Periodic and Problematic Automatic Head Cleaning on PD150 PD170 at DVinfo.net

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Old July 6th, 2005, 01:28 PM   #1
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Periodic and Problematic Automatic Head Cleaning on PD150 PD170

Hello ,
Has ANYONE ever had a problem with a DSR-PD (150-170-or vx2000)series automatically doing a head cleaning while filming? Is there something like a humidity change or mechanically with a tape that would trigger this to happen?
The camera would be recording and all of a sudden the rec head would disengage and a message would come on screen with "Head cleaning in progress" of sorts, and a circle and an x inside of it. I have only seen this happen once , however it has happend to a customer of ours several times. He stated it would happen after several hours of use and then recently said it happend shortly after he started filming, repetitively. A sony DV head cleaner has been used previously and the first time this had become an issue, we had the camera sent out to be overhauled. When we received the camera back each time this happened, we also ran the camera to re-enact this to happen and had only happend once before the overhaul. Everyone "knows" that there are periodic self cleaning cycles, even though there is no mention in the manual, but I dont believe they are supposed to interupt you while filming.
Thanks for reading , and appreciate the help.
Jim Coia, AV Tech
for Visual Sound of Broomall PA; Rental Dept
www.visualsound.com
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Old July 6th, 2005, 03:16 PM   #2
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AFter a few thousand hours with PD150's I think I can say that I don't believer there is an auto clean function. There is a warning to USE a cleaning tape however.

I've never heard of anyone claiming there is any autoclean function built into the cameras.
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Old July 6th, 2005, 04:32 PM   #3
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I'm with Mike. I've never seen the function on either of mine nor anyone I know that uses the camera has evr seen or heard of an automatic head cleaning function on the 150/170-2000/2100.


Don
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Old July 6th, 2005, 08:10 PM   #4
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I had this happen while shooting with my VX2100 2 weeks ago at a wedding.
I was outside before the veremony getting some senic shots, when I had that very messgae appear on my screen "Cleaning Tape, with the X on the screen". I turned off the camera and powered back up and all was well.

This was on a very hot day in the 90's with humidity, and I did clean the tape heads that morning with a Sony Tape Cleaner.
I only use Sony Excellence tapes as well.
I believe this might have been triggered by the change in temerture from inside to outside. I didn't place my tapes in a ziplock baggy like I normally do and some condensation might have appeared on the tape in the camera.

I just sent my VX in to give the tape heads a deep cleaning and reallignment, just in case. I think that I might have had a deep clogg in the tape heads.

That waning does exist though.

Michael
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Old July 6th, 2005, 10:05 PM   #5
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Yes, but the warning message was to clean the heads not that they were being automatically cleaned by the camera. I have gotten the cleans heads message one time on 1 of my 150s and that came with about 700 hours on it. I powered down, powered it back up and it was fine. Both my 150s have over 900 hours on them and I have only used a head cleaner in 1 one time and the other 2 times over a period of 4 years.
The 150/170-2000/2100s are as solid as a rock just a bit of TLC and using 1 brand of tape goes a long way.

Don
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Old July 7th, 2005, 09:27 AM   #6
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Phew!

Hello guys,
Thanks for the replys, particularly you Michael L.; I thought I was going to be totally shot down. Perhaps I was a bit brash when I had stated that everyone "knows" about a self cleaning function, however previous to my post I had scoured this forum and a few other sites, and had read a few replies close to that (Damned if I can find them at the moment). I can understand that it probably is a request to clean the heads with a proper "Cleaning Tape", but my question remains that why should this message interupt and stop the recording altogether? The head does not appear oxidized or varnished, and there had not been a problem with any drop out or pixelation. This being a rental office we are definately subject to people using any tapes they choose, and that would be a factor. Not that I would undermind any of your knowledge and vast experience which I very much appreciate, yet as anyone been given a factory explanation of what that message means by their definition?
Thank you much,
Jim
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Old July 7th, 2005, 04:43 PM   #7
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The message is telling you that the recording is probably going to be bad. So continuing isn't going to accomplish much.

Why don't you rent the camera with a supply of one brand of tape included. Then if someone brings it back with all the tape gone and the heads are clogged, you know what they did. I know, impractical unless you have them under a bit more control.

We threaten our college students with loss of camera and lab priviledges should we ever catch them with non-sony tape unless it is for their personal gear. Never had a clogged head and we have over 8 years of use on some of the VX-1000's.
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Old July 7th, 2005, 09:35 PM   #8
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Always clean heads of Rental Camera

My thought is to always clean the tape heads of a rental camera when I first get it, before using any tape with it. I have no way of knowing how long since the last cleaning, nor which tape brands have been previously used. Any issues with this approach?
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Old July 7th, 2005, 09:53 PM   #9
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That's what I'd do.
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Old July 11th, 2005, 01:12 PM   #10
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I am very grateful this thread was started. I was shooting a wedding over the weekend and just as I hit the record button on my 170, the message "CLEANING CASSETTE" popped up on my LCD, flashing in bright yellow . I have never had this happen before. My 170 is about a year and a half old. I instantly remembered this thread, excused myself for a minute, and hurried over to our table to figure our what was going on. First thing, I shut off the camera, waited a few seconds, and fired it back up in camera mode. The message was gone. I switch over to VCR and reviewed my last 5 minutes of footage or so. Everything was fine until the last few seconds where it broke up do to dropouts. I skipped ahead a little ways on the tape and put the camera back in camera mode to finish my interviews. Everything worked fine the rest of the day.

I'm not sure if the problem was the tape or the heads. I've always used Panasonic tapes. I do run a Maxell dry cleaning cassette for 10 secs every 10-15 hours or so of recording. Anyone know exactly what this error message is saying?

John
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