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How to change tape speed on a VCR?
This thread has 14 replies. Displaying all posts.
Post 1 made on Tuesday May 25, 2004 at 07:55
Delysid
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I just got a GE VCR (model VG4254) built in 1995 from a friend. There appears to be no way to change the tape speed (sp, ep, slp, etc.) except with the speed button on the remote control, which is long missing. I got an entry-level RCA universal remote which works but doesn't have a button for changing the tape speed. Even in the onscreen menus you can't change the tape speed -- the VCR manual tells you to use the original remote control's speed button. And there is no button on the VCR itself for changing the tape speed.

So I have two questions:

1) Does anyone know of a universal remote that can change the tape speed? Since I don't have the original remote, I can't teach the code to a "learning" universal remote. Will "advanced codes" do the trick, and if so, how do I know if a universal remote can accept "advanced codes"?

2) I don't really need a remote control except to change the tape speed from the unit's default SLP (slowest speed) to SP. Does anyone know of a way to do that on such a VCR without a remote? Like, is there some secret VCR repair-person trick that does it? (I don't know, I'm just hoping there might be some secret trick like holding down the record button or something crazy like that -- you never know!).

GE VCR's are also sold under other names, such as RCA and ProScan, so if you know any tricks that work with those models, it might work with mine, especially if it's a similar vintage (1995).

Thanks!
Post 2 made on Tuesday May 25, 2004 at 11:05
Anthony
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...
Post 3 made on Tuesday May 25, 2004 at 14:17
Ron Aronson
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Click here to learn about discrete codes.

Here is a link for advanced codes which provides a discrete code for tape speed
[Link: hifi-remote.com]

Do you not have a menu option for changing tape speed?


This message was edited by Ron Aronson on 05/25/04 14:22.
Post 4 made on Tuesday May 25, 2004 at 15:04
edmund
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Most modern GE RCA & Proscan vcr's use setup code VCR0060.
Post 5 made on Tuesday May 25, 2004 at 15:55
Ron Aronson
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On 05/25/04 15:04, edmund said...
Most modern GE RCA & Proscan vcr's use setup code

VCR0060.

I should have mentioned that I looked at 0060 but it didn't give a discrete code for tape speed. 0048 was the only advanced code which did, so that is why I referenced it.
OP | Post 6 made on Wednesday May 26, 2004 at 01:58
Delysid
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On 05/25/04 14:17, Ron Aronson said...
Do you not have a menu option for changing tape
speed?

No, that's the crazy thing about this unit. I have the original manual and it says the same thing that I have discovered myself by working through every possible menu choice -- there is no way to change the tape speed except with the button that was on the original remote control. Even when you're programming a timed recording, you set the speed with remote control.

Talk about a design flaw!

But just as maddening is the absence of a button to change tape speed even on high end universal remotes, even ones made by RCA, which is the same company as GE (the brand of this VCR). When I went back to the electronics store today I asked this time about getting a universal remote that could change tape speed, and the guy there just shook his head and said that none of them can. It's crazy!

It's not like changing the tape speed is an obscure function -- it's treated prominently in the manual. If I had the original remote I could teach the command to a learning remote, but then the whole problem here is that I don't have the original remote.

I've tried pushing all kinds of combinations of buttons on the VCR itself to see if there is a secret combination that can change the tape speed, but so far no luck. I have however managed to acquire invincibility, endless ammo, and the ability to walk through walls! (Just kidding, a video game joke....)

I'll have to look into this "discrete code" thing. Thanks for the feedback and let me know if anyone thinks of anything else!

If I manage to come up with a solution, I'll post it as I'm sure others will come here with the same problem.
OP | Post 7 made on Wednesday May 26, 2004 at 02:36
Delysid
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On 05/25/04 15:55, Ron Aronson said...

OK, let me see if understand this correctly.

The 4-digit setup codes are used to automatically set up a universal remote for a particular model of a device (in my case, a VCR). The leading zero can be dropped for universal remotes that take 3-digit setup codes.

Each 4-digit setup code has a page on hifi-remote.com that lists all the commands and 3-digit discrete codes that apply to the device that you want to control (again, in my case a VCR).

So if I get my hands on one of these Radio Shack or OFA remotes, I can go to the hifi-remote.com page listing the discrete codes for my VCR, find the discrete code for the command I want (changing the tape speed) and directly fire that code at the VCR to execute the command. I could also fire the discrete code at a learning remote to assign the code to one of its learning buttons.

