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  1. Member
    Join Date: Aug 2004
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    I heard the best way of cleaning vcr heads without open it, is to use a head cleaner tape and then run a new tape all the way but I don't know if that works well. I cleaned my ag-1980 twice yesterday when I got it. On the first pass it the frames looked better but then I decided to re-clean it and I don't know if the dots where there before but there are white dots appearing in the frames at ramdom could it be the head was old anyway? please advice what to do I want to change heads if needed to make my ag new again...

    PS! How do I use my AG-1980 as a TBC for my SLV-R1000 it'll be like combining the best of both worlds if I'm successful... front inputs on the AG didn't work... the image still unstabilized!
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  2. Personally, I would open the VCR and use isopropyl alcohol on cotton buds to clean the head.

    Heads do wear out eventually, though, and you may want to consider replacing it/them.
    John Miller
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  3. Member
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    Originally Posted by JohnnyMalaria
    Personally, I would open the VCR and use isopropyl alcohol on cotton buds to clean the head.

    Heads do wear out eventually, though, and you may want to consider replacing it/them.
    I heard cotton buds? are they lossy? how about q-tips?
    Anyone else?
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  4. Sorry, I should have said Q-Tips. (In England, where I am from originally, we call them cotton buds. I don't mean balls of cottonwool. I mean the cotton swabs wound on sticks.)
    John Miller
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  5. Member SingSing's Avatar
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    Take a closer look at the head of the VCR. It has a very narrow and sharp gap, on the drum. Cotton and lint will stuck in there. A foam type swap is a better choice.

    Use a wet type cleaning tape is a better idea.

    Note : The drum is not the recording head.
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  6. Member
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    Originally Posted by SingSing
    Take a closer look at the head of the VCR. It has a very narrow and sharp gap, on the drum. Cotton and lint will stuck in there. A foam type swap is a better choice.

    Use a wet type cleaning tape is a better idea.

    Note : The drum is not the recording head.
    Ohh I thought the head cleaner draw it apart so I knock the head a little bit using little hammer.
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  7. Maybe you should adjust tracking when you play cause that gets rid of noise.....

    I use a coffee filter & denatured alcohol ( about $3 pt.). Don't use isoproyl if you can avoid it.
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  8. Member
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    Originally Posted by handyguy
    Maybe you should adjust tracking when you play cause that gets rid of noise.....

    I use a coffee filter & denatured alcohol ( about $3 pt.). Don't use isoproyl if you can avoid it.
    Coffee for the long hours and denatured alcohol but how about this:
    http://www.radioshack.com/product/index.jsp?productId=2103405
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  9. Video Restorer lordsmurf's Avatar
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    Video repair places all pretty much use isopropyl alcohol. Use a foam swab over a cotton swab, but both will work. Just be careful about using cheap cotton ones that will slough off and leave bits behind.

    Those "head cleaner" tapes do nothing, and can actually cause more damage than not.
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  10. Iso has water in it. Denatured does not. It's denatured so people won't drink it.

    I use the cassette cleaners sometimes. But just the wet ones, wet with denatured alcohol of course.
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  11. Member Mr. Dweezel's Avatar
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    Here's some info.....

    http://www.videointerchange.com/tips.htm

    The head cleaning info is about half way down the page.


    Here is the site map for that website.....

    http://www.videointerchange.com/site_map.htm

    More information there than anybody could ever need!!!
    A man walked into his son's room and said..."Son, that will cause blindness."
    The boy said, "Dad, I'm over here."
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  12. Member
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    Originally Posted by Mr. Dweezel
    Here's some info.....

    http://www.videointerchange.com/tips.htm

    The head cleaning info is about half way down the page.


    Here is the site map for that website.....

    http://www.videointerchange.com/site_map.htm

    More information there than anybody could ever need!!!
    He said to use Isopropyl medical grade or Xylene! I thought they will harm plastics and will be too abrasive for the head!. Maybe the medical grade wont' do this... I used a 70% isopropyl is that even worse?
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  13. Member Capmaster's Avatar
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    When I did some work with lasers, we had to use the absolute best way to clean the optics without leaving residue behind. So after researching it, I bought a 5 gallon drum of pure ethanol. Not denatured with jet fuel or benzene ...the pure stuff. Had a tax stamp over the spout and all.

    It is the best cleaner there is. But if you can't find it, a good, pure methanol will also work, but not quite as well.

    Stay away from household rubbing alcohol because more times than not it has glycerin mixed in. It'll leave an oily film.
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  14. Member
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    Originally Posted by Capmaster
    When I did some work with lasers, we had to use the absolute best way to clean the optics without leaving residue behind. So after researching it, I bought a 5 gallon drum of pure ethanol. Not denatured with jet fuel or benzene ...the pure stuff. Had a tax stamp over the spout and all.

