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  1. Member
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    I'm trying to clean the heads on my Canon Vixia HV40. Yes - I know - tape based camcorders are history but I have lots of older video I shot with it so I still need to use it to get the footage into my computer.

    I need to clean the heads but it's hard to get at the - uh - I forgot what you call it - but the large, round, silver, cylinder round thingy that the tape runs through. The problem is - even though the door thingy is open - it's hard to get at the round silver thingy.

    I tried taking the door that holds the cassette off but there is a tiny screw in the hinge that I can't get out. The head of the screw is so tiny, my screwdriver just slides off when I try to turn the screw. I don't want to press too hard for fear of bending the hinge.

    Any help will be appreciated.

  2. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    You need to buy a phillips screw driver with a very small size such as 00 to remove the door to get access to the head drum.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.

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    I have a screwdriver that fits the screw - but I can't get the screw to turn. The screwdriver just slides out when I try to turn it. The problem is not the screwdriver - I have the right screwdriver - it's that the screw won't turn. The screwdriver is tiny and the right size.

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    That HV series shot wonderful film-like footage. My HV-30 still works, I keep it for transfers.

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    Originally Posted by Barrythecrab View Post
    That HV series shot wonderful film-like footage. My HV-30 still works, I keep it for transfers.
    But the question was how do u clean the heads?

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    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Originally Posted by Barrythecrab View Post
    That HV series shot wonderful film-like footage. My HV-30 still works, I keep it for transfers.
    But the question was how do u clean the heads?
    You have to read between the lines. He saying it's worth fixing, get somebody who knows what they're
    doing to take a look.

  7. Member
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    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Originally Posted by Barrythecrab View Post
    That HV series shot wonderful film-like footage. My HV-30 still works, I keep it for transfers.
    But the question was how do u clean the heads?
    You have to read between the lines. He saying it's worth fixing, get somebody who knows what they're
    doing to take a look.
    If I wanted to pay someone $300 I would not have posted the question here. Of course I know someone can be hired - for big bucks!

  8. "Keeping it Weird" Austinfilmstock's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Originally Posted by Barrythecrab View Post
    That HV series shot wonderful film-like footage. My HV-30 still works, I keep it for transfers.
    But the question was how do u clean the heads?
    You have to read between the lines. He saying it's worth fixing, get somebody who knows what they're
    doing to take a look.
    If I wanted to pay someone $300 I would not have posted the question here. Of course I know someone can be hired - for big bucks!

    Well you could get the camera cheaper on ebay for that much.

  9. Member
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    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Originally Posted by davexnet View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Originally Posted by Barrythecrab View Post
    That HV series shot wonderful film-like footage. My HV-30 still works, I keep it for transfers.
    But the question was how do u clean the heads?
    You have to read between the lines. He saying it's worth fixing, get somebody who knows what they're
    doing to take a look.
    If I wanted to pay someone $300 I would not have posted the question here. Of course I know someone can be hired - for big bucks!
    Understand. That's the bane for any enthusiastic but inexperienced tech. Someone in the business, probably seen the
    camera or similar would have the door off and the whole thing done in less that 10 minutes.
    Perhaps you can track down the service manual.

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    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Originally Posted by Barrythecrab View Post
    That HV series shot wonderful film-like footage. My HV-30 still works, I keep it for transfers.
    But the question was how do u clean the heads?
    Since cleaning the heads is such a common tech operation, there is often a panel near the top or bottom that comes off to provide non-obvious access to the drum. (Remember, it's round and turns!) Look for screws with arrows; they are the ones to take out first.

  11. Dinosaur Supervisor KarMa's Avatar
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    If you don't know what you are doing just get a cleaning tape, especially with small portable tape machines.

    https://www.amazon.com/Sony-Cleaning-Tape-Discontinued-Manufacturer/dp/B0000632H7/ref=...tronics&sr=1-4

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    Are you not aware that the cleaning tapes don't always get the job done and that periodically the heads must be cleaned manually? Really?