Is this right? If so, I won't bother getting a learning remote, as I plan to just change the tape speed to SP and leave it there, so I'll just use the RS or OFA remote to do that since I won't be doing it very often.

This is assuming I can find the right discrete code for changing tape speed on the hifi-remote.com site. I'll start with the 0048 and 0060 pages you fellows so kindly suggested. BTW, there is a "Speed" command on the 0060 page, so that might work.

Let me know if I'm missing anything here.

Also, as I mentioned before, I don't really need a remote except to change the tape speed, so if you think of any way to change the tape speed without a remote, let me know.

Thanks a million guys I really appreciate the help.

- Delysid
OP | Post 8 made on Wednesday May 26, 2004 at 03:49
Delysid
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Hi again,

OK, three more questions about this discrete code stuff and my struggle to change the tape speed on this silly old 1995 GE VCR.

1) The thing about the codes being numbered 000 to 256 and then repeating through the same cycle -- does this mean that 000 will have exactly the same effect on the target device as 256 and 512, and 001 will be the same as 257 and 513, etc.? Is this then the meaning of the cross-referenced codes on the hifi-remote.com page here?

[Link: hifi-remote.com]

2) Would an alternative to a Radio Shack or One For All programmable remote be to take a cheap univeral remote and set it up with the 4-digit device code for a different VCR that happens to assign the desired discrete code to a common button that *is* on the cheap remote?

For example, let's say that my GE VCR does correspond with the 0060 VCR device code, which lists 512 as the discrete code for changing tape speed. The cheap RCA universal remote I had yesterday (and have since returned) had no "Speed" button, so even after setting it up with the 060 device code (dropping the leading zero since that remote takes only 3-digit device codes), I still couldn't send the "change tape speed" discrete code because there was no speed button.

But if I had punched in a device code for a different VCR that happened to use 512 as the discrete code for a button that *is* on the universal remote, like say the Stop button or some other common one, then if I pressed that button would it send 512 to my VCR and actually change the tape speed? This is a quick, dirty, and awkward solution, but would it work?

3) Finally, putting the two questions together, if the above trick would work, and if 512 is equivalent to 256 and 000, then it seems that all I'd have to do is find a VCR device code that assigns any of those three equivalent discrete codes (512, 256, 000) to a common button that *is* on the cheap universal remote, punch that VCR device code into the universal remote, press the corresponding button, and then voila, change the tape speed!

Would this work?

Thx!
- Derrick
Post 9 made on Wednesday May 26, 2004 at 08:43
Ron Aronson
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Note: After I wrote the following and sent it in, I realized I had better check your profile to see where you are located, and found out you are in Canada, so if you cannot find any of the remotes I mention below, we will try and find you one which you can get in Canada which will get you discrete codes.

First thing, you are confusing SETUP codes with DEVICE codes. Device codes are the codes you use in your universal remote to assign a particular brand of TV, for example, to the TV key on the remote. This can be 2, 3, or 4 digits, depending on the remote. I can see why you are confused, because in this case the setup codes and device codes are similar, but they are really two different things.

Setup codes are the codes used for OFA/RS remotes to access discrete codes. To use them, you have to assign a device code to the vcr key which will then operate your vcr.

I missed the “speed” discrete code on 0060, which is 512, so you could use that, or try the 0048 code, which is 205. There is no guaranty that either will work on your vcr, but one of them should. Discrete codes run from 000 to 255, and then start over again, so 000 is the same as 256 and 512, etc.

Now, here is the procedure for accessing the discrete code.
1. Get an OFA 8810/8811 (same remote) at Walmart or other store, or a Radio Shack 15-2116. The 8810 is cheaper and easier to use, so I recommend you try and get one of them.
2. Load the DEVICE code into the vcr key. Coincidentally, both OFA and RS remotes use similar device codes, which are 0060, 0035, etc. Just load any one which operates your GE VCR.
3. Remember, these DEVICE codes are not the same as SETUP codes, even though they have the same numbers assigned, so separate the two in your mind as two distinct numbers, so you won’t be confused.
4. After you get the remote to operate your vcr, you then press the SET button on the 8810 (the 2116 is different, so read the instructions). Then you press the 3 digits for the discrete code (either 205 or 512), which will send a signal to the vcr, which should then change the tape speed.
5. If you want to, you can retain this command in the 8810 by using the key-move procedure. I won’t go into that here, but when you get your remote, let me know which remote and I can explain further.