    It is the best cleaner there is. But if you can't find it, a good, pure methanol will also work, but not quite as well.

    Stay away from household rubbing alcohol because more times than not it has glycerin mixed in. It'll leave an oily film.
    So Ethanol is better then Isopropyl of any kind?
    What does mean pure stuff... the denatured with jet fuel, benzene or the ethanol? I used Isopropyl 70% will that work?
    Qtips or chamois wipers... How about a antilinting towel like I used that gives me better precision cleaning am I right...
    -How about this for the cleaning pad:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=130071321955
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  15. Iso has water in it. You don't want water on your electronics.

    Denatured alcohol which you can get at Home Depot or any other guy stuff store, is pure alcohol.

    Denatured just means they made it so you can't drink it.
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  16. BuskerAlley.com zoobie's Avatar
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    Whatever you do, don't use those automatic tape cleaners. Repair guy down the street said most of his repairs come from people using these.
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  17. Originally Posted by handyguy
    Iso has water in it. You don't want water on your electronics.
    Water isn't a problem. It's the dissolved electrolytes that usually present the problem. Also, "guy store" solvents contain water, too, as well as other impurities that could leave residues. Unless you pay a premium for purified, dehydrated ethanol, you will end up with at least 4% water anyway.

    Indeed, in some applications, demineralized water is used as a coolant in direct contact with the electronics.
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  18. Member olyteddy's Avatar
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    Isopropanol can be had around here in 99% concentration for about a buck a pint. It's all I've ever needed. As far asking "How to clean vcr heads without damaging and opening the VCR" you might as well ask "How to make love without opening a Zipper". It can be done, but there are easier and more caring ways.
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  19. Member
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    Originally Posted by JohnnyMalaria
    Originally Posted by handyguy
    Iso has water in it. You don't want water on your electronics.
    Water isn't a problem. It's the dissolved electrolytes that usually present the problem. Also, "guy store" solvents contain water, too, as well as other impurities that could leave residues. Unless you pay a premium for purified, dehydrated ethanol, you will end up with at least 4% water anyway.

    Indeed, in some applications, demineralized water is used as a coolant in direct contact with the electronics.
    Like which purified isopropyl will you recommend me.

    @olyteddy
    is that half a litter? 500ml?
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  20. Banned
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    Every time I need it (when the bottle's almost empty) I buy it at duty free shops at airports or on the borders.
    Americans label it 190 Proof Alcohol, Canadians and Europeans labels say 95% Pure Spirit.
    It is drinkable of course, although I dont think anyone but Russians could drink it...
    PERFECT CLEANER if ya ask me...
    And its cheap, about $10 for 1/2 a gallon bottle (euro 1.89 liter).
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  21. Member olyteddy's Avatar
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    Yes, about 500 ml. I get it at Safeway (grocery store) Pharmacy. The reason it's 'only' 99% is that any alcohol will absorb moisture from the air, so 99% is easy to get (~ $1.00 / pint) but 99.9% requires extensive processing and 'drying' and costs about $20 / pint. As soon as you open that 99.9% bottle it will absorb moisture and become 99%...
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  22. If you clean your heads, you should clean the paths too. Otherwise the heads just get dirty again.
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  23. Member Capmaster's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CCEncoder
    So Ethanol is better then Isopropyl of any kind?
    What does mean pure stuff... the denatured with jet fuel, benzene or the ethanol? I used Isopropyl 70% will that work?
    If you're talking about something like high-power laser optics where a small spot of contaminant could cause a hot-spot, yes. It matters what kind of alcohol you use. For a VCR head or a DVD laser lens - no. Isopropanol=methanol=ethanol. Provided it's just alcohol and not other additives that could leave a residue.

    "Denatured" means something was added to make it undesirable to drink. "Pure" means nothing is added, not even denaturing chemicals.

    Denaturing is done to ethanol, which is the alcohol found in liquor. Usually something is added that cannot be removed (permanently bonded), whether it be benzene (carcinogen) or some other chemical. It renders it poisonous, without drastically affecting its properties.

    For your purposes denatured alcohol should work just fine
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  24. Member
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    Originally Posted by handyguy
    Iso has water in it. Denatured does not. It's denatured so people won't drink it.

    I use the cassette cleaners sometimes. But just the wet ones, wet with denatured alcohol of course.
    Can I use the solvents found on tape cleaners? what kind? How do I know if the Isopropyl is ISO or DENATURED.

    @Capmaster
    Why should I use denatured if it has added chemicals wouldn't pure be better?

    @handyguy
    So ISO is never to be used to clean vcr heads? Will 99% isopropyl still be iso?
    you mention something about the paths but how do I clean it if I heard the alcohol will ruin the plastic and rubbers... what is the trick there?
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  25. Most denatured alcohol is simply 95.6% ethanol/4.4% water + some additives.

    It *does* contain water.

