GE 8mm camcorder has snow in picutre, help w/diagnosing problem

Discussion in 'Photography' started by Doc, Dec 16, 2004.

  1. Doc

    Doc Guest

    Have a GE CG818 8mm camcorder. It's worked like a champ until today, suddeny
    developed severe horizontal lines or snow.

    Some observations regarding this malady:

    -It's visible both through the viewfinder and from the composite out to the
    -It's visble in Rec mode.
    -It's visible in play mode when not playing
    -Banding *not* visible when playing a tape that was recorded before this
    problem developed. Picture is fine in the viewfinder and through the
    composite out when playing.
    -It's visible on tapes recorded since problem began

    Any guesses what kind of component might be causing this problem? I'd really
    like to salvage this camera since it's worked great, is simple, yet has both
    auto & manual focus.

    Thanks for any assistance
    Doc, Dec 16, 2004
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  2. Doc

    James Sweet Guest

    Virtually any compact camcorder of that age will be suffering from failing
    surface mount electrolytic capacitors. Often virtually every one is bad,
    replacement is possible but usually runs a couple hundred bucks.
    James Sweet, Dec 16, 2004
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  3. Doc

    No One Guest

    The heads are probably clogged up, run a cleaning cassette for about
    3 minutes. Or take it to someone that knows how to do it and have the
    heads cleaned by hand.

    No One, Dec 21, 2004
  4. WHAT!!!
    Look folks. Those dry cleaning cassettes are NOT, nor have they EVER been,
    intended to be used for any more than TEN SECONDS at a time. And as far as
    I'm concerned they are nothing more than a short cut to hell for video tape
    heads. Three minutes of running a dry head cleaner will take off hours, if
    not ALL of the life you have left on the heads.
    Figure out how to open the recorder and give your cameras a good wet
    cleaning with a good video head cleaner and a lint free cloth or quality
    chamois stick. It is time well spent.

    Bill F.
    Bill Farnsworth, Dec 21, 2004
  5. Doc

    david.mccall Guest

    I think some manufacturers say to only run them for FIVE SECONDS at a time.
    david.mccall, Dec 21, 2004
  6. Doc

    chrlz Guest

    What?? (again!!)

    He did say it was visible in REC mode. Correct me if I'm wrong, but
    most videocams run a direct feed to the monitor - ie they do NOT read
    the recording display off the tape - in REC mode.
    So head cleaning, wet or dry, is unlikely to be the issue.
    chrlz, Dec 21, 2004
  7. Doc

    Doc Guest

    What I was told by a video repair guy was that to clean the heads, moisten
    the cloth in clear acetone, and lightly rub across the heads perpendicular
    to the axis of the drum but never rub up and down, i.e. never rub parallel
    to the axis of the drum.

    Since the camcorder is still useful in play mode, how I've "cured" the
    problem is to find 2 more 8mm camcorders in a pawn shop that work great. An
    RCA and a Sony Handy Cam. Got 'em both for $65. Geez, I thought I
    practically stole the other one 5 years ago for $75. Hey, there's something
    to be said for using technology that's on the downhill side of being
    Doc, Dec 21, 2004
  8. Keep the acetone away from any of the plastic parts!
    I wouldn't even trust it on the video head drum.
    The standard head/drum cleaning procedure. Alas many (most?)
    consumers are not sensitive enough to the cautions to do this
    without significant risk.
    Richard Crowley, Dec 21, 2004
  9. Doc

    James Sweet Guest

    That and the surface mount capacitors in those things are time bombs, even
    sitting unused they'll fail after a shelf life of 5-10 years in most cases,
    making older ones simply not worth much.
    James Sweet, Dec 21, 2004
  10. Doc

    Guest Guest

    Use a cotton bud.
    Guest, Dec 23, 2004
  11. Actually, the "chamois-like" cleaning wands were created
    specifically because "cotton bud"s (or cotton swabs, or
    "Q-tips", a US brand-name) are SPECIFICALLY *NOT*
    RECOMMENDED for cleaning rotary heads. The reason
    being that the sharp little pieces that you are trying to clean
    are quite likely to snag and retain cotton fibres which will
    do more harm than whatever crud you were trying to remove.
    Richard Crowley, Dec 23, 2004
  12. Doc

