View Full Version : RCA VLP-950HFT....save it or finnish it off?


StarquestMan
12-30-2015, 08:21 PM
I recently got an 86' rca colortrack 2000 and have been thinking about getting a VCR for watching some older movies and thought it would be cool to get a vcr to match the set and be compatible with the digital command center remote. i ended up getting a hitachi made rca vlp-950hft (one of those high end "convertable" vcrs that hooks up to an external video camera) thinking surely the thing would be better than my "crapnavox" dvd/vcr combo of course now im thinking the magnavox may be the most serviceable and well made vcr of the two!

once i got the thing after having to pay extra for shipping i opened it up to find what i had kinda expected in a unit its age, melted belts so i replaced all 3 with an mbk-80 belt kit from sound studio electronics and thought i was up and running but i still had a long way to go! there was no display on the vacuum florescent display and none of the buttons on the unit did anything so i opened it up and found that one of the fuses in the thing (one of 7 or 8 in the damn things in the unit!) had blown so i replaced it and now the machine would play ok and the leds and lcd screen on the tape player itself would work but the base unit was still totally dead. then i noticed that one of the corners of the power supply pcb was broke completely off that had a large ground trace running through it so i repaired that and replaced one open capacitor and all the test point voltages were fine after that but still no life from the base unit. i also should mention that all of the boards are covered in that stupid brown glue that darkens and becomes conductive over time that all of the cheap Chinese company's love to coat everything with:thumbsdn:

so after that i was starting to feel pretty lost and was just blindly testing caps and cleaning crusty brown the glue off of the pcbs. i found one capacitor near the main proccessor that had leaked and the ribbon cable connectors had corroded and was flaking bits of platting everywhere. after that was fixed the damn thing still didn't work:mad: so now i was to the point of just blindly sticking my hand in and poking the live traces with my finger that was actually making the vu meter and some segments of the clock to illuminate at various brightness's depending how hard i pushed. so after more fiddling around that flaky ribbon cable must have finally seated and the whole thing started working!

so now the thing seemed to work pretty well so i decided to clean the heads and tape path but then i started getting this static that would scroll down through the picture every second or two through the picture on some known good tapes. i guessed that somehow one of the heads must have clogged so i tried cleaning it again with a piece of paper and alcohol but this time used a slight gentle upward movement to remove any deposit's from the head gaps and it seemed to work! but i noticed that when watching a movie the picture just wasn't as good as it should be and i guessed maybe the tape had some oxide build up from age so i tried putting the tape in the newer magnavox with the lid off and cleaning it with a lint free alcohol pad by running the tape on fast foward as i had seen someone do with great results. after that it played very well on the magnavox (way way better than the rca). so i put the tape back in the rca and the scrolling static was back :mad: by now i had had it with the piece of crap that ive got about 80-85 bucks into and let my frustration get the best of me and smashed the top of the control panel on the unit. so now i guess what im left with is a high end vcr with bad heads and a um "defective" control panel face. these are kinda rare from what i understand so there isn't a whole lot of info on these things and im wondering whether this is i good vcr worth trying to source parts for or should i just cut my losses and take a sledge hammer to the thing?

edit: i just came back to the machine now that im in a better mood lol and un-bent the cassette basket that got bent and stuck a tape in. the scrolling static has gone away go figure im now wondering if i didn't wait long enough for the alcohol evaporated :dunno:the picture is better but not quite as good as the magnavox:screwy: of course this thing im sure has many more hours than the magnavox. maybe ill just have to keep my eyes open for a face plate from a parts unit on ebay and just get a new upper head assembly once i figure out what model number it takes and i can find one cheap. im still curious how this unit stacks up against other units and common problems these things may have? also does anyone know of any good reading on vcr's and the tricks the pro's used to use to fine tune and troubleshoot them? google is full of short articles on how to do a basic cleaning but not a whole lot on the more in depth stuff

Gunslinger
12-31-2015, 02:49 PM
I should have the schematic/manual for that and Also the extension cables for servicing if you need them.

