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PostPosted: Wed Oct 04, 2006 11:39 pm    Post subject: Magnavox AND Memorex VCRs - tape cooties??

Two different VCRs - both now only showing static/snow after playing the same tape (old tape from early 80s). Tried Allsop 4-in-1 VCR cleaner tape, twice, no luck.

Here's the full story: I'm working on converting our old home movies from VHS to DVD. To start the project, I played each of the tapes through (fast forwarding frequently) to determine what was on it so I could convert chronologically. So the tape in question (Scotch T-120, (c) 1982, recorded in 2 hr mode) had been played through once on fast forward at the beginning of the summer on my Phillips VCR, then rewound. Last week I captured the first half of the tape on the Memorex VCR with no problem. After burning that footage to disc, I popped the tape back in to tape the second hour. The VCR (Memorex MVR4040) started making "eat the tape" noises, so I stopped the tape immediately and ejected, then had to remove the case to lift the loose tape free. I manually wound in the loose tape on the cassette and tried again. Same thing happened. Thinking the VCR was the problem, I used my other VCR (Phillips/Magnavox VRZ264AT), then had to take the case off it when it too "ate" the tape.

Having determined the tape was at fault, I took it apart. No magnetic screwdrivers used. Fiddled with the insides, put it back together, both VCRs would immediately spit tape back out when inserted. Took tape apart again, fiddled more, put back together (correctly this time, ha), put tape in Memorex. Tape would rewind instead of playing forward, so after several tries, decided to humor it and rewound about 1/2 hr before spot where it had originally messed up. Got it to play and fast-forwarded up to a few minutes before where I wanted to record, then set the computer to capture. Tape got to the place, started having a few lines and "wobblies" which I expected as there were some small creases from the "eating" episodes. What I did not expect was it to go from "wobblies" to snow. No video at all, although I was still getting the audio through the computer speakers. Rewound tape some and got only snow on earlier segment that had moments before played fine. Put tape in Phillips VCR - snow and not even audio through the TV. Decided maybe pulling on the tape when trying to fix it had messed up the video. Went to bed disgusted about losing irreplacable home videos.

BUT - the next morning, I put a new tape in the Phillips to record a show, hit play to cue to end of last recorded show (recorded last week on this same VCR) and got only snow, no audio/video. Since then, neither VCR will give me a picture although I've tried several other tapes that I know should work. I even bought the VCR cleaner mentioned above and ran it in both of them with no result.

What happened?? I've never heard of a contagious VCR problem like this. Is it fixable? If I buy a new VCR and play the 80s tape in it, will it be affected too? Is there any hope for recovering my 1985 home movies? PLEASE help!

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