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01-30-2023, 12:54 PM
Boom_110 Boom_110 is offline
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I purchased a few months ago a Sony camcorder TRV66E PAL (Video8 and Hi8 compatible) which I used to digitize a few Video8 tapes of mine with no particular issues (apart from some varying number of frames dropped, which I only mention here in case it could relates to the issue exposed here, although I first assumed that it was related to my computer set-up / Bt848 capture card).

This camcorder was sold to me with 1 HI8 tape (which was not empty but with meaningless content).
A few weeks ago, I wanted to use the camcorder to record a scene and used that HI8 tape. After about 20mn of recording, a warning popped up at the screen of the camcorder about dirty heads. I was still able to record a bit more despite the warning, and at some point it was not possible anymore: the screen was dark (I mean the picture, since the menu kept displaying correctly - i.e. not a screen issue), both in record or playing modes. Forward/rewind showing nothing special.

I found a certain number of tutorials to clean heads and kind of get that the ideal solution would be using chamois swabs. But I had none with me, and they are quite pricey, so I used what seemed to be the second best solution: a thick white paper strip dipped into alcohol (90%). I pressed the paper against the drum (too strong?) while turning it (and repeated the operation several times changing the paper strip each time), and then tried to clean at best the other parts that would be touching the tape.

After reassembly, I still have no picture when playing a tape (both the HI8 one and a previously successfully digitized Video8 one). However when using forward/rewinding, the picture appears on the screen - even though at fast speed. It looks like an improvement but it is not enough... Does this still suggest dirty heads? Should I clean them again with a different method ?

Thank you for reading.

Edit: Oops, I guess I should have rather posted this in "Videography: Cameras, TVs and Players"' category. Could some admin move it?

Last edited by Boom_110; 01-30-2023 at 12:59 PM. Reason: wrong category
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02-01-2023, 07:32 AM
dpalomaki dpalomaki is offline
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I have not use that camcorder model so this is speculation. The camcorder may have a video "squelch" sort of circuit that blanks the screen when the picture is too far gone. (If so it might be mentioned in the manual.) That circuit might not operate in FWD/REW modes allowing the image you see. It also could be that one head is too clogged to read the tape causing this.

A microscopic examination of the heads might reveal some schmutz in the head gap if you can do that.

A through professional-quality cleaning might help; i.e., no improvised methods or materials. No picture is also a symptom of worn-out heads, a bit unusual for a consumer camcorder in typical home use but that depends on the previous owner(s) applications.

(In the dim distant past (1990s) there was an issue with the lubricants used by Sony and by the other tape makers not playing well together causing head clogs that required factory-level service when tape brands were mixed. This was resolved (Sony changed their formula) but some old tapes might possibly induce it.)
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clean, heads, hi8, sony, video8

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