StarquestMan
12-31-2015, 04:02 PM
Thanks for the reply gunslinger! does that service manual have a part number in it for the upper head drum assembly? ive been looking around for a replacement video head but have really just been going by the pictures of the RCA/hitachi units on ebay but the closest ones i have found appear to be for 4 head machines. i think mine is a 6 or 7 head machine (i think they were called a 5+2 head). if i do end up finding a head for it for a reasonable price (ive cleaned them 3-4 times already with paper and alcohol so im assuming they must be bad:dunno:) i may be interested in that service manual and cables. how much would you want for them?

Gunslinger
12-31-2015, 04:12 PM
I will replace the lamp i my micro fische reader tomoww and look up the part number for the head drum for you. I should have this info this weekend.

StarquestMan
12-31-2015, 04:16 PM
Thanks! i really appreciate your help!

Gunslinger
12-31-2015, 05:55 PM
Here ya go. The head is listed with the cylinder motor as a complete unit. Part number 173723

andy
01-01-2016, 12:32 PM
Scrolling static sounds more like a tracking servo problem, or a tape path problem than bad heads.

Bad heads usually cause noise on the highlights at first. As they get worse, the whole picture turns to static. If one head is bad, you will get a picture where one field is static. On a 4 or 5 head machine like this, it will usually only affect either SP, or LP and EP since they use different heads.

Occasionally bad heads will clog easily, but this would result in a full screen of static.

Does the tracking control function when you see the problem? If it doesn't you have a servo problem.

You can also try making a recording to play in another VCR. If it plays well, you know the heads are good.

That's a good, but complex VCR. I would definitely check over all the small electrolytics with an ESR meter since they can dry out without showing any visible signs of trouble.

I remember having a similar problem with the base unit of one of these. It also mysteriously starting working on its own. I think it may have been a cap reforming that affected the reset circuit. It could have also been the clock backup cap.

Phototone
01-01-2016, 01:22 PM
Even though the VHS decks got cheaper and cheaper built, with more plastic, that doesn't mean the picture became worse with new machines. Newer decks do indeed outperform the older decks, even though they are made vastly cheaper.

StarquestMan
01-01-2016, 08:58 PM
thanks for the additional replies! come to think of it the tracking control didn't have an effect on it once it started doing this and this unit is loaded with small electrolytics mostly nichicons but there are lots of crummy sanyo branded ones as well and i did replace a leaky matsushita cap that i believe helped to get the display/clock back up and running in the base unit. im glad to hear that there are more things to check before blaming the heads since i cant find one anywhere, at least with that rca part number, i don't have a clue how i would cross reference a third party one:dunno:. ive been noticing that lots of caps have been testing test good on my esr meter that really are bad like the leaky one replaced earlier so i may just start shotgunning caps (someday i will buy a capacitance meter and do things the smart way:stupid:). since i do need a face plate regardless now i did actually find a parts unit on ebay and am waiting to hear back from the seller to confirm the suspiciously low $17 shipping for such a heavy unit. i guess if i do end up getting it ill have a spare head drum for mine although im really thinking now that mine probably has low hours on it since it looks immaculate but has so many problems that appear to be from not being used much. maybe ill run some more movies through the thing and see if the thing wakes up a little more:thmbsp:.

rca2000
01-01-2016, 10:23 PM
One thing to look for on ALL of these convertible RCA/Hit VCR's...

The BOTTOM COVER.....have screw hole rings....which tend to CORRODE against the Circuit board...causing a BUNCH of weird symptoms...

Look at the board and the area around where the bottom cover hits the board. If you see corrosion on traces near the screw holes...You DO have a problem. This was a problem OVER 20 years ago...and likely has NOT improved with age...

Boobtubeman
01-02-2016, 07:05 PM
I still have a few of those convertible units and their cameras, Used to snatch em up as i found em.. Las recall one being an RCA.. Do you have a pic of your setup??

