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Old April 16th, 2005, 01:30 AM   #1
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MiniDV Head Cleaner

The tapes of my XL2 is starting to show some pixelation/mosaics in the first 5 sec of recording. I've used around 40 (Panasonic AY-DVM63MQ) tapes worth. I assume that the head needs cleaning so I popped into my nearest camerahouse store to buy a miniDV head cleaner.

I now have in front of me a Sony DVM-12CLD tape cleaner. However, it's not open as I have some doubts whether to use it or not. I remember seeing something on this site about the XL2 needing a dry-type cleaner. I've searched all over the net including the sony sites to find exactly whether this type is dry or wet with no success.

Can someone please put me out of my misery...
Is the Sony DVM-12CLD head cleaner wet or dry?
and is it OK to use on my XL2 (which uses the panasonic tapes)?

Thanks guys
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Old April 16th, 2005, 08:08 AM   #2
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I think the confusion comes from some tapes having a "wet" lubricant and others having a "dry" lubricant. Head cleaners come both wet and dry but it is a different matter.

Dry cleaners use a mild abrasive. Wet ones, come with a liquid cleaner you put into the tape. This is the one you want to stay away from. Leaking fluids and electronic circuits don't mix.

Dan
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Old April 16th, 2005, 09:29 AM   #3
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Direct from Canon's mouth to my ears.

"Use the "Dry" style head cleaners like the Pannasonnic, not the sony"

Note. He did not say the sony was 'wet'. He did not say not to use 'wet' head cleaners. He did reccomend the Panny head cleaner specifically. THat's what I use.

I have a sony head cleaner, I use on my DSR11.
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Old April 17th, 2005, 08:39 PM   #4
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I tried REAL HARD a short time back to figure out the same type of thing. And I seem to remembed to have read somewhere that the 'wet' thing might also apply to the method used in applying the compounds used for the Sony tape manufacturing or something like that...anyhow - it seems to be one of the common factors in persistent 'tape eject' error message mishaps for some users - so I would think just to steer clear of it for my XL2 - I ended up finding a cleaner (the only one available that I could find within 40 minute drive anyway) at a specialty photo & camera shop - it looked pretty generic and didn't say wet or dry - but I had an important shoot the next day - first time out professionally with the camera - and read I should clean it before first using it direct from the factory - so I put it in the machine and the XL2 ATE IT ALL UP!!! I carefully unwound it from the gears and pulled it out of the drive.

So ultimately, I did not clean the heads before the shoot, shot for 7 hours, and only had two audio pops from the whole shoot that luckily weren't crucial in scenes for the final cut. The XL2 performed like a champ.

On the two-hour drive home, I stopped at a Best Buy and found a Dry Cleaner - I think it was from Maxell. I ran it recently and it worked fine. The instructions say run for 10 seconds, but I only ran it for 5 as per advice from more seasoned users. Performance thus far is great and I will probably run it again after another 10 or so tapes.

On this cleaning tape, the packaging definately said 'dry' so I was pretty sure that it was what I was looking for.

If you are using the XL2, you spent some cash - and you probably intend to get some important footage. Make sure you follow the company advice and be sure that your packaging states 'dry'. If it states neither, why gamble. Good luck
-J.
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Old April 17th, 2005, 10:58 PM   #5
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When VHS first came out, you could buy a cassette that you put a couple of squirts of fluid into it and ran it in your VCR. They have the same thing for miniDV. This is a "wet" cleaner. You will know it is a wet cleaner because it will have a small bottle of cleaning fluid in the package. Do not use this type of cleaner. A dry cleaner will look just like a regular tape with nothing else with it. If you check the part number for a Canon head cleaner and a Panasonic head cleaner, you'll notice they are the same. (DVMCLA- Panasonic; DVM-CL - Canon) This may be more than coincidence, especially since it has been recomended by Canon's rep to Richard (Alvarez)

Dan
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Old April 18th, 2005, 06:48 AM   #6
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So the suggestion would be to purchase the panasonic, canon, or maxell tapes and don't bother with the sony...
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Old April 18th, 2005, 09:23 AM   #7
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I use JVC MiniDV tapes - (either normal or Pro versions) in my XL1s, so also have a JVC Cleaning tape (M-DV2MCL). The instructions for the the JVC cleaning tape also say 10-seconds (although that is the 'max' you should use, and probably only need 3-5 seconds in most circumstances). The instructions also imply that to exceed 30-seconds use (3 X 10 seconds) can damage the heads.
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Old April 23rd, 2005, 10:22 AM   #8
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>Jonathan Jones - The instructions say run for 10 seconds, but I only ran it
>for 5 as per advice from more seasoned users. Performance thus far is great
>and I will probably run it again after another 10 or so tapes

When cleaning the heads, use a dry cleaner and as Jonathan says, no more than around 5 seconds. Then cleaners are very abrasive and long / continual use will damage your heads.

There are some manuals which recommend cleaning every 30 or so hours usage. I do not subscribe to this. The recommendation from Canons top technical support guy (a personnal friend) is only use them when you start to see the effects of a dirty head.

steve
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