This TOSHIBA DVR20 had been chewing tapes and now fails to load a cassette.

Discussing the problem(s) with this unit's customer, she informed me the unit is only used occasionally to copy old VHS tapes onto CD/DVDs, this is one of this unit's selling points and has a dedicated "DUBBING" button for the purpose. Pop in a VHS tape, insert a blank DVD, press the dubbing button and away it goes. And does a pretty good job too, automatically chapterising breaks in the Video programmes.

When it came, the customer's husband explained that he had tried it again and that now the cassette would not load at all, jamming half way down and then ejecting. The original fault was chewing tapes. So I concluded that something had happened in between the chewing issue and the loading issue. So taking it in, and removing the top lid, I had a good look at the cassette carrier. This appeared to be very loose on the right hand side and suspected that that something had broken. Dismantling the front and top parts of the cabinet chassis gave me good access to the carrier which was easily removed. Upon inspection however, even though it was loosely fitted together, there appeared to be nothing broken. Upon refitting the carrier, I noticed the supply reel brake had become dislodged and would have stopped the cassette from seating down when inserted, the not loading fault. I suspect the mechanism had either suffered a severe shock after being removed from it's normal location in the home, maybe it had been dropped? Who knows, but refitting the brake was easy enough and I could see no other reason for it's incorrect location. I tried loading the carrier without a cassette and this worked OK, some testing to see if the tape movement and end sensors then followed but in all cases, the mechanism lifted the carrier and then shut down like a fault mode. Covering the sensors and loading the carrier, the mechanism loaded up around the drum then unloaded, ejected and shut off. So the must be another fault. Trying once more I then noticed that when the loading arms moved around the drum, the drum did not spin which it would normally do. I tried once more and this time turned the drum by hand which was very stiff, as though it had seized up. It began to spin and then carried on working. So the bearings must have dried out.

Dismantling the drum assembly, I lubricated the bearings on the drum spindle and at the same time lubricated the loading arm running areas and other areas with Molycote grease. I cleaned the head drum assembly, erase, linear sound and control track head, capstan and pinch roller.

Once done, a cassette was inserted and playback was achieved. Full tape movement tests were carried out and it performed as well as expect. Disappointingly, the tape remained wrapped around the drum during FF & REW, which could decrease the lifespan of the heads on the drum but they seemed to be working OK.

Dubbing tests were also carried out as this is the primary purpose of this machine now, having no digital TV tuner it could not be used as a VCR.

In the video below, you can see how I stripped it down, diagnosed and repaired both faults and tested it. Hints and tips on servicing a VCR mechanism are also included.