massive head clog - fluid recomendations? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 20 Old 08-10-2009, 09:43 AM - Thread Starter
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I've got a massive headclog on my JVC 40000 DVHS machine, so big that even S-VHS tapes are unplayable.

Tried the DFC-2 headcleaning cassette, and it didn't work.

Back in the day we used to use Freon to clean nasty heads, but that's not readily available anymore.

What materials are you DVHS (or any video cassette folks) owners using - swabs and fluids?

PS - JVC wants $230 to open the machine - I'd sell it for $230 first.
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post #2 of 20 Old 08-10-2009, 03:51 PM
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Many years ago someone suggested cleaning audio tape recorders with 190 proof alcohol, the kind you can drink. Since it was as pure as can be there would be no contaminants or residue left behind. And if it did not work you could always drink it!

Over the years I've used either denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol. Last time I used 91% isopropyl. I've read never use rubbing alcohol because it may contain oil and/or fragrances. I've always used Q-tips even though you're not supposed to because cotton fibers may be left behind. But I've never had chamois or other swabs around when needed. I just tried to be real careful.
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post #3 of 20 Old 08-11-2009, 09:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

Many years ago someone suggested cleaning audio tape recorders with 190 proof alcohol, the kind you can drink. Since it was as pure as can be there would be no contaminants or residue left behind. And if it did not work you could always drink it!

Over the years I've used either denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol. Last time I used 91% isopropyl. I've read never use rubbing alcohol because it may contain oil and/or fragrances. I've always used Q-tips even though you're not supposed to because cotton fibers may be left behind. But I've never had chamois or other swabs around when needed. I just tried to be real careful.

Great - so where do you buy 91% isopropyl, Home Depot?
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post #4 of 20 Old 08-11-2009, 11:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mike99 View Post

Many years ago someone suggested cleaning audio tape recorders with 190 proof alcohol, the kind you can drink. Since it was as pure as can be there would be no contaminants or residue left behind. And if it did not work you could always drink it!

Over the years I've used either denatured alcohol or isopropyl alcohol. Last time I used 91% isopropyl. I've read never use rubbing alcohol because it may contain oil and/or fragrances. I've always used Q-tips even though you're not supposed to because cotton fibers may be left behind. But I've never had chamois or other swabs around when needed. I just tried to be real careful.

Back when Radio Shack didn't have a stupid name and had amateur radios and electronics components in it, they sold little quasi-Q-Tips that were made of something with no lint or fiber, specifically for head-cleaning, and I remember them working fairly well. I have no idea if they still sell them, but it might be worth a try.
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post #5 of 20 Old 08-11-2009, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bwer View Post

Back when Radio Shack didn't have a stupid name and had amateur radios and electronics components in it, they sold little quasi-Q-Tips that were made of something with no lint or fiber, specifically for head-cleaning, and I remember them working fairly well. I have no idea if they still sell them, but it might be worth a try.

judging by the number of replies here, I get the sad feeling that VHS and its kin are in a small minority these days
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post #6 of 20 Old 08-13-2009, 09:53 AM - Thread Starter
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With this HM-DH40000U, I now have the ability to playback and record S-VHS, but D-VHS produces nothing but a black screen.

Does that sound like a dirty head? One minute the machine was fine, the next I had no capabilites, then after a light cleaning, S-video returned.
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post #7 of 20 Old 08-13-2009, 06:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvmaster View Post

Great - so where do you buy 91% isopropyl, Home Depot?

I bought a bottle of "equaline" brand from my local Jewel-Osco grocery-drug store, which is owned by Albertsons. Try the pharmacy dept of your local mega drug store.
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post #8 of 20 Old 08-16-2009, 10:32 AM
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Chemtronics sells "Head Cleaner II" for around $11 a 8oz bottle. All you would need are Chamois flat swabs. There are other brands selling similar products.
Head cleaning tapes are worthless, especially for video.

You an also get "Isopropyl Alcohol" under various brands (which is 100%). TechSpray has a 16oz bottle for around $8. I use this all the time for cleaning outside surfaces of equipment. It rarely causes and damage unless the surface is poorly painted (happened once).

MCM Electronics is one source.

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post #9 of 20 Old 08-16-2009, 10:40 AM
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Use a piece of paper dipped in head cleaner. The paper should not have any waxes in it (I use yellow legal pad paper). Hold it lightly against the head drum away from the heads with the fleshy part of your finger and turn the drum to make the heads scrape across the paper. Do not apply any up or down motion as this can break heads. This works like a charm.

Be seeing you!
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post #10 of 20 Old 08-16-2009, 11:18 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cctvtech View Post

Use a piece of paper dipped in head cleaner. The paper should not have any waxes in it (I use yellow legal pad paper). Hold it lightly against the head drum away from the heads with the fleshy part of your finger and turn the drum to make the heads scrape across the paper. Do not apply any up or down motion as this can break heads. This works like a charm.

!!!!!!!! Come anywhere near my dvhs machines with your soaked yellow legal pad paper and I'm gonna have to pull out my glock 19!!!!

Are you serious??

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post #11 of 20 Old 08-16-2009, 01:07 PM
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I've used that trick on thousands of machines and never broken a head!

I owned a business repairing VCR's, camcorders, etc. for 14 years then tech'd in a place where I cleaned 750 VCR's 2-3 times a year for 6 years (until we went digital) but what do I know?

