Panasonic video recording problems


Active Member

Looks like similar questions have been asked about this sort of thing before, but thought I'd try my luck (optimist that I am!). :)

My ageing Panasonic HD-650 VCR used to make superb recordings, but alas no longer.
It plays back pre-recorded tapes and recordings from other VCRs absolutely fine, but recently its own recordings have become almost unwatchable. It starts off okay, but then the picture starts jumping about everywhere, as if the vertical hold has gone altogether for a few seconds and then it goes back to 'normal' for a few seconds before starting the whole cycle again. It has got progressively worse over the last few weeks and now the majority of the recording is 'jumping'.

By changing the tracking during playback to one far extreme of its range, just before the picture goes altogether, the picture stops jumping about and is watchable, but since the tracking is so far off what it should be the picture is fairly fuzzy and not nice to watch.

I've taken the cover off and cleaned all relevant parts with tape head cleaner. While this made a slight improvement for a few days, it's now back to where we began, if not worse. I'm wondering if the actual tape head is worn.

Trouble is when it's working it's a very good VCR - cost £400 when I bought it (five years ago) and was top of the range. I don't know whether to spend £50+ getting it repaired or to get a new VCR. Don't want a Tivo because I often record stuff for my parents and vice versa so I need to swap tapes etc.

Any advice VERY welcome !

Paul G

This might be caused by a worn pinch roller. I've replaced pinch rollers in my ageing panasonic machines HD605 and HD620 which corrected poor tracking/picture roll- more noticable on long play. Both these machines use identical pinch arm units about £20 each from SEME. tel;01664 484001
I'm not an engineer so whether this applies to your machine is a guess though.


Active Member
Thanks for the advice Paul. It SEEMS (or at least I'm hoping) that it's a simple fault like this, so will check the pinch rollers - didn't seem worn when I last looked, but will check again. Not heard of SEME, but have used both CPC and Grandata in the past without problems.


Standard Member
When a vcr plays back recordings from other machines ok, but not its own recordings the problem is almost always worn heads. Either the rotary video heads or the control/audio head.
The reasoning being that when the faulty head lays down its track it is at a reduced strength, when it then reads the track it also looses further strength and the result is unwatchable. If its a prerecorded tape the signal off the tape is only reduced the once when being read.
(hope that made sense)
Given the cost of new vcrs a repair is unlikely to be economic.


Active Member
Thanks for the help guys. I checked the pinch rollers and they appeared quite shiny and worn looking. Tried 'filing' them slightly to remove the shiny finish - didn't make any difference though. Have re-cleaned everything, but didn't make any difference.

Have finally got fed up and dropped it off with the local repair man - he's a good bloke and I know will give me an honest estimate.

Paul G

Did you find out what the fault was caused by?

I would be very interested to know.

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