I use a sony uvw-1800 and suddenly I am getting the message "Error 08-03A" and the machine wont operate. The manual is no help at all. Can anyone give me any insight on the issue. Is this something I can deal with, or does this mean a trip to the shop?
You might try hooking a monitor to the super output. At least on the PVW's and BVW's, it'll give you the name of the error instead of just the code in the display. It would give you a place to start...
I may have something a little more detailed to offer you. The error code that you provided seems to deal with drum motor or the FG pulse sensor. Basically what this means is the motor that spins the drum is having problems, or the sensor that controls the speed of the drum based on the original tapes recording speed is having problems. You may need to take this in to service, but there could very well be an immediate solution.
Firstly, perform a power cycle (remove the tape first if you can)- unplug, let sit for 60 seconds, and then plug back in. Next, rethread the tape. If the error occurs again, eject then rethread the tape. Try this once or twice. Try a different tape as well.
Unless you feel comfortable, and are trained in VTR maintainence, you should certainly send the machine in for repair. Be sure to include a detailed report of all the steps that you have taken to resolve the problem, so that your Sony professional has some point in which to start from.