Thursday, June 02, 2011

Clean Your Heads

Radio Shack sold head cleaning kits for everything, even things that probably didn't need it like the 5¼ floppy drive head cleaning kit for the TRS-80. They made them for VHS, 8-Tracks, cassettes, mini DV, reel-to-reel and floppy discs of all sizes. These days they still make the cleaner for mini-DV but the rest are discontinued. Head cleaning is a task long practiced in radio-land.

Since the advent of optical devices we seem to have forgotten that media playback used to require maintainence. Kits come in two basic types, both use denatured isopropyl alcohol to clean but one has a little hand hand-scrubber and the other a scrubber built into playback device that will contact the head. There are a number of kits still made today by Epson, Maxell, Chemtronics, Sony, Phillips, Panasonic, Cannon, JVC and others.

Personally I've always preferred a Q-tip. They're cheap, plentiful and you can buy the ones on long wooden sticks so they can reach everything. If you take thsi as a reminder to clean your heads, do recall that there will be up to three of them, write, erase and playback. Don't skip any, and do remember to blow out the dust with canned air before you begin.