03-18-2014, 11:42 AM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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I am trying to convert some u-matic tapes on a machine and some issues arise for only select tapes. One induces a dew detector in the machine each time and I don't know if there is a way to take it apart and air dry it.

Other tapes play, but while I don't hear or see anything, the audio meters pick up whatever is on the tape. I have tried adjusting the tracking, taking off the frame servo, and even the tbc. There was a lot of snow in the beginning of the tape, indicating oxide. Is there anything else to do?

Also would buying a never-used u-matic tape to run in the machine be better than a cleaning tape?
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07-25-2014, 03:45 AM
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lordsmurf lordsmurf is offline
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You've had all kinds of U-matic issues this year, it seems.

I don't know that a normal tape would be any better than a cleaning tape, no. As much as I detest cleaning tapes, since all they do is smears dirt around, and least it's doing more than nothing -- which is what a normal tape would probably do.

Given the issue you've had, I have no ideas if its the deck or the tape, to be honest.

It seems I've been the one answering most of your U-matic questions (and why they were not answered until now). While I'm no stranger to the format, having "been around" it (yet never used it), it's been at least 20 years. Only in my earliest days of video did I even see U-matic. At least that I can remember now.

This was an unanswered question or unresolved issue found during a site audit. It's hard to have an FAQ when the answers are missing, or final outcomes are unknown. At The Digital FAQ support forum, questions are never intentionally ignored, and may have been missed due to a forum glitch or human error. More details on the audit. (In some cases, threads have been edited/updated with newer information.)

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The following users thank lordsmurf for this useful post: Winsordawson (07-25-2014)
07-25-2014, 08:30 AM
Winsordawson Winsordawson is offline
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Well, the tape mechanisms of U-Matic VTRs share similarities with VCRs, for anyone reading this. Some of my tapes get the dew warning no matter how long they have been in a dry setting--perhaps too much condensation/tape degradation? The thing is that I can have some tapes from the early '80s play fine (with some oxide), and then have a tape from the late '80s have this problem. Since they were all stored in the same basic area it may come down to the tape brand--I spoke to a technician who said there have been more problems with 3M and European brands than Sony, so he may be inferring occurrences of sticky-shed syndrome. Since the audio is recorded at the top of the tape, perhaps this is the explanation:

Audio cannot be recorded on a VHS tape without recording a video signal, even in the audio dubbing mode. If there is no video signal to the VCR input, most VCRs will record black video as well as generate a control track while the audio is being recorded. Some early VCRs would record audio without a control track signal, but this was of little practical use since the absence of a control track signal meant that the linear tape speed was irregular during playback.
So my deck could probably export audio but without a video signal I could never see it. This also happened on the tapes with horrendous tracking which I sent to KPMedia.

With regard to blank tapes, I found they work very well in removing oxide--just have to play them for a few minutes at a time, and when done, throw them out.
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conversion, tbc, u-matic

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