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Using auto-head cleaners

Panasonic AG-1980 auto-head cleaners

Early Panasonic AG7750s & 7650s that were often used in TV stations had foam rubber auto-head cleaner rollers. The foam rollers would decay and shed as they aged and this always caused problems. After that experience, Panasonic started putting felt head cleaning rollers in the AG1980 VCRs. The felt ones are actually specially treated felt, they don't shed and they last a long time.

There's two schools of thought on using auto-head cleaners. I always recommend using them. Since they only contact the heads for half a second during thread or eject functions, they cut down on the need to manually clean the heads (paper dipped in isopropyl) and the more we can keep fingers away from the delicate video head tips, the better off we are! After rebuilding 600+ AG1980s, I've found that any extra wear to the video heads from head cleaners is negligible, and using the auto-head cleaner makes life easier for most folks!

Of course, the other line of thought is to remove them completely and clean the video heads as necessary. This cuts down on any possible extra head wear, but based on my experience, you'll have to clean the head drum after about every 5-8 tapes. Not much of a problem once you're used to cleaning heads, but this will cause a problem if a casual VCR user is playing a tape.

All this being said, to make the very best video transfers, even with an auto-head cleaner, always clean the video heads manually. Follow my instructions. Remember; no Q-tips, no chamois, just paper dipped in isopropyl. Be sure to wait 15 minutes for the alcohol to evaporate before playing a tape.

~  Tom Grant

 

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