If the tape speed is not in the menu, then there is no other way to change it without using a discrete code, since there are no universal remotes with tape speed included in them.

There is no alternative to using a RS/OFA remote, since these are the only ones which will access discrete codes.

This has all been a little tricky to answer since you posted 3 replies, some of which had similar questions in them, but I am trying. As for number (3) in your reply numbered (8), I will repeat that the vcr device code has nothing to do with the setup code, so finding a vcr with a “device” code that assigns discrete codes 000,256, or 512, will not work because the device code is not the same as a setup code.

Hope I didn’t get you more confused, and don’t hesitate to ask more questions if you need to.

Ron
OP | Post 10 made on Thursday May 27, 2004 at 09:07
Delysid
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Hi Ron, thanks for the detailed reply.

I’ll quote bits of your message below and interspersed with my comments and questions.

On 05/26/04 08:43, Ron Aronson said...
First thing, you are confusing SETUP codes with
DEVICE codes. Device codes are the codes you
use in your universal remote to assign a particular
brand of TV, for example, to the TV key on the
remote. This can be 2, 3, or 4 digits, depending
on the remote.

Setup codes are the codes used for OFA/RS remotes
to access discrete codes. To use them, you have
to assign a device code to the vcr key which will
then operate your vcr.

So, there are three distinct types of codes: Setup, Device, and Discrete?

DISCRETE CODES are 3-digit numbers from 000 to 255 (and multiples thereof), corresponding to certain commands on the target device, varying depending on what device code has been entered, correct?

But I’m still not clear on the distinction between SETUP and DEVICE codes. Here is the procedure you described (shortened a bit):

Now, here is the procedure for accessing the discrete
code.

1. Get an OFA 8810/8811.

2. Load the DEVICE code into the vcr key. Coincidentally,
both OFA and RS remotes use similar device codes,
which are 0060, 0035, etc. Just load any one
which operates your GE VCR.

3. Remember, these DEVICE codes are not the same
as SETUP codes, even though they have the same
numbers assigned.

4. After you get the remote to operate your vcr,
you then press the SET button on the 8810.
Then you press the 3 digits for the discrete
code (either 205 or 512), which will send a signal
to the vcr, which should then change the tape
speed.

I will repeat
that the vcr device code has nothing to do with
the setup code, so finding a vcr with a "device"
code that assigns discrete codes 000,256, or 512,
will not work because the device code is not the
same as a setup code.

I see where you use the DEVICE code in the above procedure, but where do you use the SETUP code? Is there a typo or something missing, or am I missing something?

Another thing that’s confusing is that on the hifi-remote.com site, the SETUP and DEVICE codes seem to be the same thing. At least, they correlate by brand and for my GE VCR produce an almost identical list of codes.

The SETUP codes are on these pages, listed by brand:

[Link: hifi-remote.com]
[Link: hifi-remote.com] (VCR codes)

While the DEVICE codes are on these pages, listed by code number, and showing what brands they work for:

[Link: hifi-remote.com]
[Link: hifi-remote.com] (VCR codes)

The SETUP pages list these codes for a GE VCR:

- 0035, 0048, 0060, 0202, 0240

The DEVICE pages contain one additional code:

- 0035, 0048, 0060, 0202, 0240, 0522

So are these all the same thing, either DEVICE or SETUP codes? If so, which? Or if there is a difference, then my previous question remains: where do you use the SETUP codes?


Finally, before I abandon my hypothetical method for using a cheap universal remote to access the Tape Speed command on my GE VCR, a couple questions:

1) Does the discrete code for a certain command cause the OFA to send the exact same signal as a device’s original remote sent for that command?

2) Is the signal an OFA sends for a given discrete code (e.g. 512) always exactly the same regardless of what device it has been set up for, i.e. what device code has been entered?

If the answer to both questions is yes, then an OFA set up with, for example, a Panasonic VCR device code should send exactly the same signal for discrete code 512 as it would if set up with a Sony VCR device code.

And if this discrete code 512 corresponds with "Stop" on the Sony and "Rewind" on the Panasonic, then the signal sent would also be the same as that produced by pressing Stop on the original Sony remote or pressing Rewind on the original Panasonic remote. Meaning that pressing Stop on the Sony remote should cause the Panasonic VCR to rewind.

