Old Ferguson videostar vhs recorder Set with Camera
Hello, I have an old Ferguson videostar set, recorder/camera and tuner/adapter.
has the mics and instructions, three batteries which I don’t think are charging so can’t test the unit. This was my late Fathers who purchased it new. Can any tell me if it has any value/offers please.
I can send pictures if needed
I don't normally provide valuations, in fact I avoid them entirely when contact requests come in and I get many. Especially when items belonged to a deceased relative, sentimental value out weighs monitory value. However you registered and appear to be wishing to sell it. With that in mind, here is my opinion, it is only my opinion, nothing stated is meant to offend or take advantage as I'm not interested in the items. Other members may chip in and counter what I have say, at least from that you can take from this what you will.
The model is a 3V24 player with 3V28 tuner, 3V20 colour camera and one of the battery packs shown is a VA214. The microphone (you don't show it) is possibly either a VA232 or VA235. The battery charger was the 3V26. You can view the brochure page here, scroll down half way to see it all. https://www.radios-tv.co.uk/1980s-ferguson-video-recorders/ .All really expensive at the time but it was the dawn of "Portable recording" and the boom of VCR in general.
All this kit dates from 1981, almost 40 years old now and due to this age there will be issues. Almost certainly the belts in the player will be shot perhaps even the idler. This means the tape take up and or drive will be impaired. Replacement belts are difficult but not impossible find, but someone will have to know what they're doing, to replace them. There might be hardened grease in the mechanism, this will require dismantling, cleaning, re-greasing and reassembly. Then there is the possibility of component failure such as capacitors in power supplies and other critical areas.
What I'm saying is the main player/recording unit is unlikely to be "working" when powered up. As such it should not be offered or listed as "working", just because the lights come on. As for the battery packs, they're unlikely to ever hold a charge again. The camera will likely be fine as well as the tuner unit, but not guaranteed. However the tuner is totally obsolete unless the person will be operating it with their own analogue inputs via modulator, which is unlikely unless they are a collector.
Now for the reality check, you see these cropping up on e-bay frequently, some listed at ridiculously high prices. The uninformed belief being "its old, must be worth a bob or two". The high price ensuring it never sells. Other ones listed at more sensible prices, often sell to those that know the true value. As an example of another, I was recently given free, a similar valued unit (different manufacturer) from the same year with camera.
Therefore the old devices are only of interest to a collector or someone with a nostalgia itch to scratch for past times. Even then I'd be surprised and think you did well, if you managed to get between £50-80 (personally I think you'll be nearer the bottom end of that) for it. By way of example there's a 3V28 (tuner) on e-bay at present, buy-it-now £17.99. A 3V20A camera for £12.99 (no links as they are not allowed here).
Your best bet and I say this all the time, is to place it all on e-bay, stick a reserve on it if you must, and let it find its natural level of value and accept it for what it is. As I hope I've indicated, you're not in possession of anything remotely valuable. Its not rare, sought after, nor even in the same league of actual rare and sought after VCR's, such as the Philips N1500, N1501, N1502 or N1512.
Hope that helps.
Good advice from Chris, I can’t add anything.
One thing to mention: your late father may have recorded some family memories on that old unit - you may want to look for the tapes and view them or digitise them before disposing of the kit. The tapes will be standard VHS which you can play in any VHS machine. It's recommended to use one that is known to be working. This unit *may* work but more than likely won't. Only test it with a tape that you don't care about, before even thinking about risking any precious family tapes in this unit.
You don't need the batteries for testing - they will have expired by now anyway. Connect the video recorder and the tuner-timer together using the attached cables. Plug the tuner-timer into the mains and switch on. If the camera is plugged in and the input is set to Camera, that should come on too. You can then try to load a tape and see if it will rewind and fast forward - watch the tape reels to see if they turn. Only if they do, press Play. If the camera has an electronic viewfinder, you should see a black and white image of the tape playing. Plug in headphones to hear the sound. A full test will require an analogue TV connection but if you get that far, it probably works, otherwise assume it's faulty.
If it appears to play a tape it might be a bit easier to sell than if it's described as faulty or untested, but as stated previously, don't expect to get rich. It's a bit of a shame these units are not worth much now. Your late father probably spent around £1000 on it back in the day, but these things became obsolete very quickly and rapidly depreciated in value. All-in-one Camcorders soon replaced the separate bulky units. Now smartphones have largely replaced everything else. Someone may still want it though, for nostalgic reasons or just for the challenge of repair. If all else fails and you can't find a buyer on ebay, you can offer it here for free or a very small amount.
As a complete aside, I was involved in the transfer of the material for this music video (I know the lead singer) - it was shot entirely on VHS camcorders and I loaned them my S-Video capable machine to digitise the material. We did have a bit of fun with a tape that had developed "sticky-shed syndrome"...