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Canon XH Series HDV Camcorders
Canon XH G1S / G1 (with SDI), Canon XH A1S / A1 (without SDI).


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Old September 19th, 2008, 08:13 PM   #1
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Finding XH A1 Head time?

Well, I've been shooting like mad and getting good camera familiarity with my XH A1.
I just got the "dirty heads" message on my screen, even though I've used the same tapes (Panasonic AY-DVM63PQ Professional Quality MiniDV).
I don't think much of these tapes as I've had drop outs with them on 3 different cameras, and now I get a dirty head message with a fairly new camera. But, after reading these forums, I'm afraid to switch tapes!
Anyway, my primary question is, does anyone know if there is a menu on the XH A1 where I can find out how much time I've actually put on the camera heads?
I'm having a great time with the camera and hope to continue my "heavy" use. :-)
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Old September 19th, 2008, 08:20 PM   #2
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There not a way that anyone knows about. Could be a combination of buttons while being powered on but......
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Old September 20th, 2008, 11:42 AM   #3
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If you have a dirty head message, clean the heads before shooting any more. The age of the camera isn't that much of a factor. You can get gunk or something off any tape with a brand new camera, dirt blowing in when the door is open, etc. Be sure to follow the directions exactly when using the head cleaning tape. As I've mentioned in the tape threads, I started out with Panasonic AMQ tapes and had trouble; switched to the more expensive Sony PHDVM63 and have not seen a dropout since. Back in my Betacam days, a Sony tech said to run the head cleaning tape every 50 hours for five seconds just for maintenance, and I did that with DVCAM and now with HDV. If I've had a big long shoot with lots of tapes in conditions where dust could be an issue, I usually run the head cleaner after the shoot is over or before the next shoot. You never want to overuse head cleaning tapes, but judicious, careful use is a good thing, I think.

Also, since your camera is pretty new...did you use the head cleaning tape when you first got it? That's a recommended practice. Not recommended in the manual but very recommended on this board for a long time.
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Old September 20th, 2008, 03:10 PM   #4
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Is there a particular head cleaning tape I should use? Or does any brand do?
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Old September 20th, 2008, 09:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
You never want to overuse head cleaning tapes, but judicious, careful use is a good thing, I think.
I did a very bad thing a few weeks ago. Very bad.

I cleaned the heads (using a JVC head cleaner); it needed it because I was starting to get dropped frames.

Soon after I went out to shoot some video. Stupid me... not paying attention to what I was doing, I popped the head cleaning tape back in the A1 thinking it was a tape.

I was out in the field, started recording.. and about a minute or 2 later I get a "End of Tape" or something like that message.

Needless to say I removed the head cleaner and put a fresh tape in the A1. I shot some more video and it came out ok. (phew!)

I shot quite a bit more video since then and it appears it did not do any harm. I'm not getting anymore dropped frames anyway. But my question is this.. Even though the A1 seems to be ok (thank God) did I ruin the head cleaner?

-John (still kicking himself in the butt)
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Old September 20th, 2008, 09:43 PM   #6
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I'd be more worried about premature head wear it could cause than the cleaning tape.
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Old September 20th, 2008, 11:04 PM   #7
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I'd be more worried about premature head wear it could cause than the cleaning tape.
I'm well aware of that and it is a concern, but what's done is done and there's nothing I can do about that. The A1 seems to be working fine. I only asked about the head cleaner because I don't really understand the mechanics of it and just wanted to know if I would need a new one.

-John
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Old September 21st, 2008, 07:07 AM   #8
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The head cleaning tape I use (sony dvm4cld) says it can be used twice, I dont think Im going to do that tho, for the price might aswell buy a new one

Russ
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