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Canon XL1S / XL1 Watchdog
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Old October 23rd, 2004, 07:21 PM   #1
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Oh crap oh hell oh damn what's wrong with my camera?

XL1s here.

I've had this little problem recently where, while rewinding in the camera, sometimes fast forwarding, as I watch the timecode numbers roll back, or forward, they sort "blink" on and off, erratically. I know I have continuous timecode, so it's not that I'm rewinding/fast forwarding past parts that have no timecode on them. Today, when trying to capture something, the tape couldn't cue to the in point of my first clip, because every time it would start rewinding, and really get going, the timecode would just "disappear," which made it immediately stop rewinding and try again. I cancelled the capture, pushed stop and rewind myself, and it did the same thing. I ejected the tape, no pieces of tape hanging out, and put in my head cleaner, put the other tape back in, and now it's a little better, though the timecode readout still flickers on and off. What's going on here? Major or minor?

Some answers to questions I predict:

Yes, I know one is not supposed to use the camera for anything other than taping. This includes, captures, playback, rewinding and fastforwarding. However, I was also the under the impression this was only a serious problem if one did a lot of capturing/rewinding/etc. on a daily or even weekly basis, which I don't. I have periods where I do stuff a lot, and then may go for months barely touching the camera.

Why don't I get a DV Deck? 'Cause they're ungodly expensive, and I rarely make money from using the cam. When I do, it's not much. Spending 500-1000 or more on a deck when I know I'll barely use it seems ridiculous. Even $400 for a one-chip miniDV cam seems a little extreme considering how rarely I have to capture and whatnot.

Uh, I guess that's it. Please tell me if this thing's about to fall apart or something. Though some are XL1/s haters, I love my baby, and don't want to domestically abuse her.
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Old October 23rd, 2004, 08:15 PM   #2
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Has this machine been in for service yet? Looks like a good cleaning and head alignment/drum repair replacement is in the cards. A frequent remedy for unusual tape read/write anomalies. Get set to lighten your wallet by a range of about 4 - 8 hundred Bobby Bordens. That's the dead P.M. on our hundred canuck buck.

Keep searching the yard sales for a cheap minidv cam ... mine, like my xl cams sits unused for days at a time... but at least I'm abusing the el cheapo instead of the stable of Canon gear...

Best of luck...

Jimmy.
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Old October 23rd, 2004, 08:26 PM   #3
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Yeah. . .I just might.

No, never had it serviced.

Do I really want to get one of these el cheapo cams used? Seems like if something was wrong with the transport, it could f^^%&^&k up your tape irreparably. I'm all for el cheapo, but there's certain things that seem to delicate to buy used--camcorders, mixers, mics, etc. I did get my monitor used, and it works fine (I think).
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Old October 23rd, 2004, 08:34 PM   #4
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Sounds like the early stages of a tape path alignment problem. You might try another cleaning. Be sure to follow the cleaning tapes instructions.
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Old October 23rd, 2004, 09:12 PM   #5
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Thanks. Will do.
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Old October 24th, 2004, 01:31 PM   #6
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You should probably get it into Canon real soon. Mine started doing that a couple of years ago and would often times eat the tape just after I noticed the timecode disappear for a short time. It was fixed by cleaning and either aligning or replacing some of the transport mechanism and drum assembly if I remember correctly. Total came to around $400US and I've not seen the problem return.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 08:00 AM   #7
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Definitely needs a trip to service, Josh. In my opinion.
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Old October 25th, 2004, 01:33 PM   #8
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Alright, all. Thanks.

Did I do this, with all my playing/capturing/rewinding/fast forwarding? Or is just something that eventually happens to everyone?

And: what el cheapo cams do people recommend as slave decks? Would you ever buy these used, or bite the bullet and get it new?

Does it have to go to Canon themselves, or can it go anywhere that's an authorized canon service center (there's a place near my house).

So I'm looking at at least $400 for the repairs, and another $400 for el cheapo camera/slave deck?

Jeez. . .or is it oy?
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