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 Viewfinders, PDW Disk Loader, Dirty Heads


HDX900 and Varicam Viewfinders:

Twice, we received a viewfinder in, which had very white, washed-out video. The LED cover/window, the opaque white plastic piece on top of the viewfinder, was loose, and had pushed in, damaging the sub brightness control. It is worth checking to see if the cover/window is loose on your unit to avoid the damage, and need for repair. If your window is loose, you can secure it with a little epoxy glue.  

In the AJ-HVF21G and AJ-HVF27 viewfinders (used with most of the Panasonic HD cameras), the LED cover/window may loosen and can then be pushed down into the viewfinder, allowing contact with the sub brightness control - RV205. If the viewfinder picture is still good, but you notice the LED cover is loose, simply remove the top cover of the viewfinder by removing 3 allen screws (of course, unplug viewfinder from camera first), then apply an epoxy glue to the underside of the LCD cover, re-attaching it to the viewfinder top case. If the picture is excessively bright or washed out, the sub bright control has most likely been damaged. In this case, the viewfinder will have to be sent in for repair.



LED cover 


Sub bright control 








Plastic sheet 


 Slot in plastic sheet



You shouldn't have to remove the plastic sheet 


But if you do, this is where it goes 





PDW Users:

The disc loader is susceptible to breakage if a disc is forced in, pulled out, or labels interfere with loading/ejection. Be sure that labels are located only in the detented area on top of the disc designed for that purpose. Labels or tape that extend over the side of the disc will jam the loader, and cause gear breakage. The loader replacement is quite expensive‚Ķand if it jams, the camera is done recording for the day.  








Dirty Heads:

Just a quick reminder; although manually cleaning Beta video heads was a task most shooters could accomplish, the newer, small form heads, as used in HDCAM, DVCAM and DVCPRO units should not be manually cleaned by the shooter. It is a difficult task with the right tools, clean bench, and a ridiculous amount of magnification, but virtually impossible to do in the field. Unfortunately, this was proven several times by a couple of shooters who may have turned dirty heads into broken ones (pretty costly mistake). Now that these units are aging, keep a cleaning tape on hand, and try it multiple times if necessary, and even a few seconds of REVIEW/FF if the clog persists. “Caution, do not use this method on a regular basis.”

Dropouts (audio or video) and streaking can be from dirty heads or tape path misalignment. Any obstruction that alters proper contact of the tape to the video heads will produce data loss and dropouts. Note the heavy, black buildup on the heads and drum below. This can interfere with good head-to-tape contact, causing dropouts. Sometimes just a good cleaning and alignment touchup will solve the issues. Sometimes it may require a little more. Mechanical or electronic part failure can also cause similar issues.



 dirty heads



 dirty heads magnified




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