Remove stuck cassette from VCR

January 13, 2017 at 22:55:52
Specs: several
Mitsubishi HS-U59 VCR plus (VHS) 1993

A cassette is stuck in my VCR and I don't know how to
get it out. I have removed the VCR's cover and can see
that some tape is pulled out of the cassette, but it is
not pulled out very far, is not caught on or wrapped
around anything, and is in perfect condition. All the
tape inside the cassette is on the supply spool.

I have the 110-page owner's guide. No mention of the
possibility of a stuck tape, even in the troubleshooting
section. No mention of opening the case as I have done.

The first problem is that I see no way to spool the
loose tape back into the cassette before removing it.

A web video https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=6OD-1...
says to (even before opening the case) push the door open
and "Push the button beneath the flap on the right side
to hand-crank the visible tape back into the cassette."

There is no such button in this VCR. Furthermore, without
first opening the case, there could be no "visible" tape.
It would all be hidden deep inside. That's also true of
the VCR in the web video. (The "right side" is the takeup
spool side.)

The web video continues (still before opening the case),
"Push the eject button while simultaneously pulling gently
on the front of the cassette to see if it will come out on
its own."

They are talking about reaching into the door and pulling
on the top of the cassette (the side with the clear window
through which the spools are visible) with the fingertips.
That wouldn't appear to make sense because the cassette
needs to move up (into the space where the fingers go) a
distance of about 3/4" (2 cm) before it can begin moving
out of the door opening.

I can't do that anyway because pushing the eject button
does nothing.

Plugging in the VCR or pressing the power button while it
is plugged in, though, causes a small part (like a capstan,
apparently where the tape would go if properly threaded)
to spin for a second or two, then a largish motor turns
a worm gear for a second, which looks like it might be
intended to raise and lower the cassette. But the cassette
never moves up. It dosn't move at all.

Another website says to turn by hand the gear which raises
the cassette, but there is nothing to grab. The gears I
can see and push against do not have the proper leverage
for being turned manually.

I could try taking and posting photos of the mechanism, but
doubt it would show enough to help. I'll also try to find a
service manual online as Derek suggested in another thread.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


See More: Remove stuck cassette from VCR

Report •

#1
January 14, 2017 at 02:41:21
Yes a photo might useful...

Is the write/not write sensor hole open or closed? That's the hole at one on end of the rear edge of the cassette with a removable tab - by default in place on new/blank tapes. When that tab is still present the tape can be recorded on; when the tab is removed the tape is write protected (I suspect you're more than familiar with it)

If the "sensor probe" (for want of a better term) has inserted itself into that hole... then you have to release/withdraw it - somehow.

I seem to recall that as soon as a tape goes into a domestic vcr that "probe" is engaged; so as to determine if the tape is wrote protected or not. Although it may be that it only gets activated when you hit record...? Been so long since I took one of a vcr to pieces I can't remember quite when or how that probe/sensor engages.


Report •

#2
January 14, 2017 at 07:41:40
I assume you've seen this video too:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGq...

It definitely rang some bells with me. I recall using masking tape on the cassette to keep it open for various operations during VCR repair. So long ago - stretches my memory a lot.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks

message edited by Derek


Report •

#3
January 15, 2017 at 04:38:51
Hi Jeff, I have the same or similar Mitsubishi VCR, although unused now.

The youtube video Derek suggests has a lot of good tips, however there may be one closer to your vcr available. e.g. :-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLR...

An important point is the cassette has to lift up slightly to before it can be removed.

Previously I have purchased a belt set and replaced all, as rubber belts become brittle.
Do not know if sets are still available.as vcr's are now old technology.

I have had same fault on mine and other vcr's.
When tapes fail to fully unload they can be wrecked if removed manually without sufficient care.

The worry is what caused the fault, e.g has a belt broken or does the vcr require servicing. Important to test with an old tape as one does not want to wreck a good tape.

When testing, check careful the top lid, as some vcr's will not operate without it in place. So the sensor for this has to be bypassed.when testing if you want to view inside.

When removed from a vcr, the tape cannot be rotated / fed without releasing its brake, There is a hole in the cassette bottom, through which a (generally) silver plate can be seen, which needs be pushed slightly inwards and held, in order to release the brake.

Good Luck - Keep us posted.

message edited by Mike Newcomb


Report •

Related Solutions

#4
January 15, 2017 at 04:58:58
the sensor for this has to be bypassed
Another bell rings. I recall putting a piece of thin card across them.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


Report •

#5
January 15, 2017 at 05:04:25
Hi Derek,

this morning I was discussing with a friend who lives near Florence, how nice it is to reminisce.

