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VCR 1981 Ferguson 3V23 - VHS

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crustytv
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Thanks to a very kind donation, I was gifted this lovely early 80s VCR for the crustytv collection.

I had been on the lookout for one of these recorders for quite some time, to plug a gap I had in their early offerings from Thorn, but nothing ever turned up other than rather expensive dogs on eBay. I foolishly thought the 3V16 Deluxe I had was a heavy beast, but it's lightweight compared to this tank of a monster. The 3V23 weight is phenomenal and almost as crammed in with boards as the Ferguson 3V24. There's a honking great transformer and the whole chassis including the pull down flap at the front are metal, these all accounting for much of the weight

I've no idea on the condition electrically or mechanically, it looks to be complete and in good condition. I suspect it will need some belts, thankfully I have two kits for the 3V24, which unless I'm mistaken, uses the exact same belt kit. Furthermore, I do have an electronic copy of the service manual, though not idea as this dinosaur likes to physically leaf through data, but a PDF is better than nothing. I'm just hoping replacing the belts is not too complicated a task, that it does not require too much disassembly, or that it carries the risk of upsetting the loading timings, time will tell.

For now, some pics.

3v23 1
3v23 2
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Posted : 20/05/2024 5:22 pm
sideband
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Built like tanks! That's why so many of these exist. I think there were quite a few clones including Akai. All I ever had wrong with any of these apart from the odd head was circuit protectors and belts.

 
Posted : 20/05/2024 7:05 pm
Hurty
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I have worked on many of these. Telefusion rented many out in the JVC HR7700 version and the Ferguson 3V23 versions. Problems used to be bad cassette ejection, replace the carriage eject roller bar, No clock display 440kHz resonator and as they got a bit older wow on the audio meant a new capstan motor. The 42 button remote was something to be seen if I remember rightly? These where being installed in the early 1980's in my case and I was getting them in when I worked there in 1982. We where also installing the JVC HR7200's and 7300's, Ferguson 3V29's and 3V30's in very large numbers. All the machines when about two years old would fail to load the tape around the head, looks like it completes but does not fully lock the arms in place then proceeds to unload, usual, as it became, the loading belt. I used to disconnect a spring then change the belt so you didn't get the arms out of position. A certain gentleman at CPC Preston who used to serve me at the counter knew I was high up on servicing VTRs and asked me anything I was needing as regards belts, rubbers, clutches, pinch rollers etc for these VTR's to let him know as he would source the parts for us and add them to the stock list which he did. He always told me then that the company just needs a little bit of water adding to it and it would take off. How right he was as he was/is? running the company and we have been friends ever since. He must be like me now close to retirement/retired.

On the subject of picture quality the 3V23's looked noisier compared to their simpler cousins the 3V29's and 3V30's. I put this down to the longer signal paths and more processing that the 3V23 had to do. The best pictures where always off the 3V29/30s. some where outstanding but the same machine model could produce different results too. A 3V29 came in one day and it produced the best picture I had seen to that day. Even its recordings played back better on other machines! So in the end I bought it through Telefusions staff purchase arrangement as it was then second hand.

Enjoy your machine

 
Posted : 21/05/2024 8:52 am
Hurty
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Just thought I would come back on the 3V23. My heart went out to the installer with these machines. As you have said they where heavy but the biggest problem you had to tune them in and store the channels then to explain to the customer how to program the thing for timer recordings! Not an easy job as most customers had not seen anything like a VTR before, never mind the complexities of this one. Often engineers got a call to explain how to use the timer function. I also if I remember correctly think the back tension arm has a head on it so it could count CTL pulses to do a simple rollback when editing two recordings together give a sort off seamless joint, no flying erase in those days. You are bringing it all back again. I would love to get hold of the JVC HR7700 which is the JVC version of the same machine.

 
Posted : 21/05/2024 1:58 pm
Jayceebee
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Same loading and capstan belt as used in the 3V29/30 also. There’s also an extra belt for the chain driven cassette lift. This is the same type as the 3V31 & 2. You also have a bonus there if my memory is correct with the DC-DC converter on the display PCB, it’s the rectangular metal box with the screw on top. That type could be taken apart and a potential repaired made with some failures. Had no success with the later version.

@hurty I agree about the playback picture quality could vary considerably, some good and some downright awful. A trick was to slightly adjust the aperture control to take the edge off the noise but made a softer picture. There is also an earth screw around the centre of the pre & record board. If slack this also caused noisy playback video.

John.

 
Posted : 21/05/2024 2:28 pm
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crustytv
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Posted by: @hurty

I would love to get hold of the JVC HR7700 which is the JVC version of the same machine.

To get you drooling, as well as the Ferguson brochure, I have the JVC version too.

p.s.

The JVC all "woody-look" TV, anyone know if that was ever released in the UK?

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Posted : 21/05/2024 2:55 pm
Cathovisor
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I'm pretty sure I have a 3V29 in the radio room cupboard, hiding under its optional dust cover.

 
Posted : 21/05/2024 4:07 pm
Doz
 Doz
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I've got one in the attic with a duff DC-DC converter for the display. Must get round tuit. 

