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  1. I have read this guide on cleaning VCRs, but I have a few questions.

    1) Are there any signs or symptoms that a playback device needs cleaning? How often should I clean it or how will I know it needs cleaning?

    2) Anything specific to other tape formats like Hi8 or MiniDV?

    3) Anything I should look out for when cleaning a camcorder as opposed to a VCR? The parts are smaller and seem easier to break, so I need some reassurance before I crack it open and fuss something up.

    Thanks in advance for any help!
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  2. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    Jul 2015
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    1) Usually a noisy picture on a tape that you would not expect to have noise on. Or maybe the tape plays but you just get blue screen, then that is also possible indicator of a dirty head. These tapes that we try to play are 20-40 years old now and have not been played in decades probably, so they have a lot of potential to shed onto the head the first time you play them.

    2)VHS/8mm/Hi8 should a show a noisy picture or no picture with a dirty head. With any DV/Digital8 format, which has digital picture information stored on tape, you might see blocking errors in the picture with a dirty head. Or you might not get a picture at all.

    3) 8mm/Hi8 have special cleaning tapes made by Sony to clean the head. I would guess minidv would also have some kind of cleaning tape. I don't trust myself to open a camcorder so the tapes are a life saver. VCRs on the other hand are big enough for me to clean by hand.
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