1979 Ferguson Videostar Deluxe 3V16

I believe this VCR dates from around 1979, though it might be 1980.

Back in 1981 I bought myself a second hand but still costing a small fortune,  earlier incarnation, the Ferguson 3292. I also have one of these on the to do pile though Its a little worse for wear but should be a viable restore.

In the meantime this Videostar will be up for repair. Its the later 3V16 Deluxe version, its in excellent condition physically and appears to be electrically complete but as expected, not working. When I say not working, I’ve done nothing other than give it a very scant inspection, powered it up to see if a tape is accepted, eaten, rejected or played.




The result were un eventful at least in respect of damage to said tape. When inserting a tape and selecting FF/REW you can hear the motor spin but there is no tape movement, a few seconds later it shuts off the action but remains powered.

Likewise if play is used same result. I suspect its highly probable belt trouble though that’s a guess as I’ve already stated I’ve not investigated any further yet.  The reason for this being I wanted to get the service manual rather than trying to guess at disassembly. Having now obtained a manual (thanks to a guest pointing me to a copy) I can at least proceed.





VCR repair is not  something I’ve ever undertaken as such this blog will be an on going “back burner” project, in between TV repairs so as to not get bogged down or despondent when things inevitably get a bit tough.

My hope is that I can get it working and in the process gain some valuable experience in VCR repairs. My goal is to also try to obtain an early Philips N1500 or N1700 to compliment my early colour TV collection. Hopefully experience gained on this will be a good introduction to Video repair in general and help should I ever be lucky to find one of the N series Philips players.

As mentioned above I have the earlier 3292 and a couple of other early 80’s VCR’s.


Started to have a look through the manual and wow its comprehensive, absolutely superb, they don’t do manuals like that any more. With regards to belt changing as I’ve not attempted this before I do hope its not a prerequisite to have all the jig tools, if so I’m forced down the rial and error route, Further reading on the belt servicing section and in fact all the other sections is required.

Repair Update #1

It would seem the relay belt to drive the cassette is slipping as is the counter. These were replaced and now I have partial operation restored.  The partial improvement? Now both wheels on the relay spin, the tape starts to advance when FF is pressed but it slows after a few seconds and the function stops. Tried rewind that does the same. I did note that each time it has improved a little. Would this be other belts slipping?

After a few attempts it now always rewinds. It will not FF, it starts, the tape advances a little the the function rejects. Pressing play does not make any attempt to lace up whatsoever. The underside belts, four of them look simple, all except one (Capstan belt marked in red). It shares the far right relay pulley but is a fat belt going to the huge capstan wheel, it looks a nightmare as I’m going to have to disassemble, that’s for update #2

Some photos of the set being worked on at the store room bench

Repair Update #2

With the four belts fitted to underside and the three up top I’ve now replaced all seven. That’s the relay belt, capstan belt, drum belt. reel drive belt. unloading belt and counter belt. Happy to report the transport is working, rewind, fast forward and when play is pressed the tape laces up.

Next step is to hook a TV up and see what output I’m getting if any.

Repair Update #3

With the belts changed its time to test it with a TV connected. Tuned into the test signal and tried an old tape. It would still appear to have mechanical problems. The rewind and FF are not as fast as one would expect. Although the tape laces, its not running at any great speed and before long the play action was rejected. With it connected to a TV and briefly saw sound and vision from a tape before it stopped.



Playing a Test Tape BBC News 1990’s

Rewinding the tape further back I managed to get it to stat playing, I had to adjust the tracking and had a reasonable picture with sound, it didn’t abort. Although I think there’s still an issue with the speed of REW & FF, Its now actually running.




Playing Pre-recorded Tape


I decided to choose a different tape as the test one I was using was a very old one that had been around the block a few times. I got out and old pre-recorded Fools and Horses, its been running quite a while now.


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