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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 August 27th, 2009, 04:41 AM   #1
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Head Cleaning Tapes

I've been wondering about head cleaning tapes. I have not yet had any message to use one or put a lot of tapes through my camera or got any drop-outs, but feel now is the time I should buy one.

I use Sony DVM63 tapes should I use a Sony head cleaner, or will any do? Are there quality differences between them?

Finally can anyone explain how they work? If they are like the head cleaning tape for a standard VHS VCR they just look like the recording tapes, I've always wondered what they are able to do
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Old August 27th, 2009, 10:29 AM   #2
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I use one for 10 seconds about every 50 hours, or after a shoot where I've been in dusty conditions. Always follow the directions exactly. I think they're all probably similar. I use a Sony one because that's what the tape supplier carries.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 11:42 AM   #3
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You can use any head cleaning tape that will physically fit your tape compartment. 10 secs tops - follow the instructions. It only cleans the heads on the drum, won't do anything for all the pins, guides, rollers, capstan and so on.
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Old August 27th, 2009, 06:31 PM   #4
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I clean all my DV cam tape heads before each important shoot following the instructions with the cleaner tape .. except I only use it once through. I believe it's a marketing ploy where they say you can use it twice through. People would baulk at using it only once.

There are wet and dry type DV tape lubricants, Sony is wet and Panasonic is dry.

You should use the same brand cleaning tape as the DV tape you use. Panasonic says 'dry type' on their labels.

After 46years in the mag tape business, cleaner tapes clean everything in the tape path, but I've seen very worn pinch rollers soak up the oxide deposits.


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Old August 27th, 2009, 06:52 PM   #5
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Thanks guys for the info.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 11:30 AM   #6
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I had a strange issue today...my camera was not reading timecodes on tapes, and when I tried to record things it would start from 00:00:00 and count upwards, but it would not find that timecode when switched to VCR mode. After popping in a bunch of different tapes, I ran a head cleaner for 10 seconds and then the camera started seeing timecodes again. I haven't used my camera in over a month, but all summer before that it was seeing heavy use...probably recorded 40+ tapes from May-July.

Any ideas what is going on? I use Sony tapes and a Sony cleaner tape.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 02:12 PM   #7
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do everything that Bill stated. same cleaning tape as tapes you use and on a consistent basis, especially when you are in a dirty environment.
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Old September 4th, 2009, 05:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike Flynn View Post
I had a strange issue today...my camera was not reading timecodes on tapes, and when I tried to record things it would start from 00:00:00 and count upwards, but it would not find that timecode when switched to VCR mode. After popping in a bunch of different tapes, I ran a head cleaner for 10 seconds and then the camera started seeing timecodes again. I haven't used my camera in over a month, but all summer before that it was seeing heavy use...probably recorded 40+ tapes from May-July.

Any ideas what is going on? I use Sony tapes and a Sony cleaner tape.
Mike, if you know you're not going to use the cam for a period, run the head cleaner before you put it away .. and leave a note on it to say you've done it ;)

Proper storage of magnetic DV tapes is very important, especially over the long term. I keep mine in resealable airtight polystyrene fridge containers along with some packets of fresh silicagel, in a temperature stable cupboard.

Don't store DV tapes horizontally, it's been known for a loose tape pack to slowly drop down over time so keep the tapes vertical, I store them upright in their original cardboard containers.

You're supposed to spool stored DV tape end to end every year, I don't but I do before playing archived tapes.

Cheers.
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