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Canon GL Series DV Camcorders
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Old March 13th, 2004, 12:26 AM   #1
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Tape cleaners "eating" the heads?

I took both of my GL2s up to a pro shop in Cleveland. I asked them how much a pro head cleaning job would be for the next season(cameras are only one year old). The first thing they said(rather strongly) was, "You didnt use the tape cleaner cassettes on them did you?". I replyed, "yeah actually I did"(lol). They resoponded by saying, "the cleaning cassettes "eat" up the heads. I was rather shocked, and told them the only reason I broght them up there was good housekeeping due to changing from sonys brand to maxell. They worked fine, and had given me no real problems to date. They charged $45.00 for each camera. Im sure there a good shop, they have a great rep, esp with medium and large format film cameras. My question is, where they right about the tape cleaners eating the heads?

John DeLuca

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Old March 13th, 2004, 12:38 AM   #2
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Hello John,
Like so many technicians and tradespeople, it sounds like these folks love to scare the customers with lore. It seems to be a perk of their jobs. As with much lore, there is a grain of truth in their remarks.

1. Cleaning cassettes are mildly abrasive by design. That's how they do their work.

2. If you had a box of facial tissues made of head cleaning tape material it's unlikely that you'd chap your nose too badly with even if you had a cold.

3. Obsessive overuse of head cleaning tapes can eventually deteriorate your heads.

4. Barring #3, proper use of head cleaning tape per instructions when needed is just good maintenence practice.

5. Most people will tire of their cameras and retire them to a closet shelf long before they have a chance to wear their heads out.
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Old March 13th, 2004, 05:30 AM   #3
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A MiniDV cleaning tape is a very mild abrasive. As a result it creates heat as it cleans. Heat is part of the reason for the 5-10 second limit per cleaning cycle, coupled with some time for cooling between (say 30 seconds). Longer periods of head cleaning can cause thing (like dirt and debris to get so hot they melt and then stick worse.

Keep in mind that the MiniDV head is spinning very fast, so it is easy to build up heat with just a little friction.
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Old March 13th, 2004, 12:41 PM   #4
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Thank you Ken, and Don for clearing that up. I had a feeling they where pushing the truth about the cleaning cassetts. I actually didnt know about the heat build up, and im sure if used properly the heads will be just fine, before I upgrade to the next Canon. Thanks again for being so discriptive for a newbie.


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Old March 13th, 2004, 07:24 PM   #5
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I spoke about this with a tech the other day. He uses special instruments provided by Sony to measure head wear. He had also heard about the cleaner wear myth so he stuck a tape into a pro VTR with an electrical problem and let it run for the full length of the tape, and then for the full length again. Carefull measurment revealed no apparent head wear. Of course these were very controlled conditions and the heads were clean to begin with.
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Old March 14th, 2004, 03:05 PM   #6
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Brand new, blank video tapes are abrasive. If you don't want head wear, then the best way to preserve your heads is not to record at all. Since this is not real practical, manufactures provide cleaning tapes as a way to safely clean heads. Follow directions on the cleaning tape and stop worrying about head wear.
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Old March 14th, 2004, 03:09 PM   #7
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And if the heads do wear out, they can always be replaced. Tom Hardwick wrote a head cleaning article, but the link is broken for some reason. I'll post the new link as soon as it's up.
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