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Tuesday 2nd November 2010
6:19 pm U.K.


have vo5800 does anybody know a source of replacement headsor drums.

Richard Johnson
Saturday 30th October 2010
8:38 am U.K.



A very helpful person in MA USA has explained the fuse-like glass tube to me:

Believe it or not, that little fuse style device ain't a fuse or any type of protection device.... IT IS A 'ELAPSED TIME' READOUT.

A column of mercury is placed in a thin cylindrical tube with a gap (bubble) in the fluid, the "fuse" tube in placed in parallel with a voltage (current draw), usually placed in line after the main power switch or in your case of a VCR, maybe placed on a motor voltage input. As the voltage is applied to the Elasped Time Readout, the voltage potential SLOWLY, SLOWLY, causes the the bubble in the column of mercury to move. Each line on the glass tube represents either 100 (or maybe 1000) hours.

When the bubble reaches the end of the tube, you simply swap the "fuse" around so that the bubble goes backward (it is polarity sensitive). Usually they would mount the readout in a standard old fashion open fuseholder so that the device could be reused.

These devices have been around for decades, proabably since the 1950's. They were usually used in lab or industrial equipment, but for a vcr, they were a fool-proof, simple way of indicating the amount of time that a piece of equipment had been used. (no curcuitry need, permanent static memory, no real moving parts, practically indestructable if not broken, etc.)

My V0-5800PS VCR is still not threading properly.

Richard Johnson
Friday 29th October 2010
4:45 pm U.K.


P.S. I suspect that something is timing out. I have discovered that if I switch the mains switch on the VCR on and off rapidly when the small tape loop has formed, the threading ring motor comes on for brief instants to inch the threading ring round step by step until I can get the tape loop big enough for the fast forward and reverse to work. However, the ring motor will not come on to drive te ring round to the play position. I think there must be a timing-out problem.

Also, I have found a curious fuse-like component (glass with metal caps at each end and 6mm diam by 30 mm long) fitted like a fuse between a couple of clips on a small circuit board near the threading-ring drive motor. The glass is thick and contains a thin (about 1mm diam) column of mercury. Along side the mercury column is a scale marked in divisions 1 to 10. The column of mercury in it is not continuous; it has an empty gap in it about 1 mm long near the 1 division on the scale. Can anyone please tell me what this component does and whether the murcury column should have a break in it?

Richard Johnson
Wednesday 27th October 2010
2:06 pm U.K.


I have a Sony UMatic V0-5800 PS video recorder which I bought new around 1983. It has not had a great amount of use over the years. The last time I used it, about a year ago, it was working fine. I switched it on today and, although the tape cassette (I've tried several) is taken into the machine, it does not load properly: I have removed the top bottom and left hand side covers. Some symptoms are: The tape is drawn out of the cassette into a small loop round one guide pin, but then nothing further happens. The ring that draws the tape into a loop round the rotating drum does not itself rotate now and thus a big loop is not formed. I've tried winding the ring round by hand, lubricating it with PTFE on the way; the motor runs to reset the ring to its original position when I put in a cassette, but again, no proper big loop forms round the rotating drum. The standby light remains on. On 'Search' it makes the usual rattling/tinkling sound briefly when the knob is turned to either side, but then the sound stops. However When the fast forward or rewind buttons are pressed, the mechanism clicks and the head drum revolves, but the forward or re-winding do not run. The cassette ejects OK when the eject button is pressed. I should be very grateful for any suggestions.

Friday 22nd October 2010
9:57 pm U.K.


Hi Wilber, It sounds like the tapes are suffering from 'sticky tape syndrome'. This is not uncommon for tapes from that era. The good news is that it can easily be fixed, if you know what you are doing. Have a search for 'sticky tape' and 'bake a tape' for some suggestions how to fix this. I actually run a small business (www.lightmotif.com.au) doing exactly that but distance may be a problem.

Thursday 21st October 2010
11:00 pm U.K.


