View Full Version : Clean VCR heads and capture to HD

01-07-2008, 01:37 PM
I am looking to transfer some of my home videos onto my PC's hard disk.

2 questions:
My video player has dirty heads (ie gives a grainy dark picture) and I'm not sure how to clean them.

Also, I need a video capture device to connect my PC to the VCR. I want to spend as little as possible but get a decent picture output. I have Nero Vision (bundled with Nero 8 -- full version not Essentials) that I'm hoping to be able to use to capture the video, so the software included with the card is not important (unless Nero is useless for what I want to do). Which capture device do you guys recommend?

Is this any good? (http://ascent.co.nz/productspecification.aspx?ItemID=336902)

Edit: Is PCI preferable to USB?


01-07-2008, 02:35 PM
With the video player heads being dirty, we just get a cotton ear bud, put some after shave on it and clean the heads out (might need some shoving and prodding to actually get it done)

01-07-2008, 05:56 PM
lol, aftershave and cotton buds - probably worked but you'd give some techs a heart attack. Aftershave may leave a residue and cotton buds can catch and leave bits behind ( although my brother once succesfully cleaned his with bacardi )

Isopropyl alcohol and a lint free cloth is better - but if you don't wish to take the top off the VCR the commercially available cleaning tapes with that come with a bottle of liquid cleaning solution are fine and should do the trick. BTW if cleaning the heads doesn't seem to help the heads may be worn.

As to the capture card it should be ok, I used a leadtek winfast tvtuner card with videao capture functions with good results.

Billy T
02-07-2008, 10:52 AM
If you have a lot to copy, I suggest you invest in a new VCR, they are very cheap and you can on-sell once finished. I bought a new Panasonic VCR/DVD recently for just this purpose and was amazed at how much better my old videos looked. I thought my existing VCR was quite OK and that image quality was fine (and I worked in that field for a number of years) but there was a quantum improvement in playback quality that I can only put down to developments in playback head technology and low-noise signal processing.


Billy 8-{)