The key is to rotate the head drum until the heads are not under the area, then press the paper against the drum and rotate the drum so the heads "scrape" against the paper. You have to do it quickly before the cleaner evaporates. If you clean the heads that way, there is little-to-no chance of exerting vertical pressure on them which is how they break. Video heads are relatively strong in the direction of travel but weak perpendicular to it.

Here is a link that shows how to clean a VCR exactly the same way I do. They used white paper, I use legal paper - no difference unless the paper is impregnated with wax (some papers are). That can get on the heads and clog them.

Be seeing you!

Last edited by cctvtech; 09-06-2014 at 01:43 PM.
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post #12 of 20 Old 08-17-2009, 06:48 AM
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Interesting, I have never seen or heard that before.
If you think of it, it's not much different than using a head cleaning cassette other than the paper is probably more abrasive, but the cleaner 'smooths' things out.

I still would go the 'Chamois' stick method.

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post #13 of 20 Old 08-17-2009, 07:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvmaster View Post

Great - so where do you buy 91% isopropyl, Home Depot?

Any pharmacy.
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post #14 of 20 Old 08-17-2009, 08:24 AM
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I have been using the plain backs of white business cards, dipped in 99% Isopropyl Alcohol to clean video heads for many years with good success.
However in very stubborn cases of hardened clogs, I use a dense, soft-grade toothbrush (dipped in 99% Isopropyl Alcohol) and rotate the video drum back and forth so the heads are brushed against the stationary-held toothbrush.
The bristles open up, and clean the gap nicely, and dissolve oxide build-up on the heads. You can really see the difference when using a pocket microscope to inspect video heads or laser lenses before and after cleaning.
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post #15 of 20 Old 08-26-2014, 03:58 PM - Thread Starter
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the dreaded headclogs have returned - and I really don't want to spend $130 at the JVC service center for a quick bath.


if anyone has any new methods in the last five years, please let me know.


Also, if anyone knows which head is which on the head drum of a JVC 40000 D-VHS machine, that would be good to know as well. FF seems to work, as does recording. Playback and rewind, however, are producing a black screen.
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post #16 of 20 Old 08-27-2014, 11:12 AM
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Are you sure the tape or tapes aren't the culprit? I had a problem with a portable 3/4" deck in the 80's that had head clogging and it turned out to be a bad batch of tapes.
I only used isopropyl alcohol and chamois swabs to clean the heads. Never foam and surely not cotton swabs.
Suggestion; get a service manual for that.

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post #17 of 20 Old 09-06-2014, 01:21 PM
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Lots of possibilities:
  1. Dirty tape(s)
    1. Throw away any suspects.
  2. Bad binding - I've seen tapes that the oxide flaked off due to problems in the coating process.
    1. Throw away any suspects.
  3. Worn head(s) - As they wear, video heads can develop defects that will scrape material from the tape and clog the head gap.
    1. You can try looking at the head with a microscope. Not easy, but can be done.
    2. Related: some heads wear to the point that the head gap widens enough to fill up (clog) under normal use.
      1. Replace worn head drum.
  4. Bad alignment - if the tape path isn't perfectly aligned, the mis-alignment can cause damage to the tape.
    1. Damaged tape tends to clog up heads.
    2. Inspect your tapes for damage like curled/scalloped edges, folds or unevenness.
      1. If the tape(s) aren't perfectly even, more than likely your guides aren't properly aligned or the pinch roller is bad or tensions are incorrect.
      2. Have the transport problems(s) repaired and throw away any suspects.
  5. The Pinch Roller is a common culprit. If it doesn't pull the tape evenly, the tape can run up or down in the next guide, damaging the tape edge.
    1. Replace the Pinch Roller and confirm the tape stays centered in its path across all guides - neither riding up nor down.

Be seeing you!

Last edited by cctvtech; 09-06-2014 at 01:55 PM.
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post #18 of 20 Old 09-06-2014, 01:33 PM
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By the way, I typically used Acetone or Laquer Thinner for cleaning anything other than plastic parts of VCRs. A bit dangerous and dries out your skin but does a better job of dissolving clogs than alcohol.

I've even used Windex if I suspected contaminated tapes had been run through a machine. Usually, the contamination was fairly obvious because areas of the tape path were sticky or had obvious buildup of stubborn soils.

VCRs owned by families with young kids were a warning sign...

Be seeing you!
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post #19 of 20 Old 09-06-2014, 08:47 PM
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Interesting. I didn't know that they made high definition VCRs.
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post #20 of 20 Old 09-11-2014, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bobby_A View Post
Interesting. I didn't know that they made high definition VCRs.
Nor did I, but that is apparently what the JVC 40000 DVHS is.

That is one piece of technology I had leapfrogged. I went from VCRs (SD only, NTSC tuners) and an old small SD TV/VCR combo one day to a HD DVR and a "smallish" HDTV the next, totally skipping DVD burners and HD VCRs.

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Man Cave:Vizio E500i-A1 "Smart TV" (50-in 1080p 120Hz LED/LCD, has Netflix app.), Blu-ray players (Sony BDP-S3100, old LG BD390), Roku (the original model: N1000), PC (Windows 7), Comcast Internet (25Mbps/5Mbps).
Bedroom:LG 32LV3400-UA TV (32-in 768p 60Hz LED/LCD), HD DVR (Motorola RNG200N), Xfinity Comcast cable (Digital Starter Package), DVD/VHS player.
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