Posted on the 9th May 2016 

Please note any repairs to videotapes are carried out at your own risk!

Bad repairs could cause head damage to your VCR so please be careful and if you’re not sure then leave the job to a suitable company such as ours who will be happy to do the repair and transfer for you.

The method used below has been used by us for many years very successfully and we have never damaged a machine in the playback process.

Firstly you’re going to need a few things before you start, a pair of scissors, some splicing tape (not cellotape) and a small phillips screwdriver. You may also need a donor shell if the one you have is also broken.

Video tapes can be snapped due to a variety of reasons it may be a faulty machine or a damaged cassette mechanism or the tape itself is starting to breakdown and glue itself together (more about that later).

To make a repair first remove any stickers that run along the spine of the tape then turn the cassette upside down and place on a clean work surface, undo the retaining screws, there is usually one in each corner and one or two in the middle, holding the cassette firmly turn the tape back over taking care to keep any screws that drop out, now carefully lift the top half of the shell away and place on the bench.

Next remove each of the hubs, if you know the reason for the tape damage is the machine or damaged shell then carry on unwinding the crumpled tape off the hubs and place the hubs back in place making sure the tape runs up the path on each side.

If you are unsure why the tape has snapped then you need to check that the tape is unwinding off the hubs correctly, you may need to unwind a foot or two to check if not please see below.

To effect the repair leave enough tape out to enable you to cut and make the repair, the excess can be wound back in once your finished.

Please take a note of the hub brake located in the centre at the bottom between the hubs make sure it is operating properly and sitting in place so it wont jam the hubs but locks them as designed.

Cut the tape ends square and place a small piece of splice tape about 1 cm long on the underside of one end then attach the other end making sure that it fits square and no adhesive tape is showing in-between if any is visible re-make the splice, if any is showing on the top or bottom this can be trimmed off with your scissors.

You may have to practice the join a few times until your happy that it is perfect, take your time and with a little practice you should be able to make joins like a pro.

Carefully wind the tape back on the hubs so it runs nice and flat across the door aperture and check the hub brake is seated operating correctly, next place the top half back in place with the door pulled up, once your happy they are correctly aligned allow the door to close checking that it has not jammed the tape. Screw the shell back together and your tape is now ready to transfer.

We recommend marking the tape ‘repaired’ carrying out a transfer digital file or DVD then not using the tape again or at leat not for repeated playback.

Some tapes are starting to break down resulting with the tape partially gluing itself together, these have been seen in some Fuji and TDK 8mm tapes and few other makes, there has been some success with warming the tape up in a low heat oven prior to transfer, my guess is that the warming softens the glues and makes the tape more pliable or less brittle and prone to snapping. Another option is to leave it in the machine for few hours prior to trying to play it back.

Chris Gillooly.

Posted in Video Conversions

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