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Sony TRV950 / PDX10 Companion
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Old February 10th, 2005, 03:21 AM   #1
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Chewed tapes?

My PDX10p is coming up on 18 months old, and it's been fairly lightly used. I did a bit of work with it in America for about 6 weeks, but it's largely been used as a firewire camera for my masters work (no tape in camera).

I'd been a little lazy with it recently, and left a tape in the camera while it was stored. I got it out today and put it back together, and discovered that the tape didn't want to play (I couldn't remember what was on it), and was giving a C:31:23 error, and asking me to eject the tape. I took the tape out, and put it back in, thinking it may have been some kind of misalignment. But again, the tape was rejected by the camera. Both loading and unloading the tape took far longer than usual, and also made some strange sounds.

I then opened the little flap to have a look at the tape itself, to see whether there was a problem with it, and there certainly appears to be. To me, it looks like the places where the rollers have been in contact with the tape, there is something which looks something like a "smudge" on the tapes, almost like very narrow fingerprints.

I wanted to check that the camera itself wasn't damaged in any way, so I found some old tapes and ran them through the camera. The first one I tried played back fine, and I didn't have any problems. The second tape, when I loaded it, also had a C:31:23 error, and when I looked at the tape again, it too had a similar pattern on the tape, but was much less severe than the original tape. I tried winding back the tape, and was then able to successfully playback the footage on the tape, up until the point where the smudges were, where the picture broke up and went blue. I then had a look inside at the transport and heads, and couldn't see any of the brown "gunk" that I've seen others report elsewhere on these forums.

I've been pretty consistent with the brand of tapes I've used (all Panasonic pro tapes [AY-DVM63PQ]), except for two occasions when I'd been given a Sony tape with footage I needed to capture from it.

I’ve uploaded a somewhat poor image of the tape to http://gwazi.com/images/tape.jpg if it helps.

So, I guess my question is: what should I do? Should I just run a miniDV head cleaner tape on the camera, or could it be something more sinister than that? We're going to start using the camera in the next week or two to film a short, but I don't want to discover any problems later on which I could have fixed easily right now.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Simon
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Old February 14th, 2005, 02:03 PM   #2
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run a head cleaner and try again. let us know what happens.
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Old February 14th, 2005, 02:09 PM   #3
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also, don't use the flash in the jpg, we can't see what you are talking about. do a close up, medium contrast, large resolution jpg.
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Old February 14th, 2005, 09:41 PM   #4
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The tape sure looks wrinkled.

The tape transport has not only heads that get worn out with use, there are also lubricated parts, rubber rollers and other stuff that can suffer not only from use, but also from lack of normal use and from dust and humidity. I had a problem like that with a DAT machine once. They had to change something and re lubricate the mechanism, it was not an expoensive repair.

Even if the problem dissapears after running a cleaner, I would take the cam to service. It wouldn't be nice if the unit malfunctions again with a valuable tape inside and a cliente paying by the hour.
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