Repair guides and support for camcorders and other video cameras including GoPro and security cameras.

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Playback shows grey stripes when playing mini DV tape

I have a SonyDCR-TRV17 camcorder using a mini DV tape. When I playback a tape, it shows the video but there are evenly spaced solid grey horizontal stripes that blank the video. So it's a line showing the video, on top of a grey blank line, then a line showing the video, in top of a grey blank line, about 10 lines in total. I put in another tape to see if it was the tape but it's the same thing. Any idea whether I can fix this or need to take it to a shop? Thanks

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Does the camcorder have any menus? If so, are the lines displayed there as well?

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It doesn't appear to effect any menus. It only happens when I play back the tape

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I got a sony head cleaner & it's working fine. Thanks

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Thank you for accepting my answer. All the best to you...:-)

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arch, before you give up on it, try to clean your tape heads. these should be cleaned regularly with a quality head cleaning tape. I believe that it is SONY that recommends to do this every 50hrs of recording or playback. Of course, in a more dusty environment, it is recommended that you do this more often. You should get the tape cleaning kit in most every major electronics or department store. If you have a stripe during recording, it is usually your CCD, since it is on playback of others tapes, it is most likely the video head. Download the level2 service manual from here. It will tell you all you ever wanted to know about your camera. Hope it helps, good luck

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thanks ot03, i'll look for a head cleaning tape & let you know

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Mini DV tapes store video information in a digital format, meaning that it is highly unlikely that a physical recording issue is at fault for the blanking. Additionally, knowing that in-camera menus are not affected informs us that the display and associated circuitry is not at fault either.

There are a few distinct possibilities left.

  1. Sensor Damage - Most Mini DV camcorders feature a IEEE 1394 or Firewire port. You can use this port and a computer to download or view the video files directly, and determine if the grey bars are actually being recorded.
  2. Decoding Fault - Friends or family may have another MiniDV recorder. Pop a tape from your camera into it and see if it plays correctly, if not, it will be an issue with your camera.

In the end, MiniDV is an obsolete technology, which leads me to believe a repair will potentially cost more than a modern replacement device. Best of luck!

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E,

Thanks for the input. I don't have access to another mini DV player. I'm trying to download recordings from those tapes to avoid relying on the player staying functional. I tried downloading & the same stripes appear but in color, like a series of pixels within each stripe. I tried recording to see if the same thing shows up & it does. Not sure that not seeing stripes on the menu matters because there is no tape being played at the time. Is there any other possibility?

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Grey lines as stripes: I had them on my canon mini dv (on mini playback and connected to our tv) this began after Burning Man which is extremely dusty at times. It was intermitant, then wouldn't quit.

Cleaning was the answer. I did take it to a shop and they cleaned it out, never saw the lines again.

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Try tapping on the tapes, rewinding them all the way and playing again.

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I have Sony Handy-cam MIni DV recorder too, The technology is obsolete, but I have had 15 Years of videos and kids growing to watch and record on a hard drive, I see the same grey lines that was described above evenly spread and whether you play on the TV or on the Video recorder itself the even gray stripes Appear,and I really though I have lost all the videos and memories, forever now that a head cleaning has been suggested, I am looking forward to doing that.

Hope that Helps, before these cameras start breaking apart.

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I had same problem...playback on old tape shows gray lines on view screen. Cleaned head(s) with rubbing alcohol. No Change. Put in new tape and recorded for 30 seconds and playback was fine. Put in old tape, same problem. Rewound to beginning of tape, recorded for 30 seconds, playback was fine...problem gone.

However, I think I will have it professionally cleaned just to be sure. I will use it to transfer tapes to digital.

Update (07/31/2016)

BTW, the camcorder is a SAMSUNG SC-27 MiniDV.

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Yep, I have the same problem on a Panasonic NV-MX8 "flagship" camcorder from 2001-2.

It's turned into performing a black magic ritual to get each MiniDV tape to play... sometimes recording a couple of minutes on a tape will then get rid of the stripes on "play", but they come back when the next tape is inserted to be copied across to the computer.

Other times it takes the "precision tap" on the side of the camcorder. When I get really cross the "unplug power supply and throw it in the carry case" technique even seems to work!

Hope you get your tapes to play - and copied onto a more reliable medium. I would keep copies of the video files on a hard drive, as the DVDs I have burnt from camcorder tapes have all started jumping or sticking after a couple of years. Digital memories, eh? So fleeting.... :-)

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arch will be eternally grateful.
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