Hi everybodyI just have a curios questions that it needs to be asnwer by an very good expert (or may be not I'm just ignorant) Back on 1979 when this u-matic machines were top of the line I participated on a different colleges' basketballs games that the Government (Educational TV) of El Salvador recorded in this types of machines. I'm trying to recover these old memories recorded on this tapes(to show them to my kids), but they (government authorities) have told me that the tape(films) got stucks and they do not know what to do make these tapes come back to life without damaging them.Does anybody know what to do to unstuck them? Is there any way to make them go back to life and rerecorded them in a different format?Please advice.

Friday 24th September 2010
7:29 am U.K.


Hi Danko!

I got the same machine ( VO-2630 ) and just acquired service manual in PDF format.I'll dig it out and see if I can do some tests for you.

Now, isn't it amazing, we worked together at Zagreb TV station awhile ago.

Check this out:http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=213562986334#!/video/video.php?v=156133517747971&oid=213562986334 or



Monday 20th September 2010
9:57 pm U.K.


Hi Anthony,

It would be helpful if you let people know where you are located.For instance, I do have a SECAM player, but I am in Australia... Probably not much help for you.

And how did you end up with SECAM tapes bur only NTSC machines?

Monday 20th September 2010
3:43 pm U.K.



I am working on a Umatic tape conversion/preservation project. The objective is to digitize our Umatic tape collection before the tape becomes defective. All my tapes are Umatic-Secam. We have a few functional ntsc players but none that can play secam.

Does anybody have a functionnal umatic-secam player ? I am looking to buy one.

Thank you

Friday 17th September 2010
6:10 am U.K.


Hi guys,This site is a very pleasant discovery. Nice to see U-matic fans together.

I got four machines, two of them I would like to bring back to life:VP-1210, VO-2630, VO-5630 and VO-5850.

The older ones don't work but they power up and motors spin.If anyone can help with service manual for VP-1210 or VO-2630 I would be very interested in.I have only Operating manual for VO-2630 pdf, it is in Eng, Ger. and FR. Contact me directly if want a copy.


Tuesday 14th September 2010
10:02 pm U.K.


Hi Serpico, the '187' is an Ampex tape.....

John Thompson
Tuesday 14th September 2010
7:59 pm U.K.


just a word of thanks to the two people who very quickly got in touch about the BVU-800P service manual. I have now bought a PDF of the entire operation & service manual which I found at online-manuals.com.

If anyone else out there is stuck I also have copies of the BVU-800 and VO5630 service manuals. They're rather big files though. :-)

Tuesday 14th September 2010
1:26 pm U.K.


Thanks Roderick, I'm going to try this today. Most of the 3/4" tapes I have are Sony. This one, as far as I can tell, is a no-name brand. Just has "187 KCA-30" printed on the casing.

John Thompson
Sunday 12th September 2010
12:22 pm U.K.


Hi, I have a BVU-800P high band umatic with no colour either EE or off tape. I've traced the fault to the CD14 board but as I only have a PDF of the US version of the service manual ( BVU-800 ), I'm now a bit stuck.

If anyone could provide me with scans or a PDF of the relevant sections of the Pal manual I'd be eternally grateful.

Thursday 9th September 2010
10:03 pm U.K.


Hi Serpico,

Sounds like the whole tape track needs a good clean. Use some cottonbuds (Q-tips) and cleaning alcohol to clean all the posts, erase and audio heads on the track."Sticky tapes" often leave a residue behind which will stop a good tape from running and causes the squealing noise.

What brand tapes are you trying to play? Ampex and Agfa tapes are notorious for 'sticky tape syndrome' and will cause problems if not treated. Sony tapes are usually less problematic. Once you have cleaned the whole path, use a known good, clean tape and let that run for 10 - 30 minutes. Often that will clean the video heads.

Let us know how you go.

Chris Margrave-Gregory
Thursday 9th September 2010
1:19 pm U.K.