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    Originally Posted by JVRaines View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Originally Posted by Barrythecrab View Post
    That HV series shot wonderful film-like footage. My HV-30 still works, I keep it for transfers.
    But the question was how do u clean the heads?
    Since cleaning the heads is such a common tech operation, there is often a panel near the top or bottom that comes off to provide non-obvious access to the drum. (Remember, it's round and turns!) Look for screws with arrows; they are the ones to take out first.
    Thanks, I'll check that out. I don't think there is any access via that route but I'll examine the camcorder closely.

  14. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    If your screwdriver slips off too easy then it doesn't fit right,having the exact screwdriver wont slip at all.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.

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    Originally Posted by johns0 View Post
    If your screwdriver slips off too easy then it doesn't fit right,having the exact screwdriver wont slip at all.
    The screwdriver is not the problem. I am already using the smallest size (00).

    Have you never had a situation where the screw wouldn't turn even if you have the right size driver? IF you are familiar w camcorders then you know the screws are tiny and delicate.

  16. aBigMeanie aedipuss's Avatar
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    ever heard of a dv cassette tape head cleaner? they work very well and won't destroy the heads like an amateur attempting to go at them directly.
    --
    "a lot of people are better dead" - prisoner KSC2-303

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    Originally Posted by aedipuss View Post
    ever heard of a dv cassette tape head cleaner? they work very well and won't destroy the heads like an amateur attempting to go at them directly.
    Are you seriously not aware that cleaning cassette tapes do not always solve the blue screen problem? If you knew anything you would know that the heads need to be MANUALLY cleaned if the cleaning tapes fail and if you overdo the cleaning cassettes - they can damage your heads!!

  18. When the drum, heads, tape guides are dirty you can see it while you playback/record something. It's not a good practice to access the drum from the cassette side door for cleaning, you need full access to check the tape guides, capstan shaft, pinch roller and mecha.

    Cleaning tape doesn't damage the heads that easy, a wrong type of cloth or printer type paper can do much more damage to the head than cleaning tapes.

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    Originally Posted by amaipaipai View Post
    When the drum, heads, tape guides are dirty you can see it while you playback/record something. It's not a good practice to access the drum from the cassette side door for cleaning, you need full access to check the tape guides, capstan shaft, pinch roller and mecha.

    Cleaning tape doesn't damage the heads that easy, a wrong type of cloth or printer type paper can do much more damage to the head than cleaning tapes.


    Yes - the screen is blue - that's an indication that likely the heads are not clean. I have the blue screen issue thus I'm trying to clean the heads - already tried the cleaning tapes and that did not work.

    "not a good practice to access the drum from the cassette door"

    Agreed and it's also not possible to get at the heads unless you take that door off - thus my post.

    I see all over youtube people cleaning their heads manually with a swab (yes I know they say a swab can cause tiny fibers to catch so better to use the paper "thing" designed specifically for cleaning heads) but w the Canon Vixia HV40 can't really get at the heads unless disassembling the cassette door.

    Thanks for the replies but people - the problem is how to get the tiny screw in the door hinge UNSCREWED! I am using the tiniest 00 screwdriver but I just can't get the screw to turn. I am wondering how a shop gets a stuck screw out?

  20. Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Yes - the screen is blue - that's an indication that likely the heads are not clean. I have the blue screen issue thus I'm trying to clean the heads - already tried the cleaning tapes and that did not work.
    Blue screen it's not an indication of a dirty head, it means you have a poor signal that in general caused by tape misalignment with the drum. Many things can cause a tape misalignment like the tape guides, the rabbet on the lower drum, problem with the heads, etc.

    To detect what is wrong it's necessary to read the RF signal from the heads, in case of misalignment the signal will look like this:


    This is an indication that there is some problems with the guides or the lower drum rabbet, when everything is aligned the signal look like this:


    In either case, there's nothing you can do at home to fix this, the camera need to be serviced by a professional.

    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Thanks for the replies but people - the problem is how to get the tiny screw in the door hinge UNSCREWED! I am using the tiniest 00 screwdriver but I just can't get the screw to turn. I am wondering how a shop gets a stuck screw out?
    Looks like the screw it's locked, possible glued. I'm not familiar with Canon decks but a professional would remove the door from the mecha without messing around with those screws.

