How to Fix a VCR Player

Written by percila jackson
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How to Fix a VCR Player
VCRs can record TV programs and play video cassette tapes. (data storage media studio isolated image by dinostock from

Invented in the 1970s, the video cassette recorder (VCR) can record television shows and play video cassette movies. Like modern-day DVRs, VCRs free people from television network schedules because they allow people to record and watch their favourite TV programs whenever they want. Video cassette recorders are usually very reliable and last a long time, but they may give you problems from time to time. Most VCRs can be fixed by cleaning them and/or replacing a few parts.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Cotton swabs
  • Isopropyl alcohol
  • Idler tire
  • VCR belts

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  1. 1

    Use cotton swabs and 91 per cent or pure isopropyl alcohol to clean the inner parts of the VCR. Clean everything except for the video heads because they break easily. Clean the capstan, pinch roller, idler belt, reel table edges and anything else tapes may touch as they are ejected. The capstan is the part shaped like a shiny staff that pulls the tape through the VCR during "Play" and "Record." The pinch roller is the part that presses against the capstan during "Play" and "Record." The idler belt is the part that swings between and transfers motor power to reels. The reel table edges are the surfaces on the reel tables that contact the idler.

  2. 2

    Replace the idler tire if it appears glazed, cracked or dried out. Purchase an idler tire for your particular VCR make and model from an electronics store or from online. Replace any belts that appear loose or that do not return to their relaxed size when stretched by about 25 per cent.

  3. 3

    Unplug the VCR and remove the top and bottom covers if a cassette is stuck in the VCR and won't eject. See if there is any tape showing outside of the cassette. If tape is showing, turn one of the shafts or pulleys to put the tape back into the cassette, then eject the cassette. For top-loading VCRs, eject the cassette by finding and pressing the mechanical push button that ejects the tape. For front-loading VCRs, locate and begin turning the cassette-loading motor in the appropriate direction until the cassette is ejected.

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