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  #1  
05-22-2014, 09:45 AM
reddragon81088 reddragon81088 is offline
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I had a "professional" tell me to never use alcohol or swabs on the digital 8mm player heads as they can be permanently damaged. He told me to only use the 8mm head cleaning tapes on them. My question is whether or not this guy is full of it and just wants me to spend money with him cleaning them.

PROBLEM:

I did not take his advice, I cleaned them anyways the same way I do my VCRs and regular 8mm machines. I am using Sony GV-D200 to play my digital 8mm tapes. The machines are acting like they have dirty heads, they are not displaying the video on the tapes. Or they display the video and slowly fade to a blue screen. The audio sometimes lasts longer than the video before it also stops. When you fast forward the tape in play mode, the image is visible (although blurry) so I know the tape is not blank. The tapes also play fine in my Sony EV-C100s. So I know it is not the tape. Any help would be hot, as I am in a tight spot.
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  #2  
05-22-2014, 10:15 AM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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cleaning tapes do nothing but smear dirt around
also auto head cleaners do more damage than good - i remove them from my decks.
the only good way to clean is with 91% or higher alcohol and chamois cleaning sticks
if you already did that than chances are the cam has a problem
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  #3  
05-22-2014, 10:29 AM
reddragon81088 reddragon81088 is offline
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Thanks for the reply? When you say "cam" are you talking about my playback equipment? Saying there could be another problem other than dirty heads?
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  #4  
05-22-2014, 10:47 AM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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i meant your deck - the GV's are the little walkmans not cams although they most likely use similar internals
anyway - if you cleaned the head and still have issues the deck may need to be repaired.
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  #5  
05-22-2014, 11:35 AM
reddragon81088 reddragon81088 is offline
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It must have been the tape, as I have taken it to another facility and they are having the same issue. Guess problem solved.
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  #6  
05-22-2014, 11:42 AM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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do you have the cam the tape was made on?
it may have been out of alignment or something.
i dont know if D8 is like D-VHS
but with D-VHS sometimes tapes made on one deck wont play on a different model or brand
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  #7  
05-22-2014, 12:00 PM
reddragon81088 reddragon81088 is offline
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I don't, it is a tape of a customer, and they do not have the camera anymore. I think they are going to have to live with it.
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  #8  
05-22-2014, 10:00 PM
Jarvis Jarvis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by volksjager View Post
cleaning tapes do nothing but smear dirt around
also auto head cleaners do more damage than good - i remove them from my decks.
I disagree with this. In the specific cases of miniDV and Digital8 cams, the cleaning tapes work very well. I've only ever used Sony's and TDK's head cleaners but I definitely recommend them. Certainly over someone less experienced fumbling around with manually cleaning delicate parts.

Quote:
Originally Posted by volksjager View Post
i dont know if D8 is like D-VHS
but with D-VHS sometimes tapes made on one deck wont play on a different model or brand
Sort of. I think D8 tapes recorded in LP were said to be problematic playing on decks other than the one they were recorded on. I never used LP so I can't say more than that. Otherwise, yes, an out of alignment cam is a good guess.
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  #9  
05-23-2014, 01:04 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by reddragon81088 View Post
I had a "professional" tell me to never use alcohol or swabs on the digital 8mm player heads as they can be permanently damaged.
That's wrong.

That person is not a "professional" at all. To be completely blunt, that person is a dumbass and everything he/she said should be ignored. (If something as easy as cleaning methods is wrong, then he/she is likely spreading lots of FUD in other areas as well.)

The only truth to come from such a wrong statement is that cotton swabs should never be used (Q-Tips, etc). The chamois swabs are best, and modern DSLR sensor swabs are better yet.

Both can be bought for about $35 each from Amazon.com:
- Chamois - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...UVRQCF7YRKSQOJ
- Sensors - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00...EYHT2IQDMA6W53

Just pick one. I'd suggested the sensor swabs, which is what we use here.

I have a feeling this person, as the saying goes, knows enough to be dangerous (ie, given bad advice, based on half understandings). This sort of thing irks me, given how it's 2014 now, and the myths of VHS should have been dead decades ago.

Quote:
He told me to only use the 8mm head cleaning tapes on them. My question is whether or not this guy is full of it and just wants me to spend money with him cleaning them.
Completely 100% "full of it", and has clearly NEVER worked with pro gear in a pro capacity. Do you really think JVC or Panasonic used "cleaning tapes" instead of opening it up an using other methods? (When they still serviced VCRs, that is.) No, of course not. You were wise to be in doubt.

Also, there really wasn't such as thing as a "8mm head cleaning tape" back in the day. It was mostly just VHS that had cleaning tapes. The cleaning "tapes" (not really a tape) for Video8, Hi8 and Digital8 were more rare.

Notice how you never saw manufacturers sell "cleaning tapes" -- only media-only brands like Memorex (Memorsux), Maxell, RCA (then already just an outsourced brand), TDK, etc.

Quote:
I did not take his advice, I cleaned them anyways the same way I do my VCRs and regular 8mm machines. I am using Sony GV-D200 to play my digital 8mm tapes. The machines are acting like they have dirty heads.
Probably 99% of all "dirty heads" complaints have nothing to do with the heads being dirty -- or even the heads at all. And no, I'm not exaggerating that % here.

I'd have to actually see the issue to guess what's wrong. Post a clip.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jarvis View Post
I disagree with this. In the specific cases of miniDV and Digital8 cams, the cleaning tapes work very well. I've only ever used Sony's and TDK's head cleaners but I definitely recommend them. Certainly over someone less experienced fumbling around with manually cleaning delicate parts.
A true cleaning, however, would have worked better yet.