    Dehydrating ethanol is expensive. The stuff in the cans you get in Home Depot will contain water.

    The residual water won't hurt your video heads. It will evaporate along with the alcohol. It won't separate. The 95.6% isn't any old number - ethanol and water form an azeotrope which means the vapor and liquid have the same composition.

    (It's the shit that is dissolved in tap water that is the problem. Purified, deionized, reverse-osmosis filtered, whatever water ain't an issue.)

    Like most things, the lay persons' terminology for chemical products is ambiguous.

    If you want anhydrous ethanol, make sure you see the Certificate of Analysis and look for the moisture content determination by Karl-Fischer potentiometric titration.

    Here's an MSDS sheet for Lynsol denatured alcohol. You can see that the (inferred) water level can range from 1% to 7%.
    John Miller
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    Home of the Enosoft DV Processor - Free for personal use!
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  26. Member
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    Originally Posted by JohnnyMalaria
    If you want anhydrous ethanol, make sure you see the Certificate of Analysis and look for the moisture content determination by Karl-Fischer potentiometric titration.

    Here's an MSDS sheet for Lynsol denatured alcohol. You can see that the (inferred) water level can range from 1% to 7%.
    Is this Isopropyl 99% a good buy?
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=180013625697
    was it pure, denatured hydrated or anhydrous... is better denatured or anhydrous for head cleaning? and which one would you recommend as being anhydrous (isopropyl or ethanol)? -the video guy from:
    http://www.videointerchange.com/tips.htm
    said me not to use ethanol instead just told me to use IPA 99% over 70% which I used as is much stronger, Xylene too as a last resort... what do you have to say?
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  27. Member
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    Originally Posted by SingSing
    Take a closer look at the head of the VCR. It has a very narrow and sharp gap, on the drum. Cotton and lint will stuck in there. A foam type swap is a better choice.

    Use a wet type cleaning tape is a better idea.

    Note : The drum is not the recording head.
    Buddy this foam swab:
    http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=170062527171
    or chamois wippers? are they synthetic? if they are will they scratch?
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  28. My favorite method to clean tape heads: run a new videocassette for a few minutes. That is usually adequate.

    If that's not enough, then 99% isopropanol and lint-free swabs for the tape heads. Continue all along the path, including the rollers, with regular cotton swabs and more isopropanol. Keep things damp, not drenched. Be sure all is dry before running a tape, else the tape will stick to the drum and perhaps misalign it.

    If the video heads are badly worn, they won't stay clean, since they won't stick out of the drum far enough to contact the tape well. Does anybody replace tape heads? Replace the VCR.
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  29. Member
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    Originally Posted by Constant Gardener
    My favorite method to clean tape heads: run a new videocassette for a few minutes. That is usually adequate.

    If that's not enough, then 99% isopropanol and lint-free swabs for the tape heads. Continue all along the path, including the rollers, with regular cotton swabs and more isopropanol. Keep things damp, not drenched. Be sure all is dry before running a tape, else the tape will stick to the drum and perhaps misalign it.

    If the video heads are badly worn, they won't stay clean, since they won't stick out of the drum far enough to contact the tape well. Does anybody replace tape heads? Replace the VCR.
    What do you do with the tape after you clean the heads with it?
    You want me to buy another VCR if the heads are worm or broken? it's an ag-1980 not a 40$ vcr.
    -should I use Isopropyl or Isopropanol to clean paths... and wouldn't that damage the rollers and rubbers? I thought I would just use the dry foam swab.
    @capmaster
    Which type of alcohol has glycerin the 70% isopropyl?
    @handyguy
    to stay away from isopropyl? if that's what videointerchange guy recommends.
    @olyteddy
    so 99.9 or 99% would be the same because we're working on non-sanitized enviroments right? but will 99 provide the same good clean?
    @JohnnyMalaria
    So Anhydrous is the same as 99% water just that it will evaporate faster?
    I don't still don't get why you recommend me ethanol over isopropyl, other people on forums had recommended me ethanol too as isopropyl.

    is it true that most 70% isopropyl have not only 30% water but often has additives such as witch hazel or oil of cloves without being labeled denatured.
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  30. Originally Posted by CCEncoder
    What do you do with the tape after you clean the heads with it?
    You want me to buy another VCR if the heads are worm or broken? it's an ag-1980 not a 40$ vcr.
    -should I use Isopropyl or Isopropanol to clean paths... and wouldn't that damage the rollers and rubbers? I thought I would just use the dry foam swab.
    Keep one new tape just for cleaning. If you get to the end, throw it out since it will have dirt in it.

    I use the 99% isopropyl alcohol (or isopropanol) to clean heads, paths, and rollers. The gunge won't come off with a dry swab. You can use a toothpick for stubborn stuff on the path, not the heads.

    My VCR would be cheaper to replace than repair. Get an estimate!
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