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Old July 19th, 2005, 10:42 AM   #1
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Reliability of Sony Walkman VCRs

We are about to purchase a few 8mm tape decks for a work application.

Yes, 8mm is old, and its worse than you think: its analog 8mm and not even Digital-8. But 8mm anaolog is what the aircraft records and getting a new video deck flight qualified is 8 months and a 1/2 mil that we don't have on this project.

So our options are to buy a couple really expensive TEAC decks, or twice as many Sony Walkman decks and save $10k.

What I need to know is how reliable the Sony decks are. Will they hold up to twice daily use for 12-18 months? I could afford for half of the Sony decks to fail under this workload during the 12-18 months as long as all of them didn't fail.

Does anyone have one (or more) of these things that can tell me anything about them? I would think that anyone with experience with either the Sony 8mm deck: GVD-800, or the Sony MiniDV deck: GVD-1000 would help.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 11:19 AM   #2
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I'd consider the Sony 8mm deck as your first choice for a couple of reasons even beyond the obvious cost difference...

1- Preview screen - you could even use the decks "off line" to locate footage

2- The 8mm Sony is a digital deck which, I believe will give you digital output from your analog source tape. You could hook it directly to the editing station without haveing to pass through a converter.

3- Life after the project - why be stuck with big, expensive decks when the project is over - the smaller decks and LCD screens may have use in the "afterlife"
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Old July 19th, 2005, 11:58 AM   #3
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don't know how relevant it is, but i have a gv-d900 that i wouldn't recommend at all... just about every time that you insert a tape there is an error message, you have to pop the tape out and re-insert, sometimes multiple times before it is accepted.

i've had to clean the heads multiple times as well... hopefully all that doesn't apply to your 8mm deck.

fwiw, there are now solid state video recording solutions that i would imagine have been flight-certified, because that is what they are designed for... not cheap, but far more durable than any tape-based recorder.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 12:40 PM   #4
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Mike,
I appreciate the input, but with there is 'uniqueness' in this situation that must be accomodated:
1. The Preview Screen will have limited capability as these devices will only be used in a locked down lab tethered to specified computers.
2. That feature would be useful, as I was looking at having to connect an ADS Pyro or Canopus MPEG A/D converter in-line. I'll have to relook the specs on the GVD-800...Thanks!
3. Life after the project actually favors the big expensive TEAC decks, they are currently being fielded to operational units.

Dan,
Thanks to you also for taking the time to provide feedback. So reliability of a similar Sony deck isn't particularly good? What type tape is the GVD-D900? And if we do go that route, I guess you're saying 'expect to clean the heads frequently'.

Flight qualification in a civil aircraft doesn't count at all when it comes to flight qualifying hardware in a military aircraft. Even if I had a civil qualified video solution in my hand and turned it over today, it would take 8 months and a 1/2 mil. So we live within the constraints. I do appreciate the help though, thanks!

BTW, whoever moved this post, thanks. It was hard to determine exactly which box to put this post, evidently I misfiled and appreciate someone cleaning up my mess.
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Last edited by Patrick King; July 19th, 2005 at 02:47 PM.
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Old July 19th, 2005, 03:55 PM   #5
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Re: Sony Walkman VCR'S

I have the GV-D800 Digital-8 Walkman and have used it now for several years. It has proved it's-self to be very relieable. It will play the original 8mm tapes, HI8 tapes also records & plays Digital-8. It also provides pass thru for analog tapes into your computer.

In the years that I have used it, I can't remember the last time I had to use a cleaning tape. I have years of 8mm& HI8 tapes that I am editing &recording to DVD's

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Old July 19th, 2005, 04:11 PM   #6
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Thanks for the insight Bob.
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Old July 20th, 2005, 12:12 PM   #7
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the GVD-D900 uses dv tape... the frequent cleanings were happening with sony tape only, i never switched brands.

there are companies that build solid state military aircraft video recording systems, it's not necessarily all civilian stuff... it's not cheap, of course, and i don't know how it would fit into your requirements... i found it a year or two ago, when i was looking at building a solid state video recorder for the onboard camera system on race cars.
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