Re: Sony Handycam Video 8mm - Tape Alignment/Tracking Issue

Bob Shuman wrote:
I have a 10 year old Sony Handycam Video 8mm - Model #CCD-TR91 that has
served us well.  The unit is on it's 4th battery, but still works, kind
of...  I suspect the trouble is with tape alignment/tracking since some
previously recorded events and sometimes new events as well do not display
properly.  Usually I lose half the picture with tracking lines and at times
it also is in Black and White only.

I do not see any electronic tracking adjustments similar to similar vintage
VHS VCRs.  Can anyone provide a reference to a service manual or a tracking
adjustment procedure?  At this point I am inclined to replace the unit with
another since price has come down so much over the years, but before I did,
I wanted to take a shot at aligning it myself.

Thanks in advance for your help.


These cameras had a common problem with the tape guides. The guides immediately before and after the video head have a tiny allen key set screw near the bottom which loosens, then the guide moves out of alignment one way when the tape is moving forward, and the other way when it's moving in reverse.
Aligning the guides is a complex process. It involves playing back an alignment tape while connecting an oscilloscope to a test point on the circuit board. The point is in a different place on each camera.
The problem is that if any tapes were recorded while the machine was OUT of alignment, they will no longer play when the machine IS properly aligned.
When the guides are aligned, the set-screws are tightened and it usually never goes out of alignment again.
Now here's the bigger problem - Sony camcorders of this age have a serious problem with capacitors going bad, leaking, burning traces off the circuit board with their acid, etc.
Not two or three caps, more like 100 of them. The amount of labor involved with replacing all of these capacitors makes the camera not economical to repair.