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Troubleshooting Bad Picture or No Picture on a VCR

Note: This article is for informative purposes only.
We are not responsible for any damages caused by your attempt to clean
your VCR's video heads. Never touch a moving video head drum.

If you're unable to see a picture when you connect your VCR, please try these tips:

~ Using a new RCA video cable, connect the video output from the VCR directly to a TV set that has a composite RCA Video Input. Using this method bypasses any potential problems that might occur when connecting to a computer capture card.

~ If you purchased a VCR from TGrantPhoto, try playing the included "Sample Tape" otherwise play a tape that is known to be good.

If you have poor playback quality, try these tips:

~ If you see snow in the playback picture, but you can hear the audio, chances are that the video heads are badly clogged. NOTE: The video head unit is the single most expensive part inside your VCR, so if you clean your video heads yourself please be careful! It's very easy to break or damage the delicate video heads. Follow our video head cleaning instructions.

~ If the tape plays back somewhat, but the playback quality is still poor, try cleaning the video heads again. NOTE: some VCRs can show video interference when placed near a cable modem. Check that your video cables doen't pass near any potential source  of RF (radio frequency) interference.

~ Clean the audio-control head (located to the left of the rubber pinch roller). The A/C head reads the video sync pulses and the linear audio track (hi-fi sound originates from the spinning video heads). If the A/C head is dirty the picture could jump around and the linear audio might be muffled or missing. Try cleaning the A/C head with a Q-tip dipped in 91% isopropyl alcohol (never use q-tips on the video heads). When cleaning the A/C head, pay extra attention to the very upper and lower sections of the head.  Important: the lower edge of the tape should not buckle as it goes into the pinch roller. If the tape buckles, that's a sign that the VCR needs alignment and/or adjustment.

~ Old video tapes can shed oxide or dirt. For best video quality, the video heads should be cleaned after playing every 2-3 tapes, or when playback quality degrades.

~ Evidence of thin black vertical streaks on the tape guides indicates the presence of "sticky shed" on your tape. It's possible to temporarily rejuvinate "sticky shed" tapes.

~ Color worms or other interference in the picture often indicate poor electronic parts in the VCR. If you own a Panasonic AG-1980 that hasn't been serviced recently, we offer full repair services

  ~ Tom Grant


We offer complete repair services for the Panasonic AG-1980.

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