Timer Setting Guide The home of the PAL system

Home Timer setting on first generation VCRs Glossary

Video Recorder
Timer Setting Guide

In 1972 Philips launched the N1500, the first home video recorder to incorporate a tuner timer, making the video recorder saleable on the domestic market. Until then, users had to rely on crude mechanical timers; finding the right starting point was something of a hit and miss affair.

These early timers were accurate only to the nearest minute. Modern VCRs have electronic timers accurate to the second.

The timer's job is to switch the VCR on to record at a predetermined time. The simplest timer will record only one such 'event', but most have a repeat facility to record at the same time daily or weekly. Sony's Betastack mechanism allows a number of tapes to be stacked up, giving 14 hours recording time.

Most budget models have a seven-day timer, with a single event capability plus a daily or weekly repeat. Luxury models usually offer eight events over 14 days, but any number of permutations - up to 99 days on the Grundig 2 x 4 Super - are available.

If you use your VCR mainly to record feature films a single event timer is all you will need. It is also easy to set up. The more event capabilities and the longer the timing period, the more complicated is the timer.

It is essential that the digital clock displays the correct time. It may use a 24 or a 12-hour display; so make sure it is not showing 6.00am instead of 6pm or 9 instead of 21.00 hours.

A single event timer is programmed with the start time, stop time, day of the week, and repeat facility A timer that can be programmed over several days will show the days either by name or number (0 = today; 1 tomorrow, and so on).

Remember to select the correct channel on the VCR before setting the timer, because the tuner will not operate, once the VCR is set to the timer mode.

Multi-event timers need considerably more information, so they are more difficult to program. Each model differs in the method of programming the timer, but the principles remain the same. To save confusion, make a list beforehand with all the information required for each event: 1 Event no.; 2 Channel no.; 3 day.; 4 start time; 5 duration or stop time. If you treat complex programming as a simple question and answer sequence following a logical progression, you will not miss out an essential step.

The timer setting

The timer setting procedure soon becomes second nature, but it is nevertheless easy to leave out an important step, so preventing the machine from making the recording. To stop this happening, before leaving the recorder to make an unattended recording, ask yourself these questions:
  1. Is the AC supply switched on?
  2. Is the recorder loaded with a cassette?
  3. Is the cassette rewound to the correct starting point?
  4. Is there a safety tab in place on the cassette? If not, has the hole been blocked by a piece of adhesive tape?
  5. Is the digital click showing the correct time and day?
  6. Has the correct recording start time and length, or stop time been programmed?
  7. Is the VCR switched to timer mode?
  8. Is there enough recording time left on the cassette for the total length of the show?
  9. Should you have pressed the 'Record' button? Check the manual.

Home Timer setting on first generation VCRs Glossary

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