A Halle's Service, Inc.
Phoenix, Arizona
est. 1964

MiniDV SP vs LP
DV Head Cleaning
Preserving Memories
Remote Controls
Auto Focus
Static Discharge
Camcorder Handling
Tapes & Disks
Digital Woes
Video Heads
Mixing Tape Brands
Exchange Policies
Battery Warranties
When Not to Repair

Owners of DV and MiniDV equipment may occasionally get "head cleaning" messages. This does not necessarily mean the head(s) are dirty.

 The DV product has extensive error correction circuits that can replace many bits of damaged or missing information in the data stream recovered from the tape. The unit keeps track of how many errors it has had to fix in a given time period. When that error rate exceeds a pre-programmed number, the "head cleaning" message is triggered. In some cases, something has contaminated the video head(s) and or tape path. Use of a cleaning tape may help. Use only cleaning tapes produced by the manufacturer of your equipment and never rewind them. Other brands & "generics" may do severe damage! Use the tape once or twice only, per the instructions. 

If this does not cure the symptom, then it is most likely caused by bad/incompatible tape,  bent/ worn parts, or electrical/mechanical adjustments that have drifted or been knocked off by impact.  Using the cleaning tape repeatedly will not cure this, and will only make your problems worse.

Under controlled conditions, we have monitored error rates using various tapes. In all cases, equipment showed the lowest error rates using tapes made by that manufacturer.   ie - Sony equipment worked best with Sony tapes, JVC Equipment worked best with JVC tapes, etc. Also, first time use always provides lower error rates than tapes that have been recorded on previously.  Before you bring your equipment in for service, try a new tape made by that manufacturer.

Halle's Service, Inc.

Last modified: March 31, 2007