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Free Geek VCR Testing 6-27-05
!!!ELECTRICAL SHOCK HAZARD!!! DO NOT CUT ANY WIRES IN THE TESTING AREA AT ANY TIME!!!!
- If the VCR has a top tape load tray that pops up from the top of the deck, and it is not a BETA Max VCR, recycle it. We keep most VCR's that front load the tape.
- If the VCR has a smal panel on the top right of the box with buttons and/or switches under it, and it is not a BETA Max VCR, recycle it.
- If the VCR is damaged in any way, like buttons missing or cracks in the plastic or excessively dirty, or if the case cover is loose as if someone has tried to fix it, recycle it.
Testing Phase 1
Connecting the VCR for initial testing.
- Find the Red and Yellow RCA plugs cable on the test bench. This cable is connected to the television at the other end of the cable. Look at the back of the VCR and plug the Yellow RCA plug into the "Video OUT" connector (it should have a yellow center) on the back of the VCR. Look at the back of the VCR and plug the Red RCA plug into the "Audio OUT" connector(it should have a red or white center).
- NOTE: Some VCR's have two "Audio OUT" connectors, Left and Right (for stereo). Either is suitable for pluging the red RCA connector into.
- Find the Coax Cable on the test bench. It is a thick round black cable with a gold fitting on the end. Look on the back of the VCR and plug the Coax plug into the UHF connector labeled "Antenna" or "Video IN" or "ANT". This cable pulls in the Televison signal.
- Plug the power cord into the Power Strip on the test bench.
Testing the Play Feature.
- Push the power button on the VCR. The display should change it's display or actually brighten. If there is nothing in the display, recycle the VCR. Push the power button again to see that the original display comes back and the VCR turns off.
- NOTE: To Recycle a VCR, Log the Database Serial Number on the white sticker on the testing log, right side. Then "X" out the serial number sticker on the VCR with an ink pen.
- Choose the 'play' tape, on the bench, and insert it into the VCR face. The tape should automatically feed into the deck when you lightly push the tape into the VCR. If it doesn't feed in, recycle the VCR. Remember to always save the tape.
- Once the tape feeds into the VCR, it will make a slight whining noise while it loads the tape. At this point the VCR may automatically play the tape and at the same time the display will change again to show the playing of the tape. If the tape does not automatically play, push the "play" button on the front of the VCR. Turn the Television on now. The video should display on the Television. If it doesn't, remove the tape by pushing EJECT, and recycle the VCR.
- Television Video Quality
- If the video is playing on the Television and is crisp and clear, the play feature testing is complete, move on to Record Feature Testing. If the Video quality is questionable, go to the next step.
- If the television video playing has a band of distortion on the screen, the tracking may need to be adjusted. To adjust the tracking, push one of the channel buttons on the VCR or look for a hidden panel cover on the front of the VCR and push one of the Tracking Buttons. The band of distortion should move off the top or bottom of the television display. If this does not help the appearance of the video, go to the next step.
- If the Television video display has what is called "SNOW" (random white spots moving all over the screeen, but the video is viewable), cleaning the VCR may correct the problem. If there is nothing but SNOW, and the video itself is not playing, then recycle the VCR. If ther is a rolling black band that moves across the screen, recycle the VCR. Otherwise, remove the 'play' tape and go the 'Cleaning the VCR' section.
Cleaning the VCR
- Prepare to clean the VCR by un-pluging the power cord and all other cords attached to the VCR. **THE POWER CORD MUST BE UNPLUGED TO AVOID HAZARDOUS SHOCK**
- Remove any screws on the right and left side of the VCR case. Turn the VCR so that the back is facing you. Notice that the VCR metal housing cover overlaps the back of the VCR back on the sides and the top. REmove any screws there holding the metal cover. Remove the cover. If the cover won't come loose, look for another screw holding it and remove the screw.
- Inside the VCR are three or four places to clean. The first is the PLAY HEAD. It is a shiny cylinder set at an angle that rotates freely, in the center of the VCR. AS you rotate the cylinder, notice that there is a groove or dark line with two to four little rectangle openings half way up the cylinder. The 'play' heads are tucked into these gaps. This is where the dirt accumulates.
- Get a Q-tip swab and put some cleaner from the red bottle on one end on the cotton. Lightly brush the wet Q-tip across the open spaces on the cylinder to clean the 'play' heads in the same direction that the cylinder rotates. DO NOT BRUSH UP AND DOWN. Be sure and clean away any cotton fibers that get caught on the heads.
- Next, either to the right or left of the cylinder are one or two 'record' heads. These are black or shiny metal with tiny wires coming out the back of them. Take a new Q-tip, applying cleaner from the red bottle on one end, and lightly brush all stationary heads and then use the dry end of the Q-tip to dry the head face that was cleaned.
- Lastly, on the right is a thick black rubber cylinder. It will probably have a brown tint to it. This is the 'pinch roller'. The brown tint is dirt from the VCR tape. Take a wet Q-tip and begin rubbing the 'pinch roller' gently until the brown dirt is gone. The 'pinch roller' moves freely so you can rotate it as you clean. You will probably need to use several Q-tips with cleaning solution because they get dirty as you clean. Then use a dry Q-tip to dry the pinch roller.
- Now replace the metal cover onto the VCR and put one or two screws in the back panel to secure it. Plug the VCR into the power strip and reconnect the RED RCA plug to "AUDIO OUT" and the YELLOW RCA plug into the "VIDEO OUT". Insert the 'play' tape and push the play button on the VCR. Did the SNOW problem improve? If not, recycle the VCR. If the video display on the television is crisp and clear, go to the Record Feature Testing.
Record Feature Testing
- Make sure the VCR cover is safely installed corectly. Make sure the RED RCA Plug is plugged into the "Audio OUT" connection on the back of the VCR. Make sure the YELLOW RCA Plug is plugged into the "Video OUT" connector on the back of the VCR. Make sure the black round UHF cable with the gold connector is plugged into the "ANT" UHF connector on the back of the VCR. Finally, make sure the power cord is plugged into the power strip. Make sure the television is turned on and volume turned up to medium.
- Turn the VCR power on by pushing the power button, and verify that it is on by watching the VCR display on the VDR, it will change and may brighten. Find the CHANNEL buttons on the VCR and push one or the other to change channels. Select the clearest TV station by changing stations and viewing them on the television.
- Select the 'Record' tape from the bench. It is the tape that has doesn't have a square hole on the side of the tape. Place the tape in the VCR. Push the "REWIND" button. When the tape stops rewinding, push the "REC" (record) button on the VCR. The machine will make a whining noise and the VCR display will indicate that recording has begun. The VCR is now recording the television station show. Wait 20 seconds then push the "STOP" Button. Push the "PLAY" button and the recorded television station show will play on the television.
- View the television video display for quality. There should be no distortion, rainbow coloring, static, or lines. These video defects may appear for one or two seconds after initially pushing the "PLAY" button. If any of these defects continue longer, recycle the VCR. Otherwise, the VCR has tested good, testing is complete, and theVCR can be sold in the Thrift Store.
- Disconnect the Power cord. Disconnect all other cables and remove the VCR tape.