DV Head Clogging

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Pete
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Joined: Mar 26 1999

Does anyone have any problems with head clogging with DV cams ? I've got a Panasonic NV-EX1 and I frequently have to clean the heads. I'm quite wary of doing this because of the rumours about head life etc but I've no option. I've only had the camera for 3 months but I've had to clean the heads about 5 times in that period, is this normal ?

Ken W
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Joined: Apr 9 1999

Just a suggestion
I've recently bought the Sony TRV900 from a national chain, it was supplied direct from the shop with a Panasonic tape. Fortunately (because of this web site) I was aware of head life problems. On further investigation it seems the head life problems with the Sony are at their worst when used with "third party" tapes and Sony accuse Panasonic or rather the agents in Panasonic tapes for clogging their (Sony's) heads. Worse still the shop didn't know a thing about this issue and happily supplied Panasonic tapes!!
I would have thought "heads are heads" in any DV cameras, they all do the same job. So why would Panasonic tapes clog Sony but not Panasonic? Therefore what brand of tapes are you using? and have you tried changing brands?
Regards
Ken W

Unicorn
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Joined: Apr 12 1999

Supposedly the problem occurs if you use both Sony and Panasonic tapes in the same camera; from what I've read the lubrication on the Sony tapes reacted somehow with that from Panasonic tapes and that clogs the heads. I've also read that Sony changed their tapes so that this was no longer a problem, but don't have any evidence to back that up.

P4-3.06/2GB RAM/2500GB IDE/SATA. Avid Media Composer, Liquid Edition, Premiere 6, Lightwave, Vue 6, eyeon Fusion 5. DV and HDV editing/compositing.

Pete
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Joined: Mar 26 1999

I'd heard about the problems using different tape manufacturers but I've only used Panasonic tapes in the machine. I've also heard rumours that Sony tapes are better but the whole thing seems to be a can of worms.

Ken W
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Joined: Apr 9 1999

Pete
You say you've only used Panasonic tapes in your Panasonic machine, why not send the camera back under warranty stating your problems, and for a complete head clean and service. When you get it back maybe switch to Sony tapes. Can't do any harm, can it?

Pete1
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Joined: Apr 7 1999

As I understand it, there are potential dangers in mixing & matching DV cassettes. from what I hear one manufacturer may choose to 'lubricate' their tape with a fine powder while another may use a light oil. Both should pass through the camera without causing any harm, but mix the two together and you've got a nasty icky-sticky slurry forming on your heads.

I don't know if anyone can confirm this or whether I'm perpetuating a load of cobblers but the logical conclusion would be to choose one brand you like and stick with it.

If you've been doing this all along, then take your camera back, play hell and let someone else sweat over it.

Cheers,

Pete Wells

Pete
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Joined: Mar 26 1999

Yes I think I will send it back under warranty, just hope they don't take too long to do it !

Ken W
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Joined: Apr 9 1999

Pete
When you send it back under warranty, make sure you tell them straight out you've only used their (Panasonic) tapes. If you don't, I'll give you good odds the first thing they will say is you've been using third party tapes and it's your fault.
Regards
Ken

Pete
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Joined: Mar 26 1999

Good point, I've had problems before with companies trying to wriggle out of their warranties.

Thanks

Pete

mal
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Joined: Apr 17 1999

Anyone know of a cheap source of JVC mini DV tapes. I was about to put an order in for Panasonic mini DVs, but after reading the above I'd rather not (but would it matter?)
Do JVC make their own tapes or just re-brand someone else's?

Thanks
mal

jarroda
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Joined: Mar 31 1999

I've posted a separate Topic on this, but I've read through an awful lot of material on this subject and it does seem that using Sony Tapes with any other Brand was the cause of most problems. This much is fact.

Sony did change their manufacuring process to comply with everyone else several months ago.

All new tapes should now be compatible.

-=-=-=-

The idea of re-badged tapes is very interesting. Bearing in mind the above Topic, how can you be sure where the tape you are buying came from..?

I use Panasonic tapes in my Sony TRV900. I've had it for 6 months (seems like 6 days) and given it loads of use both as a camcorder and as part of my DV300 based NLE system. I've never (touch wood!) had a moments problem, and so far I have never used a cleaning cassette.

I've heard recommended that using a cleaning tape after 50 hours of use is a good idea, but only for a few seconds. I think I must be approaching this very soon.

As an interesting aside. Presumably cleaning tapes are lubricated, and therefore you're in the same possition as with normal Mini-DV tapes...?

