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View Full Version : Betamax quandry



John K
09-10-2010, 12:50 AM
All right guys (and girls), I'm seeking a little advice...

A few months ago I found an old Beta deck at a Goodwill for $5. After a great deal of searching, I finally located a tape to test it with, plugged it in at home and fed it the cassette - it played for about a second and then conked out, and when i ejected the cassette it was trailing a stream of tape with it. I've opened the thing up a few times to see if I could ascertain what the problem was, but eventually gave up, hoping to get it repaired.

Last weekend, however, I happened to find another Beta machine at a flea market, where I picked it up for a cool $15, along with a box of 80 tapes (nice!). Plugged this one in and gave it a try too, and it works nicely (well, nice enough for something that's probably 25 or 30 years old or more).

So, my problem's solved, at least as far as playing Betas is concerned. Now the question is what to do with the old one that half-works. My question is whether I should just get rid of it (sell it on ebay or something) or perhaps stash it somewhere in the basement, to use for spare parts if the other ever (and eventually I'm sure it will) conks out on me. FWIW, they're different brands (I don't know how much difference it makes) and that's about all I can tell you without more specific prompting for things to look for.

So, is it worth keeping the wonky one around, or am I better off just clearing it out for space and pocketing a little change?

Robert Richardson
09-10-2010, 06:21 AM
So, is it worth keeping the wonky one around, or am I better off just clearing it out for space and pocketing a little change?

That sort of depends on the machine itself. As they are different brands parts really would not be compatible. If you know of an old-school repair technician experienced with older VCR decks you may be able to get it serviced and have a solid second vcr - but again it depends on what issues are plaguing the machine vs what repair costs would be.

What's the brand and model number of the non-working Beta?

Steve R
09-10-2010, 10:37 AM
The motors are generally the big thing that goes with these.

The other thing you have to watch out for is the tape path.
If you're technical and comfortable - unplug and open it up.
Hopefully the whole top comes off after you remove a
few knobs and switches. They tend to use really long screws so have
a pair of needle nose pliers handy. Do not strip the screw.
Follow the tape path carefully. You see it winds around several things.
A pretty long path. The rubber rollers (capstans) have to be cleaned with
a rubber cleaner and a foam stick. There is another cleaner for all the metal parts
and yet another one for the drum that contains the playback and record heads.
They get cleaned side to side - gently.
Do not mix the cleaning liquids. Use foam sticks, cotton ones
tend to leave pieces of cotton all over the place.

IF you can keep that tape path clean it'll really increase the life of
your machine.