Cleaning Old Hi-8 Heads

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    • #47846

      Hi folks, not sure if this is where I should post this, but I have a question regarding cleaning heads on some old Hi-8 camcorders. My friend and I are trying to digitize old tapes and want to keep the heads as clean as possible, as these are old tapes and who knows how much shedding will go on.

      I saw a Sony cleaning tape listed for quite a ridiculous price:

      And I was wondering if some 8mm data cleaning tapes would be any different:

      Are these two different formats, or can I put a data tape cleaner in a Hi-8 camera? I also saw this:

      Can this used in a Hi-8 camcorder?

      Also, how practical is it to try and clean the heads using a swab? Can this be done, or can it damage the heads?

      Thanks for any info on this.

    • #196899

      This is from the old VHS days so take it for what it’s worth.

      Cleaners tend to be abrasive to some degree so each cleaning does a little bit of damage to the heads. Thisis cumulative. Depending on how “dirty” you let them get, you may need a couple of what you choose to use. It was not a good idea to reuse because you are trying to clean with “dirt” now. Not knowing how a HI-8 records, the VHS had flying heads that read/write data in diagonal “stripes” on the tape. If you cleaned these with swabs you ran the risk of messing up the head alignment causing other issues.

    • #196900
      Grinner Hester

      Hand clean the heads. You can find long swabs at the drug store and use over the counter rubbing alcohol. If you can get to pich rollers as well, you’ll find that’s always worth the effort. Before touching them, look for stress cracks. This will tell you if the old rubber has hardened yet or not. If it has, leave it be. If still soft, you’ll get oxide galore off of em and see a big difference in how long your heads stay after that.

    • #196901

      Thanks for your replies. While I’ll obviously search around the net, if anyone is familiar with any specific site(s) that outline a hand cleaning process for Hi-8 heads, preferably illustrated, I’d appreciate it. Thanks.

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