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-   -   VHS maintenance/cleaning - What problems do dirty heads cause? (http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/vcr-repair/2015-vhs-maintenance-cleaning.html)

cyber-junkie 02-05-2010 11:44 AM

VHS maintenance/cleaning - What problems do dirty heads cause?
 
Hi

How much quality does dirty heads on a vcr take away from the final recorded product on dvd?...As long as a picture looks good don't worry about it?

I know when I can see the picture go bad/blurry (what I will call video noise) from dirty heads that will effect the picture but should the vcr be cleaned prior to any vhs-dvd record project of length? Or do you just clean them every so many hours or only when you notice video noise?

I have a vhs tape that the picture gets real grainy/blurry when watching and 5 seconds with my vhs "wave cleaning tape" clears it up quite a bit, so I guess this tape is dirty/bad?....I know I know, I shouldn't use the wave tape, it's not a typical cloth or wet tape, almost looks like some kind of plastic type of tape, I was watching that one vhs tape just a few weeks ago and had to use the wave tape a couple of times and it cleared the picture up for about 20 minutes then it gets bad again, I am going to transfer this as soon as I can figure out how to keep it clean, I don't want to transfer a dirty picture...do I need to keep the cover off the vcr and clean the heads with alcohol every 10 minutes? I can't figure any other way for a final transfer.

Thanks

admin 02-12-2010 12:10 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Dirty heads generally show analog noise on screen. Speckles of "snow" would be one example. Sometimes you'll get distortion of the image, but that has to be major dirt -- and possibly damage to the head, too.

The way to properly clean a head is to lightly drop some denatured or 70-90% isopropyl alcohol on a non-cotton swab, firmly but gently press the swab against the head, and slowly turn it one rotation. Do not press too hard, you don't want to damage the ferrite heads!!

Those "cleaning tapes" are largely crap, often causing damage to the heads.

If it makes you feel any better, I have a similar issue on a VCR here. Sometimes it randomly displays snow stripes on screen. Cleaning the heads properly doesn't work. I have a mylar cleaning tape that I run through the deck, and it somehow fixes it temporarily. A hour or two later, the problem is back. I have no explanation for it. You're the only other person to report this issue, and I've had it for about 6 years now. The problem, the mylar cleaning tape -- they sound identical.

Here's a simulated image of my annoying issue:

Attachment 651

It's not a tracking error.

This deck is only used a few times per year, so I've not worried about it too much. Still an aggravation, though.
Too expensive to replace, too valuable to do without.

dyfan 02-12-2010 12:48 PM

fyi:...
 
This question has already been asked (and answered) here:

http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...86.html?t=1486

admin 02-12-2010 01:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by dyfan (Post 10621)
This question has already been asked (and answered) here: http://www.digitalfaq.com/forum/show...86.html?t=1486

Excellent. :)

Thanks for digging that up.

cyber-junkie 02-12-2010 04:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by admin (Post 10617)
Dirty heads generally show analog noise on screen. Speckles of "snow" would be one example. Sometimes you'll get distortion of the image, but that has to be major dirt -- and possibly damage to the head, too.

The way to properly clean a head is to lightly drop some denatured or 70-90% isopropyl alcohol on a non-cotton swab, firmly but gently press the swab against the head, and slowly turn it one rotation. Do not press too hard, you don't want to damage the ferrite heads!!

Those "cleaning tapes" are largely crap, often causing damage to the heads.

If it makes you feel any better, I have a similar issue on a VCR here. Sometimes it randomly displays snow stripes on screen. Cleaning the heads properly doesn't work. I have a mylar cleaning tape that I run through the deck, and it somehow fixes it temporarily. A hour or two later, the problem is back. I have no explanation for it. You're the only other person to report this issue, and I've had it for about 6 years now. The problem, the mylar cleaning tape -- they sound identical.

Here's a simulated image of my annoying issue:

Attachment 651

It's not a tracking error.

This deck is only used a few times per year, so I've not worried about it too much. Still an aggravation, though.
Too expensive to replace, too valuable to do without.


...So that's a mylar cleaning tape? Now this problem is only there playing certain tapes so it makes me wonder if it's the tapes.

admin 02-12-2010 04:31 PM

Mylar ... polyester .... one of the two.

Quote:

Regardless of your camcorder's format (VHS, VHS-C, S-VHS, S-VHS-C, Hi8, 8mm, Digital8 or Mini DV) the physical characteristics of the recording medium are virtually the same. All videotape begins life as a ribbon of mylar film. The backing is coated with a variety of metal materials onto which images and sounds are recorded when the metal particles are magnetized. The smaller the metal bits, the better the images and sounds.

Metal oxide is the basis for the VHS family of tapes, including standard and compact VHS and S-VHS. It is produced by adhering oxidized metal to polyester film. Metal Particle (MP) tape is produced by much the same process but the film is coated with small metal particles instead of oxides. Metal Evaporated (ME) tape contains metal particles bound to the polyester film by a special evaporation process. MP and ME tapes are only available in the 8mm, Hi8 and Mini DV formats.
from http://www.videomaker.com/article/7288

This kind of stuff drives me nuts. Contradicts itself in the same article not 5 sentences apart.

Looking at the sample image at http://www.videointerchange.com/tape.htm the backmost layer is probably mylar, while the middle layer is the polyester.

I knew this 10 years ago. :(

Anyway...

From what I can tell, it's a standard tape, but is pre-coated with a cleaning chemical of some kind, rather than oxides or particles for recording.

I used to have 10 tapes like this, but am down to my last two.


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