Problem is, if only I could remember what to reminisce about! :-)

Regards - Mike


Report •

#6
January 15, 2017 at 05:12:44
Yeah Mike. I must get my mirror fixed too. Every time I look in it there's some old bloke looking back at me.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


Report •

#7
January 15, 2017 at 05:30:25
trvlr,

I took a couple of photos, but I'm not sure they show enough
to help, and I don't know how to upload images from this tablet.
If I had the appropriate program, I could put them on my own
website, but I don't want to get into finding, learning about, and
installing a new program for the tablet at this time.

The write protect hole in the cassette is pretty well out of sight,
but I can see a white plastic part of the VCR that must go into it,
and it looks like it is shaped such that it will naturally come out
of the hole when the cassette moves up. I can feel that it isn't
what is currently holding the cassette in place. When I push and
pull on the cassette, it moves a millimetre or two, but the reels
visible through the two windows do not move-- they are firmly
held by the drive mechanism out of sight beneath them.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


message edited by Jeff Root


Report •

#8
January 15, 2017 at 05:44:39
Mike,

That video was pretty humorous, especially when the guy
plugged in the VCR and smoke immediately began coming out.
But it was too much like an amateur version of the Three Stooges
with only one stooge. I couldn't bear to watch longer than three
minutes. Just too painful.

And although the model number HS-U52 is close to my HS-U59,
the mechanism visible in the still photo is completely different.

The lifting up of the cassette before it can begin moving out of
the VCR door is what I referred to in the OP as a distance of 3/4",
and is what is not happening.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis

message edited by Jeff Root


Report •

#9
January 15, 2017 at 06:59:25
Derek,

I wrote half of this post yesterday, and so much changed as I
learned more as I wrote that editing it got so complicated that
I included a comment referring to River Song... But I left it
unsaved, and the browser crashed, so I'm starting over.

Oh my! It just crashed again, but this time the little bit I had
typed was restored when I re-started the computer! I lost far
more in the first crash.

The video you link in reply #2 addresses the exact problem.

The idea of using Scotch tape (invented here, as is video tape!)
to hold the cassette door open should have been obvious. I saw
the eventual need for it but didn't think of that solution. So far I
haven't been able to raise up the cassette far enough for the
door to start to close, but the tape is on it for when it's needed.

In the OP I said the motor turns the worm gear for a second, and
that there was nothing to grab to turn it by hand. The worm gear
is directly on the motor drive shaft. There is a tiny pully on that
shaft, between the motor and worm gear. The pully isn't connected
to anything, so it isn't obvious why it is there. Maybe it helps hold
the worm gear against the gear it drives. Or helps regulate the
speed of the motor. Dang, it is just too small to do anything useful.
Anyway, pushing on it turns the motor, the worm gear, the gear that
the worm gear drives, and three groups of tape guides. It must also
be supposed to move the cassette up and down.

At first I could only turn the motor/worm gear about 5 rotations.
But finally I turned it about 170 rotations, which moved the tape
guides away from the cassette and close to the recording head.
Obviously the opposite of the direction I want. So I turned it back
170 turns in the other direction, and the tape guides move back
alongside the cassette, but then I can't turn it any farther. I hear
some really intriguing creaking and groaning from underneath
the cassette as I turn the worm gear, but the cassette doesn't
raise up. The mechanism is too buried to see why not.

This post seems a lot shorter than the half-finished one I wrote
before. I must have left a lot out.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


Report •

#10
January 15, 2017 at 12:03:45
I think you are stuck unless someone trained in this sort of thing comes along with immediate and definite answers. The rest of us might well have fixed plenty of VCR issues but probably by being "hands on" and some years ago.

I "think" I recall twiddling the mechanism for one heck of a time before getting cassettes out but I would hesitate risk being party to a suggestion that had bad consequences. It might be worth gently lifting the tape away from guides and the rotating heads - it could be stuck. Some non-metallic implement such as a cocktail stick might help.

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


Report •

#11
January 15, 2017 at 18:20:21
By reaching in through the VCR door I can get my fingernails
under the little ridge around the area where the label normally
goes on the "spine" of the cassette, and by reaching down
into the opened top of the VCR I can get the fingernails of my
other hand under the upper ridge that straddles the tape that
is normally covered by the cassette door. When I put quite a
lot of force on it, I can pull it up about 3 mm. But something
hidden is holding it down.

