600 vcr

Thanks Fivos. I just sent you a message.
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Old 23rd May 2018, 4:08 pm   #8
dj_fivos_sak
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Default Re: Sony Betamax SL-5600 vcr

I sent it. Did you receive it?
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