  21. Member
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    Originally Posted by amaipaipai View Post
    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Yes - the screen is blue - that's an indication that likely the heads are not clean. I have the blue screen issue thus I'm trying to clean the heads - already tried the cleaning tapes and that did not work.
    Blue screen it's not an indication of a dirty head, it means you have a poor signal that in general caused by tape misalignment with the drum. Many things can cause a tape misalignment like the tape guides, the rabbet on the lower drum, problem with the heads, etc.

    To detect what is wrong it's necessary to read the RF signal from the heads, in case of misalignment the signal will look like this:


    This is an indication that there is some problems with the guides or the lower drum rabbet, when everything is aligned the signal look like this:


    In either case, there's nothing you can do at home to fix this, the camera need to be serviced by a professional.

    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    Thanks for the replies but people - the problem is how to get the tiny screw in the door hinge UNSCREWED! I am using the tiniest 00 screwdriver but I just can't get the screw to turn. I am wondering how a shop gets a stuck screw out?
    Looks like the screw it's locked, possible glued. I'm not familiar with Canon decks but a professional would remove the door from the mecha without messing around with those screws.
    Thanks for the info. Obviously you are very knowledgeable so I am not disagreeing w you but what I don't understand is that there are videos all over youtube about cleaning heads and nearly all of them show that when you get intermittent blue screen - that the problem is dirty heads that need to be cleaned.

    Shortly before I got the blue screen, I had been inserting a tape into the camcorder but the door accidentally got closed BEFORE the tape mechanism was fully inserted/complete so that the tape was - for lack of a better expression - clamped in-between the door and the body of the camcorder. It was "mildly" clamped - not anything extremely forcefull. I wonder if that is what causes the blue screen?

    I assume only a professional has the equipment to read the rf signals?

    Canon does not service tape based camcorders anymore.

    It would prob. cost at least $300 to have the camcorder serviced, even if I can find a place that would service it.

    I can get a used one for $300 in ebay but then the heads are probably just as bad.

    This is a real dilemma. I need a tape based camcorder inorder to be able to get my footage that I shot over the last 10 years into my computer. There is a lot of footage I never did anything with yet but intend to still use it.

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    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yPQFSWZ02t0

    Here's just one of MANY videos stating that blue screen means there is a problem w dirty heads that need to be cleaned??

    So how is it that the problem could be misalignment?

    I guess maybe a blue screen could indicate either or both?

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    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    I see all over youtube people cleaning their heads manually with a swab (yes I know they say a swab can cause tiny fibers to catch so better to use the paper "thing" designed specifically for cleaning heads) but w the Canon Vixia HV40 can't really get at the heads unless disassembling the cassette door.
    Swabs are fine. Just don't use cotton. Use chamois swabs like the pros do.

    If a new cleaning cassette didn't work, you may have bigger mechanical and/or electronic problems that are keeping the signal from coming through.

    Another trick is to put in a cassette that's in good shape but doesn't have any recording you care about, then run it in forward and reverse search. That sometimes scrubs the gunk out of the heads.

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    "Another trick is to put in a cassette that's in good shape but doesn't have any recording you care about, then run it in forward and reverse search. That sometimes scrubs the gunk out of the heads."

    Thanks, I'll try that - although another poster thinks the heads are out of alignment and that dirty heads are not the problem.

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    Originally Posted by CaptainJack View Post
    "Another trick is to put in a cassette that's in good shape but doesn't have any recording you care about, then run it in forward and reverse search. That sometimes scrubs the gunk out of the heads."

    Thanks, I'll try that - although another poster thinks the heads are out of alignment and that dirty heads are not the problem.
    Could be, but don't forget that EXCESSIVE INFORMATION does not necessarily equal CORRECT INFORMATION.

    You mentioned a mishap with the door on a cassette before this all started. That could have occasioned excessive shedding, which would botch up the heads, but it could also be an indication that your player is mechanically out of whack. If you really want to get into this, you need to open it up and watch with the patience and determination of a jeweller.

  26. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    Blue screen just means there a lack of proper video getting to the drum heads,could be dirty heads or tape path misalignment or faulty parts.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.

  27. I'm a Super Moderator johns0's Avatar
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    The thread has been explained enough so I'm closing it.
    I think,therefore i am a hamster.




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