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

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Old 20th Jun 2020, 11:02 am   #1
SpyroGyro92
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Join Date: Oct 2019
Location: Johannesburg, South Africa
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Default Problem with Sony Betamax SL-8080 VCR

I found this locally. The full model no. is: SL-8080SA PAL.
Sourcing any type of Betamax recorder in this neck of the woods (Johannesburg, South Africa) is quite uncommon.

So anyways, the unit looks in decent shape for its age and does power on.
The problem is that the 'play', 'record', 'forward' and 'rewind' buttons seem to be in a "locked" position. I'm not sure how to better describe it. Almost like the machine was triggered into a fail-safe state. They can't be fully pressed down. Something is preventing that from happening, so I can't play a tape or do anything with it.

As far as the rest.
When I insert a tape and close the lid, nothing seems to happen. I've never previously owned one of these so I'm not sure what is supposed to be triggered (if anything) upon insertion of a cassette in this top loader machine.
Pressing the 'pause' button (with or without a tape) seems to engage the motor and one can hear a spinning sound. The same is the case with the 'eject' button. Upon pressing it one can hear that spinning sound.

I opened the unit up and had a bit of a look inside. A bit of gunk in there such as dust, etc, but other than that not too bad.
The belts seem "ok". They obviously don't have the amount of torque they once did but don't feel too loose, IMO. Turning everything by hand seemed fine. I didn't feel any "blockage" preventing the wheels/gears? from moving.

So I'm kind of stuck at the minute. Any advice would be appreciated.
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 1:28 pm   #2
hamid_1
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Default Re: Problem with Sony Betamax SL-8080 VCR

What should happen when you insert a cassette is that the motor should start running. The loading ring will revolve, pulling some tape out of the cassette and wrapping it around the heads. Once that is complete, the motor will stop. Then the rewind / forward / play keys can be pressed. Until then, they are locked.

When the eject button is pressed, the loading ring turns in reverse and the machine rewinds the tape back into the cassette. When the loading ring has gone back to the start position, the cassette compartment pops open.

It seems like the machine is not detecting the presence of a tape and not starting the threading sequence. This is usually due to a switch not operating. It could also be that the loading ring has got stuck just before returning to its starting position, thus Eject is the only function allowed.

You can find the service manual for the very similar SL-8000E online here - click the model number next to type a on that page to download. The manual describes how to operate the mechanism without a tape by pressing the supply sensor relay lever (page 37 - section 3-9). You can see if this triggers the tape threading process.
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 3:25 pm   #3
SpyroGyro92
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Default Re: Problem with Sony Betamax SL-8080 VCR

Thanks for your reply.

Well I cleaned it out as best I could with some compressed air. Put it back together and let it "warm" up for a bit. It's winter over here so I thought there might be some issues to do with possible condensation as well.

It now recognizes the presence of a tape and the motor starts spinning accordingly.
But apart from that, there is no further movement. The loading ring does not revolve. The tape is not threaded at all.

I'll have a look at that service manual you've linked to.
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Old 20th Jun 2020, 4:19 pm   #4
dj_fivos_sak
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Default Re: Problem with Sony Betamax SL-8080 VCR

Since the machine is over 40 years old now, I wouldn't be surprised if the belts are all rotten. The SL-8000/8080 has a single AC motor to drive everything, and tape loading/lacing is done through the capstan flywheel. To quickly identify if the capstan belt is good or not, turn the motor by hand and put a finger against the capstan shaft. If the belt is still in place, you should feel the capstan shaft rotate as you turn the motor. If not, then there is at least one belt that's bad. Hope this helped a bit.

Regards

Fivos
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Old 3rd Jul 2020, 12:12 pm   #5
SpyroGyro92
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Default Re: Problem with Sony Betamax SL-8080 VCR

Ok so I've replaced the belts with a new belt kit that I received.
The VCR now threads the tape just fine and it responds to whatever is being pressed. I also have it tuned in to a few local channels.

As far as playback is concerned, I'm getting static and no image or sound at all via the Composite connection.
Via RF I'm getting full and clear sound during playback when the black & white test signal switch is set to the "on" position. As soon as I set it to "off" I get nothing apart from some static. No sound either.

I've gently cleaned the heads, spinning counter clockwise, using some copy paper and isopropyl alcohol.

I'll check out that service manual and see what adjustments I can tinker with on the board itself.
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Old 4th Jul 2020, 10:25 am   #6
Welsh Anorak
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Default Re: Problem with Sony Betamax SL-8080 VCR

No - don't make any adjustments!
I'm sure you've just got dirty heads and all you need is a firmer hand - within reason of course.
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Old 13th Jul 2020, 9:33 am   #7
SpyroGyro92
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Default Re: Problem with Sony Betamax SL-8080 VCR

Quote:
Originally Posted by Welsh Anorak View Post
No - don't make any adjustments!
I'm sure you've just got dirty heads and all you need is a firmer hand - within reason of course.
One of the issues was a stuck back-tension lever. And thereafter I had to adjust the AFC on the chroma board to restore color to the image.

Major thanks to fivos on a Beta Facebook group for the assistance.

The last thing I need to sort out is that, while playback is now functioning fine and in color, recording is only in black & white.
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