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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old October 24th, 2007, 10:30 AM   #1
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PD170 audio dropoutprogresses to zero audio

I'm using a Sony PD170, Sennheiser ME 64 shotgun mic

I've gotten a group of audio dropouts on a couple of different tapes..
I am only recording to one channel with the Sennheiser ME 64shotgun mic, but the second unused channel will have spikes in it. At those points the audio in the used channel has blips and breaks up.

It looks like if I turn the camera off or stop recording and then start again, that the problem can clear up on it's own.

Next day... Thought it might be a tape problem at first, Just used the 3rd tape and had the same problem. I used 2 mics, (added a wireless ) shot about 20 minutes of tape - starting and stopping the camera, about 2 minutes of shooting into a new clip the audio on both mics starts to breakup.. and then got worse and worse until it stopped all together. The camera was started and stopped a couple of times. In following clips the audio broke up but then it started to work all right again.

Doesn't seem to be the mics since I'm using 2 different ones.

......I just noticed that the video breaks up a bit as well. Waves of digital artifact move througth the video at times.

It's not always there, but that means it's a bigger problem that just the audio,, at times this problem is affecting the video as well.

Any ideas of what the problem is?

how to go about troubleshooting this?

thanks
edwin
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Old October 24th, 2007, 12:19 PM   #2
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Sounds like tape head (dirty) problem.
Run a tape cleaner through the camera.
If this doesn't work, then eitehr manually clean the heads or send it in for servicing.
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Old October 24th, 2007, 12:23 PM   #3
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Hey check out the thread "Where to send Vx2000 for head replacement?"
Look for my posting(Eric Stemen) and watch the youtube video. I belive this will give you information.

Edit Comment the video if you don't mind.
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Old October 24th, 2007, 01:24 PM   #4
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problem getting worse.

used a head cleaner on the camera for 10 seconds and then used a new tape and taped for 1 hour. I checked the audio and there were still a couple of audio spikes, but it seemed to be a big improvement. So, I used the head cleaner again for 10 seconds and taped another hour on a new tape.

Now I've run into another problem, that could be related. I tried rewinding the tape and get a C:31:23 error. I placed the tape in another old PD1 camera and tried to rewind it and got the same C:31:23 error. I tried placing other used tapes in the camera and get C:31:23 error. I placed a new tape in the camera and it doesn't give the error.. but I fast forwarded to the end of the tape and try to rewind.. then I get the C:31:23 error. I opened the tape and saw it is crumpled.

Before, one thing I did notice before was that when rewinding tapes, that the first 10 or 15 minutes of the tape made a slight "schhhsss" sound that eventually cleared up.. (so like: schhhsss, normal, schhhsss, normal, schhhsss normal, normal normal) So, the tape was not rewinding smoothly. I tried a couple of different tapes from different boxes to rule out a bad batch of tapes. Looks like the camera my be damaging the tapes.

I called Sony Service
Sony Service Center
Sony Electronics
2706 Media Center Dr. Suite 130
Los Angeles, California 90065
Voice: 866-766-9272

and they said to send it in. The technician didn't seem very knowledgeable about the camera.

Any thoughts about this situation?
Anyone sent their camera in for servicing before?
I wonder about your experience?

thanks
edwin
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Old October 24th, 2007, 01:26 PM   #5
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problem getting worse.

Over the last year I have noticed the C:31:23 error periodically, but it always cleared up with a bit of fiddeling around. Changing tapes, ejecting tape and reinserting it, etc.

Last edited by Edwin Rutsch; October 24th, 2007 at 01:30 PM. Reason: update
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Old October 24th, 2007, 02:03 PM   #6
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If you had read the post I said to read, you would realize I've sent my camera in. It took about a month to get back.
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Old October 24th, 2007, 02:22 PM   #7
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did read posts thanks.

Eric, I did read your post.. thanks.. was very helpful and looks like http://www.armatosvideo.com is a good option..
I wonderd about sending the camera to NY, I'm in SF..

I didn't see the part about sony repairs taking a month..

some added dated on my PD170..

Operation
37 x10h
Drum Run
26 x10h
Tape Run
21 x10h
Threading
51 x10h

doesn't seem like the heads should be going with this kind of usage?
Do heads start trashing the tape?

I still trying to get a sence of what the problem could be?

edwin
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Old October 24th, 2007, 06:27 PM   #8
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seems like an pretty low amount of time to start having these problems BUT remember cameras are filled with both delicate and finicky stuff so...
As for Sony repaor, I have sent in numerous cameras to them and always had a very fast turnaround, generally less than 10 days. AAMOF, I sent them in my god old PD150 for heads and transport (over 1400 hours and about 1000 of tape hours)-got it back in 9 days so perhaps it depends on where you send it. Mine went to NJ.

Anyway I've heard and read some very good things about Armatos repair so wherever you feel comfy sending it, your choice but for sure, send it in.

Don
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Old October 24th, 2007, 07:36 PM   #9
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It is likely to be a transport path issue, - alignment, possibly associated with incorrect tape tension.

There is only one solution, entrust the technician. You will find the edges of the tape are being rolled.

The reason for my comment. I have just been down the same path with a Z1. The troubles started after a particuarly dusty outdoors music gig.

The good news or so I am told, is that if the alignment is off and is correctly adjusted, then it should last a lot longer for the second time. Tape path alignment apparently can drift quite early in the lifetime of the camera as parts bed down with use.

Although of high build precision and highly finished, this still can occur.
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Old October 24th, 2007, 09:51 PM   #10
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Sorry if I sounded like a jerk. Yes I would also hear what sounded like a crinkled tape in my vx-2000 from time to time.

I would also assume it is an allignment issue.

I think mine took longer than usually because they had to order a part.
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Old October 25th, 2007, 02:01 PM   #11
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tape being rolled - tape does look crumpled

bob

yes, the tape does look crumpled, - is alingment just a matter of an adjustment or a more serious matter?

thanks

edwin
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Old October 25th, 2007, 06:15 PM   #12
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Here in Australia, it costs about $300 to $400, maybe more if the take-up system has to be replaced, depending on on wear or dust damage. The adjustment is mere microns, but nevertheless critical. The relube and clean comes with the alignment.

Last edited by Bob Hart; October 25th, 2007 at 06:16 PM. Reason: added text
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Old October 26th, 2007, 03:50 PM   #13
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Ran a tape without problem

I'm still testing out the camera.. I just ran a tape through and it worked fine.. I recorded for 50 minutes. periodically starting and stopping the tape.

There were no audio dropouts and no error messages. Was able to rewind, fast forward, play, etc.

Quite confusing. Can alignment be a intermittent problem? Makes me wonder if I got a batch of bad tapes.

If there's a problem and I need to send the camera off for repair.,, I'd like to be able to consistently reproduce the problem..

edwin
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Old October 26th, 2007, 06:00 PM   #14
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If you use your camera to make money with(weddings, corporate videos, ect) you may want to send it off. I noticed that I was occasionally getting drop outs, or weird artifacts at first. It continued to get progresivly worse and a cleaning tape was doing little for the camera, so after I got many artifacts on my last wedding, I sent mine off.
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Old October 26th, 2007, 06:14 PM   #15
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good point

yes, good point... better safe than sorry.

did the repair totally clear up the artifacts and dropouts?

I had an old sony VX700 that I sent in years ago for repair.. it came back working but then after the repair warranty expired it went out again.. The cameras internals are so delicate, that I wonder about the repair process and how reliable it is.
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