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    Guide To Cleaning The DVX100(a) Recording Heads
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    Moderator Barry_S's Avatar
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    Cleaning The DVX100(a) Recording Heads

    Warning: *The head cleaning procedure is simple, but must be done carefully and correctly. *Otherwise, you risk damaging the heads and facing an $800-900 repair to replace the heads. *If you have any doubts about your ability to perform the cleaning process, you should send the camera to a Panasonic authorized service center. *The typical charge for head cleaning is about $100.

    The recording heads should be cleaned as necessary or at least every 50 hours of camera use. *If you’re cleaning the heads yourself, you can increase the frequency of cleaning to ensure problem-free recording in the field.

    I am not an authorized Panasonic service technician and you follow these instructions at your own risk. *This is my own procedure and it may differ from other recommendations.

    Materials

    • Pure (>99%) Isopropanol or recording head cleaner (do not use rubbing alcohol—it contains water and may cause corrosion to internal parts.)
    • Synthetic chamois recording head-cleaning swabs (cotton swabs may shed fibers and are not an acceptable substitute).
    • Rubber cleaning fluid.

    Parts of the recording mechanism that may require cleaning:

    • Recording cylinder (the two small recording heads are embedded in the grooved silver recording cylinder)
    • Tape guides and angle pins (these guide the tape through the recording path)
    • Capstans *(these metal posts hold the tape against the rollers)
    • Rollers (for tape transport)

    Work in a clean, well-lit area. *A work light shining into the cassette holder is useful for seeing what you’re doing. *Place the camera on a table with the Panasonic logo facing down and the lens pointing to your left. *Open the tape door and identify the parts you’ll be cleaning. *From left to right, in a row close to you—a blue tape guide, two white tape guides, a rubber pinch-roller, and a metal capstan. *From left to right behind the first row—two angle pins, the silver recording cylinder, an angle pin, and a tape guide.

    Clean the recording heads first by moistening (damp, but not dripping) a chamois-tipped swab with some isopropanol or cleaning fluid. *Place the swab against the surface of the recording cylinder. *Using a second dry swab, rotate the cylinder clockwise while you hold the moistened swab against the cylinder. *Rotate the cylinder for five or six full revolutions. *The cylinder must be cleaned in a horizontal motion. *Cleaning with a vertical motion greatly increases the chances of damaging the heads.

    Next, with a new moistened swab, clean the tape guides, angle pins, and capstans with a horizontal motion. *Finally, moisten another swab with rubber cleaning fluid and clean the rubber roller. *Do not use isopropanol or other solvents on the rubber roller—it will dry out the rubber. *Do not use any lubricants on the rubber roller. *If you don’t have the proper rubber cleaning solution—leave the roller alone.

    Notes:

    If it seems like the recording heads on the DVX100 are the most troublesome part of the camera—you’d be right. *The recording cylinder spins at about 9000 rpm and the track width in the DV format is only 10 microns wide. *For comparison, the VHS track width is 59 microns, and a human hair is about 100 microns in diameter. *It doesn’t take much of a particle to lodge in the tape heads and cause problems. *Fortunately, most head problems are easily fixed with a gentle cleaning. *Never use cleaning tapes—they’re abrasive and can rub debris into the recording head.



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    Re: Guide To Cleaning The DVX100(a) Recording Head
    #2
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    Thanks Barry. Your instructions were very well written.

    BTW, could you recommend a particular brand of rubber cleaner that you've found safe to use?


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    Re: Guide To Cleaning The DVX100(a) Recording Head
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    Thanks a lot Barry S.

    All the best

    Fidel.


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    Re: Guide To Cleaning The DVX100(a) Recording Head
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    thaks for this post!
    I am on my way to the dealer to get the cleaning supplies right now...

    I was very surprised how easily the heads got dirty on my new 100a... *I had only shot about 5 hours of tape, but was shooting in a very hot humid weather condition and was out during dusk - when the air cooled, the moist air made every surface wet, tables, chairs, even my hair; so I imagine a fair amount of water condenced inside the camera... *


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    Re: Guide To Cleaning The DVX100(a) Recording Head
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    Barry, what rubber cleaner do you recommend?


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    Re: Guide To Cleaning The DVX100(a) Recording Head
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    Senior Member Bart_Boge's Avatar
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    Barry, this is fantastic. I can't wait for the fully illustrated version. Can I assume the DVX100A instructions will work for the old-school DVX100?


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    Re: Guide To Cleaning The DVX100(a) Recording Head
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    Moderator Barry_S's Avatar
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    The instructions apply to the original DVX100 and the DVX100a. As far as the rubber cleaner, I'm pretty sure Radio Shack carries it, or any decent electronics supply store. Just make sure to specify that you want it for cleaning tape transport pinch-rollers.


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    Re: Guide To Cleaning The DVX100(a) Recording Head
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    [quote author=schteevie link=board=Events;num=1091157196;start=0#3 date=07/30/04 at 06:02:06]I was very surprised how easily the heads got dirty on my new 100a... *I had only shot about 5 hours of tape, [/quote]

    What tape were you using?


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    Re: Guide To Cleaning The DVX100(a) Recording Head
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    [quote author=Mitch_Ives link=board=Events;num=1091157196;start=0#7 date=07/30/04 at 12:19:48]

    What tape were you using?[/quote]

    I use panasonic MQ tapes only.


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    Re: Guide To Cleaning The DVX100(a) Recording Head
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    Barry_s

    do you run a tape cleaner through every so often or just clean the heads by hand every 100 hrs?


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