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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 07:13 PM   #1
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Repair of Tape eating XL1S after warranty expires ?

After a couple months stored carefully away I took out my XL1S to find it now eats tape 100% of the time on rewind. Its not tape brand or cleaning as I've only used one brand of tape and the camera has less then 4 hours use on it. I sent it down to the Irvine, CA Canon factory repair center and they want to charge me $240 to fix it as warranty has expired. I've read several postings here about people with this problem in early XL1S and Canon repairing it at no charge. The people down in Irvine need some sort of offical contact at Canon before they will do it for free. Did any of you ,that got it repaired at no charge, happen to get a contact person at Canon ? Any pointers appreciated as I really can't afford the $240 at the moment and I don't think they will wait forever for me to find the right contacts.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 08:15 PM   #2
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What post did you find here that reports getting a tape eating repair for free. Please post the link. Thanks for your attention to this matter.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 08:27 PM   #3
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http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=15364&highlight=eating+tapes

down a few replies charge 0 euros


and

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1816&highlight=eating+tapes

send back to canon for free repair


and the following talk about the problem:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=1816&highlight=eating+tapes

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=3561&highlight=eating+tapes

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?s=&threadid=258&highlight=eating+tapes


I could post about 10 or more threads here about it. Search 'Eating Tapes' and prepair to be shocked. Its a problem with the braking mechanism. Something about needing to replace the mechanical band way . At least two people seem to know something about getting it fixed for free. I'd love to hear from anyone that knows who to talk to.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 08:35 PM   #4
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Peter

Several things here.

First, it is not uncommon for camcorders stored for long periods of time to start eating tapes. Anytime a camcorder is put in storage for extended periods, it's a good idea to cycle a DV cassette through the tape transport at least once every 30 days. Tape transport performance might deteriorate from lack of use just as it could from overuse.

Second, you can not expect to get preferential treatment by a service center as a result of these message boards. If someone reports that they had their camera repaired for free, then that's their own special situation which will not automatically apply to another DV Info Net member. There is no "deal" between this board and any service center, so please do not expect to be able to do that, as it won't work. Worse, it makes us look bad in their eyes. Honestly I don't blame them at all for not being particularly impressed when you mentioned free repairs through this board. Regardless of the variable experiences of other members, your own situation is different and there is no such thing as a blanket "free fix" outside of warranty applying to DV Info Net members. No such thing despite the occasional instance of someone reporting as a result of entirely different circumstances.

Finally, $250 (not $240) is the standard service charge for working on the camcorder. That's pretty much the standard rate for all manufacturers, whether it's Sony, Canon, JVC or Panasonic. It is reasonable to assume that in addition to other cash outlays associated with maintaining a 3-chip DV camcorder such as tripod, batteries, insurance, etc., that one should also keep enough cash on hand to accomodate overnight shipping and repair in case the need arises.

Sorry for your troubles; in the future when storing a camcorder for a long time, you might want to turn the camera on every 30 days or so and run a cassette; this will avoid most of the common tape-eating problems associated with long-term storage. Hope this helps,
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 09:07 PM   #5
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Hi Peter,

One of the links was current and the poster (from Finland) got a repair for free. It was obviously something he worked out with Canon in Europe and in no way connected to Canon USA. Each division is independent and governed by local laws and customs.

Another post mentions in passing that he heard Canon was making similar repairs for free. But he does not mention having the service personally performed for free, just having heard about it. He probably heard more rumor than fact.

The two older threads (over 2 1/2 years old) you refer to talk about a specific rewind problem with early production models of XL1s'. The brake mechanism was defective in manufacture and after rewinding just several tapes it would eat all tapes on rewind. In the recent additions to the older thread, two members talk of having the work done and paying about $250 for the work. No mention of having the work done for free.

I would suggest you put your best argument politely to the Canon service people and see what they say. But one free repair in Europe and the rumor of free repairs in the US hardly represent a precedent for free repairs of XL1s' that eat tapes.
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Old February 3rd, 2004, 11:41 PM   #6
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Also, the faulty brake mechanism problems in the early production runs of the XL1S were repaired "for free" since they were under warranty at that time. Two and a half years later is a little too long to have it covered by warranty, unfortunately.

Interesting to note, while the camcorder has a one-year parts & labor warranty, tape transports are covered only for 90 days. In my opinion this is an excellent reason to invest in a portable FireWire direct-to-disk recorder, such as a FireStore FS-3, the QuickStram DV or nNovia A2D. Completely bypass DV tape and all its associated problems.
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Old February 4th, 2004, 12:59 AM   #7
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"First, it is not uncommon for camcorders stored for long periods of time to start eating tapes."

I didn't know that until now, and I don't recall it being mentioned in any user manual.

UPDATE: Page 104 of the English XL1S user manual, section "Storage," says only this:
Quote:
If you do not intend to use the camera for some time, store it in an area which is free of dust and moisture, and where the temperature is no higher than 86F (30C). After storage, check each part and function of the camera to make sure everything is still working properly.

Note:
These cautions also apply to accessories such as battery packs and cassettes.
The "Maintanence" section (following page) talks about viewfinder, camera body, lens, and head care, but mentions nothing about the transport. So it sounds like the original poster followed the instructions.

I'm a bit worried now since I have an early production model XL1S that sometimes sits unused for months at a time. (Luckily, I just tried running a blank tape through it, and was most reassured that my camera hasn't developed any fujiphagic appetites just yet.)

