My Hitachi 8mm seems to have a tracking problem, when I play back old tapes, there is no sound and there is a horizontal bar across the screen. When I playback newly recorded tapes it looks great. How can I adjust the tracking so I can play back all my library. I was hoping to convert all the tapes into DVDs with my Mac, but it seems useless now, unless I can set the tracking.
I have had the same problem. There is no way to manually adjust the tracking on this Hitachi, or on most 8mm cameras, for that matter. I copied all of my more recent tapes to DVD first (2 copies of each) and then I went to the oldest tapes, which for some reason were OK. When I got to one tape that gave me trouble, I just let it play in the camcorder for about an hour. It adjusted its own tracking so that the picture was OK. Then, I rewound the tape and copied that one. I still have 2 tapes that will not adjust. I am going to send those out to a copying service. I hope they can adjust the tracking and make the copies I need.
By the way, I used this camera and a Panasonic DMR-E55 to make the DVD copies.
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This sounds like it is the Tape recording function that is at fault. Unfortunately, it's also one of the most difficult to correct without a scope and test jig.
If it is more than 5 years old, it may be suffering from component failure.
In particular the Electrolytic capacitors in these small cams seem to fail first due to temperature and humidity changes. They can leak, dry up or corrode, so it may be worth looking inside at the control boards to spot any physical signs of deterioration.
This shows typical surface mount capacitors - silver cylinders with black segment denoting negative -
Yes, this sounds like dirty heads, typical symptom for analogue 8mm.
Yes you can clean the heads. It's a delicate procedure, but, requires
no disassembly. To clean your heads, I would run to Radio
Shack and buy cleaning fluid refils. Take a Qtip and dampen it with the
cleaning fluid. Open the camera, remove the tape and look for the video
drum. Lightly rub the Qtip along the drum horizontal to the spin
direction (not across the grain). Turn the drum and clean until you
have swept the entire circumference.
I was having the exact same problems, and I read a post on this website somewhere recommending that I just record a few seconds of video on a blank portion of tape and then the camera should start playing video normally again.
It seems you are having a tracking problem. When the tracking is out of sync, you will notice digitized drop out then even audio distorts. It is caused possibly by shift in mechanical system or changed value of electronic components in tracking circuit. It is standard repair cost to remedy this kind of problem. Probably cost you around $125-200 in US repair shops.
There are no such adapters that would allow 8mm, Hi8 and Mini DV tapes to be played in a VHS VCR. Only the old VHS-C tapes can fit and play in an adapter.
There are several reasons why 8mm (or Hi8 and miniDV tapes) cannot be physically played in a VHS VCR:
1. 8mm (Hi8, miniDV) is a different format with different technical characteristics than VHS. These formats were never developed with the intention to be mechanically compatible with current VHS technology.
2. 8mm/Hi8 tapes are 8mm wide (miniDV is 6mm wide), while VHS tape is 1/2" wide, making it impossible for a VHS video head to read the taped information correctly.
3. 8mm/Hi8/miniDV tapes are recorded and played at different speeds than VHS, so even if the tapes could physically fit into a standard VHS VCR, the VCR still couldn't play back the tapes at their correct speeds.
4. 8mm/Hi8/minDV audio is recorded differently than VHS. 8mm/Hi8 audio is recorded in AFM HiFi mode, while miniDV audio is recording in 12-Bit or 16-Bit PCM digital audio format. So, even if the video could be played back in a VHS VCR, the audio could not be read properly.
5. 8mm/Hi8 video is of higher resolution than VHS and is recorded in a different bandwidth length (miniDV video is recorded digitally), so once again, a standard VCR still could not read the information correctly, even if the tape could fit into a VCR.