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Russell H.
Russell H., Technician
Category: Digital Cameras
Satisfied Customers: 12213
Experience:  Working with digital cameras & questions for nearly 8 years.
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I have a Canon DM-XM2 E Pal Camcorder in very good condition

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I have a Canon DM-XM2 E Pal Camcorder in very good condition which has suddenly taken to displaying a REMOVE THE CASSETTE warning in the viewfinder after recording or playing a tape for only a few seconds. On one occasion it displayed THE HEADS ARE DIRTY. USE A CLEANING TAPE. I inserted a Sony cleaning tape but after about 10 seconds it chewed the tape. Can you suggest a cure?
Hi, thank you for contacting My name is Russell. I will do my best to provide the right answer to your question.

You may have to clean the heads manually, in a situation like what you describe.

As for the cleaning tape having gotten chewed up in the tape drive... that might be due to dirtied or slippery rollers, the rubber kind that propel the tape and guide it. If you clean the rollers first - a different way from the way, and the means, by which you clean the tape heads! a very different task in short - then you might find either that the cleaning tape isn't chewed up, or that the original problem is solved (but if the rollers are dirty enough, the heads probably need cleaning too.)

Now for some essential details:
1: cleaning the rubber driving rollers is very different, as I said, from cleaning the tape read/record head(s). It's a cruder task, essentially. The tools for cleaning just the rollers are simple: take cotton swabs, moisten them slightly in alcohol, let the alcohol (rubbing alcohol would do) evaporate for about 10 seconds, then clean just the rollers with the cotton swab(s), never touching the tape heads, whether read or write/record heads. The read or write head gaps can be damged, 'broken' as it were, by the crude and coarse material of the cotton. A finer cleaning kit is needed for cleaning magnetic tape drive read or write/record heads. See (2) below.

After cleaning the rollers, until oxide (black or brown looking) ceases to be wiped off onto the cotton - let them dry off for 10 minutes or more, before trying the cleaning tape again.

2. to properly clean the read / write / record heads in the drive, a delicate and special cleaning kit is necessary. Last I heard, Radio Shack carried them - in some branches - but with Radio Shack's decline, this is doubtless even worse than before.
A 'chamois' cleaning instrument is needed. It is a fine-grained enough material that it can be used to directly touch read / write / record heads in a tape drive.
A special cleaning solution, 100 % residue-free, is included with such cleaning kits. You cannot use simple alcohol of the cosmetic or medical type - residue left in the fine head gap would clog it and ruin it.
I cannot stress this enough: you will damage the tape drive heads if you don't use th eexact right thing to clean them.

Of course, tape drive cleaning tapes can be used. But in your case... one such tape has already failed. That's why I specified all this - it may amount, if you wish to spend enough time and money on this problem, to cleaning the heads by hand - so that if necessary, it will be done properly.
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Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Hi Russell,

Sorry for my delay replying. Thank you for your advice, which seems like a good idea. I already have some small chamois video head cleaning sticks and cotton buds. I have looked online for cleaning solutions and found Servisol Video 40/2, which seems like it might kill 2 birds with the one stone, because it claims to be quick drying and safe to use on video heads and rubber rollers. Would you recommend it?



Don't use the same cleaning material *item* on both rollers and heads. That cannot be too much emphasized.
So use the chamois only on the heads, cotton only on the rollers.

Otherwise, I think your judgment on the matter is sound. Proceed, and let me know what results you get. Thanks.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Thank you very much, Russell. I`ve left you a positive rating. I`ve ordered the Servisol video 40/2 online and should receive it mid-week. I`ll contact you after I`ve used it. I actually have a can of Servisol SUPER 10 but having read the instructions, it looks like its only suitable for cleaning electrical contacts and the fact that it deposits a protective layer makes me wary of even thinking about using it on delicate video heads.

Best regards,


Do Not Use it on video or audio read or write heads!

Contact cleaner is for contacts, switches and button and the like.

Cleaner for read or write heads must be of very specific type and very specifically designed for them.

There are no two words about it, don't use 'Super 10' anywhere near the problem you asked me about. It will not help.

Thanks for the good rating. Please feel welcome to return, at any time and as needed, to ask another question here at, in any one of our numerous categories.