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Old 09-30-2015, 01:31 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
6,719 posts, read 11,734,498 times
Reputation: 19354

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Yes, I am an old fart and I still have several VCRs. Actually, when I realized I'd bought a couple of DVD recorders that were tunerless, I was glad to still have the VCRs, since I could use their tuners (nothing else I tried worked).

Just bought an Emerson VCR on ebay, which was listed as "tested and works great." I could not get it to work at all. This is what I tried:

- attached it in the normal way -- cable out from wall in to VCR, then out from VCR in to TV, then TV on channel 3
- normally with a "new" VCR (or re-plugging in an old one), I get the menu on the screen, which is what I need so I can tune it. I choose "tune" with CATV (or however cable TV is listed), and it searches for channels. This has always worked without a problem. Once I tune it, I can use it to record OR turn it off and still get all the channels through the TV (the way it's attached allows for bypassing the VCR -- yeah, young people, this is how we used VCRs in the past ).

Well, I could not get the menu to come up -- all I got was this on start-up (with the TV set to channel 3 and the VCR on, i.e. VCR chosen with the TV/VCR toggle button):



Got this when I hit "menu" (tried it with the VCR's "menu" button PLUS the menu key on 2 different Emerson VCRs):



BTW, you can't tell from this picture, but I CAN see the "menu" list in those squiggly lines -- it's there, it's just not visible the way it's supposed to be. (And unfortunately I can't see it well enough to DO anything with it.) Maybe this is a clue about what's going on -- i.e., it's THERE, there's just something wrong with the video?

And got THIS when I played a videotape:



The odd thing is, I DID get audio on the videotape -- just not video. (Note, this has NOTHING to do with RCA audio/video cables -- for those of you who don't know, the "normal" VCR set-up of coaxial cables doesn't need them.) I also used the channel up/down buttons on the VCR to try to figure out if maybe they needed to be set on something in particular (which should NOT be the case) -- I got audio on one channel but no audio or video on any other channels (and I went up/down more than 100 times).

I suspect that the VCR is tuned to whatever the previous owner had, which may have been an antenna. Again, the problem is I can't even see the menu to TRY to re-tune it using the CATV setting.

Note, this morning I had a brainstorm that maybe I needed to switch the little button at the back from channel 4 to channel 3 -- where I live, it needs to be channel 3. I could not see the channels (it's black on black back there), but I switched it and re-tried everything. Alas, it didn't work.

Oh, I have tried this on 2 different TVs (an HDTV, which was hooked up to a different VCR that worked the way it was supposed to, and an Emerson TV/VCR -- I covered up the bottom part with paper, as you can see in the photos, so when I use the remote it's going to the VCR and not the Emerson TV/VCR!) -- I got the exact same thing on both. So it's not that, nor is it the cables (which again worked fine on the VCR I detached).

Anyone have any idea what else I could try? I emailed the ebay seller and he has already refunded my money -- I said in my message that I would VASTLY prefer to keep it and get it to work and asked him for suggestions (since he said it was working), but he just did a refund instead. If I can get it to work, I will re-send him the money (it wasn't a whole lot, which is why I guess he didn't want to be bothered and just refunded me) -- but I don't know what else to try.

I would appreciate ANY suggestions (and I am generous with reps )!! Thanks in advance!!
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Old 09-30-2015, 04:49 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,839 posts, read 51,286,023 times
Reputation: 27642
The output modulator for the co-ax output is almost certainly shot. It MAY still be able to work using the RCA composite cable if you have something that will accept them - perhaps another VCR that has RCA input for recording? Or... http://www.amazon.com/Modulator-Swit.../dp/B00J41Y4YY
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:06 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
6,719 posts, read 11,734,498 times
Reputation: 19354
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
The output modulator for the co-ax output is almost certainly shot. It MAY still be able to work using the RCA composite cable if you have something that will accept them - perhaps another VCR that has RCA input for recording? Or... Amazon.com: RF Modulator TV Switch Audio Video RCA Ant Input to F Type Coax Output Converter: Electronics
Harry, just to clarify ... I DO have RCA cables and could easily attach them ... BUT would I be able to TUNE the "new" VCR that way? I think not (i.e., I think it needs to be set up via the coaxial cable from the wall for that) ... and since that's the whole point of buying a VCR, being able to use its tuner, then I may just be out of luck. (EG I COULD set up this "new" VCR through a different VCR OR through an RF modulator like the one you linked to above, but that would defeat the purpose of buying the "new" VCR ...)

What's frustrating is that the ebay listings virtually ALL say "tested and works great" (except when the item is being sold just for parts), but they NEVER say exactly HOW they tested it (I just today emailed a bunch of sellers asking them exactly HOW they tested the item). Did they just play a videotape? (Don't need the tuner for that.) Did they try to record? (WOULD need a tuner for that, but I suspect most sellers don't try because they don't have any videotapes.) Aaaggggh.
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:17 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,839 posts, read 51,286,023 times
Reputation: 27642
The tuner section may still be fine. It is the output section with the problem, as noted by the fact that you can't get the menu or play a pre-recorded tape and get the pic. Each of the below is a separate component.

Antenna > co-ax in > tuner >DE-modulator >recorder/player >modulator > Co-ax out
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Old 09-30-2015, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
6,719 posts, read 11,734,498 times
Reputation: 19354
Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
The tuner section may still be fine. It is the output section with the problem, as noted by the fact that you can't get the menu or play a pre-recorded tape and get the pic. Each of the below is a separate component.

