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  1. Member
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    Last year i put a bad tape in my Panasonic NV-HS860 VCR, and it stopped playing. So put another video in and the picture had all the comet tails, which is typical of dirty heads. So i finally got round to cleaning the heads over the weekend using foam q-tips and 99.9% isopropyl alcohol. When manually turning the drum i could feel the heads snagging a little when it was run against the q-tip.. don't know if i didn't wet it enough. But put another tape in and everything plays fine, picture looks great. Just when it's rewind/fast-forwarding it doesn't sound right to me. I hope none of the tape heads have been snagged out of place and is scratching/damaging the tapes?

    Anyway i've audio recorded a whole tape cycle (FF then Rewind) by lifting up the VCR slot to hear what's going on inside. It's only 3 minutes long. Does it sound fine?

    http://vocaroo.com/i/s0BT4Ia5BXcw
    Last edited by Master Tape; 1st Aug 2017 at 09:29.
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    The video drum is not involved in FF or Rewind, so the noise has nothing to do with the heads. Don't use foam tips on video heads; as you discovered, they snag. Use chamois swabs instead.
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  3. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    Tape heads are very precise and brittle,if they are dislodged there no way you can see any video,i worked in 3 different repair shops and we all used q-tips and never chamois tips,they never cleaned as good as q-tips but you have to know how to use q-tips on vcr heads.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.
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    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    The video drum is not involved in FF or Rewind, so the noise has nothing to do with the heads. Don't use foam tips on video heads; as you discovered, they snag. Use chamois swabs instead.
    I thought the tape runs over the video drum and comes into contact with the heads during FF or Rewind? I'm just concerned by that scraping shredder sound you hear a couple of times in the recording. I just hope it's an already damaged part of the tape or something.

    Sometimes i also cleaned a head in a back and forth motion, but it could snag either way.

    Originally Posted by johns0 View Post
    Tape heads are very precise and brittle,if they are dislodged there no way you can see any video,i worked in 3 different repair shops and we all used q-tips and never chamois tips,they never cleaned as good as q-tips but you have to know how to use q-tips on vcr heads.
    Oh that's a relief. The picture looks great, it has the occasional white line, but i think that might be the source tape and not added damage from snagged video heads (i hope!) How do i know if i've injured the head(s)?

    I've heard the best thing to clean video heads with is a DSLR lens cleaning swab, so might use those in future.
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    Cotton-tipped swabs are a bad idea for cleaning video heads or drum. They snag and leave fibers behind. In general, it's only necessary to clean the heads when they are gunked up by a bad tape. Otherwise, there's no merit in cleaning them as "good" as you can. Save the thorough cleaning for other parts of the tape path.

    The scraping sound in your recording impressed me as a problem somewhere around the reel tables. But you'd have to open it up and probe around with the mic to find out.
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    Oh these swabs are lint free, but may get the chamois swabs if these ones also have the snagging problem.
    https://www.amazon.co.uk/Rangers-packaging-lint-free-absorbing-invisible/dp/B06VT5SHRB...r+sensor+swabs

    I read somewhere you should clean the heads after every 10 tapes you play. Perhaps that is a bit extreme.

    I'll open it up and record again at some point in the week.
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    As long as whatever you use does not have loops which could catch on the heads. There is no requirement to regularly clean video heads like there is with audio heads. Leave them alone until the picture gets wonky.
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    Sorry for the late reply, just got round to recording it with the machine opened this time.

    First audio clip is a full tape cycle, fast forwarded, then rewound. Second clip is the tape playing. Third is it playing right at the start of a tape (is the head noise supposed to sound like that?)

    And thought i'd record a video of another tape cycle. In this case, being a retail video. Unfortunately my battery ran out before i could finish recording the full cycle.

    I've also taken a couple of pictures inside of the unit too. The white plastic spindle has some weird yellow residue on it.

    Probably a bit overkill, but just want to make sure nothing is wrong!
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