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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 February 22nd, 2009, 03:53 PM   #1
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camera refuses to play cassettes.

My new xh-a1 is driving me crazy, recently canon's service centre replaced the firewire print because I managed to fry it even though I was following the procedure as suggested by canon to attach the camera to the pc.

Now the firewire problem was solved I was capturing 3 cassettes from a wedding yesterday, i still use an older Sony dcr-hc35 just to first rewind the tapes and the first tape I captured with the canon had no problem. Only the 2nd and the 3rd tape refuse to play right. One tape starts but stutters the whole time, it plays for a few sec, freezes, starts again, freezes and so on so capturing is not possible. The 3rd tape just refuses to start at all.
When I insert the first tape again which captured correctly before there is no problem.

The tapes are brandnew jvc dvm63me HD tapes which came out of the plastic wrap yesterday before filming. I also tried a cleaning cassette but that didn't help either. When I rewind the tape that doesn't play the timeindicator flashes ans sometimes the timecode dissapeares briefly. Does anybody recognize this behavior?
Don't know if it is important but it was filmed in 25F.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 07:17 PM   #2
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It sounds like the tape transport mechanism may be damaged. I just had mine repaired and that was one part that needed to be replaced. I paid $590 for the repair, but there were other things done included a major cleaning inside and a replacement of the heads so I'm sure your cost would be less -- probably a lot less.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 07:42 PM   #3
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Wow..I had a very similar issue yesterday and heres what the problem was: I was using my remote control unit for accessing all the playback features. All of a sudden, the camera woulf not comply with any of my requests (rewind, play, ff etc). The tape would play for a second but would then stop. I spent the next 10 minutes stressing myself out only to realize that the "stop" button on the remote was pushed in. I must have pushed it to hard and it got stuc. Since the remote was next to my camera, the camera was constantly receiving a signal from the remote giving it the command to stop. I freed upon th ebutton on the remote and the problem was solved.
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Old February 22nd, 2009, 07:50 PM   #4
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You could have a head clog while recording, those stutters and freeze could be drop out on the tape, if the first tape played then there is nothing wrong with the tape transport, you could be in for some stressed if the first 2 tapes are bad from cloged head.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 06:30 AM   #5
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Thx for the answers so far, the 3rd tape that refused to start turned out alright. After 3, 4 tries the tape suddenly started playing and I managed to capture it completely.
Only the tape with the church recordings that was stuttering so hard still doesn't work.

Just now we tried to capture on a Sony fx1000, because sony's HVR-MRC1K recognizes Canons 25f footage I thought that the camera would do too and it did.
Only the result was exactly the same behaviour, we did see small fragments from the wedding but the footage froze all the time and often the image disappeared from the viewfinder.

I will contact Canon to see what they suggest and will ask around if there are companies that specialize in retrieving data from "damaged" tapes like this.

One thing I know for sure now, I will have to decide to, or buy a sony HVR-MRC1K for back-up purposes, or just sell the canon and buy a Panasonic hmc150 instead and go tapeless. I have very little confidence in my canon this moment because this has been the second big issue with it since I bought it a few months ago, eventhough I love working with the camera.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 12:42 PM   #6
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It sounds like head clog. Did you use your head cleaning tape?
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 01:14 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Pryor View Post
It sounds like head clog. Did you use your head cleaning tape?
I used it yesterday, but after the recording was made to see if that would clear the problem but it didn't.
What bothers me most is that the camera never gave any warning during the recording, I spoke with a technician from Canon today and he told me the camera should have given me a cleaning tape warning and that I should have my camera checked at Canon. He also told me that mini-dv tape is not recoverable, only harddisk or tapebased cameras have the possibility to get the data, but with minidv tape you could forget about it...

That's the second time I have to send the camera in for inspection in just a few months after purchase, but now with worse consequences as I have to tell the bride that her church footage is gone. I never had something like this happen to me, I always use new tapes for every recording and in all these years just a few times I got a cleaning tape warning but never lost more then a few frames of footage.

As much as I like working with the xh-a1 it's by far the most unreliable camera I ever had.
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Old February 23rd, 2009, 04:31 PM   #8
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Cleaning the heads after the recording wouldn't do any good. It's possible there is something wrong, but still it sounds like a typical head clog to me. You might try a better quality tape, being sure to clean the heads before you do, and do some tests to see if that's the problem before going to the trouble to send the camera back. I used Panasonic AMQ tapes for awhile and got serious dropouts; switched to the double-the-price Sony PHDVM and have had zero trouble since. You can have dropouts without the head cleaning light coming on.

Though it's possible there's something wrong with the camera, I'd still do a test with different tape stock before sending it back. Always clean the heads before switching tape brands, and only use the head cleaning tape according to the directions.
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