Hi All,

I am looking for a U-Matic player , I need a VO 7630 NTSC machines.

Please let me know if you have one of these available, My email address is chris@thameside.tv, alternatively my mobile 07931 902556.

Kind RegardsChris

Thursday 9th September 2010
12:57 pm U.K.


Hi Roderick

I put a small amount of cleaning fluid on a cloth, placed it against the drum and rotated the drum slowly a few times, then did the same with a dry cloth. I let it sit for a few hours before I tried the tape again.

The unit we have has one leg left, maybe half a leg, lots of other issues with (I sometimes have to "trick" it into playing a tape by hitting stop and then play in quick succession, often times a tape will hang when I press play and the unit just sits there making a high pitched whirring sound) it so this might just be a death rattle

Wednesday 8th September 2010
10:19 pm U.K.


When you say "wiped down the drum", what did you actually do?From the description of the result, it looks like you may have made the situation worse if you weren't extremely careful with the heads.Video heads are very sensitive to 'up & down' movement, you may have dislodged the heads' alignment.

It is also good to give the ACE head a good clean to ensure it tracks properly.

Wednesday 8th September 2010
7:06 pm U.K.


hello, all! I've encountered a problem with my (US model) VO-9600 player that I believe I've had before and may have posted about.

I was dubbing a VHS tape and there was alot of picture noise and flutter that the tracking on the VCR I use to record wasn't helping. I opened up the Umatic and wiped down the drum, then reinserted the tape. Now, I have loads of snow and picture noise that totally obscures the image.

I've tested the inputs and outputs and tried other 3/4" tapes with the same result. I thought condensation might be affecting it so I left it on all night but with no change. Anything I could try, anyone else had this problem?

Friday 3rd September 2010
6:27 pm U.K.


Hi, I have VO2630. It lights up, the head drum is spinning, but won't thread the tape and play/rew/fwd/eject buttons are dead. Motors spin when I manually switch them.I would be happy to try solving it by myself and would appreciate any help or suggestion.

Sunday 22nd August 2010
11:57 am U.K.


Hello everybody,

I,ve got a VO-5630 for sale. You can find it on Marktplaats.nl.


Wednesday 18th August 2010
9:43 am U.K.


Hi Roderick. Thanks for your reply. Haven't been able to find much info on back tension etc on the internet that is specific to u-matic. As I understand it the skew is supposed to help with this but appears to do nothing (although it is working by pressing against the reel on the inside). Perhaps the supply reel is too tense? One oddity though is that having left the VTR powered up for four hours yesterday, the picture is remarkably improved, so whether warmth helps things or not I don't know. Any suggestions welcome! Jon.

Monday 16th August 2010
9:38 pm U.K.


Hi Jon,

I am a tad too far away to have a go myself (Sydney, Australia) but it sounds like a tape tension problem. If you have a service manual, see if you can find adjustment procedures and see if that helps.

Monday 16th August 2010
9:52 am U.K.


Hi guys. I was wondering if anyone here with a bit of engineering expertise would care to take a look and Frankenstein me a working machine out of three ailing decks... I have a VP9000, VO9640 and a VP7040 (all PAL). The 7040 seems to be fine however it's lowband which isn't very useful fo my high and SP stuff as it plays monochrome. The 9640 picture is totally distorted but i did try swapping the upper drum from the 7040 and putting it in the 9640 and gave the same results. The 9000 is probably the best starting point as I can get a disorted but recognisable picture if i turn the tracking 9/10ths in one direction. In still mode the vision seems normal (i.e. shuttle noise bars in the correct place but otherwise fine). Capstan seems to be running OK but thats as far as my knowledge goes. If anyone is in the South East of UK and fancies a go then let me know... after I have dubbed my dozen or so tapes you can keep all three VTRs. Jon.

Richard Chester
Monday 2nd August 2010
10:37 am U.K.


What ever happened to the U-matic Chat Page? only Spammers here ? Where are the good times gone? Sorry for that....

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