You Are At: AllSands Home > Howto > How to repair a vcr
VCR's, or video cassette recorders, give us the opportunity to watch movies uninterrupted in the privacy of our homes. Even movies made with a video camera can be played back on a VCR to delight our families and friends. VCR's will also record and play back television signals that are received from the air or a cable system.

Typically, a table top unit contains a tuner that will select channels and a timer that turns the unit on or off at the times you set. Portable VCR's connect to a separate timer-tuner unit, but will give you the same effect.

When hooking up your VCR to a television antenna you will simply need to connect the antenna leads to the VCR and then hook the VCR to your television set as directed in the manufacturer's hand book. If you have purchased a cable ready VCR you should hook the incoming cable to the VCR and then connect the VCR to you set's cable box or directly to the set if it is cable ready also. No matter which way you choose to do this hook up it will allow you to use your television with or without the VCR.

When you subscribe to a pay channel or do not have a cable ready VCR you will need a special cable connection in order to be able to use all the VCR's features. In most cases, this involves splitting the incoming signal to send it through both the cable box and a device that is called a block converter, then on to the VCR and television. Since cable systems vary, another method used will send the split signal through a cable box and a channel trap or notch filter. If you are unsure which type you need call your local cable office or a VCR dealer that can tell you what you will need.

VCR's are delicate, yet complex machines that should be serviced only by qualified technicians. If you are having a problem with your VCR begin by checking to insure that the signal or video tape is not faulty. Then check for faulty or loose wiring. If your problem is a picture with static lines running through it you should check your tracking control. This feature will make corrections for tapes that have been made on other machines.

Although there are many different types of VCR features, most will have a digital clock. This can be set by pressing the time button and using the volume or channel up and down buttons to display the correct time. To set the minutes or seconds it may be necessary to press the time button a second and third time.

On most VCR's the program buttons will give you the features needed to set up any type of delayed programing. This feature is used to record a show when you are away from home. When you plan to tape a program to watch later always be sure to leave a blank tape in your machine.

In most cases the video recording and play back head cause the most frequent trouble. When your screen image develops snow, blips or streaks you will need to have the head cleaned. You can purchase a head cleaning kit from most VCR dealers and clean the heads using the kit. But remember when doing this that each use of this type of head cleaning product wears the head slightly, so use it only as directed. The best thing to do in this case is have the heads cleaned by a professional VCR repair shop. You can prolong the life of the heads on your VCR by protecting it from heat and humidity using a dust cover when the machine is not in use. Even with the best of VCR's the heads will need to be replaced after years of use.