Importance of an auto head cleaner.

Discussion in 'Playback Devices' started by David Bane, May 17, 2003.

  1. David Bane

    David Bane Extra

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    I'm looking into a replacement VCR and I've narrowed it down between two different models. One has an auto head cleaner and the other doesn't. This is the deciding factor for me since both models fared comparably well in a recent Consumer's Reports testing. Will an automatic head cleaner preserve the video heads (and tape) longer or will it just serve to wear them out more quickly? I already own a VCR that has one and I can't remember the heads ever getting dirty or clogged in the 10 years that I've had it! The new one I want to get will be for watching videos of dubious quality (ex-rentals and such). I asked a VCR repairman about auto head cleaners a number of years back and he said there is no such thing! He said he's never seen one yet and that the companies tell you there is one when there isn't just to make you buy it!
     
  2. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

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    Don't make the head cleaner be the deciding factor... I've never seen any evidence of their effectiveness. The "head-cleaner" is an abrasive type, which re-uses the same surface area every time a tape is inserted. If there was dirt on the head, and it was cleaned, it would only be re-deposited later, after the "cleaner" becomes saturated. Plus, the "cleaner" does nothing to clean the rest of the tape path, allowing the tape to pick up dirt elsewhere in the path and transfer it to the head anyway. If the one without the head cleaner is cheaper or has another feature you want, get it. Don't over-spend on a VCR, either... they are a dying breed.

    The need to clean heads depends largely on the environment that the VCR is in, and the environment(s) that the tapes you play in it is/are subjected to.

    If you live in a smoke-free, relatively dust-free house, and you don't put tapes in your VCR that smell of cigarettes, you may never need to clean your heads. Cigarette smoke is the number one enemy of video heads, and the belts that drive your VCR.

    -Scott
     
  3. David Bane

    David Bane Extra

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    That makes a lot of sense, Scott. I've decided to get the VCR without the auto head cleaner which is the cheaper of the two. If the heads ever do require a cleaning I can always do that manually.
     

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