Why do tape transports deteriorate from underuse? How long should the tape be run for in the remedy that Chris describes, and at what speed(s) and direction(s)? Does this occur with all cameras or just XL1S, or just Canons? Do MiniDV tape decks exhibit this problem? Is the problem alleviated by leaving a tape inside the transport during storage? Finally, what happens to cameras that sit on warehouse shelves for several years before being purchased?
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Old February 4th, 2004, 01:04 AM   #8
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This may be a really dumb question.

How does one know if they have a early or late production model? I would guess it is determined on when you bought it, but can you tell by seral number?

Also is the warranty started from date of purchase or when you send in the card?

- Thanks

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Old February 4th, 2004, 01:13 AM   #9
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Aaron,

With the XL1, the date of manufacture accompanies the serial number on the inside of the battery port. This doesn't seem to be the case with the XL1S, though. Mine just reads "JP." But I bought mine when the camera was first released so I assume it to be the "early production model."

I checked the official Canon XL1S FAQ to see if there was any mention of this mystifying flaw of tape transport rot. There isn't; and not even a mention of the unfortunate unusuable border pixel issue either. It does, however, offer this perplexing comparison:
Quote:
What are the differences between the XL1S and the XL1S?
Both the XL1S and the XL1S incorporate features of Canon's most advanced digital video technology. But where the XL1S is a very sophisticated digital camcorder for the personal user who wants the best, the XL1S has full professional features. These features include a comprehensive range of interchangeable lenses, an external stereo condenser microphone, full 4 channel digital audio capabilities, and a wide assortment of accessories designed for the professional photographer.
Well then! I guess I'd better go with the XL1S!
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Old February 4th, 2004, 03:23 AM   #10
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Glad I have a XL1s.

So since my feature rich device is very complicated how do I figure when I the warranty started, or if it's still good.

I got the camera on a trade for my GL2. The XL1s was still sealed in box. Does it void the warranty because I am a 2nd owner? The cam. is 6-8 months old. Would it have the tape transport issue?

- AR
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Old February 4th, 2004, 05:31 AM   #11
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For the XL1 the warranty (North America models [USA and Canada, and they are somewhat different]) is at the back of the manual. One year for the camcorder, except 3 months for the heads.

The warranty starts on the date of purchase. Proof of purchase may be required. Gray market (not imported by Canon USA or the applicable Canon business unit outside the USA) may have to rely on a different warranty.

Second owners do not have any warranty from Canon. It is common for the warranty to apply to the first owner only. Consider the stories of abused / defective gear sold on Ebay.

The Canada warranty is for consumer use, not professional or commercial.
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Old February 4th, 2004, 05:39 AM   #12
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When someone from the US imports (buys) a Canon from Canada, Canon USA will honor the warranty, or so I am told by a local Canon dealer and someone I know who did this. (It was a Optura Pi.)
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Old February 4th, 2004, 05:41 AM   #13
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Thanks Everyone.

I finally got around to asking that. Was worried the novise questions would be recieved poorly. Thanks again.
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Old February 4th, 2004, 09:46 AM   #14
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Aaron: -- no worries, we specialize in novice questions!

Robert:

<< The "Maintanence" section... mentions nothing about the transport. >>

The manual doesn't mention the notorious tape brand mixing issue either. That doesn't make the problem less real.

My suggestion is that cycling a tape every 30 days or so is simply good advice. Not neccessarily a religious practice which should be mandated in the instructions somewhere. You can easily find plenty of service techs who regard this advice as immaterial, you will find those who firmly agree with it.

<< Why do tape transports deteriorate from underuse? >>

Rubber components such as bands and rollers become brittle and under or over stretched; and internal machine lubrication doesn't circulate, leaving some parts completely dry for inordinate periods of time. Underuse can be just as harmful as overuse.

<< How long should the tape be run for in the remedy that Chris describes, and at what speed(s) and direction(s)? >>

I would think that just recording ten seconds or so and then playing it back, rewind and fast forward for a few seconds should be all that's neccessary; just be sure to take the cassette out before putting the camera back in storage.

<< Does this occur with all cameras or just XL1S, or just Canons? >>

All consumer Mini-DV camcorders (the Canon XL1S and GL2 are consumer pieces).

<< Do MiniDV tape decks exhibit this problem? >>

As far as I know, the only ones that have the potential to are those which use camcorder tape transports such as the Sony DV Walkman series, although I don't recall anybody mentioning a problem with them (there aren't very many in circulation anyway). The consumer grade JVC dual-decks are prone, but not their pro line equivalents.

<< Is the problem alleviated by leaving a tape inside the transport during storage? >>

No, just the opposite. The problem is made much worse by leaving a tape in the transport during storage... in fact, this is probably one of the quickest ways to induce trouble. Just about every camcorder manual warns against this practice.

<< Finally, what happens to cameras that sit on warehouse shelves for several years before being purchased? >>

I've always advocated running a head cleaning cassette for a few seconds on any new camcorder before ever loading the first tape. If you've ever noticed the number of posts we get from folks who experience the tape warning message almost immediately after the first time they've used a new camcorder, there are quite a few of those posts around here. Separate from that, my understanding however is that as long as there haven't been a number of eject cycles (as in new-in-box camcorders) then there shouldn't be a problem. It's only after the initial break-in period, after the first several uses, that long-term dis-use from storage might affect it.

We should call this the RKS FAQ -- it's a good one,
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