SR

StarquestMan
01-03-2016, 07:20 PM
here are some pictures of my setup....well whats left anyway:o
edit: by the way i did check those holes on the main pcb where those rings from the screw indention's press against the pcb but everything was found, i did however find some tiny .22uf electrolitic sanyo's that im thinking may have to go but i doubt i have any electrolytics that size. i wonder if some 224k mylars or somehing would would be best?

Electronic M
01-03-2016, 07:29 PM
here are some pictures of my setup....well whats left anyway:o
edit: by the way i did check those holes on the main pcb where those rings from the screw indention's press against the pcb but everything was found, i did however find some tiny .22uf electrolitic sanyo's that im thinking may have to go but i doubt i have any electrolytics that size. i wonder if some 224k mylars or somehing would would be best?

Yeesh, could the cassette load door be any more demolished!?

If it was like that when you got it, then I'm surprised you even purchased it.

StarquestMan
01-03-2016, 08:01 PM
no i had lost my temper earlier and punched it:o the thing was quite immaculate cosmetically speaking when i got it:worried: i think it looks worse than it is at least since only two pieces broke when i got mad which was the door itself and the bezel around it. i usually don't let things get to me when fixing things but i definitely screwed up on this project. in fact i have spent hours hunting down problems on a problematic flat screen that i had to fix 3 times since i got it and never even got close to getting mad at it:dunno:

rca2000
01-03-2016, 08:12 PM
Been there....>DONE that.

Over 20 years ago...I had a fisher CD changer....it had a load problem...it would just KEEP going from bottom to top...NOTHING seemed to help. After HOURS messing with it...I SMASHED my fist down on the deck !! Needless to say...it did NOT do it anymore !!

I have almost the EXACT RCA VCR you have...mine lost tuning and display a while back...I never "played with it" so far...this has been a REAL up-and-down year for me.. maybe 2016 will be BETTER..

I re-belted mine a few years back...and it WAS working... I sought out a VLP convertible unit, like you did...since that was the ONLY one they had with front load..and the LAST year RCA made one...after THAT...they ONLY had camcorders...no video "cameras"..

StarquestMan
01-03-2016, 08:39 PM
Been there....>DONE that.

Over 20 years ago...I had a fisher CD changer....it had a load problem...it would just KEEP going from bottom to top...NOTHING seemed to help. After HOURS messing with it...I SMASHED my fist down on the deck !! Needless to say...it did NOT do it anymore !!

I have almost the EXACT RCA VCR you have...mine lost tuning and display a while back...I never "played with it" so far...this has been a REAL up-and-down year for me.. maybe 2016 will be BETTER..

I re-belted mine a few years back...and it WAS working... I sought out a VLP convertible unit, like you did...since that was the ONLY one they had with front load..and the LAST year RCA made one...after THAT...they ONLY had camcorders...no video "cameras"..

how do you like your vcr? if yours is almost exactly like mine but not identical i guess you have the VLP-970HF or something similar? AFAIK the only other model in the later convertable vcr line is the 970? im guessing it must be better than the 950 if i was to go by the model number although i cant guess what other features they would add since my 950 has 7 heads (i think),Hi-Fi, and lots of other bells and whistles.

rca2000
01-03-2016, 09:06 PM
Mine IS a VLP-970 HF. I DID like the way it worked...a few years back. But it has NOT been powered on i a while...since the tuner...then display...died. Likely...caps bad, or if it uses that DC converter module to provide tuner/display power, maybe it died.

From what I have learned our VCR's were the "cat's meow" for 1986...at WELL over 1K new !!

I got mine cheap...maybe - or so years back...just needed the load belt....THEN.

Electronic M
01-03-2016, 11:10 PM
Been there....>DONE that.

Over 20 years ago...I had a fisher CD changer....it had a load problem...it would just KEEP going from bottom to top...NOTHING seemed to help. After HOURS messing with it...I SMASHED my fist down on the deck !! Needless to say...it did NOT do it anymore !!

I have almost the EXACT RCA VCR you have...mine lost tuning and display a while back...I never "played with it" so far...this has been a REAL up-and-down year for me.. maybe 2016 will be BETTER..

