Timer / tuning controls
The SL-200ME MKIII was intended for the middle eastern market but a few
found there into the UK. It is a classic example of a great PAL and SECAM dual system
machine which never made it to the main stream European market. This was probably because
of the date it was released. By 1987 Sony had virtually abandoned promoting
the Betamax format within Europe.
The design is more modern with circuitry simplified to two main boards. Of particular note is the gathering of test points and adjustments to the right hand side of the lower board with a clear cut space in the board above to allow easy servicing. Interestingly the tape load mechanism is very similar to the SLF-30 which is a low profile machine however a spacer is used to block light out and extend the tape window to the upper case viewing area. The load mechanism is not identical however and whilst the front tape flap of an SL-F30 looks identical the teeth on the SL-200ME are nearly 50% longer as is the left hand side pin of the load tray. The upper metal panel is also different and lacks the RHS support arm which supports the SL-F30 tuner board. That said the styling is also similar to the SL-F30 but a higher version and incorporates many of the “auto” functions which are advertised by the label across the top front edge of the machine..
The reel deck is similar in design to the SL-F30 but lacks a board on the tape up spool and the reel motor is the same as for the SL-HF950 (5 pin input socket models) or the NTSC SL-HF750 machines of the same era. The larger self tapping screws used throughout the machine are of the type used in the SLF-30 and VHS SLV777 machines produced around that time. The load/unload gear does not look like any version of Sony PAL machine so it may be common to an NTSC machine or Japanese model of the time.
The power supply is typical of the “ME” models in that it caters for 220 to 240V or 110 to 127V operation selected by a switch above the mains lead entry point on the rear panel. It says semi auto voltage as a feature so it may prompt the user if the wrong selection is made. Without having access to a handbook I did not desire to potentially “let the smoke out” by checking it with the wrong voltage selected.
The tuner channel selectors are covered by a lower RHS front panel. Clock settings and timer recording functions are also behind this panel.
The SL-200 is a basic VCR with no trick playback modes or perfect pause, what makes it special is that it is a Super Betamax only machine. It is dual system, PAL and SECAM, and came with a PAL B/G (5.5Mhz) sound tuner. Other nice features were a real-time counter, a colour intensity switch and an EDIT mode selector (this was used to remove some pre-emphasis during playback and helped to improve tape to tape copying). It did not have Hi-fi sound.
The advanced design employs a cover secured by two screws. These are the same type of self tapping screw as used by later models like the SL-F30. The base cover clips into place and is secured by only one screw. It has a cover over the top load gear wheel. Internally it uses more complex ICs.
The mark I and II models were similarly specified but came in a different casing. We hope to include details here soon.