Honda VTR connectors

Honda plug

From the 1960s, these 8-pin rectangular connectors have been used to connect video monitors to VTRs.  We've always known them as “Honda connectors,” presumably because Honda made the connectors used on these early machines.  And some people refer to them as an EIAJ 8-pin video monitor connector.

They carry audio and video signals, in both directions:  VTR playback to the monitor, and output from a TV tuner to the VTR (allowing recording of the station the TV monitor was tuned to, or from a stand-alone TV tuner).

Sony and Panasonic both used the wiring as shown on this page, yet Shibaden chose to use an incompatible scheme.  And some 1980s computer RGB monitors choose to use this connector for their own purposes.  If anybody needs these alternatives, and can't find them anywhere else, I'll have a dig through my old notes to find them.

They were commonly used with ½″ reel-to-reel VTRs, VHS editing VCRs, and Umatic VCRs, by Sony, Panasonic and JVC.  All of the VCRs that I've seen used the same wiring, it was only the open-reel Shibaden that I've come across that wired it up differently.

The signal levels are usually the same as the individual video and audio input and outputs on the VTRs and monitors.  I've never had any problems using a breakout cable between VTRs and monitors where only one of them had the Honda connector.

connector diagram

The cables use straight-through wiring, pin 1 goes to pin 1, pin 2 goes to pin 2, etc.  So, for example, the VTR's video output on pin 2 goes to the monitor's video input on pin 2.

There are multiple ground pins on these connectors, each for their own purpose.  Don't use the wrong ground, and don't join them together.  Wire them up exactly the same as the adjacent wiring diagram.

Occasionally people want to buy one of these, looking through my 1991 Sony catalogue, some of the following product codes may help you track parts down:

Male 8-pin plug for VMC cable part 1-506-161-00 (I presume “VMC” means “video monitor connector” or “cable”).  This is a complete plug, with backshell, nothing else.

Female 8-pin plug for VMC cable part 1-509-113-00.  Again, this a complete socket with backshell, nothing else.

Premade 8-pin male to 8-pin male cables; VMC-3P (3 metres), VMC-5P (5 metres), VMC-10P (10 metres), VMC-25P (25 metres), VMC-50P (50 metres).

VMC-1H is an 8-pin female to 8-pin female connector block (used in between two male-to-male cables, to connect them together).

VMC-1N is a Y-lead with two male plugs and one female connector.  It looks like it's intended to be used as a dubbing lead (audio & video out from a player VTR, going to the inputs on a recorder VTR, then a socket for you to connect a monitor cable to the recorder's outputs).

VMC-1M is an 8-pin male to a 10-pin male CCJ camera cable (commonly used to connect a monitor to a very old portapak VTR, so there will probably be a resistor between the tuner audio out and VTR audio in pins, as most of those VTRs had a microphone level input; or it may just rely on the tuner output being a high impedance going into a low impedance input stage).

VMC-1MQ is an 8-pin male to a 14-pin male CCQ, intended to connect a monitor or tuner to a U-matic portapak VCR.

Hirose also used to make the connectors, as part of their 1300 or 1600 8-way series.  If you can find someone with parts, you'll need to compare images and measurements, because Hirose make all manner of multi-pin connectors with different shapes and sizes.  One 1600 series plug I saw used square pins, which wouldn't fit into most Honda connectors (they use round pins).  And I saw comments saying that the plugs were too big, use the 1300 series, instead (their various 8-pin plugs and sockets and backshells are their 1308 connectors).

They were also used for a digital RGB signal connector on Dick Smith CAT computers (an Apple ][ clone).  And some Japanese computers, apparently, using this pinout:

  1. Intensity
  2. Red
  3. Green
  4. Blue
  5. Ground
  6. Unused
  7. Horizontal sync
  8. Vertical sync

In 2021, I found out that the same plug was used on an Ibanez UE405 effects device for a remote control input.  From the pictures I saw, it is the same connector.  But I have no clue how it's wired, and I doubt it'll be the same.  Though, if it's simply being used to carry 4 audio lines, it could be using the same wiring.

I update these pages from time to time, if you're returning after a long time, scroll through to see if anything has been added or corrected (last modified on 10 Jun 2021).

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