I re-belted mine a few years back...and it WAS working... I sought out a VLP convertible unit, like you did...since that was the ONLY one they had with front load..and the LAST year RCA made one...after THAT...they ONLY had camcorders...no video "cameras"..

Same here...Though most of it was in my teen years.

I had Sansui SS amp that would intermittently loose sound, and got so sick of not being able to localize it that while it was on I grabbed a convenient bottle of Windex and and sprayed the thing till it popped and smoked....

Another time I had something go wrong (IIRC Mom distracted me while I was fixing a break in a fine coil wire in a TV and caused me to rip out the only TINY sub I had to work with), and I threw a screwdriver in a random direction chipping a big chunk out of the trim on my Recordio radio/phono/78 cutter....Which made me even more angry.

Most decisions to kill equipment now are cold, calculated, clinical executions rather than firey primal beatings....

StarquestMan
01-04-2016, 12:17 AM
Mine IS a VLP-970 HF. I DID like the way it worked...a few years back. But it has NOT been powered on i a while...since the tuner...then display...died. Likely...caps bad, or if it uses that DC converter module to provide tuner/display power, maybe it died.

From what I have learned our VCR's were the "cat's meow" for 1986...at WELL over 1K new !!

I got mine cheap...maybe - or so years back...just needed the load belt....THEN.


im glad to hear that you liked yours:yes: it sounds like yours may have the same problem mine has, im thinking the part that helped bring it back was taking apart the little press fit ribbon cable sockets that connect the two logic/clock boards and scuffing the internal contacts with a scotch pad and a flat head jewelers screwdriver. they look like regular 2 part plug and sockets where the cable is crimped into a plug but they are not! i almost broke mine by prying it apart, just press down both sides of the socket and the cable will come out without bending the wires. mine looked like the contacts were made out of copper but plated with solder but it was flaking off and causing a bad connection. i also found a short and stubby blue matsushita cap below the giant hitachi ic that had leaked and somehow started eating the traces on the back side of the board:dunno: i think it may have been a filter cap supplying power to that main ic:scratch2: i will have to post pictures for anyone else who runs into this issue that wants to fix it:thmbsp:

StarquestMan
01-04-2016, 01:07 AM
this should help you fix your vlp970hf if its like my 950. first is the board with TIM printed on top i found a matsushita 330uF 10v electrolytic at C110 on the board that i replaced. im not sure how but when it leaked it darkened the solder mask directly behind the capacitor and started eating into the copper so after i replaced it i scraped off the corrosion and tinned it with solder. my only guess would be that since the cap was near the bottom edge of the board that when it leaked the fluid must have wicked up the back side behind it:dunno:

StarquestMan
01-04-2016, 01:19 AM
this shows the two press fit connectors that might have flaky platting on them. i almost broke mine the first time by pulling so hard that the hook side slid past the back plate and so i had to go back and re seat each one. i think it actualy helped the cleaning process a bit though by exposing the part that bites into the wire to hold it in place if all that makes sense:drool:

StarquestMan
01-04-2016, 01:30 AM
i should also point out that all through out the case i keep finding these sort of smoke marks. they seem to come from transistors and resistors that run hot but i also wonder if it is from the electrolyte in capacitors:dunno:. the area pictured is by far the biggest area and its above the power supply. its not the regular burn marks i see in other gear but a fine dust like residue that wipes right off.

rca2000
01-04-2016, 01:58 AM
I DO recall a burning smell...fro mine...when it died...i did NOT know where it was coming from...till the VCR went dead...

it is VERY likely mine is the same as yours... Not sure what is different about mine. it has HI-Fi and 7 heads I think...and OSD set up...not a common feature at the time it was made (yet)

Maybe I will look at mine soon. like I said..015 was a ROUGH year for me...especially the last couple of months...I PRAY 016 will be better.

StarquestMan
01-04-2016, 02:11 AM
Same here...Though most of it was in my teen years.

I had Sansui SS amp that would intermittently loose sound, and got so sick of not being able to localize it that while it was on I grabbed a convenient bottle of Windex and and sprayed the thing till it popped and smoked....

