LabGuy's World: 1978 IVC 816XA One Inch Color Capable VTR

New Addition! 01.07.17
1978: IVC 816XA One Inch Color Capable Video Recorder!
        This just in! A very rare artifact from IVC. Introduced in the mid 1970's, this is a typical example of IVC's equipment. IVC made many models in this series. This machine uses one inch video tape wrapped completely around a drum with only one video head. This configuration is called, "Alpha Wrap". When viewed directly from above, the tape path looks just like the greek letter alpha. Linear tape speed is in the range of 9. 6 IPS (24. 384 cm/S), giving about 1 hour recording time on 9. 25 inch diameter reel of broadcast quality one inch tape. Along with excellent video bandwidth, this machine also records two very high quality audio tracks as well. Audio channel two can be dubbed independently too. The "X" in the model number of this particular machine implies that it is electrically certified for medical use. Even though it has those fancy handles on the end, it should still be handled by two people to avoid back strain! It weighs in close to 70 pounds (150 Kg).
        The machine naturally records color or B/W video signals. To playback color, however, does require either a TBC (Time Base Corrector) or a heterodyne type color adapter. Heterodyne adapters work in a manner similar to all modern VHS machines ~ and just as poorly! A TBC can restore the playback quality to that of nearly the live camera signal! These machines were used extensively in, what I would call, second tier video establishments. These would be production house that required fine quality but lacked the budget for the superior quadruplex or 1" type C machines. A lot of these decks also served as dub master decks in VHS and Betamax mass dubbing companies too.
        I (LabGuy) worked right next door to IVC, in the same building, in 1981. The company I worked at, 
Videologic Corp., used IVC 800's in their own product, a high speed video motion analyzer called the "InStar". This stood for, "INSTant Analytical Replay". You take one IVC-800 VTR mechanism and add custom made electronics, stand it on end and bolt it to a large movers hand truck with pneumatic tires! (Yes, I had to check the pressure in them as part of system test!) On top of this, you mount a 12" video monitor and control panel. Wrap the whole thing in a rubber gasketed fiberglass weather proof enclosures and throw in a 200 Watt strobe light (2,000 Watt strobe optional) and a custom built plumbicon video camera. Now you are good to go and record high speed motion events at up to 960 frames per second! Playback speed is variable anywhere from real time to freeze frame with perfectly clear images! Clever, huh? Saw one of those recently on eBay! It was too expensive, too heavy and too useless. LabGuy's World waits patiently for one of THOSE to be DONATED.
        This IVC machine is almost working. It is actually threaded up and running in the right hand photo. It pulls tape perfectly and has a good video head. There is some sort of problem with the electronic video path. Probably simple electronic misalignment or dirty switch or relay contacts. SIMPLE, you ask? Yes! Simple, I say. The the block diagram of these machines looks exactly like what you would see in a text book on VTR theory. If it was any simpler, it couldn't run! Because of their age, they contain very few, if any, integrated circuits. The electronics are composed of discrete transistors, resistors, capacitors, etc.. So, when it comes to understanding and repairing them, it is a rather easy task.

WANTED: Vintage magazine articles or any other information on this and any other IVC machines.


Last updated: January 09, 2005