VCR Head Cleaning Tape: Wet or Dry?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Andrew Beacom, Aug 9, 2001.

  1. Andrew Beacom

    Andrew Beacom Supporting Actor

    Jan 11, 2001
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    Imagine my dismay when I found the VCR head cleaning tapes in BB and there were too many options. Wet or Dry. Maxell or Scotch. Normal, High Quality and Professional labels too.
    The Scotch ones were the only ones that had SVHS on the back and since thats what my VCR is I thought I'd stick with that.
    Now do I want the dry one with the 'special technology' or do I go with the wet one? The BB employee that was there suggested that wet ones get better results.
    The dry one has a picture and once it's clear you can stop the tape?
    Anyone used any of these before care to voice their preference and why?
  2. Scott H

    Scott H Supporting Actor

    Mar 9, 2000
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    I can't really comment about the consumer packages that you saw, as I have not used any of them. But I do occassionally clean the drum/heads on professional video cameras in the field and have long witnessed the cleaning maintainence of tape machines in post houses and this is never done 'dry'. I don't recall off-hand the exact brand of cleaner fluid that is in my kit but I believe that it is an isopropyl alcohol variation and I seriously doubt it is available at Best Buy. I apply it with foam tipped swabs made for this purpose. I question the ability of a tape to clean the drum/heads well in any case as I clean the heads in a diagonal direction.
    If you have a Fry's Electronics near you, they do sell various tech fluids and swabs. To properly clean your machine I would recommend acquiring this stuff and opening the top and doing it right. It is a very simple process that will surely yield better results and will not damage the heads.
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  3. Ken Seeber

    Ken Seeber Supporting Actor

    Nov 5, 1999
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    Head cleaning tapes are a bad idea, especially on a S-VHS VCR. Unless you really know what you're doing, like Scott does, you'd be better off spending $20 once every two years and taking your VCR into a reputable, locally-owned (i.e. not Best Buy) repair shop and have the technician clean it for you.
    A friend of mine owns a local video rental business that also does some repair work. He says that most of the head cleaning tapes are abrasive to the tape heads and just move the dirt from one part of the VCR to another.

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