Maintaining a VCR is easy and will save expensive repairs.
If your VCR doesn't work, check the internal fuse on the power supply, inside the case.
VCRs are not leading-edge entertainment anymore. DVDs are taking over that slot. However, millions of us still have and use VCR tapes for playing back everything from family movies to this afternoon's soap opera. And these machines, some of them 10 years old and older, need fixing. Here's how.
A video cassette recorder (VCR) is an electronic device for recording and playing back videocassette tapes. To record, the VCR takes the video signal from the television carrier signal and records it to magnetic tape. To play the signal back, the VCR reads from the tape and sends the signal to the television.
Most modern VCRs have four video heads (older ones may have two) and their own tuners. The tape is pulled across the heads using either a belt-, gear-, or direct-drive. Disassembly varies, but basic maintenance and repair procedures, such as cleaning, lubrication, and belt changing are about the same for most models. The electrical components are generally quite reliable, but if they do fail, it may be more economical to replace the unit rather than to repair it.
To disassemble a VCR:
Unplug the VCR and remove any screws securing the top and bottom covers. To remove the face, take out the face latch screws from the bottom; then turn the VCR over and release the latches while tilting off the face. Align the slide switches with buttons to reinstall the face.
Tilt a circuit board away to access or test parts beneath it. Remove any mounting screws and latches.
Remove the tape basket and disconnect the power plug and grounding screw.
Remove the tape basket.
To clean the tape transport:
Remove general dirt and dust with canned air.
Clean the capstan and other tape loop components with cotton or foam swabs and denatured alcohol. Clean the video heads last to avoid recontamination.
Clean the video head and drum with a swab. Without touching the drum, hold a clean cloth flat against the head and slowly rotate the drum.