This is an old posting but I have had the same problem. It seems to be something about the SVHS mode. I can't remember exactly what but I think that this mode has to be turned off in order for you to be able to do what you want. I am currently having problems with my deck and wonder if you have had the same. Was working fine, then I put a tape in it and it thought for a few seconds and then turns off. The same on the VHS side. I saw the same item on Ebay with that same description. It must be common with these decks. Has it happened to you?