Andrew

Unicorn
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Joined: Apr 12 1999

I just found a discussion of this at:

http://www.best.com/~beale/trv900/head.txt

That claims it was Sony's problem for using a different lubricant to everyone else, and that they switched to the standard lubricant some time ago. If true, we should be fine as long as we don't use old Sony tapes, regardless of whether we're using Panasonic, JVC or new Sony tapes.

On the cheap tapes front, I normally buy them from the shop in Whitechapel which advertises in most video mags (KVJ?)... they're currently listing 60 minute JVC tapes at 7.99 each, and Sony tapes at 6.50, or 7.99 with chip. So far I've had no problems with any of the tapes I've bought from them, and saved a lot of money compared to High Street prices (e.g. most shops charge 16.99 for the Sony tapes they sell for 6.50!).

P4-3.06/2GB RAM/2500GB IDE/SATA. Avid Media Composer, Liquid Edition, Premiere 6, Lightwave, Vue 6, eyeon Fusion 5. DV and HDV editing/compositing.

Gary Schwartz
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Joined: Apr 27 1999

This area fascinates me. As a chemical engineer, it strikes me as the problem should almost be instantaneous the moment you mix tapes. The other thing is that I've noticed that cameras suppiled by rental companies don't complain and tell me they have no headlife problems. Think about the hours in that. My supplier on Wardour St, reckons the Panasonic tapes are the most popular. I've had a trv900 for 5 weeks, suddenly the image I was recorded went crazy a clean seems to have sorted that problem out, but keeping an eye on it.

As an aside, it has been known for many years that using the same brand of magnetic media will increase the life and performance of recordings whether it be cassette, vhs, floppy disk etc. This is due to the grain on the 'emulsion'. If anyone doesn't believe me, I used to work in thin film technology for medical use. Whatever it is you are doing use the same brand.

I'd love to get the guys from Sony and Panasonic together for a discussion on this.

Regards

Gary

jarroda
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Joined: Mar 31 1999

All this is crazy and a complete pain in the arse.

I too buy my tapes from KVJ and would love to take advantage of the Sony's with chip at £7.99. By comparisson the Panasonic with chip is £16.99...!

However I dare not use the Sony's as I am already using Panasonic. How do I know when these Sony's were made..? How do I know that the lubricant will be the right on.

On the bright side, Panasonic do the 80 minutes tapes (£11) and Sony (at the moment) don't..!

Andy

Unicorn
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Joined: Apr 12 1999

Hmm, one short student film I worked on as sound recordist we had a rented VX1000 die on us, and lost pretty much a whole day's shooting. I don't know whether that was down to tape mixing or just head wear from overuse.

P4-3.06/2GB RAM/2500GB IDE/SATA. Avid Media Composer, Liquid Edition, Premiere 6, Lightwave, Vue 6, eyeon Fusion 5. DV and HDV editing/compositing.

Ken W
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Joined: Apr 9 1999

I'm thinking of buying the Sony DV300 or 900 Walkman to save the headlife of my TRV900. Are the heads in the walkman the same as in the camera and will the tape issue still apply to the walkman?

Just to keep this debate simmering I would suggest I'm not totally convinced keeping the rival brands of DV tape apart will solve the problems. The originator of this thread 'Pete' stated he had to clean his heads 5 times in three months (doesn't this *alone* do damage?) and he further states he only used Panasonic tapes in a *Panasonic* machine. So the mixing of tapes and hence lubricating agents was not the issue here. Panasonic state Sony used a different lubricating agent from *everyone* else ?? I am led to understand that JVC and Fuji tapes etc are all Panasonic creations. So don't Panasonic really mean "Sony use a different lubricating agent to us". Or do they (Panasonic) use *different* manufacturing techniques (lubricating agents)when producing tapes for these *third party* brands? After the initial consumer concerns and the really stupid statements Sony released by way of an answer, I think it's high time the people from both (all) camps gave us some concrete information to digest. Why *should* we have to go to web sites created by dedicated amateurs to try to get/make some sort of sense out of this nonsense. We are paying big bucks for the equipment, the state of play at the moment makes me almost afraid to open the cassette door for fear of *airborn dust* entering, - another classic cause of failure - according to Sony. Now I'm not stupid enough to open my camera in the desert in a sand storm, so what does Sony mean exactly by *airborn dust*? For my part, although Panasonic seem to be the most popular (cheapest) tapes - based somewhat on the experiences of 'Pete' I will not let a Panasonic/Jvc/Fuji tape within a hundred yards of my equipment, so the "keep our heads down and blame Sony" campaign by Panasonic has done them NO favours in trying to lever my money. This does not mean I am happy with Sony, just my best bet in this gambling game we are forced to play. C'mon you big guys! a little honesty perhaps? you must *know* what's been causing our head problems, so just *tell* us, so we can maybe throw away a few old tapes and get some sleep.
Ken