Why doesn't the counter work on new tapes? It still works fine on my
old tapes and prerecorded tapes.
The tape counter on most VCRs will not move unless you are in a recorded portion of
the tape. This wasn't the case on older VCR counters because they just were
operated by a belt attached to the tape spindles. As long as the tape moved, the
counter would move. This was functional, but the counter numbers had no relation to
the numbers on another VCR or to the actual time of the recording. In an effort to
provide a more meaningful tape counter, VCR manufacturers changed the operation of
counters to be incremented in actual seconds, minutes and hours. This was done
through electronics, rather than a belt. The counter is triggered by the control
track recorded on the tape with every recording. The control track is a series of
regular pulses which keep everything synchronized, sort of like sprocket holes on a
movie film. These pulses provide a means of tracking actual time, but there is a side
effect. A new blank tape has no recording on it, so there is no control track. No
control track means, no pulses, and no pulses means no counter movement.
So, if you use a pre-recorded tape, or one that you have recorded on over and over,
your counter will always move. However, when using a new tape, you might make a
short recording beginning and then fast forward past it and notice the tape counter
stops counting. At that point, you may be fooled into thinking something is wrong
with your VCR or the new tape. Armed with the information above, you'll know why
this happens and realize there's nothing wrong at all.