Head Cleaner for DV Deck


Searched around the net, and I could not find anything. I am working on a project to capture a large volume of old mini DV tapes.

I bought a used BR DV-3000 with very low hours. Everything is working fine.

I have a Mini DV Head Cleaner tape. I tried to play it and it seems not to work at all. Only plays for about 2 seconds and then stops. So I thought since it was old, maybe it ran out.

Bought some new ones online. Same issue.

Has anyone run into any issues with cleaning the heads on decks like this?


What is probably happening is the cleaning tapes take more power to play and the deck can't play them. You bought new ones and the same thing happened so it is highly unlikely the tapes are to blame.
true, yeah I don't think it is the tapes. So, now then. How are you supposed to clean the heads on this deck, if it can't play cleaning tapes? I suppose I could try to get in there with some swabs... and head cleaner... but I just thought the tapes would be a better idea.
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Actually, just went and read the manual. What a concept... lol

Anyway, it does say it is supposed to play the tape for 10 sec and automatically stop. Also it does recommend using JVC tapes. Not sure if that is marketing or technical. But I found a tape on Amazon, so I am going to try it out, see if that makes a difference.

As far as I can tell with a second counter, it is playing it only 2-5 seconds tops.

I will report back if I have more info after getting the JVC head cleaning tape.
Cleaning tapes are very abrasive (like sand paper) and should not be over used. They WILL ruin your playback heads if over done. If you don't see any picture breakup when you play your archive tapes, don't use the head cleaning tape. You don't need to clean your heads before every tape transfer. Only use the head cleaner if you SEE picture breakup during playback. Many VHS players (which are like DV players) have gone for years without cleaning the heads.
It depends on what kind of cleaner you are using and if you are using a camera or a deck. (and it will vary from model to model) A far as time between cleaning (for your particular unit) it is best to follow the manual. On these decks they say every 1,000 hours.

Regarding cameras. Thankfully most of us will never have to face this again. But I have seen dirty heads on my camera in a lot less than 1,000 hours. I would say more like 20 or so. And you don't want to get that perfect take only to find out it was ruined. So if you are shooting with a DV camera you have to know the time between cleaning and you never ever wait until a take is destroyed to then decide to clean.

Thankfully, unless you are intending to match old footage, you won't be filming on this media any time soon.

As it is though I have a deck that I will easily be racking up 1,000 or more hours, so I have been looking proactively for a solution.

Also another thing to consider for anyone else doing this, is aging media. This is after all still a volatile medium which with age can leave more residue on and around tape heads. At least it does with audio tape. So I assume this is something to take into consideration if you are archiving old DV tapes as well.

Gonna add this as well. I think it is useful for anyone doing this. I should have read it first... lol

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Also, you don’t have the history of that deck. So you know what brand of tapes the previous owner used?

DV/MiniDV tapes had two types of lubricant on the tapes: wet and dry. If I recall correctly, most tapes were dry except for Sony and Maxxell, but it was always highly advised to pick a brand and stick with it. Mix the two types and you can clog the heads with gunk. Later tape formulations weren’t as much of a concern, but again you don’t know the history of this deck.

I’d suggest finding a local electronics repair shop if you can and see if they can do a thorough, manual head cleaning. You could look up how to do it yourself, but unless your DIY electronics skills are VERY on point, I’d suggest avoiding that.
Well JVC tape came and the verdict is in. It was the tape. Ran it once for 10 seconds and done. So the deck had low hours, it is in great shape and runs beautifully. And as far as I know now, the heads are clean after I have been using it approximately 1000 hours. I have maybe another 1000 to go in digitizing the rest of my archives. I will probably have a look inside this thing to make sure all is well.

Thanks for all of the tips!