Another time I had something go wrong (IIRC Mom distracted me while I was fixing a break in a fine coil wire in a TV and caused me to rip out the only TINY sub I had to work with), and I threw a screwdriver in a random direction chipping a big chunk out of the trim on my Recordio radio/phono/78 cutter....Which made me even more angry.

Most decisions to kill equipment now are cold, calculated, clinical executions rather than firey primal beatings....

i think thats the same situation i had, most of my angry outbursts that resulted in bits of plastic flying around the room was when i was in junior high/high school. since ive mellowed out after school i cant remember getting very mad at anything project related, maybe i had one of my last electronic/machinery beat downs since ill be turning 22 later this month, that would be great:banana: now to find a job i like....and a girlfreind:scratch2:

StarquestMan
01-04-2016, 02:15 AM
I DO recall a burning smell...fro mine...when it died...i did NOT know where it was coming from...till the VCR went dead...

it is VERY likely mine is the same as yours... Not sure what is different about mine. it has HI-Fi and 7 heads I think...and OSD set up...not a common feature at the time it was made (yet)

Maybe I will look at mine soon. like I said..015 was a ROUGH year for me...especially the last couple of months...I PRAY 016 will be better.

same here! i think i liked 2013 better:D 2014 was like meh:thumbsdn: and 2015 was kinda:thumbsdn:. I HATED 2012 WORST YEAR EVER lol. best of luck to you by the way ;)

wa2ise
01-04-2016, 01:15 PM
...Likely...caps bad, or if it uses that DC converter module to provide tuner/display power, maybe it died.


That module probably has an electrolytic cap associated with it. If it goes bad it would take the module out as well, so when replacing the module replace that cap too. Had an RCA VCR where I had to do that

Gunslinger
01-04-2016, 06:46 PM
Been there....>DONE that.

Over 20 years ago...I had a fisher CD changer....it had a load problem...it would just KEEP going from bottom to top...NOTHING seemed to help. After HOURS messing with it...I SMASHED my fist down on the deck !! Needless to say...it did NOT do it anymore !!

I have almost the EXACT RCA VCR you have...mine lost tuning and display a while back...I never "played with it" so far...this has been a REAL up-and-down year for me.. maybe 2016 will be BETTER..

I re-belted mine a few years back...and it WAS working... I sought out a VLP convertible unit, like you did...since that was the ONLY one they had with front load..and the LAST year RCA made one...after THAT...they ONLY had camcorders...no video "cameras"..


Those were made by Hitachi

Gunslinger
01-04-2016, 06:47 PM
Adam,

Package went out this date.

StarquestMan
01-04-2016, 10:08 PM
well i got some more time to work on this vcr so i dug around my capacitor stock (if you could even call it that) but i couldn't find anything to replace the pair of crappy old .22uf sanyo's. the closest thing i found were some .33uf matsushita electrolytics from the oem radio out of my 94' Tercel, would these be close enough to use to replace the old sanyo's:naughty: i tested them with my ESR meter and they are 12ohms compared to the sanyo caps at 16 ohm. i know it sounds really high but these are very small capacitance electrolytics. should i just replace these things with some sort of non-electrolytic capacitors? if so what type would be best suited?

StarquestMan
01-05-2016, 01:39 AM
well i swapped out all the visibly leaky capacitors and i think this thing is doing a lot better although i was only able to try it out on my little 5" color portable magnavox for now so it may not be as good as it seems but im sure it has made at least some improvement. one thing i will point out is that the metal shield on the board above the head drum doesn't have much clearance between the metal and the tips of the leads so if anything presses up against it or bends it in it will cause all kinds of problems with the picture even when not playing a tape! like the OSD for the tuner. im still amazed at how many of these Panasonic/matsushita caps have completely failed and leaked out, ive got gear thats much older than this with these caps in them and although they probably should be replaced they haven't caused issues let alone leaking and taking out traces with it! i guess 1986 wasn't a good year for Panasonic caps:dunno: