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Old March 29th, 2003, 07:57 AM   #1
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Cleaning tapes?

Hi all,

noticed a lot of discussion in different threads re: cleaning the heads for DV cameras. Now my question is. What methods should you use? Cleaning tapes? Full camera service?

It would be nice to know what brands of cleaning tapes you have and what brands to avoid.

Regards,
Henrik
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Old March 30th, 2003, 07:14 AM   #2
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Mini DV cleaning tapes all work the same way. They have a slightly abrasive surface. Some tapes are more abrasive than others. The more abrasive a tape the better the cleaning performance. Also, the more abrasive the tape the more it wears away your heads with each use (in theory shortening you head life). In the past, Sony and Fuji were known for having more abrasive tapes. Cleaning tapes are safe if used exactly as instructed by the tape manufacture. I don’t of any comparison of different brands of cleaning tapes.

I use cleaning tapes after 10 to 20 hours use (playback and record) and send my cameras in every year for service at Canon.
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Old April 2nd, 2003, 10:52 PM   #3
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cleaning tapes

I have 2 Panasonic cleaning tapes but only use them if I start getting dropouts. I know some people that use them regularly. I have also used a soft piece of non linting cloth, like a chami, and cut a small 1 inch square, put some alcahol on it and used the eraser end of a pencil to hold it gently on the video drum, in-line with the little heads, and used another pencil eraser to turn the drum back and forth. This is safe if you are ver gentle.

I have sent my cams in for cleaning, but it is a toss up as to what they are really doing. I requested my camera's tape path be thouroughly cleaned when I was switching brands from Sony to Panasonic tape.

Once, when I was in a different country, in kind of a jungle, I noticed I was getting bad dropouts and then no picture playback. [I usually record each new tape for 10 seconds and then watch it by searching back while in record mode, to see if it is recording OK] Well, it would not play back a picture at all and my cleaning tape was back where I was staying! I ejected the tape and re-loaded it 10 times and the head clog went away and never returned. Sony camcorders have a little sticky-spongy head cleaning wheel that briefly touches the head every time you eject the tape. In my case, it took a bunch of times to clear the video head. Your average VHS vcr has one too.

glenn
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 03:06 AM   #4
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If you want to play it real safe, use the same brand of cleaning tape as the miniDV tapes you are using. Just a suggestion. Okay, I guess now you want to know why. Some cleaning tapes specify that they are for cleaning heads which have had dry or wet tapes run through them. Personally, though, I don't think it makes much of a difference. http://www.dvfreak.com/tape.htm
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 06:44 AM   #5
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Frank,

Are you sure on that? I've seen reference to dry cleaning (meaning not using a liquid, like in the old days of audio cassettes) but never a reference to the type of lubricant a recording tape used.
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 08:09 AM   #6
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I am just leary of dry tapes. I was told by a tech that DV heads protrude a whole lot less than other formats [vhs, betacam, MII, 3/4"] and dry tapes just wear the head down. I think its best to not switch tapes, and if you do, to not switch if you are using Sony! I read in a few places that the switching tapes being taboo was a problem with Sony tapes. I had the problem. Now, I can switch with panasonic, tdk, and maxel and I don't have trouble. So, in my experience, I would say it is a Sony problem like I read.

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Old April 3rd, 2003, 04:48 PM   #7
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Damn! I wish someone would have warned me about Sony earlier!
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Old April 3rd, 2003, 06:00 PM   #8
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Glenn,

For what it's worth, Panasonic, TDK and Maxell all use dry lubricant in their mini DV tapes. Sony was (is?, they are said to have changed their manufacturing process) the wet lube tape. The reference to wet and dry in cleaning tapes was to the old style audio cassette and VHS tape cleaners. Alsop and some of the other manufactures made cleaning tapes that you added a solvent (wet) to and then cleaned your heads and tape path. This proved a problem because many users applied too much solvent and damaged their heads.

The dry method of cleaning refers to the lack of a solvent being applied to a cleaning tape. I am not aware of any manufacture of a wet mini DV cleaning tape.
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