AVS Special Member
Join Date: Mar 2001
Location: Newport Beach, CA, USA
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I'm sure you're familiar with the expression "When you hear hoofbeats you don't think of zebras." From your description of the symptoms, zebras are the things like defective tapes, bad alignment, misadjusted electronics, etc. Worn or clogged heads (the horses) are just a lot more likely to be the source of your problem. With the 4 HD1000's that I've maintained, the only parts I've replaced are upper cylinders and iLink jacks. No other adjustments or repairs have been necessary.
However, I'm bothered by two things you said. The fact that 6 tapes are perfect and 4 are bad every time you try them seems a little odd. That, combined with "factory refurb", and I start to worry about some of the zebras.
If I were in your position I would do the following:
1) Open the machine and wet clean the heads.
2) With the machine open I would run one of the bad tapes and carefully examine the tape path, with good light and a magnifying glass (if you use a flashlight the machine may stop occasionally). I'd look for the tape hitting the upper or lower limits of the posts, hitting the lower edge of the lower cylinder, or rippling (waves) showing near the edge of the tape as it moves.
3) I'd repeat the same process with a good tape to see if there's a difference.
4) If I saw differences, then I'd try a different brand of tape. If the problem continued, or if I saw any sign of tape edges being curled permanently I'd return the machine to Panasonic for repair.
5) If I was convinced the alignment was ok, I'd then look for wear on the lower cylinder, at the point where the tape detaches from the cylinder. If there is heavy wear then replacing the upper cylinder is not a permanent fix.
If, after all the above, I saw nothing wrong, then I'd order an upper cylinder.
Analog -- Always out of adjustment.
Digital -- Always one more bug.