That is the premise of my suggestion. If it is true, then I could look on the hifi-remote.com site for a VCR brand where the discrete code for a common command like "Play" is the same as the one used for "Speed" on my GE VCR (e.g. 512). Then I would set the cheap universal remote to emulate that other VCR brand, hit the Play button, and hopefully send the same signal my GE VCR expects for "Speed", and change the speed.

But for this to work, the answers to questions 1 & 2 above would both have to be yes.

I hope that makes sense! It took forever to write.

G’night!
Post 11 made on Thursday May 27, 2004 at 10:31
Ron Aronson
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I may not answer all of your questions in the following, but hopefully I will inform you enough to help you figure out most of the procedure.

1. The device code is the code listed in the instructions for your remote to load a particular brand VCR (for example) to the VCR device key. When you set up your remote, you look in the table for a GE VCR, get the code, and follow the instructions for loading that device code. If it works, fine, if not, you try another device code, if there is one listed.

After you get the device code loaded and working, you are ready to access the discrete codes. It is confusing because many times the people who set up the discrete codes used the device code from the vcr as the SETUP code for the discrete code listing. They may be the same numbers, but they do different things.

When you go to [Link: hifi-remote.com], you first go to the setup codes, find the codes for your brand vcr, and then go to the advanced code list, where you use the setup codes you found to access the listings of discrete codes. If there is more than one listing, you can check them all until you find a code that works for you.

When you find the code you want to use, you use your RS/OFA remote to send it to the component (vcr), or to a learning remote, by pressing set (or setup) and then the 3 digit code. This sends a discrete code signal.

2. The 3 digits of the discrete code are unique to the component, and sometimes even to a particular model number of that component. Discrete code 111 for a vcr is not the same as 111 for a tv or 111 for a dvd, or even for a different brand of any of these, etc.

So 512 on a Sony vcr, when pressed, would only work on the Sony vcr, because you would have to press
another key where you have loaded the Panasonic vcr device code, and then press 512, which would then do what is specified for a Panasonic vcr.

Rather than write on and on and risk more confusion, I am going to let you work with this, and then ask any more questions you might have.

To sum up:
1. Even though device codes and discrete codes may look the same, they do different things, so forget about similarities and treat them as two distinct entities.

2. Go to the Setup Codes in the link above, write down all for your GE VCR.

3. Then, go to the Advanced Code List, go to VCR, and open one of the codes you have written down. Check the list and pick out what you are looking for; if not there, keep checking lists until you find one or run out of lists.

4. Load the DEVICE code into your RS/OFA remote, and check to see if it operates your VCR. If it does, even minimally, go to the next step.

5. Press setup or set, press the 3 digit code you have selected, and see if it works.

Good luck and I think I will be hearing from you again, hopefully with a shorter message (lol).

Ron
Post 12 made on Thursday May 27, 2004 at 13:43
The Robman
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Ron,
You have really confused the issue my throwing in alot of incorrect terminology.

1) SETUP CODES.
These are the codes that you use to program your universal remote, eg VCR/1234 or TV/0246, etc. Each remote manufacturer will use their own set of codes, so if VCR/0060 is the right code when you use an OFA remote, it would necessarily be the right code when you use a (let's say) Zenith remote.

The fact that RS and OFA use the same setup codes is not a coincidence, these remotes are made by the same company (UEI).

2) DEVICE CODES
These are the codes that are built into the infrared signals themselves. Ordinary remote users would know nothing about these codes, nor would they need to know.

3) DISCRETE CODES & ADVANCED CODES
Using an OFA/RS remote, you can generate discrete codes by using "advanced codes", but you first need to have found a working "setup code". "Advanced codes" and "discrete codes" are different concepts. An advanced code is a number in the range 000 thru 255 (numbers over 255 are simply repetitions of the lower codes, so yes, 256 will send the same signal as 000, etc) that you can use to generate infrared signals. These signals could be for regular functions, like TAPE SPEED, they could be discrete codes or they might do nothing at all.

Delysid, I've skipped over some of the posts so I'm not sure if you've actually found a One For All remote yet, so if you haven't, that's definitely the way to go. Don't waste your time buying "cheap" remotes in the hope that some regular button just happens to send the same signal as your SPEED button, because it will be a pointless journey.