    Guest Guest


    Hmmm, they worked in Abbey Road for years until they went digital, but I
    give way to your superior knowledge.
    Guest, Dec 23, 2004
  13. ...
    They weren't using recorders with rotary heads "in Abbey Road
    for years". For analog, linear machines (i.e. audio), they are just
    fine. For that matter, if you are careful to inspect for stray snagged
    fibres, cotton swabs are just fine for the non-moving parts of the
    tape path of rotary-head machines.

    But using them on rotary heads is just inviting disaster. And
    many pro video users advocate avoiding them altogether just
    because of the risk from stray fibres that you may not notice.
    Richard Crowley, Dec 23, 2004
  14. Doc

    Jay Beckman Guest

    You could always try doing it the way we used to clean 2" machines...

    Just squirt the freon in there while it's on the air!

    Provided of course you HAVE a 2" machine...and the feds will let you have
    freon...etc, etc, etc.

    Then there is the "light application of a thumbnail to the upper drum"

    Seriously though...dense cotton cloth or chamois stick, DEnatured alchohol
    (the 70% stuff has too much water content...heads can rust, believe it or
    not), and just hold the alchohol soaked cloth/chamois against the heads
    while you carefully turn the drum with your finger.

    DO NOT scrub up and down (you can snap a head off) or side to side (you can
    knock the heads out of alignment.) Just hold the cloth in line with the
    heads while turning the drum and check the cloth/chamois each time. It
    should show less and less crud after each pass and eventually come up clean.

    Jay Beckman
    Old Freelance Tape - EVS - Profile Op/Editor
    Chandler, AZ
    Jay Beckman, Dec 23, 2004
  15. In a few hours, Mt. St. Helens just north of town here put more
    greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere than 1000 years of using
    Freon to clean electronic parts. But, alas, its no longer politically
    correct to observe that Freon was such a great cleaner/solvent.

    I suspect that it would work equally well for DV, but
    we'll never know.
    Richard Crowley, Dec 23, 2004
  16. Doc

    Jay Beckman Guest

    True, true...

    However, I don't think that Mt St Helens caused lab rats to grow second
    tails or third ears...

    Freon did have it's dark side.

    Considering the construction "quality" of some of today's consumer gear (and
    even some "pro" gear) Freon may just be a little too "industrial" in nature.

    Merry and Happy...

    Jay B
    Jay Beckman, Dec 23, 2004
  17. Doc

    James Sweet Guest

    Freon isn't a greenhouse gas, it reacts with ozone and is the cause of the
    large hole above the arctic. There's modern equivilants that work nearly as
    well and don't cause such a problem.
    James Sweet, Dec 23, 2004
  18. The MSDS doesn't mention anything like this.

    "Reproductive data on rats show no change in reproductive performance."

    "In animal testing, this material has not caused permanent genetic
    in reproductive cells of mammals (has not produced heritable genetic
    If you compare the MSDS, it is roughly equivalent to alcohol.
    Actually, I am at far greater risk from alcohol (or those who
    have consumed it) than from Freon.
    Richard Crowley, Dec 23, 2004
  19. Doc

    Mike F Guest

    True, but the tree huggers are trying to get a law passed to make it illegal
    for Mt. St. Helens to give off any more gas .. still trying to figure out
    is responsible though ...
    (check out the Mt. St. Helens cam -- cool pix and they have some
    short movies of some of the past "eruptions")

    Mike F, Dec 23, 2004
  20. Doc

    James Sweet Guest

    Huh? Is it "tree huggers" or just someone trying to be cute? There was a
    reasonably well publicized gag a few years ago where someone was pushing for
    a ban on "di-hydrogen monoxide" and actually succeeded in getting a
    ridiculous number of signatures.
    James Sweet, Dec 24, 2004
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