Quantcast Where to send VHS tapes with mold? - digitalFAQ Forum
  #1  
05-04-2015, 06:13 PM
vhsdigital34 vhsdigital34 is offline
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Does anyone know where to go/send tapes that have mold? I've found one with a lot of white "dust" on it. Can it be cleaned at home?

Also, is there a place to send damaged tapes to repair?
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  #2  
05-04-2015, 06:19 PM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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This is a new topic, and therefore needs to be a new thread.

Mold is very damaging to VCRs, and it can become "patient zero", spreading mold to all tapes that enter it. Mold must be removed, and it must be killed by baking the tape.

The only reputable service that handles VHS with physical damage (mold, fire, flood, etc) is Spec Bros.

We handle signal-damaged media, but not physically damaged media.

In some cases, another company first transfers the media to lossless AVI, and then we get the video/audio to be restored. This has happened quite a few times in recent years.

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  #3  
05-05-2015, 12:51 PM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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a Tapechek machine can clean tapes, but those are pricey.

i have been able to clean tapes myself, using a shitty old AG-1960
the AG-1960 is nice in that during ff and rewind it backs the tape completely off the video head
so with a steady hand and some alcohol moistened sensor swabs, you can clean the tapes
do this at your own peril, as one slip and you can bork the tape.
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  #4  
05-05-2015, 04:51 PM
vhsdigital34 vhsdigital34 is offline
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Thanks guys. Just got off th phone with spec bros. Very polite and very informative. This is extremely expensive stuff. White dust could be one of three things: white decay residue, fungus, hydrolysis. Apparently alcohol and heat won't kill the spores, only the fungus. It's $170 per tape to clean them but this won't remove the embedded spores, just the growth on top. To have the spores killed costs $1,000 per tape. It would have to be extremely valuable to go ahead with this. They usually deal with libraries, universities, studios, etc so probably not meant for most people but it's good to know where to go if you have the cash.

They also do 10bit transfers to digital file (uncompressed) and said it'd be 110GB/hr. That'd cost $150/hr. Not only that, you'd need a HD that's 7200rpm or it won't be able to play the file (not surprised considering the amount of data to process). What really surprised me was that "lossless" is compressed to less than a quarter of an uncompressed file. That's 3/4 of data gone. It's too bad tapes won't survive to where technology can catch up to archiving them at a relatively affordable cost (including storage costs). He hasn't even heard of Huffyuv before. I'm guessing different league (and paycheck)

Last edited by vhsdigital34; 05-05-2015 at 05:05 PM.
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  #5  
05-05-2015, 05:25 PM
volksjager volksjager is offline
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the white dusty stuff is what was on the tapes i did.
i had pretty good luck doing it my way, and then keeping the tapes away from moisture
moisture (keeping tapes in damp garages/basements) is what causes most mold.
vinegar is good at killing mold, could try a alcohol/vinegar mix, then run again with straight alcohol
if overly worried, then just transfer them using a expendable vcr
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  #6  
05-05-2015, 06:27 PM
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Yeah, a VCR that can you afford that is "damageable" may be the best solution on the cheap.

The $170 per tape sounds about right, and that should include the transfer. You probably don't really care about killing the mold, just removing it long enough to get the transfer. VideoInterchange used to be about $100-150 per tape, before he disappeared (due to health issues, to my knowledge).

I have a mold allergy, so I try to not get anywhere near anything like that.

The biggest problem you have with mold is that it causes the tape to lock up. So you need to manually see if the tape can even be fully played. In most cases, you can't.

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  #7  
05-06-2015, 06:44 PM
vhsdigital34 vhsdigital34 is offline
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The guy from Spec bros said the white dust could be one of the three so I'm not sure which it is (nor am I sure whether we can distinguish without instruments). The full story to this is that I didn't realize there were white dust on the tapes until after I've put it through the VCR. To compound the issue, the tape broke and it went all over the place. I took the tape apart and put it back together with scotch tape (it was the very tip of the beginning of the tape (clear portion connected to the spindle, not the actual tape). I played it again to capture and got the footage (although was distorted a bit throughout). If it didn't lock is it not mold or did I just get really lucky? Would it play better after cleaning it? Unfortunately I've played a few other tapes after cleaning it with the video head solution and chamois swab. Does that help remedy the situation or did I inadvertently spread it to a few tapes (not a lot)? I also had a few tapes on top of another VCR right next to it. Would those have been infected when the white powder blew up in the VCR next to it? Didn't realize this whole process is such a pain.. I do have an expendable VCR that's a DVD dub machine. Perhaps I could use that
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05-08-2015, 11:33 PM
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Are these tapes from a priceless, personal collection?, Or a customer/friend of yours?..How much $$ and time is it worth to you/friend/customer?..I noticed no reference in your post, as to the the original location and/or importance of mentioned tapes..Even after all the time and expense of having these tapes cleaned, what was the original Quality/Importance of them when they were New, and UN-Contaminated?

Reply #2...As a Fully Licensed Pest Control Technician for the past 30 years, (And Certified Germ-Freak!) I would submit 2 (count 'em.. 2) options: (#1) Put on Personal Protective Equipment (PPE): Neoprene gloves (Non-Lined),Long Sleeve Shirt, Approved Face Mask, Protective Hat, Approved (over the brow) Eye Goggles, Long Pants, Water-proof boots,(with socks)..Then Dispose of contaminated material in a manor consistent with Local,State and Federal Laws, Then remove contaminated clothing and offer to EPA approved chemical washing facility... Option (#2) Don't Touch!,Don't Bother, Throw away in trash!..(see option #1)

I smell a LAWSUIT with this thred? is this really a seriouse Question?..WoofWoof!!!.."Can it be cleaned at home"....White Dust?.,I hope I am wrong, Just wondering?
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  #9  
05-09-2015, 10:10 AM
vhsdigital34 vhsdigital34 is offline
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I am not a business.. Home videos..
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  #10  
05-10-2015, 05:02 PM
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rocko rocko is offline
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Sorry about any sarcastic remarks in my reply to your thread (to vhsdigital34). I used to collect vinyl records, tapes, and record players, tape machines, etc..., Any time I ran across something (usually stored in a basement) with mold on it, I would usually pass it up, no matter how rare, or valuable the item may be
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  #11  
06-03-2015, 11:43 AM
digitap digitap is offline
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I've done some reading on this, as I have a bunch of Beta home videos that need transferred. Many of them have the same white stuff you describe. From the reading I've done, the suggestion is to use hydrogen peroxide (3%) because things like vinegar, alcohol and other fluids can damage the magnetic recording layer by causing it to peel off or other things. Alochol may be fine for the tape heads and other components within the machine, but it's not recommended for the tapes themselves.

Often the white stuff will just be on the edge of the tape, but it will flake off within the machine and within the tape's casing. Therefore, if you want to preserve the tape itself, you'd likely need to disassemble the case, remove the tape and then clean both the tape and the cassette. Then dry and reassemble.

Tapes that are stuck or have gotten wet are sometimes "baked" in a medical grade oven. This can sometimes improve their function temporarily, just enough to get the transfer done, and may help with sticky tape issues.

Hope this helps for anyone stumbling on the thread.
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