Here's what you need to do...
1) Get a One For All remote
2) Find a setup code that works your VCR
3) Look up the advanced codes for that setup code on my site and see if I have the TAPE SPEED code listed
4) Program it to a button and test it.

If you can't find an OFA remote locally, I can sell you a URC-8811, which is an 8 device learning remote, for $19 plus $4 shipping to Canada.

Rob
http://www.hifi-remote.com
Rob.
[Link: hifi-remote.com]
Post 13 made on Thursday May 27, 2004 at 18:31
Ron Aronson
Super Member
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Rob-You're right about the confusion. I should have used the term "component code" or "setup code", instead of "device" code when explaining how to assign the setup code to the device KEY on the OFA/RS remote.

However, where you wrote "Here's what you need to do, etc", I think that is pretty much what I said, but you boiled it down and used the correct terminology.

Delysid-I hope I haven't confused you too much and you are back on track now.

Ron
OP | Post 14 made on Friday May 28, 2004 at 05:22
Delysid
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Hey, thanks guys for the additional info. Sounds like my madcap scheme to do a quick & dirty work-around with a cheap univeral remote won't work. Oh well.

I found the Canadian distributor of One For All remotes: AVS Technologies. They have quite a good website with interactive feature comparison tables and a listing of stores in Canada that carry each OFA model:

[Link: avs.ca]

Their list price for the 8811 is CAN$35, similar to the cost Rob quoted for buying from hifi-remotes.com after conversion & credit card fees. I'll phone the local stores tomorrow to see what they're actually charging.

For other Canadian readers, the chains listed as carrying the OFA 8811 model are Stereo Plus and Visions. It also says "available at other fine retailers," so it might be worth checking other stores too.

By the way, I went to the Canadian Radio Shack website, and the 15-2116 remote is listed there as "available soon" with a cost of CAN$60. It has an LCD screen so is probably equivalent to the higher OFA model 8911.

Thanks again Ron, Rob, et al. As promised, I'll post the final results of my efforts for any future readers facing a similar problem.
OP | Post 15 made on Wednesday June 2, 2004 at 05:58
Delysid
Lurking Member
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May 2004
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Here's the outcome. To summarize the problem for future readers, I've got a 1995-era GE VCR on which the only way to change the tape speed is with the original remote control, which is long lost. I discovered that none of the universal remotes out there have a "tape speed" button and it seemed the only way was to get a programmable universal remote from One For All or Radio Shack (both made by the same company, UEI).

So I went and bought the One For All URC-8811 for $35 (all dollar amounts are Canadian dollars) and aless expensive Philips universal remote PDVD5 with "learning" capability for CAN$19, with the intention of programming the tape speed command into the OFA 8811, and then using it to "teach" the command to the Philips remote. Then I could return the OFA 8811 and save a whopping $16.

I used the hifi-remote.com information to program the Advanced Code for tape speed into the OFA 8811. Worked perfectly.

Then as I was setting up the Philips remote to work with the GE VCR, I discovered by chance that the subtitle button (meant for DVD player) also changes the tape speed on the VCR! What luck! And it turns out most of the other DVD-specific buttons on the Philips remote also do something to the GE VCR that is not doable from the small number of buttons on the VCR itself, or from any of the buttons on a similarly-priced RCA universal remote I had tried earlier. I don't know if this is lucky coincidence, or if the Philips designers went the extra mile and put in a larger command set, for my VCR at least, assigning less common commands to various other keys on the remote.

But the bottom line is the Philips PDVD5 universal remote does what I need and I didn't have to use the OFA 8811 to teach it any commands after all.

So now I'll return the OFA 8811 and save a few bucks. If anyone reading this has a similar problem trying to change the tape speed on a GE (or RCA or Proscan) VCR, or perform any other function from the VCR's original remote control, you might want to try the Philips PDVD5 universal remote.

But the OFA 8811 remains the most versatile and upgradeable solution, and if I had more funds or a more complex audio-visual system to control, I'd get that unit. The codes and instructions on hifi-remote.com are a tremendous resource that make the programmable OFA remotes (8811 is the entry level model of this type) even more powerful.

But in my case, not only do I save some money, I also really don't need anything more than the ability to change the tape speed on this VCR, so the Philips remote does the trick.

Thanks again, everyone who offered advice. I can wholeheartedly recommend this whole site -- it's very nicely done with a helpful and friendly user community. The kind of thing that gives the Internet a good name.

- Delysid


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