Cleaning the video heads of 2009 MiniDV/HDV camcorders

Article ID: ART129751 | Date published: 05/12/2015 | Date last updated: 08/17/2015


Cleaning the video heads of 2009 MiniDV/HDV camcorders


Digital video camcorders record video signals onto the tape in very thin lines (as thin as 1/8 the width of a hair). The following anomalies may appear if the video heads are even slightly dirty.

  • Mosaic or other blocky video artifacts (Fig. 1) or banding (Fig. 2) appear on the picture during playback.
  • Sound becomes distorted, or there is no sound during playback.
  • The message [HEADS DIRTY, USE CLEANING CASSETTE] appears.



If such symptoms appear, clean the video heads with the Canon DVM-CL Digital Video Head Cleaning Cassette* or a commercially available dry cleaning cassette. If the symptoms reappear shortly after cleaning, the videocassette may be defective. Stop using it.

*Availability differs from area to area.

Video heads may become dirty under the following conditions:

  • Using the camcorder in humid or hot places.
  • Using cassettes with damaged or dirty tapes.
  • Using the camcorder in dusty places.
  • Using the video heads for a long time without cleaning them.
    • Before you make important recordings, clean the video heads and make a test recording in advance. We also recommend cleaning the video heads after use, before storing the camcorder.
    • Do not use wet type cleaning cassettes as this may damage the camcorder.
    • Even after cleaning the video heads you may not be able to correctly play back tapes that were recorded with dirty video heads.



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