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VCR JVC HR-3300 EG

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helloekco
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Hi,

I'm thrilled to have just acquired a JVC HR-3300EG. As an 11-year-old I used to hanker after these things, for sale second-hand (and by then pretty old) in my favourite shop, Huddersfield Hifi Centre - their price seemed almost within reach for my Christmas list (but not quite), certainly a lot more so than any modern VCR at the time!

This one is not a bad example and it seems to almost work correctly. When I first unpacked it, it played and wound a tape first time without any intervention, although the take-up reel looked a little weak. However, later that evening (presumably after the machine had warmed up in my house), it would no longer play or fast forward and would shut itself off after a few seconds. Having a quick mess around on the top of the deck seems to indicate that the relay belt is the problem, as it's very loose and applying a little tension to it with a screwdriver until the tape gets playing / fast forwarding seems to do the trick. The take up reel is still very weak, however, and after playing for a few minutes it gives up, leaving the tape feeding out of the cassette.

The sound and vision are OK, a little bit of jitter / visible noise bar, but the only recording I've tried is a very old one from a machine I had given years ago, and so I can't vouch for its quality. Recording is the only function I haven't tried yet, as I had problems finding the RF output from my digibox.

Anyway, the main reason I'm posting this is because I'm aware that people have had difficulty finding belts for these machines. I've found a couple of sources, and I've ordered some tonight from one of these, which is an eBay seller 'mecatronik-fr', based in Marseille - this is the current eBay listing for the full set of them. (I really recommend this seller, he went out of his way to help me find the idler wheel tyres.) The other source is a US company called MarVac Electronics - they sell on eBay or via their own website. They don't have a kit unfortunately, but they seem to have all the belts and idler tyres (mostly NOS) used by this VCR. I obtained a list of these from this excellent cross reference, on the Russell Industries website. According to this document, these are the types needed:

Belt,Capstan FR11.5

Belt,Cassette FR9.4

Belt,Counter 1SCX9.5 

Belt,Counter 2 (2) SCY4.0 

Belt,Reel SCC12.1  

Belt,Relay FR6.9

Belt,Unloading SCB5.7 

Idler,Tire ST.453

Idler,Tire ST1.31

Idler,Tire. ST1.53

I hope this helps anyone else looking for these.

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Topic starter Posted : 01/05/2021 12:34 am
John_D
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@helloekco I actually bought one of those new about 1978 and it cost me £600!  That is the equivalent of over £3,000 in 2021😲. Just to make matters worse 3Hr video tapes for it were £15 each, which is the equivalent of about £75 in todays money.......Seemed like a good idea at the time..... 😯

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Posted : 01/05/2021 1:47 am
Nuvistor
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@john_d
I had forgotten how expensive VCR’s and the tapes were. We didn’t sell or rent many at that time. Tapes proved difficult to source and that increased the price, we had to warn customers not to buy any tapes not marked PAL, there were NTSC tapes around and from memory they would give problems.

Frank

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Posted : 01/05/2021 6:52 am
helloekco
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Even when I used to see these for sale in that shop, which would have been about 1987, they were still £150 or so if I remember correctly! I think a good quality new VCR would be about £300 upwards then.

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Topic starter Posted : 01/05/2021 12:40 pm
John_D
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@helloekco The 'joys' of buying the first of a new technology. I have a very early example of one of the very first production Quartz analogue watches, made by Seiko in 1972, which had, at the time, a catalogue price of 130,000 Yen, (about US$500 then), which equates to about £2,500 today. I could not have justified spending that much on a watch then, but picked it up on ebay, about five years ago for £25 😉. They have recently become VERY collectable and while still not yet worth their original value, are selling for quite a few hundred pounds for a good, early, example like mine. 😎

3803 wrist

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Posted : 02/05/2021 11:32 am
helloekco
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@john_d That's a coincidence - I've just been having a conversation with someone about Seiko watches! I was saying that I fancy one of their 70s digital watches, but that prices of ones I've seen have been a bit high for me.

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Topic starter Posted : 02/05/2021 5:46 pm
helloekco
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My belts arrived yesterday and I got them fitted, except for the tape counter ones which are functioning OK for the moment and look a little awkward to get to - plus another one, which is larger than any of the belts in my machine, but seems to match the belt set specification for a PU44912-5 as listed everywhere I've seen. There was also no belt apparently to match the drum belt but that also seems to work OK for now. I've asked the seller why these belts might not match.

