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Old November 19th, 2005, 01:39 AM   #1
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Cleaning the heads on my Sony Digital8 Camcorder

Hi there. I bought this head cleaner tape for my Digital8 camera. Thing is, the instructions are all in Korean. I can't read it. the tape has the following info on it in English:

SKC (brand name)
8mm Video Cleaning.
DRY TYPE HEAD CLEANER
for Hi8mm/8mm

Everything else is written in Korean.

How do i use this thing? Ive read some other forums and threads here, and am tempted to just put the tape in and play it for 5-10 seconds. Is that all i need to do? So i should never rewind this tape?? Just play to the end and throw it away?

Any helpful information would be greatly appreciated.

thanks.
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Old November 19th, 2005, 07:33 AM   #2
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Yep, that's about it. Just put it in, play about 5 seconds, take it out.

A word of caution. Cleaning tapes are very abrasive. Use sparingly. In fact I do not recommend using a cleaning tape unless you absolutely need it. Hi-8 tapes are normally metal particle composition and are a bit abrasive themselves. More so than the evaporated metal of the dvc tapes. So, they tend to self clean the heads to some degree. Dirty, impacted heads are not as much a problem on the D8 as other cams. We have two trv 310 cameras from 1999 that we still use regularly. They do get serviced at least once a year and we have never had a problem with dirty heads. I do carry a cleaning tape for emergencies, but have never had to use it.
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Old November 19th, 2005, 08:29 AM   #3
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If you use cleaning tape, play it for 5 seconds and don't rewind the tape. My advice is not to use it as long as camera is not asking for cleaning. My TR7000 (first D8 cam) played and recorded hunreds of tapes and never had problems with dirty heads. Wish that could tell same for my XM2...
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Old November 19th, 2005, 09:44 AM   #4
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I learned that the instructions on the head cleaner tape say to play the tape for 15 seconds.

the reason i bought this head cleaner tape is because when i turned on my camera and pushed record, a signal came up that said something like (and i dont remember exactly) " Clean the Heads." It was flashing. i turned the camera off and on again, and the warning went away.

so i reckon i should run the tape for 15 seconds... what do you think? even though posts all over this site say 5-10 seconds max.

hum...
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 12:19 AM   #5
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I've had a Sony Digital8 camcorder for 4 1/2 years and the cleaning tape I bought for it is still sealed in its plastic. It never seems to need it and I wouldn't put wear on those delicate heads by doing "routine" cleaning. When you think about the 4,500 rpm speed of the Digital8 head drum, you can see why no more than 5 seconds of running one would be necessary. That's 375 passes of the heads over the tape. I personally wouldn't use anything but a Sony brand V8-25CLH dry cleaning cassette, if I needed one. You could save a few bucks on a Brand X tape and who knows what the result might be. I once ran an off-brand cleaning tape through an expensive pro VCR and a camcorder (sold to me by the dealership where I bought the equipment) and the head assemblies were both completely knocked out of whack. If I hadn't had extended warranties, I'd have been out a couple thousand bucks.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 02:34 AM   #6
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well... hum...

i have this SKC brand dry cleaning tape. SKC is a reliable brand here in Korea. Dont think i have time to seek and find a Sony. Actually i doubt i can even find one here. Do you really think running that SKC tape could be dangerous?

My camera is asking for a head cleaning. Also, i am about to travel with this camera, and i would like to leave with clean heads. but the reason im thinking of cleaning them is because the camera 'flashed' the request in the viewfinder.

if i do it, and it messes up my camera, how will i know? what will be the effects/signs of a ruined camera? how will i be able to recognize that i have ruined it. because if it is messed up, i wont bother taking it on the trip.

please reply soon. i am leaving shortly.

i am a bit confused and worried...
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 07:10 AM   #7
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Arun,

When you first turn these cameras on they do a self analysis of the sytem. The little flashing "dirty head" indicator can be caused by any number of things, not the least of which can simply be dust accumulated inside, if the camera has been stored anyplace where dust might get into it. These cameras are tough little buggers so if you want to run the cleaning tape through it, go ahead. You very likely won't kill it. If you want to play it safe, put a recording tape in it and shoot thirty minutes of video. The recording tape might just take care of the problem. After you record some video, plug the camera into a tv and watch it. See any pixelation, black or white lines going across the image? No? Probably fine. If you do see these things, run the cleaning tape through it. Try five seconds to start with. The instructions with the tape might represent a "worst case scenario".

