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Well I figured I would post info about dirty heads because it is a reoccurring problem that gets asked often, hopefully keeping this new section clean.

 

Dirty Heads

 

Symptoms:

If your camera is having random glitches in the video or audio, if it doesn’t playback what’s on the tape properly, says remove tape, has weird lines across the screen, randomly shows small parts of footage you have recorded over, has regular dropouts, or if there isnt even a timecode/picture when you play back, there is a good chance your heads are dirty.

 

Causes:

Dirty Heads are like aids, when you use a tape in one camera its gets some lubricant from the tape onto the cameras heads, then when you change brands of tapes without cleaning the heads, the lubricant from the new tape mixes with the left over lubricant. This gets all messy and the cameras heads can not communicate with the tape properly, causing problems. This often happens when you purchase a camera used and they used different tapes then you are using, so always ask.

 

Fixes:

You need to clean your heads, You will need to purchase a head cleaner tape and run it through your camera, for a designated amount of time, normally about 10 seconds or less, but read the instructions. Also you want to use head cleaners as little as you can, though they clean your heads they also wear down you heads, so using them a lot is bad in the long run.

 

MiniDV Head Cleaner tapes:

Panasonic

Sony

TDK

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so ur heads cant really get to dirty to clean or what i mean if u mix tapes all the time and juss use a head cleaner it will be fine or it will fuck the heads and u have to replace it eventually or do they juss like die

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well you could switch tapes all you want, but you would nead ot use a head cleaner tape before you put a difrent tape in, but using you head cleaner tape is sort of like sanding the stuff off the surface of the heads, its will help but in the long run it will cost you new heads. I would just recommend picking a tape that all your friend use so you wont nead to worry about sharing tapes.

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Would it be Ok to use a panasonic head cleaner on my vx1 which i use them red i think sony premium tapes

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ya it would work fine, but if you dont already have the tape i would suggest getting a sony one for a sony cam and sony tapes.

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Mostly good advise here. A couple of points though. If your heads are dirty, your deck is dirty. A head cleaner ONLY burnishes the heads not the whole drum and not the rest of the tape path. So even if you put a brand new tape in next, it's going to pick up crud from somewhere else in the path and redeposit to your heads. Also tape brands are a personel preference but Sony tapes and the problems they cause are going to pay for my vacation this year

Later guys

Kerry

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so are you saying people who use sony tapes are prone to having more head problems?

and the majority of people on here use them?

 

and hey since your a mod on here you should make sub forum in this for post like this, with helpfull information, like a contributing section, but just for camera repairs. So it will help keep this section clean.

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well if your having playback problems, alot of glitches and sound problems then a head cleaner tape wouldnt help at all.

 

you will have to get them professional cleaned.

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well if your having playback problems, alot of glitches and sound problems then a head cleaner tape wouldnt help at all.

 

you will have to get them professional cleaned.

that isnt completly accurate, but getting it proffesionaly cleaned will do a better job.

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The type of residue that comes off mini dv heads seems best removed with a solvent rather than an abrasive (cleaning tape).

 

Head cleaners should only be used occassionally as they wear down video heads. They may get you out of a jam; but chances are that you are cross contaminating your tapes. The biggest offenders seem to be Sony Tapes imo.

 

Just my .02

 

This is an informative thread. If any of you have testimonials about tape mixing causing or not causing problems then have at it.

 

 

Lew

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MiniDV Head Cleaner tapes:

Panasonic

I bought one of these tapes at wal mart for $2. So if you guys are looking for a head cleaner, check out wal mart first, and then if they don't have anything then order online if you want to.

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this happened to me today while recording a line, it just popped up and said dirty head...

 

im using a maxell tape on my optura 10 and since this popped up i was concerned and switched out the tapes with a new one (another maxell same model, same everything)

 

so obvisly(sp i know) i need to go by a head cleaner and use some sony premiums or something?

 

any other suggestions?

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this happened to me today while recording a line, it just popped up and said dirty head...

 

im using a maxell tape on my optura 10 and since this popped up i was concerned and switched out the tapes with a new one (another maxell same model, same everything)

 

so obvisly(sp i know) i need to go by a head cleaner and use some sony premiums or something?

 

any other suggestions?

no, everyone loves sony premiums, but if you've been using maxwell tapes, stick with them. switching tape brands won't do you any good.

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no, everyone loves sony premiums, but if you've been using maxwell tapes, stick with them. switching tape brands won't do you any good.

ok thanks, are you sure i shouldnt follow the cool crowd?

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Hey Video Electronics thanks for pinning this, good to see you are excersising your ability as a mod. and people if you think you can write a good answer to comon problems go for it, maybe a point insentive for any contribution?

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Theoritically it shouldn't matter. The tape flows through the path the same whether you are recording or pb. The electronics just tell the heads to read or write. The instructions that come with the head cleaners tell you to play back though.

 

The theory of the head cleaner is to embed some micro abrasive in the tape, therefore burnishing or cleaning your heads (at high speed!!). When we clean heads we use a special home brewed solvent and a white lintless woven wipe (say that 5 times fast). If I can actually see tape oxide and oils on the material, you can understand why I don't think cleaning tapes are very effective.

 

BUT, I still agree that they should be used in a pinch, and not as routine maintenance. I have heard of many getting out of a jam after playing a suspect tape.

 

Lew

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so dirty heads effect the audio? I always used sony premieums, but recently for a job I had to use tdk, and panasonic, did that really screw with my cam, or should I just use a head cleaner. I know I wont do that again. Anyway how much is it to get a cam professionally cleaned, I have a gl.

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If you read back in this post we have determined that mixing brands is bad. The micro lubricant on these tapes are different by most manufacturers and when mixed, cause head blocking and tape path sticking. Sony, IMO is the worst offender unless you stick with Sony only.

 

We have a special rate structure for SP members that is posted on the front page of this site.

 

We don't charge you guys to evaluate. You are only responsible for the return shipping if you choose not to repair. All repairs come with a cleaning and minor alignment standard. Try to find a better deal than That!

 

Lew

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Because the city, in which i live, sucks, there's only one place, where you can get Sony tapes, but i didn't make it to that shop yesterday. But i needed new tapes, so i bought some Emtec MP tapes and blacked them. The video was fine. No glitches, dropouts, anything.

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I got my Optura 10 today and it was doing all kinds of weird things; the video wouldn't play back, I had to constantly eject the tapes, etc. I am glad I read this thread, because it looks like dirty heads are the problem. I'm going to go ahead and just run a head cleaner through here, but something weird happend. When I go to record on a tape it doesn't work, but when I record to the little memory card I have it works fine. Do the heads not affect it playing on the card or something? Or is something else a problem? Thanks.

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so dirty heads effect the audio? I always used sony premieums, but recently for a job I had to use tdk, and panasonic, did that really screw with my cam, or should I just use a head cleaner. I know I wont do that again. Anyway how much is it to get a cam professionally cleaned, I have a gl.

dirty heads do affect audio, and if you havnt got any dropouts or problems then your camera is fine.

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