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The Humble Tape Counter

It turns out that Sony's F-Series of video recorders (such as the SL-F25, SL-F30, SL-F60, SL-F90), do in effect have a real-time tape counter. At first sight, you might think it is just a simple counter, but with a little help it turns out to be more accurate than it looks.

Like a modern video recorder (of any format), the tape counter is sourced not from the takeup spool pulses, but from off-tape synch pulses. As a result, the counter will not increment / decrement when running past sections of tape with no recording on them.

This does mean, that when using a fully recorded tape, you can accurately locate your present location from the zero position. This can be very handy when recording to DVD and needing to know the length of a recording.

To calculate a length, zero the tape counter and rewind or fast forward using the peep search feature until either the end or start of the recording of interest. Then look up the counter number on the table below to see how much time has elapsed. One column is for winding forwards from zero, the other for rewinding from zero.

The counter increments exactly one count per two seconds of recording. Now why on earth, having come so close to making a real-time counter, Sony didn't make it work in minutes and seconds is a mystery! Perhaps they ran out of characters on the display.

The following table explains how it works...

Hours &
Minutes Back
from zero
from zero
0:00 0 0 0
0:15 15 9550 450
0:30 30 9100 900
0:45 45 8650 1350
1:00 60 8200 1800
1:15 75 7750 2250
1:30 90 7300 2700
1:45 105 6850 3150
2:00 120 6400 3600
2:15 135 5950 4050
2:30 150 5500 4500
2:45 165 5050 4950
3:00 180 4600 5400
3:15 195 4150 5850
3:30 210 3700 6300
3:45 225 3250 6750

Our thanks go to Colin McCormick for supplying this little gem.

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