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Home /Science / Inner Working of the VHS Tape

Inner Working of the VHS Tape

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By Shelby Burr

Have you ever looked at something and wondered, “How in the world does that thing work?” If only we could have an x-ray to see the inside, right?

Well, luckily for us, it only takes a few tools to see the inside workings of the VHS tape!

Whether you purchased your VHS tape from the store, rented it from BlockBuster, or recorded your favorite shows/games on your tv...let’s see how this beautiful, black rectangle works!

 

The inner workings of the VHS tape is such an anomaly. It is simple and complex at the same time. Starting from the outside, the VHS tape is made from #5 plastic (polypropylene). The tape inside is made from #1 plastic but is coated in a few different metals, making it difficult to recycle. 

 

 




What’s inside a VHS?

  • Top and bottom pieces of the outer shell plastic (polypropylene)
  • A moving, spring-loaded door to protect the tape
  • Two spools to hold the tape
  • An 800 foot long, ½ inch wide piece of oxide-coated Mylar tape that acts as the recording medium
  • Two spring-loaded locks to prevent the tape from unrolling inside the cassette
  • Several screws to hold the whole thing together

What happens when you try to play the VHS?

  • When the tape is inserted into a VCR, the VCR uses a lever to release and open the door, exposing the tape. It also inserts a pin into the hole to disengage the two locks on the spools. At that point, the driver can extract the tape and play it. 

Now that you know the inner workings of the VHS tape, you might have a better understanding around just how fragile this cassette is. Fragile tape being surrounded by plastic sounds safe...but there are lots of things that can happen over time and could potentially ruin your memories. To prevent your memories from damage, digitize them! Your VHS tapes are vital, important, and who really owns a VCR to watch their VHS tapes anymore? Relive your memories again and again through KODAK Digitizing Box. 

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