It is very true that "cleaning tapes" merely push debris around, and do not fully remove it. The "cleaning tapes" can actually damage heads far worse than Q-Tip, and will create circular scratches along the whole head circumference. It really depends on what kind of debris was in there. Cookie or cracker crumbs, for example, in conjunction with a "cleaning tape", would have totally screwed the camera.

"Cleaning tapes" are not tapes, and really do not clean. Hence my use of "cleaning tapes", seeing as how they are neither.

Quote:
Sort of. I think D8 tapes recorded in LP were said to be problematic playing on decks other than the one they were recorded on. I never used LP so I can't say more than that. Otherwise, yes, an out of alignment cam is a good guess.
Yes, this is a common problem. But it existed for analog Video8 and Hi8 as well, as the alignment was recorded into the tape itself. There is no "tracking" on a 8mm-based tapes like there was with VHS. So if the tape was recorded on a damaged/misaligned player, or if that player was later fixed, then you're pretty much screwed. There's really no way to play back the content in this case.

Video8/Hi8 looked better than VHS, but that's the main drawback to the format.

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  #10  
05-23-2014, 02:49 PM
NJRoadfan NJRoadfan is offline
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Sony certainly did sell cleaning tapes for 8mm decks. Creepy Bob pushed them anytime he had a chance:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lqMsR6K9Syc (advance to 4:00)

JVC and Panasonic made VHS cleaning tapes. Sony also made them for MicroMV and MiniDV. The WVHS decks even came with a special cleaning tape.

Not all cleaning tapes are the same though. The ones that are a piece of cloth should never see the inside of a VCR!
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  #11  
05-31-2014, 09:30 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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Cleaning tapes contained a mild abrasive. At least for MiniDV they are intended as a one-pass and toss tape. To not rewind and run through again, that can lead to problems as old dirt is used to "polish" the heads, guides, etc. during a second pass. They were also intended to use for a brief period of time per cleaning.

On the other hand the Sony T25CLD VHS cleaning tape allows 4 uses (i.e., 3 rewinds) before tossing, and suggested a 10 second application. Canon MiniDV camcorder manuals specifically recommend their branded cleaning tape and warn against wet cleaning. The Sony Hi8 EV-S7000 manual specifically says to "Clean the video heads using the Sony video head cleaning cassette." and goes on to state "Do not use a commercially available wet-tye cleaning cassette, as it may damage the video heads." Similarly the Canon Hi8 L2 manual recommended using their CC-8 video head cleaning cassette and also says not not use wet-type cleaning cassettes.

On the other hand, the AG-1980 and 1970 manuals tout their automatic head cleaning, and when that becomes ineffective they suggest you see your dealer.

The advantage of the dry-type cleaning tapes is they were quick (no need to open the case), covered the full tap path including and capstan and guides, and they often worked for minor issues. Also, they reduced the chance of Joe or Jane Sixpack making things worse with mis-applied manual cleaning.

So in summary, manufacturers of consumer and prosumer gear recommended their "dry"cleaning tapes, but not wet-type tapes. You pays your money and takes your chances. Just be honest when you evaluate your individual skills before you open the VCR to clean it.
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  #12  
05-31-2014, 11:21 AM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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the tapes do basically nothing, i cant tell you how many "broken" decks and cams ive bought that just needed a good manual cleaning.
ive had JVC mini-dv decks that said onscreen "use cleaning cassette" and you can run the cleaning tape till the cows come home and still get the message, but a good alcohol/chamois cleaning and it is working again.

auto head cleaners are about the worse thing ever put in VCRs - i remove them from all my decks
they may have been of marginal help when brand new, but a filthy, disintegrating 15 year old foam/felt roller is only going to clog or ruin your video heads
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  #13  
06-03-2014, 02:20 AM
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We just finished cleaning every camera we own, including all of my personal ones. These are all film cameras, not video, so there's no transport. But the optics are generally the same, and you use the same procedures to clean both video camcorder and still photography DSLRs. I cannot tell you how much bad advice is out there, regarding DIY cleaning methods. Everything from "official" advice to amateur blog advice can be terrible.

I hate it when Nikon/Canon documents say generically to use "lens cleaning fluid", when the stuff can be third-world toilet water. It's not all the same. Not even close!

I'm often reminded of the horrible advice that came with DVD recorders that said to use PRINCO, Ritek (then G, as F did not exist yet), Memorex, etc. I have no faith in the "official" documents, which tend to be outsourced to ESL technical writers. So just because it's in a book doesn't mean it's good advice. People put too much faith in these documents, which are often treated as an afterthought. I think you'd be shocked at manual writing practices!

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  #14  
07-27-2017, 07:28 PM
Pájaro Pájaro is offline
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Hi lordsmurf,

I have two S-VHS cameras I want to clean, a Panasonic 455 and a M8000. The first one plays back “well”, but I want to optimize it as good as I can to digitaze some tapes. The M8000, the last time I tried it three years ago, played back perfectly, but now I can see static in a fragment of the image. I suppose/hope it is a cleaning matter, but I don’t know.

Do you take the tape door apart to do the cleaning? Or do you just put your hand and the swab as good as you can? In the cameras I mentioned, it is not easy to put your hand through the door, especially if you don’t know where are the parts to clean, and some parts could be out of sight/reach.

Thank you.
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