[dork]funny pic, but I doubt a Sony SVO unit would eat a tape.[/dork]
Sometimes you just expect certain sellers at swap meets to have broken electronics. You know the types. The unkept fat guy holding an awful looking pizza slice at 8 a.m. in a beat up shaggin' wagon with Emerson DVD players and VCRs in a four foot high leaning stack and giant speakers with the woofers pushed in. The hick parents with three uncontrollable kids with a DVD player that seems splattered with an unidentifiable substance and remote featuring missing buttons. Regular A/V aficionados I'm tellin' ya!
Though this gets to be a crapshoot with some sellers. This morning I ran into a nice older couple with a JVC VCR in immaculate condition for $7. This damn thing looks straight out of the 1992 box, included the instruction manual, and cool LCD-screened remote with jog toggle. It's even made in Japan, people. JAPAN. Yet I'll be fucked if it'll play a tape without getting hungry. Every extraneous blank I threw into it ended up unspooled around every mechanical curve in the machine upon slapping the Eject button in rage. The Rewind command also can't compute, as the left reel remains frozen and the deck shuts down. Fuckin' baby boomers with their powers to destroy perfectly fine electronics yet somehow maintain that new Circuit City scent. I'll keep the remote and manual though, maybe I'll find another (working) JVC to monkey with.
$7 remote...dammit. expecting the screen to read "sucker"...
Next up and much to my surprise, I found another CED player, this time a Montgomery Ward GEN10301 with a corded remote (high tech early '80s!). This one was from one of those shady van dudes, but rain clouds were were looming so he dropped the price to five from ten. It's condition is pretty battle tested, but c'mon for five bucks? I arrive home and plug it in. No power. I open it, bridge the two wires on the power switch, and get green and red lights on the front. Load up a disc and unfortunately an unseen motor inside incessantly buzzes when pressing Play. No spin up or playback, but there is a silver lining. The stylus in this player is the same model found in my working RCA player. I swapped them out and the needle seems fine while playing in the RCA. So it's like I got a back-up stylus (that you could blow several Hamiltons for on eBay) and a dumpster run for $5.