The tape transport now seems to be working OK but there's an issue remaining that I noticed before and thought may be the particular tape (but isn't as I've tried another), which is that the top of the picture has tearing and jitter. From the general VCR servicing guide in the library this sounds like it could be the tape tension. Is there an obvious place to start on this machine?

There's another small thing I noticed which is that the 'Operate' LED doesn't work; also the tuner channel LED always shows, no matter what power state the machine is in. The latter may be normal I realise, I can't find mention of it in the HR-3660 manual on here, but if not I'm thinking they could be related. Can anyone confirm whether their similar VCR's channel LED shows all the time?

Thanks.

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Topic starter Posted : 08/05/2021 2:54 pm
Katie Bush
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Posted by: @helloekco

[...] there's an issue remaining that I noticed before and thought may be the particular tape (but isn't as I've tried another), which is that the top of the picture has tearing and jitter.

Have you tried playback on a different TV set? I'm not sure what you're seeing, but top edge line tearing was a common issue in the early days when TVs weren't built to cope with the vagaries of VCR signals. Flywheel line sync was always a problem, and later sets used an element of direct sync for VCR playback, which was only operational on the tuner's VCR button. Likewise, if there is a microswitch associated with the VCR button, it may not be operating as it should. - Just a thought, but if it's only the top edge that's affected it may be that the VCR is innocent.

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Posted : 08/05/2021 3:10 pm
helloekco liked
helloekco
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Thanks @katie-bush that's something I wasn't aware of. I have indeed only tried it through one TV, a modern OLED one (that I didn't even realise had an analogue tuner until now). I'll dig out my old Sony Trinitron to try it through.

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Topic starter Posted : 08/05/2021 3:25 pm
Katie Bush
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Posted by: @helloekco

I'll dig out my old Sony Trinitron to try it through.

Anything from about 1985 onwards should be fine. Prior to that, it's a bit of an unknown, however, Sony were well on top of the game by that time.

Sets made before the advent of VCR can't be relied upon, even late 70's/early 80's sets weren't all up to the task, but to be honest, I'm a bit surprised if a modern flat panel can't cope, unless perhaps its manufacturers have assumed that no one's ever going to be using a VCR these days.

One other thing, be sure to use the button marked as VCR, VHS, Betamax, video, etc. The normal 'off-air' tuning buttons will likely lead to the same line tearing.

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Posted : 08/05/2021 3:47 pm
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helloekco
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@katie-bush You were correct! A big thank you for that, you saved me from delving into adjusting tape transports etc...

I didn't even need to bother with the Trinitron, I tried it on another slightly older flatscreen TV and it's fine. It's really interesting about the "VCR" button / channel, because neither of those sets have anything that I can see to earmark a channel for VCR connection, and it was channel 0 (a VCR favourite) that I used to tune the VCR on both of them. It did occur to me as you say that maybe the newer TV was made with the assumption that VCRs are no longer relevant, but then again, the older flatscreen was made in 2011, and would people really still need an RF, rather than SCART etc, connection from a VCR as recently as that?

It's now working pretty well, but the fast forward is very weak, so I think I'm going to have to replace one or more idler tyres. The picture recording quality is also not great, so the video head might be past its best, but I can't rule out the old tape I used.

Does anyone have an instruction manual for the HR-3300 (rather than the more full-featured models) that they'd be prepared to scan? It's the timer operation I'm particularly interested in, because I got it to work once, but after that I couldn't get it to start recording at the set time. There was a click that sounded like a relay somewhere, but I wondered whether it was trying to stop rather than start (does it have an end time?).

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Topic starter Posted : 09/05/2021 1:23 pm
Jayceebee
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Posted by: @helloekco

Does anyone have an instruction manual for the HR-3300 (rather than the more full-featured models) that they'd be prepared to scan? It's the timer operation I'm particularly interested in, because I got it to work once, but after that I couldn't get it to start recording at the set time. There was a click that sounded like a relay somewhere, but I wondered whether it was trying to stop rather than start (does it have an end time?).

