I've not worked on a 3V00 but I'm sure there were other early VHS models that had belt-driven heads. I came across one once (the only one) and suspect it may have been an Akai
? Still possible it was a JVC clone though.
Philips N1500/1502, 1700/1702 were belt driven, and those head drums had a lot of mass, and therefore inertia, to control, but even those early machines were on the job.. It beggars belief how the servo can ever keep a constant drum RPM when you take into account things like; tape friction (theoretically none) against the drum, constantly varying mains voltage, elasticity of the drive belts and the intertia of that massive (approximately 4") drum, yet those machines were no worse than any of the others (VHS, BETA, V2000) that followed.
Video performance wise, my own feelings at the time were that the N1700/02 gave the better picture, and contrary to popular belief, these machines did actually have a drop-out compensator circuit, which was evidenced by the random vertical bands of dark and light, visible if play was engaged without a cassette in place.
These 3Vxx machines were very reliable, and I can remember buying quite a few from the various "junk" auctions hereabouts, and fettling them up for sale at the local car boot sales.. I can't remember ever having one that could not be repaired, just a few that were too scruffy to send out again - these became donors for the better looking machines.. If truth be told, it was most often the scruffy machines that worked best of all!
Nicotine was the worst enemy of the video recorder - filthy stuff.
I can remember replacing maybe two or three head drums out of forty or fifty machines - not bad at all, given that some early pundits reckoned that VHS heads were good for five to six hundred hours (five to six thousand more like!)
The worst machine fault I had to sort out was a dead bias oscilator in the audio record circuit.. In the end, I cheated and rebuilt about 80% of the circuit.
Who was it ("Television" magazine) who referred to these as the "clunk and twang brigade"? LLJ, perhaps? And when did the precision machined die-cast tape decks give way to the "bit o' bent tin" variety?
Wonderful old machines, these were.