Video cassette tapes

Hello all, I have a video cassette tape that my VCR “ate” and i was wondering if anyone knew of a way to fix the tape itself.

Admittedly i know next to nothing about cassette tapes, so any insights you would have would be much appreciated.

Obviously i wont be heartbroken if the tape is damaged beyond repair, but i thought hey why not at least give it a shot and ask a few questions.

Thanks in advance.


You can cut the damaged part out and use splicing tape to put the ends together again.

thanks Reeder, i hadnt thought of that. by chance do you know how to wind these things back up?

Is the tape shredded or just crumpled? If it’s just been yanked out, smooth the tape out, then flip the front open (you gotta press the tab on the left side first, ya know?) and you can reel it back in. The wheels are ratcheted, but they’ll go in the right direction.

Accessing the tape:

As Nanoda says, if you look at the side of the cassette where the front flap is hinged to the rest of the case, on one side you’ll see a small square button - press on this and it releases the hinged front flap. This gives you access to the face of the tape.

Now, look at the underside of the cassette, where you can see the two spools that hold the tape. In the centre, and towards the label side of the cassette, you’ll see a round hole with a recessed circular tab. By pressing gently down on this (e.g. with a pencil) you can dis-engage the gearing mechanism so that the spool spins freely.

So you should be able to carefully pull out the tape itself to get at the damaged portion.

There’s not much you can do with a portion of the tape that has actually become mangled. There’s no easy way to ‘iron it flat’ (just a figure of speech - don’t even try this!) so all you can do is get some scissors and cut it out. Make both cuts at 45 degrees, not straight across. You can then join the undamaged portions together using ‘invisible’ Scotch tape or splicing tape, just trying to make as neat a job of it as you can. Then carefully re-wind the video tape back on to its spools.

There will be a larger-than-you’d-expect portion of the tape before and after the join where the signal is clearly too disrupted to play properly, but at least you will have salvaged as much of the tape’s content as possible. As soon as you can, copy what you want on to a fresh tape and then dispose of the repaired tape.

An DIYer should never splice a video cassette. I mean never. (Except at the end, see the next link.) The right way to deal with a damaged tape is given here. (Note that it gives the exact opposite of some of the posts in this thread.)

I can assure you that the chances of destroying your VCR heads on a DIYer spliced tape are 100%. On today’s cheapo VCRs, that means the VCR is garbage.