Antenna > co-ax in > tuner >DE-modulator >recorder/player >modulator > Co-ax out
So that means I simply cannot get this to work the way it's supposed to ... I think that's what you're saying? (i.e. I don't think I can tune it using RCA cables -- at least that's not how it normally works)

Reps to you for trying, although I was hoping for good news on things to try!
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Old 09-30-2015, 07:15 PM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
82 posts, read 103,024 times
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The tuner in my old VCRs worked perfectly fine with just RCA cables. You connect the coax from the cable company to the "antenna in" on the VCR and connect the VCR "RCA out" to the TV "RCA input in" with the RCA cables. And now instead of tuning into channel 3 or 4 on the TV you select "input" on the TV remote.

What you will not be able to do is use the tuner in the TV with that connection set up. You will need a coax splitter if you also want to be able to use the tuner in the TV. You would connect the coax from the cable company to the splitter. Run a coax cable from the splitter to the VCR and a coax cable from the splitter to the TV. RCA cables would connect the VCR to the TV. That's how I always connected my VCRs to my TVs (I actually had a receiver in between the VCR and TV and RCA cables was the only way to do it). I can't do it anymore as Comcast has gotten rid of their analog channels, the VCR is a playback device only now.
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Old 09-30-2015, 08:44 PM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
6,719 posts, read 11,734,498 times
Reputation: 19354
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
The tuner in my old VCRs worked perfectly fine with just RCA cables. You connect the coax from the cable company to the "antenna in" on the VCR and connect the VCR "RCA out" to the TV "RCA input in" with the RCA cables. And now instead of tuning into channel 3 or 4 on the TV you select "input" on the TV remote.

What you will not be able to do is use the tuner in the TV with that connection set up. You will need a coax splitter if you also want to be able to use the tuner in the TV. You would connect the coax from the cable company to the splitter. Run a coax cable from the splitter to the VCR and a coax cable from the splitter to the TV. RCA cables would connect the VCR to the TV. That's how I always connected my VCRs to my TVs (I actually had a receiver in between the VCR and TV and RCA cables was the only way to do it). I can't do it anymore as Comcast has gotten rid of their analog channels, the VCR is a playback device only now.
Gorath, could you please clarify: with the coaxial cable-in to the VCR and the RCA cables attaching the VCR to the TV, were you able to use the VCR's TUNER and record channels? THAT is what I need it for -- basically, to use it as a tuner for a tunerless DVD recorder (so, e.g., the previous VCR I hooked up was connected as normal to the TV with coaxial cables but was ALSO connected to a tunerless DVD recorder via RCA cables [then the DVD recorder was connected to the TV via RCA cables too] so I could record to DVD using the VCR's tuner (you CANNOT use the TV's tuner, for some reason) -- which, of course, meant that I had to be able to see and use the MENU function on the VCR in order to get it to search for & find channels). I am too tired to try this tonight, but I will try it tomorrow -- I am skeptical that I will get the VCR's menu to come up just using the RCA cables (so I can tune channels), but if that really works, that would be great. (My cable company still has a lot of analog channels, which normally all come in fine when I tune a "new" VCR.)

I will report back tomorrow -- thanks!
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Old 10-01-2015, 03:14 AM
 
Location: Grand Rapids, MI
82 posts, read 103,024 times
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I've never had a stand alone DVD recorder. But it sounds like it should work, unless there is some sort of copyright protection on the RCA input.
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Old 10-01-2015, 08:53 AM
 
Location: Southern New Hampshire
6,719 posts, read 11,734,498 times
Reputation: 19354
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
The tuner in my old VCRs worked perfectly fine with just RCA cables. You connect the coax from the cable company to the "antenna in" on the VCR and connect the VCR "RCA out" to the TV "RCA input in" with the RCA cables. And now instead of tuning into channel 3 or 4 on the TV you select "input" on the TV remote.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gorath View Post
I've never had a stand alone DVD recorder. But it sounds like it should work, unless there is some sort of copyright protection on the RCA input.
OK, just tried hooking it up this way:

- cable out from wall into VCR's "ant in" -- no coaxial connection to TV
- RCA cable out from VCR in to TV
- TV on "input" (channel 00)

Alas, I got nothing at all -- just a very loud buzzing noise. No menu, no channels, no video, no audio. When I played the videotape (which I got audio on earlier), I got nothing on that either.

Reps for trying, Gorath -- wish it had worked or that SOMETHING would.
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Old 10-02-2015, 05:25 AM
 
37,069 posts, read 38,262,371 times
Reputation: 14831
Quote:
Originally Posted by karen_in_nh_2012 View Post
- TV on "input" (channel 00)
Are you sure that is correct for that model TV? Most of the TV's I had/have used a discrete selection for RCA input, even with seperate front and back inputs. Googling I guess some use a channel selector which is nice feature and other channel selections. Double check it's not the TV with another VCR.

If you are getting nothing with it then it's probably junk. If you want a really good working VCR check here:

http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/marketplace/

Note those are going to all be high end VCR's and will not be cheap. Look for ones from members with a history there.

Also look on CL for JVC's. The higher end JVC's can actually be very valuable.

Last edited by thecoalman; 10-02-2015 at 05:38 AM..
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