I can’t help with an instruction book but I owned several of these but under the Ferguson or rental clones. Can you post a pic of the front panel so I can see what version it is. Something to check is the EG suffix, I think that was for continental standards, EK is correct version for the UK. Not a huge problem if it is an EG as you probably won’t be using its tuner for recording but if playing back via RF you may have issues with it’s 5.5MHz sound.

John.

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Posted : 09/05/2021 2:23 pm
Katie Bush
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Posted by: @helloekco

does it have an end time?

Most likely it will. Most video recorders that I recall would require A, start time. B, stop time. C, day or date. D, channel number, as a bare minimum amount of information. I'm not 100% sure if some were happy with a start time and a programme duration.

In later years we also had an SP/LP option, and toward the end of VCRs there was "PDC" on/off (Programme Delivery Control") which could automatically advance, or delay, the recorder's timer recording to accommodate changes in programme times. PDC isn't used these days, and I'd suspect that even if that parameter was set to on, the recorder would simply default to basic timer operation in the absence of the PDC signal from the broadcaster.

Essentially, you do need a start time, you do need a stop time, and you will need to tell the timer on which day to record.

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Posted : 09/05/2021 2:41 pm
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @katie-bush

PDC isn't used these days, and I'd suspect that even if that parameter was set to on, the recorder would simply default to basic timer operation in the absence of the PDC signal from the broadcaster.

PDC is used by the broadcasters, Marion but implementation in domestic hardware can be sketchy. My Humax PVR works very reliably with it.

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Posted : 09/05/2021 5:35 pm
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @katie-bush

Flywheel line sync was always a problem, and later sets used an element of direct sync for VCR playback, which was only operational on the tuner's VCR button

It just shortened the "flywheel" discriminator time constant Marion, it didn't introduce direct sync although I am not entirely sure what went on in the chipsets that used counters to determine frame timing.

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Posted : 09/05/2021 5:37 pm
Cathovisor
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@jayceebee

Is it this machine we're talking about?

https://www.rewindmuseum.com/vhs.htm#hr3300

https://www.radiomuseum.org/r/jvc_hr_3300eg.html

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Posted : 09/05/2021 5:40 pm
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Jayceebee
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@cathovisor I'm not sure, need see a pic from the OP.

With that particular version which was also the Ferguson 3292 and rental 8900 the timer was very basic, you set the time to switch on, set the operate switch to timer, press down the play and record keys and at the allotted time the machine would switch on and record. there was no switch off time, it recorded to the end of the tape. Switch off time appeared on the next version. That clock had six push buttons.

John.

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Posted : 09/05/2021 5:53 pm
Katie Bush
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Posted by: @jayceebee

there was no switch off time, it recorded to the end of the tape

Wow!, I've learnt something new today. - So that would be a "one shot deal"? You want half an hour of "Only fools and horses" and, potentially, you get everything else that follows, until the tape runs out.That is what I'd call "Uber basic"!

Even the early Philips VCRs had a stop time.

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Posted : 09/05/2021 6:02 pm
helloekco liked
Katie Bush
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Posted by: @cathovisor

PDC is used by the broadcasters, Marion but implementation in domestic hardware can be sketchy. My Humax PVR works very reliably with it.

Aah, so in that case, my old kit must be a bit creaky. The only thing I have that will reliably record 'bumped' programmes is my SKY+ HD, but that doesn't claim to use PDC in any sense that the old VCRs would have done.

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Posted : 09/05/2021 6:06 pm
Cathovisor
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Posted by: @katie-bush
Posted by: @cathovisor

PDC is used by the broadcasters, Marion but implementation in domestic hardware can be sketchy. My Humax PVR works very reliably with it.

Aah, so in that case, my old kit must be a bit creaky. The only thing I have that will reliably record 'bumped' programmes is my SKY+ HD, but that doesn't claim to use PDC in any sense that the old VCRs would have done.

Different world, this digital telly... I don't understand it! I recall one machine I had would only accept a PDC-controlled stop/start if you set the thing to record the programme directly from the guide: but if you put in a time buffer of your own, you were well and truly on your own and it ignored you.

Needless to say, that bit of kit still didn't work properly so it got retired, especially as it only had an SD tuner assembly in it so it couldn't receive SD channels lurking on HD muxes.

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Posted : 09/05/2021 7:49 pm
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