Don't clean the inner parts of your camcorder unless you really know what you're doing. Leave the cotton swabs and alcohol to the professionals. If you want to clean the heads yourself, always use a factory certified head cleaning tape for your camcorder. The manual for your camcorder makes the best recommendation.
How to use a cleaning cassette? It's really simple, and its good people are not afraid to ask...
1) Put tape in
2) Press play/record
3) Run for no more than 10 seconds.
4) Use before you put in a different brand of tape, every few months if you use it frequently, or before you take it out if you havent used it in a while.
5) NEVER mix wet or dry tapes. (Sony sells wet tapes, JVC, Panasonic, TDK sell dry tapes.) Its basically the kind of lubrication the tapes use.
The reason you dont run the cleaner for more than 10 seconds is that the cleaner is abrasive, and will damage your heads if you leave it in too long. 10 seconds is enough for the cleaner to wipe off the gunk the heads have built up.
Other preventative maintenance tips:
1. Store your camcorder properly. That essentially means that you shouldn?t leave your camcorder just sitting around, exposed to the very elements you are trying to protect it from.
2. Invest in a camcorder case. Make sure you use it. Store your camcorder inside with the cover closed. Then find a space for your case that is relatively clean, dry and at room temperature (65 - 75 degrees Fahrenheit).
3. Use your camcorder in relatively clean, temperate environments. Airborne contaminants, like dust and dirt, can grind and scrape away at your camcorder?s innards or even work to corrode them. Such contaminants include dust, dirt, sand, chemicals, etc. Try to imagine a fine layer of mud or a corrosive chemical inside your valuable camcorder!
4. Protect your camcorder from the elements. It is possible to buy or make various kinds of housings that can protect your camcorder from the elements while you are shooting. Something as simple as the clear plastic bags that bed coverings and pillows often come in can give decent camcorder protection from mild inclemencies.
5. Remove your camcorder from the extreme temperature and let it sit until it reaches room temperature. This could take a while; so don?t think you can speed things up by putting your camcorder on a radiator or letting it sit in the freezer for a while.
6. If you've exposed your camcorder to freezing temperatures, you'd do well to let it sit unused for at least 24 hours. Condensation may have formed inside your unit and then frozen into ice. Not only will you have to wait for this thin layer of ice to thaw, but you?ll have to wait for the condensation to evaporate, as well. With a very cold camcorder, it?s better to be safe than sorry.
7. Periodically clean your lens and your viewfinder or viewscreen. Remember that can of compressed air? Here's your chance to get more than a single use out of it! Use it to blow dust and dirt off your lens's exterior. Then use a soft brush, either one purchased specifically for lens cleaning or just a soft brush bought at your local hobby store, to sweep any remaining dust away. Use only lens tissues, lens cloths or very soft brushes to clean your lens.
8. Use a slightly damp cloth to clean the camcorder body when necessary. Don't use soap or harsh chemicals; these can mar the surface or harm the delicate electronics of the camera. Don't use a spray bottle--even if it's just filled with water--as this can help liquids find their way into nooks and crannies where they ought not to be. It can also cause condensation or short-circuiting to occur, both of which can be disastrous to your camcorder's health. A pass or two with a damp cloth and a little bit of elbow grease should be able to take care of most cleaning problems on the outer surface of the camera.
9. Clean the viewfinder regularly. When we say viewfinder in this context, we really mean one or both of two separate devices: the traditional eyepiece-style viewfinder, and/or the larger LCD monitor attached to the camcorder body. The latter, LCD-monitor type viewfinder is pretty easy to clean: all you have to do is periodically buff the fingerprints and grime off the plastic or glass surface with a soft, non-abrasive cloth. Many LCD-monitor camcorders come with a cloth designed for just this purpose.
Last update: 07:36 AM Sunday, March 18, 2007