Tape error if tape left in camera overnight at DVinfo.net

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Sony VX2100 / PD170 / PDX10 Companion
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Old July 6th, 2006, 09:01 AM   #1
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Tape error if tape left in camera overnight

Hi,

I never (normally) leave a tape in my VX2100E and if I do it is (usually) for no longer than a day or so BUT every time I do this I get a tape error the next day when I try to use the camera and I am now sick of this. It basically means that if I do not finish a tape during a shoot I cannot continue the next day without ejecting the tape beforehand and re-inserting it!

What could be causing this?

Example:

Last week I was just shooting some stuff around the house here for fun. I shot about 30 minutes of video, put the camera away, and took it out today to finish the tape. The moment I tried to use the camera I got the audible alarm with a C:??:?? error (did not write it down). After ejecting the tape and then re-inserting it - no problem - but of course - the end search function is no longer functional - and this is a pain.

This has happened before but I just did not bother with it. Until now!

This time I opened the flap on the cassette and I could see noticeable 'marks' on the bottom half of the tape - almost like it had been touched by someone i.e. the same type of mark that a fingerprint would leave on a tape except they were not round marks but sort of 'saw tooth' shaped along the bottom edge of the tape at different intervals. Note that it is marks that I can see not 'physical' damage like 'crinkling up' or anything like that.

The very strange thing about all of this is that I never have dropouts or anything like that with this camera which (I assume) I would have if the heads were dirty?

As we speak I am capturing the video from this same tape to my editing workstation (after re-inserting and rewinding the tape) and no problem whatsoever.

Any thoughts?

By the way - the camera is stored in a dry place and does have one of those silica gel packets in the case with it at all times.

I have run Sony head cleaning tapes through this camera before but I have little faith in them.

Any advice as to how to manually clean the heads with alcohol or something like that (sort of 'step-by-step' instructions)?

Regards,

Dale.
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Old July 6th, 2006, 09:16 AM   #2
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I've left tapes in my VX-2000 for extended periods with no problems, so that sounds odd.

As far as cleaning, if you don't think the Sony cleaning tape is doing the job then you should send your camera to an authorized repair place for professional cleaning/alignment. I don't think you want to start messing with alcohol and Q-tips on a DV camera...
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Old July 7th, 2006, 01:22 AM   #3
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Thanks for the reply Boyd.

That's the strange thing - I have a TRV27 and an FX1 and neither of these ever do the same thing (and both of these get used more than the VX2100).

This VX2100 of mine has a mind of its own (it's the same one whose scroll wheel works fine, gets put in the case, and a week or two later the scroll wheel starts acting up immediately after being taken out of the case and has to be cleaned with contact cleaner and compressed air - see my thread regarding this).

It cannot be environmental factors because all three of my cameras are stored in the same place (right next to each other) in the identical camera (hard) cases and I have only ever used the identical Sony tapes in all three of them.

Any more thoughts?

Regards,

Dale.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 01:49 AM   #4
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Try a different case.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 02:17 AM   #5
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Tape Error

There is a few possibilities. When you insert a tape what happens is basically the spindals (Takeup cam) and the heads engage and a lever type arm pulls the tape to meet the heads. If the arm is stiff from dust or otherwise being prevented clear movement the machine reads a tape error. Also if the spindal slips because the tape is left taught after recording (due too a loose drive band or faulty gear) this will also give you a tape error.

Have your tried using compressed air to blow out any built up dirt and dust?
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Old July 7th, 2006, 05:33 AM   #6
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Thanks for the advice and info.

OK - well - against all sound advice - I used Q-Tips and alchohol to clean the spindles (I did not touch the head though). I am about to put in a new tape (which I have FF and REW using my new DV-90 winder) and will see what happens.

What could happen overnight?

I mean - I can start and stop recording, switch to VCR, switch the camera off, switch the camera on, and continue recording AS LONG AS IT IS THE SAME DAY i.e. as long as the camera has not stood for a couple of hours.

And - by the way - IT IS A NEW CASE!!!

Regards,

Dale.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 06:39 AM   #7
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IT IS A NEW CASE!!!

Could that be the problem? Could gasses coming from the new materials have a solvent effect on the tape? I know, it is a stretch to believe that could happen.
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Old July 7th, 2006, 08:17 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mace R. Abrams
Have your tried using compressed air to blow out any built up dirt and dust?
You might want to think twice before doing that. If there are foreign materials inside the camera then this could drive them deeper inside. If you're really having a series of problems then you might save a lot of trouble by having it professionally serviced now instead of later...
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Old July 7th, 2006, 09:29 AM   #9
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Now - you know what!!!

I thought that the remark about getting a new case was a joke BUT I have just smelled the inside of the case i.e. the foam rubber on the inside of the lid and at the bottom of the case and there is a definite (although slight) chemical odour evident.

Do you really think that could have something to do with it? I have not smelled the other cases yet but I will (although it does make you look and feel like a bit of an idiot)!