I'd get rougher with it if I could find a way to reel in the loose
tape. That first video I found made it sound so easy.

I'm gunna see if I can stomache the narrator in Mike's video
now after taking a little nap. I'm gunna. I'm gunna.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


Report •

#12
January 15, 2017 at 19:04:49
It appears that the video Mike linked will do it.

What looked like a radically different mechanism in the still
photo turns out to be the underside of the VCR. The mechanism
on the upper side looks very similar to mine. Also, by turning
something (I couldn't see what) on the underside, the guy was
able to reel in the loose tape. Before he did that he turned the
motor/worm gear on the upper side and *said* that the tape
was going back into the cassette, but it wasn't. The tape guides
were moving back into position right beside the cassette, but
the tape itself was still loose, and had to be reeled in by turning
something on the bottom of the VCR. He then proceeded to
eject the cassette by turning gears on the bottom, with the VCR
still upside-down. So, looks like a bunch of screws come out...

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


Report •

#13
January 15, 2017 at 19:24:13
Well!

I took off the bottom cover and there was a big rubber belt
just lying loose on top of all the gears and circuit boards.
It looks and feels okay, but it might be stretched out of shape.
That still photo from the video shows where it goes...

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


Report •

#14
January 15, 2017 at 20:13:33
Success! The tape is out of the VCR.

It wasn't hard to find the knob that turns the reels. It seems to
work in both directions. Once the loose tape was safely inside
the cassette, I could turn the gears on the underside of the VCR
and the cassette came out without any problem. I don't know
why it was creaking when I turned the worm screw at its limit.
That might still indicate something is broken. But with the belt
too loose to work reliably, I don't intend to power it on again.

Now for the hard part. I have to decide whether to keep the
VCR or find someone to give it to who thinks they can repair it.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


Report •

#15
January 15, 2017 at 23:45:35
I think that vcrs are no-longer manufactured... Seem to recall a news report to that effect "last year".

One can still buy them of course, and the dual dvd-vcr unit is still around too. Worth to check cost of repairing your vcr, and comparing with cost of a new one - at least.


Report •

#16
January 16, 2017 at 03:19:53
Hi Jeff,

if you decide to 'play' with your vcr, it may be worth seeing if you can obtain a Service Manual, as User Manuals are not much help when deeper faults are involved.
One is referred to here:-

http://www.stereomanuals.com/man/re...

Would suggest considering transferring any important taped videos to dvd's. Otherwise as time goes on it will become increasingly difficult finding vcr's to read them.

Another example of disappearing technology:-
it has been difficult (for some) for a while now to find a drive that reads 5.25" floppy's and more recently 3.5" ones.

Good Luck - Keep us posted..

message edited by Mike Newcomb


Report •

#17
January 16, 2017 at 04:24:14
A lot to be said for holding onto olde technology... One day it may become valuable and much sought after. One might even be able provide a commercial service...

Remember that a few years back NASA was asking for supplies of rather ancient memory chips; so as to upgrade kit in the early space station/lab...


Report •

#18
January 16, 2017 at 07:10:11
"A lot to be said for holding onto olde technology"

Yeah, I've got two identical VCRs both in good condition. Only one remote though (usual thing, I lent VCR to someone and they lost it).

Always pop back and let us know the outcome - thanks


Report •

#19
September 11, 2017 at 07:16:22
I would love to know if you ever got the cassette out. I just saw this

Report •

#20
September 11, 2017 at 13:35:51
Hello, techgovnor !

Yes, I reported in reply #14 that I finally got the tape out,
and I did it using the method shown in the video linked to
by Mike Newcomb way back in reply #3. The problem
was that I didn't realize I had to go into the underside of
the VCR. It required taking off a separate cover held on
with its own screws, which I didn't do at first because I
didn't know I needed to. The video didn't say that.

-- Jeff, in Minneapolis


Report •

#21
September 11, 2017 at 14:33:33
VCR machines were always a pain to service; especially if a tape got stuck inside for whatever reasons...

The U-matic series were even worse; They frequently stalled/jammed during tape threading/unthreading. The advent of the omega-wrap tape threading/transport system was a much needed improvement. But at least the early VCR got into domestic environments; and ultimately brought about the DVD-recorder.


Report •

#22
September 14, 2017 at 04:17:40
Ah didn't see :) Good to know! Just made me giggle, the idea of a tape stuck :P

Report •

Ask Question