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-   -   RCA TCR-100 Videotape Cartridge System, amazing!! (

Kamakiri 01-11-2017 09:33 AM

RCA TCR-100 Videotape Cartridge System, amazing!!
Check this out! Was this ever the "norm" for TV stations?

Retspin 01-11-2017 12:10 PM


Originally Posted by Kamakiri (Post 3176507)
Check this out! Was this ever the "norm" for TV stations?

I think they were quite common. The first TV station I ever visited had one and was amazing to watch.

centralradio 01-11-2017 12:18 PM

Thanks. This reminds me of the Drake Chenault automation systems at radio station in the 1970's.

Tim 01-11-2017 02:28 PM

Yes, quite common. Either that or the competing similar unit from Ampex until Sony's Betacart came out in the '80's which used 1/2" Betacam tapes.

Celt 01-11-2017 03:25 PM


Originally Posted by centralradio (Post 3176515)
Thanks. This reminds me of the Drake Chenault automation systems at radio station in the 1970's.

Indeed. We used the IGM automation system @ K-105 and ran Drake Chenault's XT-40 in the 70's. :yes:

ppppenguin 01-11-2017 03:30 PM

Only a few of the 2" cart machines found their way to the UK for use by the ITV companies. Their main use was for playing out commercials so the BBC had no use for them.

There's an interesting snippet at the end of that video showing the facilities at ITN, London. At 8:37 you can see the huge analogue PAL<>NTSC converter. This was built by Pye to a BBC design. The BBC prototype, the world's first all electronic field store converter, was available just in time for the 1968 Mexico Olympics. THis was the first that had the possibility of live worldwide coverage.

The converter occupied 7 full height 19" rack cabinets. The storage medium was quartz delay lines, each giving 3.2ms delay. Like a monstrous version of the commonplace PAL delay lines. They were multifaceted quartz polygons, the signal being transmitted by a transducer on one face and bounced around many times until it reached the receiving transducer. They were in temprature controlled cabinets to keep the delay constant.

The line rate conversion was handled by a pair (one each for Y and C) of linestores. These were based on the earlier BBC analogue 625 to 405 converter. In very crude terms these were a pair of electronic multiway switches connecting to a bank of 576 capacitors, one for each pixel (except the term pixel hadn't been invented at the time).

kf4rca 01-13-2017 08:08 AM

Our station had 2 TCR's
RCA won an emmy in'69 for the invention. Turner had 6 Ampex ACR25's at one time.
Actually the networks edited their commercials into the playback tape. This way they were able to time the whole show and send TWX's to the stations as to the exact time a spot would air. Also there would be no surprises due to mechanical malfunction. This only made sense because the spots airing were going for maybe $100K for 30 seconds. As you might expect, the networks were rolling in the dough. They EVEN paid for the microwave link from AT&T to get the signal into the affiliates.

broadcaster 01-14-2017 12:05 PM

These were amazing! Our stations had them, and they performed very well!

kf4rca 01-14-2017 04:05 PM

There were more TCR100's out there than Ampex ACR25's. The reason was cost. As I recall the TCR's were about $160K where the ACR25's were $250K. Also the TCR parts were interchangeable with the existing RCA machines (TR70, TR60, TR600 etc.) The Ampex ACR25's were not compatible with other Ampex quads.
The TCR took 2 seconds to lock up.where the Ampex ACR was 300 milliseconds. The TCR carts would only hold 3 minutes of tape where the ACR carts held more. it was no surprise when MTV went on the air they chose Ampex.
Three companies made compatible TCR carts (RCA, 3M, and Calico Video) and Ampex carts were only made by them.
The ACR jammed more often than the RCA going into "test" mode which was really jam mode.

BBTV 05-12-2018 03:57 PM

Not only common, but terrifying!! I cannot recall whether it was the ACR or the TCR that had the tape cartridge system driven by +/- 200VDC supplies, but if one of those supplies died, the belt would take off and if left unchecked would start throwing tape cartridges at everyone in the control room. At least that's the way my memory remembers it LOL.

Just imagine maintaining a machine with three complete 2" deck mechanisms inside it. .. one for cueing up the next spot, one for playing on air, and one for rewinding. And the tape handling mechanism wheeeeeeeeee all air and vacuum driven. Oy, what could possibly go wrong :)

kf4rca 05-16-2018 03:19 PM

2 Attachment(s)
The TCR's and ACR's only had 2 transports. When one was on air, the other was ejecting, loading, and cueing the next spot. For TCR's that time was 20 seconds. The carousel had to advance which slowed it down. Also the TCR's used mechanical threading.For ACR's the time was 10 seconds. The carousel was fully enclosed and moved at lightning speed. The threading was done by vacuum which was also fast. The operator could only access the ACR's carousel by a door which allowed access to 4 carts at a time. A beep would go off when you HAD to close the door since the machine needed to advance the carousel.
ACR's were more complicated to program than the TCR's and usually had a dedicated operator. Since the TCR's were sequentially programmed, the MC operator could switch and load his own TCR.
I never saw that condition on a TCR or ACR with the power supply going out. Occasionally the machine would miss the end of tape marker and the tape would wind off the end of the spool (still inside the cartridge).

kf4rca 05-21-2018 09:14 AM

Here's a demo of the ACR25:
As you can see the carousel is vertical and completely enclosed (except for the access door).
Pay attention to the transport as it loads a tape. Its very fast (vacuum threading). The capstan pops out from the back. It holds the tape also via vacuum. (Neither ACRs or TCRs used a "pinch roller" on the capstan.) The capstan is also aided by the reel servos on the take up and supply sides.
There's a brief view of the electronics unit next to the transport unit.

BBTV 05-21-2018 09:19 AM

Actually, it's really amazing these things ever worked at all. What could possibly go wrong?? LOL. We used to refer to both the ACR and the TCR as the "doomsday machine"... when they broke, only a very few could fix them. Kinda the same with the HS-100 slo mo, but that's another story. Probably paid for my house keeping that one tuned up :)

KentTeffeteller 05-21-2018 06:59 PM

Wise operators who knew these machines could troubleshoot the TCR by listening to it going through the cycle, and know when it was going to have a meltdown.

kf4rca 05-24-2018 08:35 AM

We called the TCR a "huff & puff" machine. But the management called it a "bread & butter" machine.
I remember going to the meetings with the traffic and sales managers in the fall. The traffic manager lady would give us a "sermon on the mount".
We were SOLD OUT for the 4th quarter all the way up till Christmas. Any spot you lose, you will have to make it up "as best you can."
Those were the good old days in major market TV. We were busy.

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