What is really very strange is this thing about the scroll wheel acting up (it did it again today) i.e. it will be working perfectly today; put the camera away (in its case) for a week or so; and it will not work properly when first taking it out of the case. As strange as this may sound I am actually starting to wonder if the two could be linked in some or the other way.

I will include my thread about the scroll wheel acting up below as a link.

Regards,

Dale.

Scroll wheel problem - see my description and solution about half way down the page:

http://www.dvinfo.net/conf/showthread.php?t=60584
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Old July 9th, 2006, 12:45 PM   #10
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I make it a habit to always leave a tape in with a battery connected.

I never use the camcorder to charge batteries and I always exercise the camcorder once every two weeks.

I never use anything else but panny tapes and when I reuse a tape I make sure it has never been in another player.

So far so good, I'll let everyone know when the camcorder fails in some way.
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Old July 9th, 2006, 11:48 PM   #11
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I would be more inclined to think that like there used to be "Monday" cars, that this could be a "Monday" camera. Except that mass production machinery doesn't take a weekend off in the same sense as humans, things do wear and need fine re-adjustment from time to time.

It could be that there is a combination going on, maybe something as simple as pressure on a component board and other related assemblies from a piece of plastic swarf under a screwdown point or a screw not fully tight.

Alternatively, the camera could well have had a decent thump in transit or in use, components moved on their mountpoints under impact pressure and have not sprung back.

Sometimes a fix if you are very very lucky is to loosen all screws which fasten internal sub-assemblies to the plastic maincase, then re-tighten.

There may be some distortion of the case from having a heavy longlife battery in the back. Some of the non-genuine batteries also are a poor fit in the housing and use a different socket-pin junction design than the genuine Sony product.

This introduces the possibility of two faults, mechanical distortion of the camera body which might provoke an existing dry joint on a circuit board or a direct mechanical fault like the scroll wheel or incomplete loading cycle of the tape.

If the socket-pin junction itself is resistive or inclined to intermittent disconnection in use, then this might provoke error messages or confuse the camera electronics.

Given the scroll wheel is acting up and you are getting the error message after inactivity, not activity, then I would think there might be something awry on a circuit board, maybe something resistive on a common path.

This may be in combination with another mechanical fault, maybe not.

Don't take too much notice of my suggestions as I am no technician.


Whichever way it goes, I would recommend letting the Sony tech have a look at it.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 04:12 AM   #12
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Ok - well - just a follow up.

It is Monday morning here and I have just taken the camera out of the case and everything is fine.

I have had a tape in the camera since Friday and have been checking whether or not I can record without the error every day now and no problem.

I suppose it needs to be left for about a week to see whether the problem occurs again or not.

At this stage I have done two things to try and solve the problem:

1 - Cleaned the transport (not the head) with alcohol and a Q-tip

and

2 - I left the case open in the sun for a whole morning and when storing the camera I put three silica gel packets in the case with the camera.

At this stage it looks like one or both of the attempted solutions above has made a difference but I suppose it is still too early to tell.

The scroll wheel is also working perfectly this morning.

Does anybody here REALLY think that some or the other chemical used in the production of the sponge inside the case (or even in the glue used to attach the sponge to the case) could cause problems like these?

Anyway - I hope I'm not wasting space by keeping everybody informed - it is not a common problem - but - it may be an interesting one.

Regards,

Dale.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 11:03 AM   #13
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The chemicals could well be an issue.

Leave a new car (sorry - automobile) outdoors in the hot sun and soon there is a dry fog build-up on inside of the glass after a few days. This is apparently produced by condensed solvents from the plastic interiors.

Get into a new fibreglass bodied vehicle on a warm day and the atmosphere is quite poisonous to the nose for a long while.

So I expect that the vapours and their condensates which you mention could well be a factor. They could well settle on things metallic which would get coldest soonest and these would be metal conductive surfaces in the camera or the transport mechanism itself. - Makes sense.

A sachet of activated charcoal might also help with solvent vapours.
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Old July 10th, 2006, 03:06 PM   #14
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Thanks for the input Bob.

It is taking everything bit of self control that I have to stop myself opening the case to test - it has to wait at least a week!!!

I have put two sachets of silica gel and one sachet of activated carbon in the case with the camera this time so let's see what happens.

And - by the way - where I come from - it's still a 'car' :)

Regards,

Dale.
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Old July 28th, 2006, 02:48 AM   #15
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OK - my last followup!

It would appear that either my cleaning with alcohol and a Q-Tip or my placing the case in the sun to 'dry it out' as it were has worked.

I used the camera yesterday for the first time and no problem - no tape error and the scroll wheel is working perfectly.

I am inclined to think that it had something to do with the case as I did not do a really thorough clean with the alcohol i.e. only cleaned one or two of the tape transport guides.

Anyway - it's fine but this really is not something that I would have thought of and hopefully it makes others aware of a potential problem with new equipment (cases).

Thanks everyone for the tips and comments.

Regards,

Dale.
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