As a young man, I remember my boss saying "Look at that, more buttons than the flight deck of the enterprise"

 
Posted : 22/05/2024 12:10 pm
crustytv
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First function test of the 3V23 and it's promising.

  • Unit powers on and the display is working
  • Tape loading into carriage works
  • Pressing play and the tape M-wrap was successful. Initially, it unwrapped within a couple of seconds. The picture appeared briefly on-screen.
  • Cleaned tape path, guides and heads.
  • Loaded tape again, this time tape remains running and picture appears on-screen.
  • Picture is B&W with some interference, which eventually clears up. Occasional fat band of colour appears across screen before returning to B&W so its trying to do colour.
  • FF seems to work as expected
  • REW is very sluggish and screeches, perhaps likely due to all tape on that side of spool and tension.
  • Eject works
  • Tried tracking knobs to see if it helped, it did not.
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I'm pretty pleased with the first results, I expected far less. Being less than familiar with VCR repairs and only been shown the basics by @jayceebee on belt replacement, I'm not sure if I have a colour fault or head wear, or neither. Time to start reading the rather large PDF.

For quickness, I only hooked up to the TV via the video out BNC on the back of the VCR. Next I will try RF just in case there is a fault in that part of connectivity and RF proves to be OK, wishful thinking I know. Also I will see if sound is OK.

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Posted : 22/05/2024 4:50 pm
Lloyd reacted
crustytv
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Tape is now ejecting due to no forward movement of tape, checked underneath, and it looks like the capstan belt has given up.

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Edit:

Now the tape carriage load is no longer working, I think the 3V23 doth protest at being woken up. Now I've got to figure out how the tape carriage load mech works and what is the likely cause of it ceasing to function.

Prior to this fault, a light push of the tape resulted in it being pulled into the carriage fully by the mech rollers and then the carriage lowers into position ready for play and wrap to the heads. 

Now you can just push on the tape with no action from the mech rollers to pull the tape, the carriage remains in its upper position. If I power cycle the machine, the carriage rollers perform a reverse spin and the tape is rolled out.

Unless I'm mistaken, I can't think that changing the capstan belt caused this, so something coincidently has decided to fail on this part of the carriage load mech.

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Posted : 22/05/2024 6:06 pm
Lloyd reacted
Hurty
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Hi Chris, sounds like your loading belt is not completing the loading sequence. Most likely slipping as it tries to lock the loading arms into the lower drum. You can usually prove this by helping the tape loading motor do its last turn underneath the deck, tape loading, not cassette loading. On the cassette loading I think when you push the tape in on the chain there is an optical interrupt that is detected which then operates the cassette loading motor. I'm trying to remember from about 30 years or more?? When servicing video tape recorders most problems are mechanical and usually straight forward, just need to be observed correctly to see what is happening. Electronic faults do occur but this is relatively few. When you first switch the machine on does the cassette  detector light light for a few seconds? Again I am trying to remember if the cassette load function gets defeated when the lamp goes open circuit. I enjoyed my time when I started servicing VCRs, first with the Philips N1500's then 1502's and 1700's then along came the VHS's and Betamax's Most faults being belt related and lamp on the VHS's, had some difficult faults to deal with which made it interesting but they all work the same way. The early Philips N1500 manuals together with the early Ferguson JVC manuals went into the full mechanical & electronic description so where excellent to learn from. It is were I learnt from and the customers where also willing to pay for the repairs to get their expensive machines back. You will enjoy this machine, believe me. Oh and check the colour, mono, auto switch at the back of the machine, may want to be operated to give it a clean.

 
Posted : 23/05/2024 5:39 am
Hurty
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I'll just add a PS as you did wet my appetite with the JVC HR7700 brochure and yes I have always wanted one. 

 
Posted : 23/05/2024 5:58 am
crustytv
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Posted by: @hurty

I am trying to remember if the cassette load function gets defeated when the lamp goes open circuit.

Well, I just checked the lamp and it's now o/c. Luckily, I have the exact replacement in stock. After a cup of wake me up, I'll get cracking and change it. I will also check that loading belt you mention, it did look ok but as you say, it may be slipping at the end of the sequence. Thanks for the tips, Adrian, much appreciated. 👍 

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Posted : 23/05/2024 7:22 am
crustytv
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This 3V23 is really intent on throwing consecutive hissy-fits.

Thanks to Adrian's tip, I've cured the cassette carriage fault by cassette lamp replacement, now the pinch roller actuation is no longer occurring. It would appear the solenoid? does not have enough umpf! behind it. I can observe an ever so slight movement in the arm, so it is attempting operation.

Hopefully this will demonstrate what I mean.

