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I asked here if an S-Video cable could improve the output quality of my VCR (Sharp VC-M401SM). The answers were promising so I bought this S-Video cable (they send me a 2 m cable instead of 0.5 m).

When I connect the S-video cable to the output of SCART adaptor of VRC, however, in the signal that I receive on my PC (through a video grabber like this) the color component is missing. I looked online for solutions to this and I found it could be a number of possibilities. Among the others I noticed that the reason could lie in the non-compatibility of the VCR SCART breakout with the S-Video, as described here.

Question:

How can I determine if the grayscale output is due to the VCR incompatibility or it is due to other reasons?

Additional notes:

  • the S-video cable pins seem not to be damaged;
  • the SCART adaptor pins seem not to be damaged;
  • with the composite cable I obtain a colored image.
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Do you have a manual for the VCR? Does it show the pin mappings for the SCART connector? I did a quick search, I can't find a manual online.

Where did you get your SCART cable? Did it come with the VCR? I'd agree with the link you posted - SCART more commonly connects to a composite signal, or sometimes RGB. All my SCART cables are wired for either to those, I've never seen one wired to S-Video (and from the link you posted, that sounds like a hack that has only been used in some scenarios). Any VCR I've used that had S-Video, had an S-Video connector directly on the VCR, usually only found on an S-VHS model.

Do you have a SCART cable with RGB connectors? If so, you could try using that - would still be a better video signal than composite, providing the VCR is wired for it. Possibly the VCR is only wired for composite though. You could also check the connector on the VCR for clues - often you can find there are is no metal in the connector pins that aren't wired. If you take the cover off, that might also clue you into what is actually wired up to that connector.

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  • No, unfortunately I don't have the VCR manual. I recently bought a SCART adaptor like the one shown in my previous post: video.stackexchange.com/q/29933/29303. My VCR seems not to have any logo of S-VHS, so I suppose from what you say that the VCR probably cannot handle the S-Video signal. Did I get it right? Unfortunately I do not have availability of a SCART cable with RGB connectors, so I cannot do the test you proposed. – simonet May 7 at 19:37
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    If it is a regular VHS VCR, it is unlikely to support RGB either anyway - the SCART connector on most of these devices is simply to provide a breakout cable for input and output (instead of a bunch of individual RCA device connectors). But it's unlikely they've wired RGB/S-Video on a VHS only device. Easiest would be to take it apart and just see which SCART pins are actually wired. You could try to find an S-VHS deck, depends on what the quality difference (likely to be marginal anyway) is worth to you. – Peter Barton May 8 at 6:43

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