DVD-VCR Combo Troubleshooting
By Patrick Nelson
DVD (Digital Video Disc) and VCR (Video Cassette Recorder) combination recorders are useful tools for archiving videocassette content. DVD technology is a more robust, potentially longer-lasting video solution than VCR, which is tape-based and subject to degradation through stretched tape, de-magnetization and environmental problems such as heat. Problems with DVD-VCR Combos can include problems with power, media, recording and playback.
Make sure the device is plugged into the household power supply and is switched on if no indicator lights are illuminated on the control panel. Watch for any power-saving technology that can shut the recorder down when it's not being used. Try the "Power" button again.
Verify that the media you are using is compatible with the device. Most combos record to DVD-RAM/-R/-RW/+R/+RW Discs on the disc side. VHS cassettes can have erasure tabs, so check that the tab is still there if you can't record to the cassette. Watch out for copy-protection technology on either the tape or disc. Often it's indicated on the packaging. Copy protection is designed to stop illegal reproductions, so may block many recordings of copyrighted material.
Connect a television to the "Video Out," "S-Video Out" or "Component Video Out" jacks on the DVD-VCR combo if you can't see video from the combo playing on the television.
Forcibly eject a disc if it is stuck in the combo. Often, manufacturers will create a sequence of buttons to use that accomplishes this. On a Panasonic, you force the combo into "Standby" by pressing "Power" for 10 seconds. Then press and hold "Stop" and the "Channel Up" button together for five seconds, and the disc should eject.
Patrick Nelson has been a professional writer since 1992. He was editor and publisher of the music industry trade publication "Producer Report" and has written for a number of technology blogs. Nelson studied design at Hornsey Art School.