When loose oxide builds up in the tape path, it can travel with the tape to the drum assembly and prevent the video head from making contact with the tape. The result is a heavily obscured image or a complete loss of image. A video head clog requires thorough cleaning of the video heads if the clog obstructs RF completely during playback. In most cases, a severe head clog cannot be removed by playing a cleaning tape through the VTR. The head and drum assembly must be manually cleaned using a cleaning solution.
Can it be fixed?
Yes: stop playback and clean the video heads on the the player using an appropriate solvent and a piece of paper. While you are at it, clean the tape path with a cotton swab to prevent possible recontamination.
There are several videos that can help you determine how to do this:
- Cleaning HI8 Video8 Digital8 video head the correct way
- General tips on MiniDV tapes and cleaning!
- Head cleaning a 3/4” U-matic Sony JVC VCR Beta SP Panasonic
- How to Clean a VHS Video Recorder (The Professional Way)
- How to clean your VCR
- VCR Heads How to Clean Video Heads