In almost all of the Beta repair manuals is a graphic that shows the various components that require periodic cleaning. It nicely illustrates and identifies the different tape path components so I have it reproduced above. (See the chart in the PERIODIC CHECKS page for more information on maintenance.) Proper operation requires that the video tape travel a very precise pathway. Here is a simplified explanation of the path the tape travels. Follow the heavy black line in the picture above. It comes off of the supply reel (not shown) and out of the cassette, past the number one, two, three and four guides; all the while being lifted slightly upwards. It turns at the number five guide (a roller) past the number six and then wraps around the video drum at an angle going back down. It then passes around the video drum, by the number seven guide, over the audio/control erase head (ACE assembly) and on past guide number eight. It is pulled through this path by the rotation of the capstan shaft and the rubber pinch roller that presses against it. From here it proceeds around the number nine guide (a roller), past the number ten and back into the cassette and onto the take-up reel (not shown). While the tape is traveling through the path it has just enough back tension on it to provide good contact with the video drum and the audio/control erase head, specification is 46 ± 5 grams. This tension is accomplished by using the number one guide as a lever to control the tape supply reel inside the cassette, more on this later. Forward pressure, required to properly return the tape back into the cassette, is exerted by the take-up reel and it is specified to be at 80 ± 5 grams. To see a graphic of the older tape path design click on the picture. To see the PERIODIC CHECKS chart click here. To see the machine interior click here. To go on to the next section click here. Do you have a mpeg viewing program? You can watch the tape loading and threading process by clicking here. To close this window and go back to the main page click here.