Dropouts when recording from poor VCR tapes

xerxes991

Standard Member
I've just bought a Philips DVDR 3380 and am using it to record from some old VCR tapes of variable quality. Trouble is that the DVD recorder sometimes stops or pauses if the tape quality is perceived to be poor. Alternatively, it sometimes continues to record sound, but not picture. If the picture on the VCR improves, the recorder does not seem to re-start recording the picture, so I am left with a long audio-only recording. Very frustrating.

Three questions come to mind. First, I am using Scart to Scart connection between VCR and DVDR. The VCR does not have component output, but should I try to use a Scart/Component adapter and input the signal to the "Cam1" AV inputs on the DVDR?
Second, should I try to use a different VCR to play the tapes?
Third, Philips claim to use "SmartAlgo" technology to optimise the way recordings are made. Could this have something to do with my problems?

Any advice please?
Thanks
Steve
 

Gavtech

Administrator
I suspect that the main problem is loss of, or low sync pulses coming off the tape .. and without those the DVDR will struggle to create a lockable picture and so will blank instead.

I dont think there will be anything you can do in terms of connection or at the DVDR end to change this.

Your best chance is finding a VCR that the tapes will play comfortably on [ ideally the original as recorded if possible ] ... Otherwise ensure the pinch roller of the vcr is in good condition and that the audio / control head of the VCR is clean [ It is that head that picks up the sync pulses from the tape.]

Good luck.
 

xerxes991

Standard Member
Thanks. I'll do some cleaning of the VCR......

What is frustrating is that the DVDR drops out even though the picture I am monitoring on the TV screen is acceptable. Is there any way of overriding the sync pulse so that the DVDR records the picture, regardless of how poor the quality is?

I've just re-read this, and I suspect that it's a pretty daft question. Sorry....

Steve
 

thewul

Novice Member
if you are running scart to scart and just pressing record on the dvd recorder then the input signal will not effect the recording process. i.e you could remove the scart lead and the dvd-r time counter would still run and the disc would fill up. obviously there would be no content on the disc but it would not lock up or freeze. the dvd recorder does not rely on sinc pulses generated by the vcr.
have you tried recording anything else tv via the built in tuner for example.
hope you havnt just got a faulty machine

just checked with a jvc and they do infact stop recording when the sig via scart is removed oops. so it is poss that the philips does the same gavtech maybe right as the sync pulses are how the unit checks for signal.
 

Hal_loe

Novice Member
One method for recording bad VHS tapes is to use a TBC (Time Base Corrector).

This will maintain the sync signal when it is dropped on the tape.

Some Video player have them built in, you can buy external TBC though which you route the signal from the VHS.

Hope that helps.
 

GaryB

Distinguished Member
If you can find something like a JVC HR-S9500 or HR-S9600, these contain a built in TBC which should make it possible to copy the tapes.
 

Figment

Novice Member
If you can find something like a JVC HR-S9500 or HR-S9600, these contain a built in TBC which should make it possible to copy the tapes.
Both the above machines are SVHS, I realise they may be able to play back standard VHS tapes but wonder if when doing so the TBC would still be being utilised ? if not then there would be no advantage. Just a thought.
A stand-alone TBC would do the trick but it sounds an expensive option for what is probably a one off session of recording old tapes. Unless of course the OP could borrow one somewhere.
Sounds to me like the Philips DVDR is too fussy, I have done the same with my old tapes on my Panny DVDR without any problem.
 

GaryB

Distinguished Member
Both the above machines are SVHS, I realise they may be able to play back standard VHS tapes but wonder if when doing so the TBC would still be being utilised ? if not then there would be no advantage. Just a thought.
All S-VHS VCRs can play back standard VHS tapes. The TBC does work for normal VHS playback.
 

Figment

Novice Member
All S-VHS VCRs can play back standard VHS tapes. The TBC does work for normal VHS playback.
Would do the job then. Still hope he can borrow rather than buy, though
last time I saw one of these for sale it was only about £100 pretty amazing when considering in their hey-day when they were cutting edge you were looking at about £700 :eek:
 

Gavtech

Administrator
Assuming 'Smartalgo' can be switched off, it is obviously worth experimenting with that too.
 

GaryB

Distinguished Member
Would do the job then. Still hope he can borrow rather than buy, though
last time I saw one of these for sale it was only about £100 pretty amazing when considering in their hey-day when they were cutting edge you were looking at about £700 :eek:
I have a couple of them. They still work well.

Another alternative that may work if the OP can borrow one is to try a Macrovision blocker. These were designed to remove Macrovision copy protection. As well as cleaning/replacing the vertical sync area (which is where the Macrovision signals are), some of them also replace the horizontal sync. If both sync signals are replaced, the chances are that the tapes could be copied OK.
 

xerxes991

Standard Member
OP here. Thanks for all the replies, guys. Perhaps the Philips is being too fussy, but I'm not sure how to fix that. I have not seen any way of disabling the SmartAlgo, even if that would help.

I will try to dig out and use the original VCR machine. That may help. It also occurs to me that I could dub the tape from one VCR onto another, and produce a "clean" tape, albeit still with a less than perfect picture (actually slightly worse). I assume that tape would have clean sync signals, and I could then copy from that tape onto DVD....??

By the way, I am using a +RW blank DVD. I assume that should be OK. I would then plan to copy that "master" to a +R on my PC. Would that work? Since the DVDR is dual media, I could just as well use -RW or -R, and I've no idea which is likely to work best. It's enough to drive a simple mechanical engineer nuts.

Steve
 

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