Never Pay For VHS

Roy W. Gardner

E-mail: RoyGbvgw*
Web URL:
Current Beta Machines: Many

A recent such purchase was a Sanyo 7300 portable for $20. It's a hifi stereo player/recorder with tuner that looks like a portable radio. I think I'll use it at work to record Indy Car races. A year or so ago I bought a hifi stereo NEC VC-N65EU super high band for $15 that has the interesting feature of a lamp and flip-down mirror behind the transparent loading door that lets you see the supply reel to tell how much tape there's really left.

Top loaders did have their advantages. I've been examining the schematics to find out why the takeup reel motor has a defective torque vs. rpm curve. All the poles are alive. Is this a problem area on this model?

My first VCR was a Sanyo Beta 6300 I bought about 1985. It was selling for around $600 normally, but this one had been dropped in the store and they were asking $250. The front panel was knocked an inch sideways, but it still worked. I took it home, and 2 new LED's, some glue, and 2 hours later, it was like new. I still use it extensively, and it has been very reliable. Except ... the power supply always ran hot and it finally overcooked the main tuner CPU chip (TMP4321 AN-9002) and blinded the automatic fine tuning.

I added a small quiet cooling fan to the cabinet and disabled the now berserker AFT feature on the chip, which doesn't seem to hurt the picture quality, possibly because the channels coming over the local cable are close enough to the default center values to not need any fine tuning, even manual. Nevertheless, I'd like to find a replacement chip or complete board, if anybody out there has one. Even better, I'd like to buy another complete machine or two for parts or backup.

Is this a rare model? I've only seen two. One of its greatest advantages is it has the most agile transport I've ever used. It is so fast switching from cue to review and back that it's great fun showing off to VHS owners, who have to sit through that lengthy whirring and whining of the cam gears to do the same thing. Even though it doesn't keep the tape loaded around the drum during stop, it still goes from stop to play in very short order. Since I use my VCRs primarily for time shifting, the greatest disadvantage of this Sanyo 6300 is that it only has a one event timer.

So early on, I studied the schematics, installed a connector on the back, and plugged in an old multi-event Hitachi VT-TU65A tuner to provide the timer rec signal.

A very high-end Beta machine is something I've wanted for a long time. A couple of years ago while visiting my adopted home town of Portland Oregon, I asked a used high-end video/audio store if they had anything. I walked out a few days later with a Sony SL-HF1000 for $350.

It had been used in a radio station for PCM recording and had some minor mods, such as a hinged cover added to the top of the cabinet to allow cleaning the heads quickly. It didn't have many miles and works great, except the RMT-148 remote control was long gone. As you may have seen in or, I'm looking for one, and it's no longer available from Sony. E-mail me if you have a spare! I'd also like to buy an even better Beta VCR, and am alert for anything ED.

Yes, I do have several VHS VCRs, but only to exchange tapes with the great unwashed public. Whereas I've paid money for every Beta deck I own, every VHS has cost me what the format is worth, nothing, even my half-decent Sony SLV-353UC. It had been punched in the front panel and the circuit board behind was shattered. 3 evenings of soldering bridges across 27 broken runs returned it to working order. There's a Frankenstein joke in there somewhere. VHS is so common, one should never have to pay for one.

I also own a BMC-220 BetaMovie, which I found at the great TRW Redondo Beach electronics swap meet for $10. It works fine except the eyepiece is missing. This seems to be a common problem with this model. Interestingly, the local House of Batteries wants $100 for a replacement NP-11 battery, while Sony itself only wants $65. I see in BetaClub Digest issue #13 that Smile Photo and Video sells them for about $50.

Once at the TRW swap meet, a fellow had 3 5-foot stacks of rough Sanyo Beta VCRs for sale for $5-10 each. There wasn't a single 6300 in the pile, but if somebody needed a part for anything earlier, it was a goldmine.

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Submitted Wed Sep 25 16:48:04 1996