Sometimes the system needs to be rebooted. Remove the little coin sized battery for five minutes, then put it back in. If it is the original battery, more than a year old, buy a new one. When these batteries get weak, the bios will get quirky when you first turn the camera on. This can affect all of the auto features on the camera.

By the way, where are you going on your trip?

Robert
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 08:06 AM   #8
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Thanks Robert for that calm piece of advise. I am heading to India for some travel. India can be a very dusty place. This camera has been to India before, for 3 weeks, back in early 2003. Before that it had been to NYC from SF. After that it has come with me to Korea, which is where i am currently. So the camera has moved around a bit. I dont use the camera too too much and i actually havent used it that much the last year ive been in Korea. Its been here in my apartment, and my place is not totally dust free, but not dirty either. I take pretty good care of my camera though i think.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 08:36 AM   #9
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Arun, sounds like "Have Camera Will Travel". Have a good trip.

You did not specify what camera you have, but I'm assuming it is a sony. If so you might check out this page. http://www.camcorderinfo.com/bbs/f4

There is a lot of good info, including links to manuals and what many of us transitioning from the Hi8 world to digital have learned over the past six years regarding the D8 cams. Some of the posters on that site are pros, still using the D8 cams when the need arises.

Robert
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 05:47 PM   #10
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thanks robert. yea i have a sony. DCR-TRV120 NTSC. Digital8.
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Old November 22nd, 2005, 07:46 PM   #11
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I didn't mean to disparage SKC tapes, but that's just one more brand I've never seen here in the U.S. and I'm always sceptical of brands I don't know.
It may be very good quality.

About the memory battery that was described, my Digital8 and all other newer digital camcorders I've seen, don't have user-removeable memory batteries. They use a rechargeable battery for this, that takes its power from the main battery. As long as I use the camera at least every 6 months, it stays charged. This battery can't be accessed without some disassembly of the camera and only rarely do you hear of one that needs replacing. I assume that all Sony Digital8 camcorders have this same type of memory battery.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 07:45 AM   #12
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Steve, I did some checking and believe you are correct on the most recent models of D8 cams. The early generations 1999-2000 manufacture dates do have the removable bios batteries. With the exception of the trv 7000, which I believe was the first model, the second number in the model number indicates what generation the camera is. The first and second generation models are full featured, exceptionally good pieces of equipment. Beginning with, I think, the third generation, Sony began to strip them down until the latest models lack most, if not all, the features a professional shooter would want. Aruns model is one of the second generation cameras and does have the removeable battery.

Robert
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 10:35 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert Ballew
Steve, I did some checking and believe you are correct on the most recent models of D8 cams. The early generations 1999-2000 manufacture dates do have the removable bios batteries. With the exception of the trv 7000, which I believe was the first model, the second number in the model number indicates what generation the camera is. The first and second generation models are full featured, exceptionally good pieces of equipment. Beginning with, I think, the third generation, Sony began to strip them down until the latest models lack most, if not all, the features a professional shooter would want. Aruns model is one of the second generation cameras and does have the removeable battery.

Robert
Robert, it is sad how the Sony Digital8 camcorders have been dumbed-down
in the last 3 years. I have the TRV730 from 2001, which is one of the MegaPixel models they made in '01 and '02. Its image quality is excellent and produces footage that has been mistaken for that of a 3-CCD camera. It does well in low light and has a nice 18X lens. Those who have negatively judged the Digital8 line by having used one of the non-MegaPixel models, have no idea how well the TRV730/830/740/840 can perform.
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Old November 23rd, 2005, 11:17 AM   #14
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You are right Steve, Sony goofed on this one but, I guess they had their reasons.

We still have two trv310 cameras from 1999 and maintain them as a part of our toolbox, and use them when we need the features these cams offer that others do not. These are not megapixel models but, we regularly cut footage together between them, pd150/170, dsr300 series cameras, and once primary footage from a dsr500. It all went together fine. No complaints from anybody. We'll continue to use them, when needed, as long as somebody here in Houston will service them for me. My "professional" friends who shoot with "professional" cameras quit laughing at me a long time ago and, now, ask to borrow them from time to time.

Robert
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