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Posted : 23/05/2024 9:23 am
crustytv
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Yep, that's the pinch solenoid (33), so now I need to understand what is or is not energizing that, I wonder what voltage I should see on 132,133.

mainsol
play
pinchdia1
pinchwiring

 

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Posted : 23/05/2024 9:32 am
Hurty
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Hi Chris, It has all the symptoms of a slack loading belt. Whilst you have the unit in its side watch the tape loading motor start and as it completes loading keep rolling the loading motor by finger to make sure its has completed the loading cycle, locking the tape posts at the end is where it gets mechanically stiff and the belt slips and fails so not completing so pinch roller doesn't engage as the tape loading end switch doesn't get made, machine giving up loading. Watch that switch to see it gets made, don't bend the contacts as they are not the problem, seen that done to many times. On the pinch roller solenoid operation it has a low impedance winding, high current, to pull the solenoid in, operated momentarily, and a high impedance winding to hold the solenoid in once engaged. If you suspect a problem there you can scope the drive to each part of the winding from its appropriate drive transistor. I have had solenoids go open circuit but this is very rare. Can be more common on broadcast machines but again very rare considering the hours they do. Please do check the loading complete switch first. It can be too easy to jump into the electronics when most faults are mechanical. Wish you luck.

 
Posted : 23/05/2024 12:34 pm
crustytv
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Posted by: @hurty

It has all the symptoms of a slack loading belt. [.....] Please do check the loading complete switch first. It can be too easy to jump into the electronics when most faults are mechanical

Hi Adrian, noted, and I will check as advised. I need to familiarise myself with what is what and where on the 3V23, basically locate the unloading switch to observe it.

I'd ceased work for a spot of lunch, upon my return thought I would watch the tape guide posts to see if they are making the full arc. Sods-law the temperamental fergy decided to fully engage, thus actuating the pinch solenoid, but!

It can be seen below that the pinch-roller gives the impression there's not enough pinch force to the tape/capstan, so a tiny loop starts. Could it be something else? At which point I imagine some protection circuit engages and the unload switch is actuated. This is odd, as the pinch force to capstan yesterday was OK. Every day's a school day 👍 

I removed the pinch roller to see if I have any in stock, I do have many but no idea if they are the correct size. If not, I will use some rubber renew to see if that also helps.

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Changed the pinch, no improvement, so perhaps a take-up spool condition, maybe something amiss with the reel motor take-up torque, or am I as I suspect going down a rabbit-hole on that. I'm struggling to comprehend if the loading belt would have any impact on the play reel take-up. It does not help that it appears to have fixed itself with regard to the pinch solenoid actuating once again.

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Posted : 23/05/2024 1:18 pm
Cathovisor
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Hi Chris,

I'd say the loop is a case of no take-up: quite often machines look at the take-up reel to see if the transport is working correctly and if not, shut the machine down.

I think you might need to look into cleaning and re-greasing the mechanism with a modern, lightweight synthetic grease. I recently did that to a recalcitrant S-VHS belonging to a colleague at work which had the filthiest pinch roller on Earth that was also throwing loops and the machine was transformed. Many hours of VHS enjoyment (including Fireball XL-5) followed - a soak test, you understand.

 
Posted : 23/05/2024 3:53 pm
Hurty
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Hi Chris, Can you take a picture of the top of the deck under the carriage to remind me off the mechanism. I think these machines have a reel motor. This will have an idler with a rubber wheel with a spring holding it against reel motor. Depending on if you want to go forwards or backwards the reel motor turns in the appropriate direction to engage the reel. Tack the rubber wheel off the idler and sand it to get the rubber back to normal. If the reels have a rubber tire do the same. That should sort out your slow re-wind and your poor tape take up. The tape load and unload micro switches are underneath the deck by the tape loading motor and are operated by the nylon arms through to the upper deck. The tape loading arms will travel the full distance but with a weak loading belt will not make the final lock! Believe it or not I'm really enjoying this trip down memory lane. As you are a Ferguson man you will have to add a 3V29/30, 3V35-8 and a 3V44/45 to your collection.

 
Posted : 23/05/2024 4:08 pm
crustytv
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Posted by: @hurty

I'm really enjoying this trip down memory lane.

That's great to hear, I think if John (Jayceebee) was not in Japan at present, being ex Thorn he would be joining in too, recounting his time servicing these.

Posted by: @hurty

As you are a Ferguson man you will have to add a 3V29/30, 3V35-8 and a 3V44/45 to your collection.

Ahead of you on that, my VCR collection stands at around 16 now. As for Ferguson's, I have a 3V16 Deluxe, 3V23, two 3V24/3V25, 3V29, 3V31, 3V32, 3V44 & finally a 3V55. In addition to those I have many Philips, three N1500, two, N1700, a V2000 -VR2022. A single Sanyo VTC5000 (beta) and a Sharp VC2300(VHS).

This week I have been looking at a few 3V30's at the usual place, not made my mind up yet on that front yet.

Posted by: @hurty

Can you take a picture of the top of the deck under the carriage to remind me off the mechanism.

Will do, I've avoided doing so thus far as I've not been sure if it comes out like the 3V44 and 3V55 as one unit without causing any upset to the mech. I remember when I took out the 3V16 it fell into bits, luckily I had another duplicate machine to copy.

I've found a Thorn EMI training department manual I had forgotten in my stores. A nice fat 208 page book covering the 8924 (3V23), lots of great info.

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Posted : 23/05/2024 4:29 pm
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